The Toronto International Film Festival has dedicated one day of its 2014 edition to a celebration of the charismatic, wise-cracking, comedic genius of living legend Bill Murray. September 5 is Bill Murray Day and includes free public screenings of three comedy classics — Stripes, Groundhog Day and Ghostbusters — leading up to the world premiere of the latest Murray-starrer, Theodore Melfi’s St. Vincent. Though the Festival cannot Groundhog Day the Bill Murray Day, a contest will be held to reward Murray fans who attend all three free screenings. But, really, everyone is a winner on Bill Murray Day.
Free screenings of three of Murray’s classic comedies with frequent collaborators, director Ivan Reitman and the late, great Harold Ramis — who directed, co-wrote and co-starred with Murray — will be presented at TIFF Bell Lightbox on September 5 beginning at 10am.
Stripes Ivan Reitman, USA
The second collaboration between Bill Murray and director Ivan Reitman is the quintessential comedy of the actor’s early filmography. Out of work and out of options, John Winger (Murray) convinces his friend Russell Ziskey (Ramis, Stripes’ co-writer) to join the army with him in hopes of getting in shape while avoiding rent. Winger soon becomes the ringleader of a motley crew of dropouts and losers among his fellow enlistees (including John Candy and Judge Reinhold).
Groundhog Day Harold Ramis, USA
Bill Murray plays an unpleasant weatherman, Phil Connors, cursed to relive February 2 on repeat. Groundhog Day’s absurd premise and acidic humour gives way to a decidedly optimistic romantic comedy with an edge — in some ways setting the tone for the next two decades of onscreen Murray personas. Also starring Andie MacDowell.
Ghostbusters Ivan Reitman, USA
When they are kicked out of their academic positions, misfit parapsychologists Peter Venkman (Murray), Ray Stanz (Dan Aykroyd) and Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis), along with bemused recruit Winston Zeddmore (Ernie Hudson), go into business ridding New York City of assorted ghosts and ghouls — becoming media celebrities in the process. As business booms, however, the Ghostbusters realize that a major supernatural event is in the offing.
Tickets will be available 8 am on September 5 at the TIFF Bell Lightbox box office.
St. Vincent Theodore Melfi, USA, World Premiere
Maggie, a single mother, moves into a new home in Brooklyn with her 12-year-old son, Oliver. Forced to work long hours, she has no choice but to leave Oliver in the care of their new neighbour, Vincent, a retired curmudgeon with a penchant for alcohol and gambling. An odd friendship soon blossoms between the improbable pair. Together with a pregnant stripper named Daka, Vincent brings Oliver along on all the stops that make up his daily routine — the race track, a strip club, and the local dive bar. Vincent helps Oliver grow to become a man, while Oliver begins to see in Vincent something that no one else is able to: a misunderstood man with a good heart.
Starring Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy, Naomi Watts, Chris O’Dowd, Terrence Howard, and Jaeden Lieberher.
Up to 50 Bill Murray fans who attend all three free screenings on Bill Murray Day will win a ticket to the world premiere screening of the 2014 Festival official selection St. Vincent. Contest entry details to be announced shortly. Check tiff.net/specialevents for more info.
The 2014 Toronto International Film Festival Official Film Schedule is available at TIFF Bell Lightbox or by visiting tiff.net/festival. Copies will also be distributed in the Toronto Star and Metro on Thursday, August 21. A section about the Festival will appear in the Toronto Star on Thursday, August 28, and will include the full film schedule.
Purchase Festival ticket packages until August 20 while quantities last. Single tickets are on sale from Sunday, August 31 to Sunday, September 14. Purchase packages and tickets online 24 hours a day at tiff.net/festival, by phone at 416.599.TIFF or 1.888.599.8433. Festival Box Office located at 225 King Street West opens on August 31.
The 39th Toronto International Film Festival runs September 4 to 14, 2014.