Meatballs is Bill Murray’s best comedy


Yes that is correct.  I said it. Deal with it.  Tripper Harrison is the end all be all.  The type guy you think about blowing off your wedding anniversary when he comes in town.  Meatballs directed by Ivan Reitman was Murray’s first leading role comedy.  In this case Murray did not save his best for last but rather his best for first.  It also began a series of collaborations with Reitman throughout the 1980s which included Stripes and Ghostbusters.  All of these movies showcase Murray at his best but it is Meatballs that holds the top spot.  I draft Meatballs #1 every time.  Murray’s characters in these three comedies Tripper Harrison, John Winger and Doctor Peter Venkman all share remarkably similar personality traits but can be summed up in two words-classic underachiever.  The underachiever that somehow in each film manages to get the girl.

In discussions with friends and other movie buffs people often challenge this Meatballs assertion with Caddyshack. Caddyshack is a very funny comedy. Carl Spackler, Murray’s character is legendary. It is a movie that is a part of cultural literacy to any male raised in the ’80s. But at the risk of sounding snobbish it is also overrated, becoming low hanging fruit in the movie quote lexicon. Perhaps nothing is more frustrating than hearing someone butcher a Caddyshack movie quote. How is that possible by the way?  Moreover, Caddyshack’s sustainability at making me laugh has dropped off tremendously over the years. Sort of a comedy movie’s law of diminishing returns. Now no comedy is as ever as funny as the first time you see it but certain comedies have unbelievable staying power, Meatballs is one of them.  I still laugh out loud every time I see it.  I tell people “see it again for the first time.”   There are so many great lines delivered by Murray, culminating of course in his underachiever’s guide of accepting Camp Northstar’s defeat to Camp Mohawk with his “IT JUST DOESN’T MATTER!”  monologue. And who can forget Camp Mohawk’s Program Director Jerry Aldini??

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