Bill Murray is a sore loser

This is one of the more romantic movies I have ever seen. Bill Murray plays Bob Harris, an American actor in Tokyo making $2 million dollars to promote whiskey rather than “doing a play somewhere.” Sofia Coppola wrote the film with Murray in mind, a completely believable claim from the second-time director. Murray is perfection as the road-weary actor, jet lagged, jaded by a dragging marriage, and caught off guard by Tokyo’s culture. He befriends Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson), and one of the more romantic platonic relationships ever put to screen ensues. Johansson comes into her own in this film, with Lance Accord’s cinematography a virtual love letter to her beauty (no actress or actor looked better in a movie last year). Murray’s Oscar nomination was well deserved. He plays melancholy better than anybody, and when Bob is sparked to life by Charlotte’s friendship, Murray makes it genuinely moving. The film isn’t without its fair share of humor, but it’s the love story that makes it something to remember. It also has one of the year’s best soundtracks, featuring the likes of My Bloody Valentine and Jesus and the Mary Chain. A great, great movie.

Special Features: “Lost” on Location, a behind-the-scenes documentary partially shot by Coppola’s husband (director Spike Jonze) captures some of the insanity involved in a Tokyo shoot. It’s a must see for Murray’s white robe dance routine to Elvis Costello’s “Allison,” and his warbling rendition of “Scarborough Fair.” There are extended and deleted scenes, some of them worthy of the film. A Conversation with Bill Murray and Sofia Coppola, shot in Rome with Murray looking very Ernest Hemmingway, is a nice substitution for the lack of audio commentary on the disc.

Movie: A

Special Features: B

Geek Factor: 7