Today! Because if it were our plane, it would be crashing –
Quick Change (1990)
Directed by Bill Murray and Howard Franklin
Starring Bill Murray (x8), Geena Davis (x3), Randy Quaid (x4), Jason Robards (x3), Phil Hartman (x2), Tony Shalhoub (x3), Philip Bosco (x3), Bob Elliott, Jack Gilpin, Reg E. Cathey, Jamey Sheridan, Kurtwood Smith (x2), Kathryn Grody, Stanley Tucci (x2), Victor Argo
If there was one Bill Murray movie that could be described as criminally underseen (for quality and also pun reasons) it would be Quick Change (with the possible exception of Nothing Lasts Forever). It wasn’t a big hit in its day – marketing issues, maybe? – but did land on cable repeatedly in that sweet spot period for me in the early ’90s, thus I began a long affection for this sorta dark, sorta zany bank robbery comedy. Because it has been a minor part of my life for so long, I have a random array of stories connected to it, so bear with me for a bit.
I don’t distinctly recall when, but I saw Bill Murray on a late night talk show – I want to say Letterman – where they are running down a list of Murray’s films, and the host – again, pretty sure Letterman – came to Quick Change and said he didn’t remember that one. Murray’s following line (“It’s good, I’ve got a copy”) was funny, but I also like to think the brief pause before it was one of pain, as this is the only movie Murray is credited with directing. Now, it wasn’t like his lifelong passion project – Jonathan Demme was supposed to direct and had to drop out – but I still imagined it a rough moment, even though it probably wasn’t.
Quick Change was my highest read Epinions review, once upon a time, almost certainly because the review title was the quote from yesterday’s post – “Nude Women! Clowns Welcome!” Made me like $12, that review!
And finally, I rented a copy of this movie on VHS around, I’m going to guess, 2002, from Hollywood Video in North Scranton, in the Keyser Oak plaza. You remember, it was all the way around the horseshoe of stores to the left – I think there’s a Verizon or a T-Mobile or something there now. Well I don’t know what was wrong with this tape, but it thoroughly destroyed my VCR. The movie played for a few minutes, and before they even got out of the bank, boom! Scrambled fuzz and screeching! In my infinite wisdom, I thought maybe the VCR had just blown a gasket, so I went into the bedroom and tried to play the tape again. This VCR was built into this old TV I’d had for years, and needless to say, this was its final day of usefulness. That’s right, Bill Murray’s Quick Change destroyed every VCR in my apartment.
(This story isn’t anything, but I have to take you to the conclusion – I returned the tape to Hollywood Video, informing them that it had mangled my VCR – I didn’t tell them I was dumb enough to explode two VCRs – and the yahoos working there didn’t believe me. VCRs were still for sale in the world, and were like $9, so I wasn’t about to haggle, but the last thing I saw before leaving was them playing the tape on their VCR, displaying on the TVs hanging around the store, and Quick Change decimating their system as well. Vindication? Ah well.)
Is Quick Change a little hit and miss? Sure. Most people I’ve ever talked to about it seem to agree that the opening bank robbery sequence is the best, but I enjoy the increasingly frantic, complicated escape from New York City too. There’s this whole other weird sub-plot about gangsters that doesn’t totally work, but it does facilitate a decent ending for almost everybody. But come on – Philip Bosco’s asshole bus driver? Tony Shalhoub’s foreign cab driver? Phil Hartman’s hippie-turned-yuppie? Never mind great turns from Davis and Quaid as Murray’s accomplices – I’ve seen this movie many, many times, and it’s always pretty fun. Don’t pull a Letterman and forget about Quick Change!
Bill now becomes the seventh Eight-Timer in the acting wing, following work in #287 Stripes, #269 Kingpin, #124 Moonrise Kingdom, #267 The Life Aquatic, #328 The Man Who Knew Too Little, #319 The Darjeeling Limited, and #227 Scrooged. That means we have seven folks tied for most appearances as of right now (along with Candy, Downey, Damon, Keaton, Sam Jackson, and Woody Allen), with four more right behind in the Sevens (Frank Oz, Brian Cox, Matt Walsh, and PSH). Incredible! There are a bunch of other advancing folks, but I would like to shoutout the original Two-Timer, Philip Bosco, who today – 448 days since The Dream Team back at #393 – finally joins the Threes!
Coming tomorrow! Well, you don’t got to be Stonewall Jackson to know you don’t want to fight in a basement!