Why 'A Very Murray Christmas' is really all about the ladies
Merry A Very Murray Christmas day, ladies! But seriously, because after watching the special, now streaming on Netflix, I have to say a lot of you gals are gonna love it even more than you thought you would when you saw the previews. And no, not because Bill Murray is a total and forever babe (oh, is it just me that still thinks this and not in a platonic way?).
Listen, there are a couple of lady-centric moments between Bill Murray, who plays himself in the special, and some younger gals in A Very Murray Christmas that aren’t … the best for ladykind. There’s the “Baby It’s Cold Outside” duet between himself and Jenny Lewis that gets a bit more touchy than I’d like (she should be putting her hands on him by choice, not him putting her hands on him, you know?). And of course there’s a moment where he’s flanked by scantily-clad holiday dancer gals (note: there are also fully-clothed female back-up singers). But considering the amount of awesome women working both in front of and behind the camera on this special (okay, there’s also the great Chris Rock, George Clooney and Michael Cera), you also can’t help but admire it and hope it’s a sign of more female-positive festive programming to come!
First off, in case you didn’t know, this special is directed by Sofia Coppola, a.k.a. the coolest woman ever and director of movies you love like Lost in Translation (Murray connection!), The Bling Ring and The Virgin Suicides. Oh, and Sofia also co-wrote this thing with Murray and Mitch Glazer, and serves an executive producer (alongside Glazer, her bro Roman, and Tony Hernandez, ).
So basically, Sofia had a lot of creative control over this and it shows, especially in some of the less fantastical scenes of Murray hiding out from a snowstorm in New York’s Carlyle Hotel, the setting for the Christmas special within this Christmas special that he was supposed to be hosting before Mother Nature cancelled things. (Sofia loves setting her movies in hotels, if Lost and Somewhere are indications! Also, she is awesome at character-based interactions and the smaller the setting, the more set-up for great person-to-person drama.) And a slew of other women backed up Sofia on set too, including editor Sarah Flack and production designer Anne Ross, who surely helped bring the other non-hotel performances (these are flashy dreams of what the special could have been pre-storm) to seasonally appropriate life (hey, silver foxy Christmas trees/perfect screen partners for George Clooney!).
Also, in addition to the previously mentioned Jenny Lewis, there are a slew of female guest stars to bow down to in this special. There’s Maya Rudolph, who gets to sing Darlene Love’s “Baby Please Come Home” in the hotel bar and totally nails it (obviously, because Maya is queen). There’s Rashida Jones, who does a stellar job playing a bride saddened by the fact that the snowstorm ruined her wedding and also gets to sing with her on-screen husband, Jason Schwartzman. There’s Miley Cyrus, who apparently did one of her songs with Murray (“Silent Night”) totally on the fly during filming (seriously, the production notes say that she and Paul Shaffer, who plays piano throughout A Very Murray Christmas, prepped for the number over lunch). And finally, we have Amy Poehler and Julie White playing Murray’s right-hand women and bringing some chuckles in between the carolling.
So basically, whether or not you have a serious ongoing thing for Bill Murray, A Very Murray Christmas is pretty much a must-watch if you love any of these ladies, or supporting work by ladies in the film/TV industry. Because, hey, maybe if we back this special we’ll get another one, this time featuring another classic (and hopefully female) comedian or talent (A Very Miley Christmas, anyone? Or what about a Ghostbustin’ Gifts, starring Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jone and Kate McKinnon? ). Or, even better, perhaps this will bring more work for female directors in the holiday special realm, or just the TV realm in general! And, hey wouldn’t that be the best gift this, or any, Christmas? Even better than an entire hour of Bill Murray crooning the Christmas classics?
Image via Ali Goldstein/Netflix.