Tag Archives: Bill Murray

The Monuments Men (2014)

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It’s often a good thing when a director settles into his own style, when he reaches a degree of comfort with his voice as a storyteller. It means he can spend less time obsessing over style choices and more time considering what lies at the center of the stories he’s chosen to tell. Not so George Clooney. In Leatherheads and Good Night, and Good Luck, Clooney revealed a proclivity towards the atmosphere of Old Hollywood–Old America even. He also showed a modicum of nuance in the way he presented it. Unfortunately, The Monuments Men finds him exploring this inclination more single-mindedly and fruitlessly than ever before.

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Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

There’s a particular sect of artists of which Wes Anderson is almost certainly a member. A group of individual creatives defined almost exclusively by their style, while their substance grudgingly takes a backseat. This “style-first” aggregate often bears long-lasting fruit, as consumers have no trouble making quick reads on the group members’ products, and establish their obsessive fandom at the earliest possible stages of a career. Artists like Andy Warhol, David Bowie, Andy Kaufman, Dave Eggers, Nicki Minaj, et al, laid the foundation of their careers with a style that, at first glance, is primarily distinct for its “newness.” Certainly the question of content is raised, though only after plenty of gushing conversations about the artist’s “distinctive voice.” This has always been the dilemma for Wes Anderson, a director known universally for his visual style. Because while audiences spend countless hours discussing the color palettes and the symmetry and the fluid sets, a collection of wonderfully human characters parades right by them.

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Ghostbusters (1984) & Ghostbusters II (1989)

Ghostbusters.  Oh Ghostbusters.  It’s like remembering the first girl you ever had a crush on, your best friend, and most of your favorite toys, all at once.  Also, there was Ecto-Cooler.  These two movies were easily the most viewed of my childhood, along with the cartoon, and of course any merchandise was a must have.  Looking back it’s hard to say just what it was about this story that pulled me in so utterly.  I was fascinated by ghosts, though there’s very little in the movies that could be considered anything other than spectral slapstick.  I certainly appreciate Bill Murray, though watching the films now I see just how much of his performance the kid version of me didn’t register.  I suppose it could have been simply a “right place, right time” situation, or my parents bringing a movie to me that we could all appreciate together, or even just all the amazing toys.  Whatever the case, the Ghostbusters franchise has been with me since near birth, and watching these films again as an adult, with hopefully a more critical eye, I think it’s safe to say I’ll be talking about them until the day I die.

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