Just as Matthew Perry doesn’t like Keanu Reeves for seemingly no reason, Quentin Tarantino is going in on Bill Murray. Of course, Murray has a lot of variation in his filmography, so there is a lot more to work with. But Tarantino doesn’t seem to be a fan of much of what does, so much that he dedicated multiple paragraphs to it in his new book, Cinema Speculation. What is it with Hollywood men airing out all of their grievances in a book?
The director used the actor as an example of a specific type of over-used ’80s movie trope that Murray became known for, you know the sleazy guy who has some revelation and then becomes a Good Guy over the course of 120 minutes. Tarantino is not a fan of some of Murray’s most iconic roles, like his cynical Phil from Groundhog Day or the down-on-his-luck John from Stripes.
Tarantino critiqued the trope in a new excerpt per IndieWire:
If you did make a movie about a f*cking bastard, you could bet that fucking bastard would see the error of their ways and be redeemed in the last twenty minutes. Like for example, all of Bill Murray’s characters
How does Murray in Stripes go from being an iconoclastic pain in the ass, who deserves to get beat up by Drill Sergeant Warren Oates, to rallying the troops (“That’s the fact, Jack!”), and masterminding a covert mission on foreign soil? And Stripes was one of the hip movies. Film critics always preferred Bill Murray to Chevy Chase. Yet, more often than not, Chase remained the same sarcastic aloof asshole at the film’s end he was at the beginning. Or at least his conversion wasn’t the whole point of the movie as it was in Scrooged and Groundhog Day.
Admittedly, when you don’t give a f*ck about other people’s feelings, it probably does wonders for your caustic wit. But I’ve always rejected the idea that Bill Murray’s characters needed redemption. Yeah, maybe he charmed Andie MacDowell [in Groundhog Day], but does anybody think a less sarcastic Bill Murray is a better Bill Murray.
There are definitely a few things to critique Bill Murray for, though a 40-year-old movie appears to be an odd focus. Then again, one assumes that Tarantino penned this book long before the Murray on-set accusations surfaced.