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10 essential Bill Murray comedies

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You just don’t get them better than Bill Murray. A born comedian with a dramatic range, his relaxed demeanor, easy delivery and wiseacre nature make him a natural for whatever role you’d want him to take on. He can go manic and zany, and he can be so subtle you almost miss it. Always in demand, and always worth the price of admission, here are 10 essential comedies from the filmography of a man who should’ve won an Oscar by now. Before you ask, we’re considering “Lost in Translation” a drama, and as much as we’d like to include “Zombieland,” it wouldn’t seem fair to call it A Bill Murray Comedy. So this shout-out will have to do.


1. “Meatballs” (1979)

Murray’s first starring role in a movie is in a ridiculous slobs vs. snobs comedy directed by Ivan Reitman, who would work with him again to reach even greater heights of hilarity. Cut-rate Camp North Star counselor Tripper Harrison finds his misfit crew in a rivalry with the rich and fancy Camp Mohawk, and once the competition builds to a fevered pitch, he delivers one of the most demoralizing inspirational speeches ever.


2. “Caddyshack” (1980)

One could argue this isn’t technically A Bill Murray Comedy, given that he was seemingly intended to be more of a supporting goofball to the Rodney Dangerfield vs. Ted Knight country club conflict – not to mention Murray’s former “Saturday Night Live” rival Chevy Chase – but Carl Spackler’s ridiculously relentless gopher hunt steals the show with several big bangs. So he’s got that going for him.


3. “Stripes” (1981)

Murray reteams with Reitman, as well as with John Candy and future Egon Spengler Harold Ramis, for this army comedy about two guys with nothing to lose making the rash decision to join the military. A wild-eyed free-thinker like Bill Murray does not belong in basic training, hence the comedy. Incidentally, his character’s name is John Winger, and Dan Harmon has said he wanted Murray to play Jeff Winger’s father on the brilliant TV show “Community.” How great would that have been? Damn great, and that’s the fact, Jack.


4. “Ghostbusters” (1984)

If you didn’t already know this spook-hunting work of comedy gold was essential, something is wrong with you. Murray steps into a role originally intended for John Belushi and makes Dr. Peter Venkman very much his own – so much so that you can scarcely imagine it without him. Ramis and Reitman are in top form, as is Dan Aykroyd in a film that always has something new and funny for you catch each time you watch it, which should be a hundred times minimum. That’s how brilliant this is. Bustin’ makes us all feel good, and let’s all be glad that J. Edgar Hoover never appeared to destroy us.


5. “Scrooged” (1988)

“Groundhog Day” gets all the holiday attention, but this retelling of “A Christmas Carol” through the eyes of an asshole television producer trying to put on his own version of the same tale rides entirely on the force of Murray’s performance. Frank Cross is a loud, belligerent bastard that fights his journey toward the true spirit of Christmas tooth and nail every step of the way with an angry, manic vitriol that only Murray could pull off and still make us like him. Rare is the adaptation of Dickens that includes calling the Ghost of Christmas Future a “pussy.”

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Holiday Extra Special

Make The Holidays ’80s Again

Enjoy the holiday cheer Wednesday December 21 at 10P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Whatever happened to the kind of crazy-yet-cozy holiday specials that blanketed the early winter airwaves of the 1980s? Unceremoniously killed by infectious ’90s jadedness? Slow fade out at the hands of early-onset millennial ennui? Whatever the reason, nixing the tradition was a huge mistake.

A huge mistake that we’re about to fix.

Announcing IFC’s Joe’s Pub Presents: A Holiday Special, starring Tony Hale. It’s a celeb-studded extravaganza in the glorious tradition of yesteryear featuring Bridget Everett, Jo Firestone, Nick Thune, Jen Kirkman, house band The Dap-Kings, and many more. And it’s at Joe’s Pub, everyone’s favorite home away from home in the Big Apple.

