2. BROKEN FLOWERS (2005)
Even if you prefer Murray’s showier comedic performances, his somber work in Jim Jarmusch’s unflinchingly deadpan Broken Flowers should be easy to admire.
Undermined by a limited release in the summer of 2005, this quaint road movie finds a soft-spoken Murray playing a former playboy searching for the identity of a mysterious baby mama. After receiving an anonymous pink letter informing him that he has a 19-year-old son, his character, Don Johnston, tries to reconnect with old flings (played by Sharon Stone, Jessica Lange, and Tilda Swinton).
Be warned, though: If you’re not more than an ardent Bill Murray fan, his performance in Broken Flowers could both bore and irritate you. As a mentally tired guy yearning for retirement, Murray’s Johnston drifts through each encounter with firm passivity; at times, you’ll want to grab dude by the shoulders and yell, “Show some energy, dammit!” But, since we’re on Team Bill around here, we’re totally on board with this minimalist success.