Tag Archives: Harold Ramis

Caddyshack (1980) 3.72/5 (2)

 

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Rating: The Good – 88.9
Genre: Comedy
Duration: 98 mins
Director: Harold Ramis
Stars: Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield

If Caddyshack was merely a reflection of the sum of its parts, those parts (top comedic actors, original premise, tremendous script, outstanding soundtrack, and a great comedy director) are of such high quality that the film would still rank as a comedy classic. However, the film transcends the sum of those parts to become one of the most enjoyable movie watching experiences. Set in the hilarious Bushwood Country Club, the movie follows its caddies, the rich eccentrics they caddy for, and the various staff including its unstable groundskeeper as they go about their ridiculous daily business. Michael O’Keefe is perfect in the lead as the likable but cheeky Danny Noonan but this movie is as much if not more about the supporting cast of comedic heavyweights. Ted Knight is a riot as Judge Smails, Rodney Dangerfield finds the perfect vehicle for his unique brand of humour (“hey lady, you wanna make 14 dollars the hard way?”) while Chevy Chase’s Ty Webb is Chase at his skewed and improvisational best. Best of all though is Murray as the deranged groundskeeper Carl. This is easily one of his best performances and one of the most off the wall eccentric characters you’ll find in any film. From his “kill all the golfers” line to “you wore green so you could hide” Murray will have you howling with laughter for the full 90 mins and beyond. The quantifiable magic that occurs when every aspect of a movie comes together in perfect harmony is something we rarely encounter in life so let’s just be eternally thankful that Caddyshack is with us. “In the words of Jean Paul Sartre: au revoir”.

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Stripes (1981)

 

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Rating: The Good – 68.9
Genre: Comedy
Duration: 106 mins
Director: Ivan Reitman
Stars: Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, John Candy

Bill Murray and Harold Ramis team up as two layabouts who join the army in order to get some discipline only to find it a lot more work than they had figured. Directed by Ivan Reitman, the humour is very much of its era with lots of wacky scenarios but there are still many laughs to be had here. Murray has been much better but even at half steam he’s still the funniest man on the screen. Ramis is a good foil for Murray but does well on his own also. Stripes is one of those films that is very easy to watch particularly if you’re already in a good mood so just sit back and let it happen.

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Ghostbusters (1984) 4.14/5 (1)

 

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Rating: The Good – 76.7
Genre: Comedy
Duration: 105 mins
Director: Ivan Reitman
Stars: Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Sigourney Weaver

“When someone asks you ‘Are you a God?’, you say ‘Yes!!’” Although it’s been mainly remembered as nothing more than an enjoyable children’s film, Ivan Reitman’s film was written by and starred the golden generations of both Saturday Night Live and SCTV. The result is a totally original, unbelievably witty, and eminently quotable landmark in movie history. Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and Bill Murray play three scientists who make a name for themselves as paranormal investigators and exterminators who go into business just in time for a major paranormal event to hit New York city. Overt humour, subtle humour, legendary comedy actors, unique story, groundbreaking special effects, and one of the most memorable movie soundtracks, Ghostbusters has it all. The three leads are perfect in their assigned roles and their long established understanding of each other gives their on-screen relationships real depth. Throw Sigourney Weaver into the mix as one of their clients and romantic interest for Murray’s legendary Dr. Venckman and there you have it. “Back off man, I’m a scientist.”

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Groundhog Day (1993) 3.71/5 (1)

 

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Rating: The Good – 84.3
Genre: Comedy
Duration: 101 mins
Director: Harold Ramis
Stars: Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, Chris Elliott

Clever script built around an original idea, populated with an array of intriguing characters, and Bill Murray’s best performance. What more could you ask for in a comedy? Murray plays Phil Connors, a weatherman who is sent begrudgingly to Punksatony to cover the annual groundhog festival only to find that he must live the same excruciating day over and over again. The dialogue is razor sharp and the comedy veterans (from Murray to Chris Elliot) have a field day with their lines while Andie MacDowell plays off the more seasoned comedians in fine manner. On top of which, Harold Ramis adds to the humour by finding ever funnier ways to counteract the habituation to each of the day’s repeated events and even manages to find the humour in that repetitiveness (the morning wake up song being a particularly good example of such). Moreover, he adds a real depth to the proceedings by slowing the pace of the film towards the end of the second act to accentuate the poignancy of Connor’s existential conundrum. Of course, Groundhog Day is built on the strength of Murray’s performance and considering that he is perhaps the most intuitively funny actor to have ever graced the silver screen, it is no small thing to say this is his finest performance. Murray brings all his dead-pan wit and world weariness to bear in his portrayal of the disgruntled weatherman and in doing so gives us a hilarious performance that scores on an array of comedic levels. It is nothing short of perfection.

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Multiplicity (1996) 3.14/5 (1)

 

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Rating: The Good – 65.7
Genre: Comedy
Duration: 117  mins
Director: Harold Ramis
Stars: Michael Keaton, Andie MacDowell, Zack Duhame

Harold Ramis hasn’t directed many movies but when he has they’ve usually stood the test of time and Multiplicity is no different. Michael Keaton stars as an overworked construction worker whose demanding family life and unsympathetic boss push him towards the edge. That is until he meets an eccentric scientist who convinces him that a clone is the best way to get two things done at once! Things go horribly wrong of course when the clone decides he himself needs a clone! As he did with Groundhog Day, Ramis gives the outlandish scenario some proper depth, never being afraid to bring the emotions of the characters to the forefront of the story. He also gives Keaton plenty of room to improvise and it pays off in spades as he is simply excellent with each clone being funnier than the next (all with different personalities – kudos Chris Miller). The last clone in particular (clone of a clone of a clone) is messed up from the repeated copying and is consequently utterly hysterical.  Andy McDowell is only slightly annoying as Keaton’s wife and in fairness, she does more than her bit in allowing Keaton and his three Keaton-clones to do their magic.

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