The yuletide cheer explodes Wednesday December 21 at 10P. But if you were born after 1989 and have no idea what void this spectacular special is going to fill, sample from this vintage selection of holiday hits:

Andy Williams and The NBC Kids Search For Santa

The quintessential holiday special. Get snuggly and turn off your brain. You won’t need it.

A Muppet Family Christmas

The Fraggles. The Muppets. The Sesame Street gang. Fate. The Jim Henson multiverse merges in this warm and fuzzy Holiday gathering.

Julie Andrews: The Sound Of Christmas

To this day a foolproof antidote to holiday cynicism. It’s cheesy, but a good cheese. In this case an Alpine Gruyère.

Star Wars Holiday Special

Okay, busted. This one was released in 1978. Still totally ’80s though. And yes that’s Bea Arthur.

Pee Wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special

Pass the eggnog, and make sure it’s loaded. This special is everything you’d expect it to be and much, much more.

Joe’s Pub Presents: A Holiday Special premieres Wednesday December 21 at 10P on IFC.

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It Ain't Over Yet

A Guide to Coping with the End of Comedy Bang! Bang!

Watch the final episodes tonight at 11 and 11:30P on IFC.

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After five seasons and 110 halved-hour episodes, Scott Aukerman’s hipster comedy opus, Comedy Bang! Bang!, has come to an end. Fridays at 11 and 11:30P will never be the same. We know it can be hard for fans to adjust after the series finale of their favorite TV show. That’s why we’ve prepared this step-by-step guide to managing your grief.

Step One: Cry it out

It’s just natural. We’re sad too.
Scott crying GIF

Step Two: Read the CB!B! IMDB Trivia Page

The show is over and it feels like you’ve lost a friend. But how well did you really know this friend? Head over to Comedy Bang! Bang!’s IMDB page to find out some things you may not have known…like that it’s “based on a Civil War battle of the same name” or that “Reggie Watts was actually born with the name Theodore Leopold The Third.”

Step Three: Listen to the podcast

One fascinating piece of CB!B! trivia that you might not learn from IMDB is that there’s a podcast that shares the same name as the TV show. It’s even hosted by Scott Aukerman! It’s not exactly like watching the TV show on a Friday night, but that’s only because each episode is released Monday morning. If you close your eyes, the podcast is just like watching the show with your eyes closed!

Step Four: Watch brand new CB!B! clips?!

The best way to cope with the end of Comedy Bang! Bang! is to completely ignore that it’s over — because it’s not. In an unprecedented move, IFC is opening up the bonus CB!B! content vault. There are four brand new, never-before-seen sketches featuring Scott Aukerman, Kid Cudi, and “Weird Al” Yankovic ready for you to view on the IFC App. There’s also one right here, below this paragraph! Watch all four b-b-bonus clips and feel better.

Binge the entire final season, plus exclusive sketches, right now on the IFC app.

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Everybody Sweats Now

The Four-Day Sweatsgiving Weekend On IFC

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This long holiday weekend is your time to gobble gobble gobble and give heartfelt thanks—thanks for the comfort and forgiveness of sweatpants. Because when it comes right down to it, there’s nothing more wholesome and American than stuffing yourself stupid and spending endless hours in front of the TV in your softest of softests.

So get the sweats, grab the remote and join IFC for four perfect days of entertainment.

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It all starts with a 24-hour T-day marathon of Rocky Horror Picture Show, then continues Friday with an all-day binge of Stan Against Evil.

By Saturday, the couch will have molded to your shape. Which is good, because you’ll be nestled in for back-to-back Die Hard and Lethal Weapon.

Finally, come Sunday it’s time to put the sweat back in your sweatpants with The Shining, The Exorcist, The Chronicles of Riddick, Terminator 2, and Blade: Trinity. They totally count as cardio.

As if you need more convincing, here’s Martha Wash and the IFC&C Music Factory to hammer the point home.

The Sweatsgiving Weekend starts Thursday on IFC

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