When we think of Bill Murray comedies, we go directly to undeniable classics like “Ghostbusters,” “Groundhog Day,” “Meatballs,” and “Caddyshack.” Even his B- and C-tier work still includes movies that most actors would be lucky to have part of their legacy, like “What About Bob?,” “Scrooged,” “Stripes,” and others. But it’s easy to forget that Murray’s career was in a bit of a slump in the mid-’90s, which in part led to his renaissance as a more serious actor going into the 2000s.
After “Groundhog Day,” Murray started to rack up a lot of mediocre to bad comedies. “Space Jam” was a hit, but Murray was basically on improv cruise control in it for his few brief scenes. He got some praise for his role in “Wild Things,” but it was largely overshadowed by the other things that the movie was mostly known for and marketed with. Murray’s 1997 dud spy comedy “The Man Who Knew Too Little” was a low point, and indicative of where his career was during that era.
But things turned around for Murray when he landed a role in Wes Anderson’s “Rushmore,” and he soon become an in-demand actor for acclaimed indie directors like Anderson, Sofia Coppola, and Jim Jarmusch — eventually earning his first Oscar nomination for 2003’s “Lost in Translation” as part of this new career trajectory.