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.
But first, hunt up Nothing Lasts Forever – it’s bananas
Today! Because who dares to tow the van of the living Christ?
The Dream Team (1989)
Directed by Howard Zieff
Starring Michael Keaton, Christopher Lloyd, Peter Boyle, Stephen Furst, Lorraine Bracco, Philip Bosco, James Remar, Dennis Boutsikaris, Milo O’Shea
My second favorite Michael Keaton film of 1989! Released two and a half months before Batman, Keaton was coming off the bizarre ’88 double feature of Beetlejuice and Clean and Sober when this insane asylum road trip hit theaters. I’m pretty sure I saw every Keaton movie of the era once the big black bat came into my life, and this weird little comedy has stuck around through time. His exaggerated Randle P. McMurphy bit (and alongside Cuckoo’s Nest alum Lloyd too!) is fine, but the best parts belong to Boyle’s messianic former ad man Jack and Lloyd’s delusional faux doctor Henry. Like a lot of ’80s comedies, they shoe horn in a gritty plot to give the thing a purpose, besides get lost and be crazy on their way to the ballgame – it’s something about corrupt cops – which all gets resolved fine in the end. Just to digress, do you remember the whole thing about there being, like, cocaine in a diaper bag in Three Men and a Baby? And there are shootouts and shit in that movie? Why the hell couldn’t it have just been those assholes taking care of that baby? Continue reading
Today! Because he probably calls everybody Vernon –
Wonder Boys (2000)
Directed by Curtis Hanson
Starring Michael Douglas, Tobey Maguire, Robert Downey Jr., Frances McDormand, Katie Holmes, Rip Torn, Alan Tudyk, Philip Bosco, Richard Thomas
I loved this movie when I first saw it nineteen years ago – That screenplay! Those characters! – but I’ll admit it may not be holding up quite so well anymore. I’m not sure I ever would’ve had this in the top 100, but 200 seems totally reasonable, had I been ranking down that far in the early ’00s. Something resonated with me in Douglas’s writer cranking out a seemingly never-ending book, amidst the spiraling chaos of his academic environs. I especially remember the ending (not to spoil it, but you have had nearly two decades to watch it by now) being one of the most devastating things I’d seen at the time. I really fancied myself a writer back then, so I think that makes sense. Continue reading