Bill Murray and Sofia Coppola reunion for ‘On the Rocks’ could bring them back to the Oscars

Bill Murray honed his comedic persona of a hip, cool, wisecracker thanks to the guidance of such directors as Ivan Reitman (1981’s “Stripes” 1984’s “Ghostbusters”) and Harold Ramis (1993’s “Groundhog Day”). Then writer/director Sofia Coppola entered his life with 2003’s “Lost in Translation” and tapped into hidden depths in the Murray character.

Murray’s funny, poignant, touching, memorable and even sexy as a stranger in a strange land-a fading movie star in Tokyo to promote a brand a whiskey. He finds a kindred spirit in a young woman (Scarlett Johansson), a recent college graduate who is in Tokyo while her husband is shooting celebrity photographers in Japan. Though funny and quirky, “Lost in Translation” is also a unique and often touching look at alienation and identity.

The Murray-Coppola collaboration made earned rave reviews and an abundance of goodwill from audiences.  The academy was also impressed. The film was nominated for Oscars for film, director (Coppola was only the third female helmer to be cited), original screenplay (which she won), and actor.

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The film changed both their careers. And now after 17 years they have reunited for the comedy “On the Rocks,” which opened Oct. 2 in theaters before hitting Apple TV+ on Oct. 23.

Coppola has created another memorable character for her muse as a womanizing, retired New York art-gallery-owner who is visiting his daughter (Rashida Jones) who believes her husband is having an affair.

Though the reviews haven’t been as strong as with “Lost in Translation,” the film still merits a score of  89% on Rotten Tomatoes. The consensus concludes, “the end result still goes down easy — and offers high proof of Bill Murray’s finely aged charm.” Among those praising the picture is Variety’s Owen Gleiberman who found it to be a “winning showcase for Murray’s age-like-fine-whiskey brand of world-weary deviltry.”

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