Bill Murray aficionados, mark Sept. 5 on your calendars. The Toronto International Film Festival has declared the date Bill Murray Day in honor of the "charismatic, wise-cracking, comedic genius," organizers announced Wednesday.
To celebrate the 63-year-old actor, TIFF will present free screenings of three classic Murray movies -- "Stripes," "Groundhog Day" and "Ghostbusters" -- leading up to the recently announced world premiere of his latest film, "St. Vincent." Up to 50 fans who attend all three free screenings will win tickets to the premiere.
Written and directed by Theodore Melfi (making his feature debut), "St. Vincent" stars Murray as curmudgeonly, cash-strapped war veteran who becomes an unlikely mentor to the boy next door (newcomer Jaeden Lieberher) while the kid's single mom (Melissa McCarthy) is at work.
For Murray, one of Hollywood's most elusive and idiosyncratic leading men, "St. Vincent" could mark something of a comeback, or at least a return to form. The "Rushmore" and "Lost in Translation" star is often at his magnetic best when he laces his comedy with a hint of disquiet.
Although he's been creeping back into the limelight in recent years with films such as "The Monuments Men," "Hyde Park on Hudson" and "The Grand Budapest Hotel" (in which he makes an extended cameo), Murray hasn't quite captured the public imagination the way he did in, say, "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou" or many of his early comedies, such as those screening at TIFF.
He has, however, managed to remind us of his Bill Murray-ness with unexpected off-screen antics and other memorable moments, such as his spontaneous tribute to Harold Ramis at the Oscars.