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Posts Tagged ‘Bill Murray’

“When Sofia Coppola, the director of Lost in Translation, sent me the script, she included a photo and said, ‘This is what I have in mind.’, It was Brad Pitt in an ad for espresso in a can, and he had the same grimace: ‘I can’t believe I’m selling this can of coffee.’, That influenced me when I had to do my own shtick.”
Bill Murray

When people think of actor Bill Murray and golf I imagine 99.99% of the time the movie Caddyshack comes to mind first. But there’s actually another movie that features Murray on a golf course—Lost in Translation (2003). Written and directed by Sophia Coppola, she received an Oscar for Best Writing, Original Screenplay. (Murray was also nominated for an Oscar. )

So once again tapping into the mystical side of golfing…

Related Posts:
Postcard #74 (Bill Murray)
Harold Ramis on ‘Caddyshack’
Murray, Miller & Mass Appeal (Tip #78)

Scott W. Smith

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“Cinderella story. Outta nowhere. A former greenskeeper, now, about to become the Masters champion.”
Carl Spackler (Bill Murray) in Caddyshack

Bill Murray

Since today is the first day of the 2014 Masters Tournament  in Augusta, Georgia I’ll use that to jump ship from blogging about baseball to blogging about golf (all connected to movies and filmmaking in one way or another).

Today I visited the World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine, Florida and  a couple hundred yards away in World Golf Village is where I I took the above photo (of a photo cutout of actor Bill Murray) at Murray Bros. Caddyshack restaurant. (Bill Murray opened the restaurant in 2001 with his five brothers.)

“[The movie Caddyshack] is really a gripping tale of the Murray brothers’ first experiment with employment. It suited us. You didn’t have to punch a clock; that failure would come later.  No dress code; you could work barefoot. No age limit, no income tax. I want this job now.”
Actor Bill Murray
Cinderella Story; My Life in Golf

Related Post: Harold Ramis on ‘Caddyshack’

Scott W. Smith

 

 

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“I like to say a prayer and drink to world peace.”
Phil (Bill Murray) in Groundhog Day
Written by Harold Ramis and Danny Rubin

If you’ve never seen Groundhog Day, all you need to know to appreciate the scene above is Bill Murray’s character is an unhappy SOB who magically is reliving the same day over and over again until he can get it his life together. The story fits the concepts I’ve touched on in past posts of “transformation,” “slavery to freedom”“cheap therapy” and the Garry Marshall’s idea that, “Most good stories are Cinderella. Audiences like to watch characters whose lives change for the better.”

“I remembered an idea I had about a guy repeating the same day and I realized that having a person repeat the same day turns an eternity into a circle and that’s when all the dramatic possibilities came and the comedic possibilities and all the resonances with repetition… The very first thing I thought of was the date scene, being able to use your superior knowledge to pick up women.  As soon as I thought of that I knew I had a movie.”
Screenwriter Danny Rubin on coming up with the idea for Groundhog Day
Big Think Interview 

Groundhog Day was directed by Harold Ramis and listed as the #8 fantasy film by AFI, and #34 of AFI’s 100 Years…100 Laughs.

“Frank Capra said a great thing, he said if you’re gonna have the privilege of talking to an audience for two hours in the dark you have to take it as a great responsibility. And I take it that way whether it’s comedy, or tragedy, or anything. So I think there is a responsible kind of comedy that enlightens us to some extent, makes us think, exposes real hypocrisy, and the real contrictions in society.”
Harold Ramis speaking at Columbia College Chicago 

Related Posts:
Before ‘Groundhog Day’
Movies from Main Street

Scott W. Smith

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“I wish I had a theater that was only open when it rained…I like it when people come up to me the next day or a week later and they say, ‘I saw your play—what happened?'”
Bill Murray as the playwright Jeff in Tootsie

“You can’t have a theater based upon anything other than a mass audience if it’s going to succeed. The larger the better. It’s the law of the theater. In the Greek audience fourteen thousand people sat down at the same time, to see a play. Fourteen thousand people! And nobody can tell me that those people were all readers of The New York Review of Books! Even Shakespeare was smashed around in his time by university people….because he was reaching for those parts of man’s makeup which respond to melodrama, broad comedy, violence, dirty words, and blood. Plenty of blood, murder, and not very well motivated at that.”
Arthur Miller (Death of a Salesman)
Playwrights at Work, Page 171

Related Posts:

