There’s an Internet urban legend wherein various people claim to have had spontaneous run-ins with Bill Murray, only for the actor to utter the words “No one will ever believe you” before disappearing. Now, if anyone involved in the never-released 1984 sci-fi comedy Nothing Lasts Forever had claimed that Murray was part of the cast, they probably would have been met with the same skepticism.
Until now: Nothing Lasts Forever was leaked onto YouTube in 2011, though its existence was only just discovered recently. Now fans of both Murray and sci-fi comedy can enjoy Saturday Night Live writer Tom Schiller’s weird little film.
Long before he would play with time and space in Groundhog Day, or himself in both Space Jam and Zombieland, Murray dipped his toe into genre films with this irreverent project.
Upon his return to America, an artist (Gremlins’ Zach Galligan) discovers that the Port Authority is restricting access to New York City; fails a drawing test; and must work for a trigger-happy boss (Dan Aykroyd). Soon, he discovers that New York’s homeless population actually controls all of the cities in this totalitarian future. He hitches a ride with a bus delivering elderly people to the moon—despite the misgivings of the cranky bus driver (Bill Murray)—so that he can be reunited with his true love (Futurama’s Lauren Tom).
In addition to the involved plot, the film is hyper-stylized, bringing to mind old movies of the 1930s. (Just wait til you see what they do with black-and-white versus color, à la The Wizard of Oz.) Additionally, clips from older movies have been edited in, making it an odd 1980s mash-up.
Along with several SNL cast members, Murray shot Nothing in 1984, the same summer that Ghostbusters made him and Aykroyd different kinds of icons entirely. After MGM delayed the film’s release for unspecified reasons, it simply never received a theatrical release; subsequent attempts to get it on home video were bungled up in what the studio referred to as “legal difficulties” (likely involving some of those other movie clips). Very surprising, considering the cast and the fact that SNL creator Lorne Michaels produced it.
Of course, the cat’s been out of the bag in the right circles for some time now. Since 2004, Schiller and Murray have held a handful of private screenings of the film. It’s also been playing on late-night TV in Germany and other European countries for years.
Schiller has always been very easygoing about his film falling through the cracks, instead appreciating its delayed impact. In a 2010 interview with The A.V. Club, he said, “I would rather it be a cultish film that’s revived now and then than something that just died and got buried.” That said, he’s not averse to a DVD release; Murray and Ayrkroyd have also said that they would volunteer DVD commentary.
If you don’t want to wait for the DVD release, check out the film now:
Ironic title, or most ironic title?