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Quentin Tarantino's issues with the work of Bill Murray


Quentin Tarantino has never been one to bite his tongue. His acerbic nature seeps through whether he’s behind the camera or enthusiastically discussing the artistic nature of cinema during interviews. The director consistently demonstrates his point in a stern and matter of fact fashion.

The acclaimed auteur has immensely impacted cinema over the last 30 years in a way that few can compete with, and he’s an unashamed cinephile when it comes to the art of filmmaking. Tarantino has a deep-held passion for an array of different subgenres like grindhouse, spaghetti westerns, blaxploitation and 20th-century Japanese cinema, all of which have all bled into his work across his nine films to differing degrees. 

However, one actor whose work Tarantino has been less inspired by is Bill Murray, whose films he has had some harsh words to say about. Tarantino’s disdain is somewhat surprising considering Murray’s almost universal appeal, a popularity that has made him an icon in both the independent filmmaking realm and in the commercial mainstream — a similarity that he shares with Tarantino.

Speaking on The Joe Rogan Experience, Tarantino exclaimed, “The critics always really preferred Bill Murray movies to Chevy Chase movies. However, it does seem as if the point of all the Bill Murray movies is that he’s this kind of hip, cool, curmudgeon, smartarse guy, who in the last 20 minutes, gets a transformation and becomes this nice guy and almost apologises for who he was.

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StripesGroundhog DayScrooged,” he continued. “The whole thing, like, for instance, Stripes, how does he go from where Warren Oates kicks his arseDeservedly kicks his arse. He deserves to get belly punched by Warren Oates in that movie. How does he go from being this iconoclastic, ‘I don’t give a fuck about anything. I get beaten up by Warren Oates’, to now he’s rallying the troops”.

Tarantino’s scornful criticism didn’t stop there, as he added: “Does anybody really think that a less sarcastic Bill Murray is a better Bill Murray? Maybe it’s better for Andie MacDowell but not for us as the viewer”.

Tarantino then revealed why he believes one actor is simply untouchable when it comes to comedic characters in a similar mould to Murray: “Chevy Chase movies don’t play that shit,” he vehemently said. “Chevy Chase is the same supercilious asshole at the end of the movie that he is at the beginning. He never changes in his stuff. He’s always like a bit of a dick. And he’s always completely sarcastic”.

The director concluded, “When he’s playing like a Chevy Chase character, he never apologies for who he is. Stays that way throughout the whole film and even if there is a slight change that’s not the whole point of the movie.”

While Tarantino’s dismissal of Bill Murray is to do with his choice of films more than anything else, and the formulaic nature of them, in his view. Unpredictability is what he looks for the most in cinema, and honestly, his protestation mainly showcases the perfectionist inside of him rather than reflecting ill on Murray.