best film:  Lost in Translation. I had Sofia Coppola’s masterpiece one slot above Wes Anderson’s (Royal Tenenbaums) towards the back end of my top 100 of all-time when I last updated it (#88 and #89 respectively). So, by the slightest I’m going with Lost in Translation here. Murray is bigger part of Lost in Translation so that works for me here for the purposes of this category. He’s dazzling:  witty and poignant. For what it’s worth though he’s not Gene Hackman in Royal and he’s a part of the expansive comic ensemble, I think he’s spectacular in Wes’ greatest film—on a per/minute average it’s right up there with his best and I could easily put it below as his 5th best performance of all-time and sleep well at night— in fact I’m going to move it there (replacing Ghostbusters and/or Life Aquatic). It’s impossible to compare but when you’re that good in a top 100 all-time film, even for a few minutes, I think it matters than being great in a film that can’t catch its years’ top 10.

best performance:  Lost in Translation but I think Murray has a Mount Rushmore of #1 performances. Those top four below make for such a fine top-end of the resume. Still, if forced to pick, give me his stares out the window, the defeat on his face when he’s on the phone with his wife, and the epic final chase and moment. He’s an actor who can clearly be verbal- outspoken and funny— (Groundhog Day, Ghostbusters) but I think he may be even better at sitting there an giving a Buster Keaton, Steve McQueen or Ryan Gosling performance with his face—lying in bed or looking melancholy in a crowded room.

stylistic innovations/traits:  Those top four films and performances (all in masterpieces) pack a wallop. After that there’s a drop off when we’re getting close now to hitting the top 30 actors of all-time. He carries Ghostbusters, does his best in Life Aquatic (a flawed but intriguing film and performance), and carves out some of the best scenes in one of the best films of the century (Royal Tenenbaums) but after that and his top four there’s a few cameos and not much else. In Tootsie he steals scenes from Dustin Hoffman which is saying something and Zombieland makes me smile but still—we’re getting close to the best 30 actors as I said and he’s lead or co-lead in 6 archiveable films.

directors worked with:   Wes Anderson (6) and this is so crucial to why he’s this high on the list– Jarmusch (2) and then once with Sofia Coppola

Top 5 Performances:

  1. Lost in Translation
  2. Groundhog Day
  3. Rushmore
  4. Broken Flowers
  5. The Royal Tenenbaums

 

1982- Tootsie
1984- Ghostbusters
1991- What About Bob?
1993- Groundhog Day
1994- Ed Wood
1998- Rushmore
2001- The Royal Tenenbaums
2003- Coffee and Cigarettes
2003- Lost in Translation
2004- The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
2005- Broken Flowers
2007- The Darjeeling Limited
2009- Zombieland
2010- Get Low
2012- Moonrise Kingdom
2014- The Grand  Budapest Hotel