I promised Christa and Hayley Christmas films would happen even though I am, in my heart, a thoroughly Grinchy human being. We’re shaking things up a bit with the Bill Murray Christmas special, which is not exactly a film but is really the only way to kick off the Christmas Collab.
For a potentially less Grinchy review, see Christa’s blog!
A Very Murray Christmas
Where to Watch:
I feel the concept here is self-explanatory. Bill Murray. Christmas. Merriment ensues.
The Uncondensed Version:
We set the tone on this one with Bill Murray singing about the Christmas blues with accompaniment from Paul Shaffer. I like to think this is basically what an ordinary day looks like for Bill Murray (from here on, referred to as BM even though, confusingly, those are also my cat’s initials).
BM is, of course, super misanthropic—as if he’s stepped right out of Lost in Translation. Since this Christmas special is directed by Sofia Coppola, I suppose that’s not altogether surprising. What is surprising is how nice his voice is. I can’t recall any film roles in which he sings, at least?
So BM’s managers arrive at his apartment to psych him up for the live Christmas special he will be starring in despite NYC being shut down due to a blizzard. However, none of their cheer catches, and BM goes on stage weeping, abruptly walking off stage.
Just before getting stuck in one of those nightmarish revolving doors, BM runs into Chris Rock, and persuades him to perform an incredibly awkward turtleneck-ed duet with him in the special. BM is soon off the hook for the special, though, when the studio loses power. Paul and BM are free to lounge around a bar and drink.
At this point I got distracted when my sister dropped this bomb: “I’m not sure how much of a fan I am of Bill Murray.” We almost got into a fist fight.
I had to list off all of the American classics BM has given us: Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day, Tootsie, What About Bob?, Lost in Translation and essentially every Wes Anderson film.
Also my mom thought he was Canadian. The shame consumes me.
To return to the matter at hand…there’s not a whole lot of plot in this special. There are more cameos than you can shake a stick at, and we get a subplot with BM trying to save a wedding. Mostly there are Christmas songs. Lots and lots of Christmas songs, but I can deal since it’s BM.
After the singing, there is drinking, followed by song-and-dance dream sequences. I forgot to screenshot this part of the special, so I apologize.
There are a few numbers with George Clooney and Miley Cyrus, which we’ve been building to for the duration of the special.
What I like about this special is BM being a bit of a Scrooge and pulling himself out of it. It’s quite admirable. He has a bit of prompting from Ghost of Christmas Past-type figures with a modern twist, and he finds meaning for himself. Plus as a Grinch type, misanthropic Bill Murray is the Bill Murray I most identify with.
4/5 Pink Panther Heads
I could’ve done without so many goddamn Christmas songs, but overall I liked it.
Is it just me, or do you really feel like watching Tootsie now? Just me?
Christa? You should probably find out for yourself what Christa thinks about this one in her review here.