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10 Lesser-Known Bill Murray Roles You Might’ve Missed

Catch Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II this month on IFC.

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Rattling off titles from Bill Murray’s career is like reciting a compilation of the most rewatchable movies of all time. Caddyshack. Groundhog Day. Rushmore. Ghostbusters — which was just inducted into the National Film Registry and is airing on IFC this month along with Ghostbusters II. But for every Stripes or Lost in Translation, there are several other Bill Murray projects that have barely seen the light of day.

So, in tribute to the work of the universally beloved 65-year-old (and the Ghostbusters movies airing on IFC this month), here are 10 performances by Bill Murray you might’ve missed.

1. Nothing Lasts Forever, Ted Breughl

Equal parts Terry Gilliam, Georges Méliès, and David Lynch, director Tom Schiller’s feature-length debut (which sadly never received a major release) is a wonderful experiment in the absurd. The surreal story flows like a Kafkaesque fever dream, where the NY Port Authority runs Manhattan and trips to the moon are done by bus. Although Bill Murray plays the bus conductor in a small supporting role, his involvement helped propel the film’s cult status.


2. The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash, Bill Murray the K.

Six years before This Is Spinal Tap, Eric Idle and Gary Weis all but established the band mockumentary with the Beatles spoof, The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash. The film skewers the Fab Four’s career with the faux lookalike band (nicknamed the Prefab Four) and features a slew of cameos including Mick Jagger, Paul Simon, and a chunk of SNL players — including Mr. Murray as loudmouth disc jockey “Bill Murray the K.” who’s super excited to hear the band “talk about their trousers.”


3. The Sweet Spot, Himself

One of Comedy Central’s odder projects, The Sweet Spot could be described as the golf version of Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon’s culinary travelogue The Trip. Proving they love each other’s company, Murray brothers Bill, Brian, Joel, and John visit various golf courses, play a few holes, and involve themselves in the occasional shenanigan. Lasting only four episodes in 2002, the series was the perfect length to demonstrate what it’d be like to see Scrooged’s Frank Cross tease his brother in real life, too.


4. Where the Buffalo Roam, Hunter S. Thompson

Before walking scarf Johnny Depp portrayed Hunter S. Thompson, none other than Bill Murray played the gonzo journalist in the 1980 semi-autobiographical misfire Where the Buffalo Roam. Critically panned as a series of jumbled episodes rather than a cohesive film, the movie never quite found its footing as a watchable biopic. In fact, the behind-the-scenes anecdote of Murray nearly drowning when Thompson drunkenly tied him to a chair and tossed him into a swimming pool gives you a far better idea of who the man was.


5. Mad Dog and Glory, Frank Milo

There was a time when Bill Murray playing a dramatic role for the guy who directed Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer was considered daring. Of course now, after his many dramatic and offbeat roles, Murray’s career is more malleable to disparate projects, allowing his depiction of a mob boss character in Mad Dog and Glory to go from “surprisingly against type” to “reliably versatile.” But however you describe it, it’s one of his most underrated performances.


6. Coming Attractions, Lefty Schwartz

An anthology movie with three different release titles (it’s also known as Loose Shoes and Quackers), this film is a compilation of fake trailers/movies much in the style of Kentucky Fried Movie and Amazon Women on the Moon. The segment “Three Chairs for Lefty” features Murray as a death row inmate trying his damndest to avoid the chair. With pitch-black absurdist humor — including a prison banquet gag that later appeared in The Naked Gun 33⅓ — this six-minute sketch deserves many more eyes on it.


7. Hamlet, Polonius

In the spirit of Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 teen-throb-y Romeo + Juliet, Michael Almereyda’s Hamlet takes the frilly verbiage of William Shakespeare and inserts it into a modern-day setting — in this case, upper-class Manhattan. While the results depend on your level of patience for the style, Murray’s role as Polonius is rather interesting. As you can see in the above clip, his performance straddles the line between 16th Century England and 20th Century Chicago. By design or by accident, it’s worth a watch.


8. The TVTV Show, Performer

Before superstardom was in sight, Bill Murray was a part of a San Francisco-based video collective known as TVTV, or Top Value Television, which jump-started the careers of many big talents including Harold Ramis and Michael Shamberg. Along with fellow member and pal Christopher Guest, Murray participated in a segment during the 1976 Super Bowl. While it doesn’t have the entertainment value of the group’s other projects, it’s interesting to note the kernels of guerrilla filmmaking close to its inception.


9. Coffee and Cigarettes, Himself

The most popular segment in Jim Jarmusch’s 2003 anthology film Coffee and Cigarettes — mostly due to the unlikely combo of talent — Bill Murray works as a coffee shop server who sits and chats with Wu-Tang Clan founders GZA and RZA about dreams, nicotine, and the best way to get rid of a smoker’s cough. The chemistry between the trio is so fun and infectious, it’s hard not to wish Jarmusch’s entire film were just these dudes talking.


10. Quick Change, Grimm

The sole directorial credit in Murray’s storied career (he codirected with Howard Franklin), Quick Change debuted in 1990 as a critically successful underperformer. Centered around three bank robbers desperately trying to leave the inescapable purgatory that is the Big Apple, the movie has since reached cult status as a screwball Dog Day Afternoon with entertaining performances by Geena Davis, Randy Quaid, Jason Robards, and Murray as the sardonic bank-robbing, gun-toting clown.

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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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