Maybe it's just because Vh1 has been playing a lot of Stripes (1981) and Comedy Central has been playing a lot of Ghostbusters (1984) but I've been more attuned to the incredible trend of one of the greatest comedy icons of all time, Bill Murray. He always gives the greatest monologues. Whether it's inspiring a group of campers into action or developing character during the Holiday Season, Bill Murray's speeches tend to be effective, engrossing and hilarious. Here are my top picks:
#6: Scrooged (1988) - Holiday Cheer
I struggle with whether or not Scrooged is an underrated or overrated Christmas movie. It's not exactly hilarious considering what its premise is supposed to be and nor is it completely heartwarming. People seem to mention it often but it's not like it's regarded as a Holiday Classic. Anyway, this final speech is about as dramatic as Bill's going to get on this list, although he has certainly had his fair share of eloquent dramatic roles, but not many with huge speeches. This monologue is really a plea for Holiday Hospitality and Bill uses enough charisma to pull it off after being a huge dick for the entire preceding film. It's just desperate yet hopeful enough to be pretty charming.
#5: Rushmore (1998) - No Backbone
Simple and effective, Bill advocates, not for the first time, to take down the rich people of the world. He's certainly getting through to Jason Schwartzman, whose reaction really completes this speech. It's decently inappropriate for a Chapel Speech to most of the people he's talking about taking down and Bill delivers it the sort of dry sincerity that his later roles morphed into. There are plenty of Steve Zissou moments where he uses this tone, but no real epic speeches besides the crossing the line bit.
#4: Ghostbusters (1984) - Dogs and Cats, Living Together, Mass Hysteria
A fragmented speech but nonetheless effective. Bill Murray is so immensely likeable in Ghostbusters because while he's a constant huge smartass he also knows what he's talking about and can convince people through intelligent reasoning if he wants to, despite his goofball nature. This clip is worth it almost as much for the little quips he's making in the background as well as his inability to take even the end of the world seriously, although dogs and cats living together puts him over the edge. In the end it's only through his appeal to the Mayor's political future that the Ghostbusters get out of there and save the day.
#3: Caddyshack (1980) - BARK LIKE A DOG FOR ME!
It was tough to decide which is funnier - Spackler fantasizing about himself at the Masters while destroying flowers or his rambling insane story about meeting the Dalai Lama that actually doesn't really go anywhere. Again, the kid's reaction as Bill taps the pitchfork into his throat inadvertently really makes this worthwhile. However, I've embedded one of the weirder Carl Spackler moments, his oggling a trio of old ladies playing a round. I don't believe any of Bill's words were written down in script, he was just allowed to spew whatever twisted thoughts came to mind and his continual creepy harassment of these ladies is just a small insight into how insane this guy really is. Spackler is actually a role Bill seldom revisited, he often played smooth charmers rather than dirty bums in his middle-career period.
#2: Meatballs (1979) - It just doesn't matter!
This goes without words. You don't really even need to see this movie to understand what's going on. After the first guy's completely ineffective speech, Bill really shows what he can do in rousing a crowd. It's a perfect capsule of what Bill's all about - no matter how well he tries, it really just doesn't matter. Everything this film has been leading to and with every rivalry, it just doesn't actually matter at all. Of course that's because all the really good looking girls would still go out with the guys from Mohawk because they've got all the money! That's one of the truest statements ever spoken in film. More flicks need this philosophy - it just doesn't matter!
#1: Stripes (1981) - We're mutts.
No greater patriotic speech has ever been given. We're 10 - 1! Bill has a great ability to turn something negative and spin it into something positive and inspirational, as well as relating to his troops, commanding attention and admitting when he's made a mistake. He also has fun with words an awful lot ("Something very very wroooo--ooonng with us!") as if you know, this speech and everything maybe just doesn't matter. He's showing that he's having fun and really at this point in the ovie he's the only one left having fun. He's able to take control of the group although he's really more of a slacker and unwilling to until Harold Ramis screws it up enough. Of course the graduation scene is also epic for weirdness but nothing really inspires one to be both a true American and as the Army says, all that you can be like this monologue.