I’ve enjoyed returning to what I consider my favorite movies in these posts. These are films I have seen more times than I can remember and usually watch at least once if not twice a year. Today’s movie is an early 90s gem featuring the brilliant Bill Murray at his prime.
My greatest recollection of this film is it always seemed to be a part of my family’s movie nights. We watched it a lot. Also, my extended family enjoyed the movie so much that we would watch it during holidays or major get-togethers. To this day, quotes from the film are exchanged as if they are family mottos.
The film follows Bob Wiley (Murray) who is a troubled man with a laundry list of phobias and social anxieties. According to him, “As long as I’m in my apartment, I’m fine. But when I go outside, I get…weird.” He is referred to a new psychiatrist, Dr. Leo Marvin (Richard Dreyfuss), and offers what Bob considers to be a true breakthrough. His hopes of being helped further are dashed when Dr. Marvin announces he will be on a family vacation for a month, leaving Bob in instant disarray.
Through what can only be described as borderline manic desperation, Bob learns where Dr. Marvin is vacationing with his family (this sounds more like a horror film, doesn’t it?!) and makes the long bus ride with his pet goldfish, Gill. As Dr. Marvin struggles to deal with his new patient, Bob quickly assimilates into the family gaining love and friendship, which inevitably cure him of his struggles. Hilarity ensues as you can imagine with Murray’s skills as a comedian. There are far too many great moments to list but I have to share a few favorites here:
Now that I’m a father, I look at these films I am so fond of and cannot wait to show them to my little boy (when he’s old enough of course). I think figuring out when he will appreciate such an “old movie” will be a challenge but I often hear from friends with older kids when they share their own childhood favorites. It’s a time I’m looking forward to.
As I said before, the quotability of this film makes it not only fun but memorable. I don’t know how many times my memory is triggered whenever I hear someone making “yummy” sounds during a home-cooked meal (apparently I did this at my in-laws before my wife and I even started dating and I was just her brother’s drum teacher coming for dinner) or see someone sailing on a boat and “I’m sailing! I’m sailing!” comes to mind. My favorite though is the laughter produced whenever someone says they’re taking baby steps and I imagine them walking around the room taking actual baby steps.
What About Bob? is a classic family comedy that tugs at the funny bone and heart strings. It’s good clean fun and will always be a movie that makes me think of my family and the laughter in the room when Bob Wiley comes on the screen massaging his face while saying, “I feel good, I feel great, I feel wonderful,” over and over again.
Call to Action: Watch it with friends and enjoy laughing for an hour and a half.