Screenwriting Quote #175 (Arthur Miller)
Volcanic Emotions & Arthur Miller
Arthur Miller on Writing
What Would Arthur Miller Do?
“Tootsie” at 30
The Secret to Being a Successful Screenwriter (Seriously) “The reason that I am a writer today is Shakespeare.”—John Logan
There’s Something About Jerry“No artist—notably no film or television writer—need apologize for entertaining an assembled mass of people.” Richard Walter (UCLA screenwriting professor)

Scott W. Smith

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“Growing up in Ohio was just planning to get out.”
Jim Jarmusch

Have you ever put together a top ten list of films that you’ve walked away from feeling stunned? I haven’t but one film that I think would be on that list is Jim Jarmusch’s Stranger than Paradise. The 1984 film is credited with giving a fresh take on independent filmmaking. The low-budget, black and white film is still the only movie I’ve ever watched where each scene is done in single master shots.

Stranger than Paradise won Camera d’Or for best first feature at the Cannes Film Festival. Empire magazine’s The 50 Greatest Independent Films listed the film #14, just ahead of Memento.

I haven’t seen the film is a long time. Actually, because it has a special place in my memory I’m a little hesitant to watch it again for fear it won’t measure up to the fondness I have it. But I’m sure I’ll check out The Criterion Collection version in the near future.

Most filmmakers struggle to one degree or another with a balance between artistic freedom and commercial success.   A look at Jarmusch’s career shows how one filmmaker has walked that balance. Even if you haven’t seen his films (Broken Flowers, Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, Dead Man, Down by Law) know that any writer/director who can attract the acting talents of Forest Whitaker, Bill Murray, Roberto Benigni, and Johnny Depp, on top of a 25-year career is doing something right.

Born in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio (just north of Akron)  in 1953 Jarmusch went to New York and received his undergraduate degree from Columbia University and worked on an MFA in film at NYU where Spike Lee was a fellow student. He also gained valuable experience working as an assistant for directors Wim Wenders and Nicholas Ray.

“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is nonexistent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery—celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: ‘It’s not where you take things from—it’s where you take them to.'”
Jim Jarmusch’s Golden Rules
MovieMaker 2004

The Akron-Cleveland has changed a lot since Jarmusch was a kid (and even when he shot part of Stranger in Paradise there in the 80s) and I’d like to think that the next Jim Jarmuschs from the area, like current NBA MVP LeBron James, stay in their hometown and do their thing for the world to see.

Scott W. Smith

 

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Second City in Chicago has been providing comedy and training actors for 50 years now.  Here’s a list of some just some of the more well known people who have honed their skills there over the years:

Bill Murray
Tina Fey
Alan Arkin
Gilda Radner
John Belushi
Dan Aykroyd
Chris Farley
John Candy
Mike Nichols
Mike Myers
Steve Carell

But they didn’t start out famous, or sometimes, even on stage…

“Many talented people began at Second City working behind the scenes while awaiting their big breaks. When he worked the merchandise booth, in our lobby, Stephen Cobert held the record for five years for selling the most T-shirts. (Boy I miss him!)…Director John Favreau was one of the best people we ever had tending bar. And writer/director David Mamet was even a busboy for a time. Maybe that’s why he has a potty mouth.”
Andrew Alexander
CEO/exeutive producer for Second City
Sky Magazine Dec 2009

Second City 50th Anniversary

Scott W. Smith

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One of my all-time favorite quotes about screenwriting comes from Richard Walter at UCLA; “Planes that land safely do not make the headlines and nobody goes to the theater, or switches on the tube, to view a movie entitled The Village of the Happy Nice People.” When things are normal there is no conflict, and conflict is central to drama. (See the post Everything I learned in Film School.)

“Comedies live and die by the first 40 minutes. For starters, comedies are funniest in the first half, before the main characters start to arc and get all normal, so that’s when you decide if it’s funny. But more important is the fact that the potential energy of a comedy is wound up entirely in the spring of the protagonist’s misery when we first meet him. Sandra Bullock starts off very lonely in While You Were Sleeping. Dustin Hoffman has a flaw for every situation in Tootise. Bill Murray is a such a jerk in Ground Hogs Day. Will Ferrell is so egotistical. The Judd Apatow Players are so crude, immature, female-repellent, etc.”
Wesley Rowe
Script magazine
Volume 15/Number 2

Scott W. Smith

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