Have you ever wondered why Bill Murray shows up randomly at places? Well, you are not alone. Very recently, there was a time when there was a profuse media reaction to the iconic star. Headline after headline asked the same question, what was Bill Murray doing and how did end up there? Picture and video would arise with the lovable actor in various situations ranging from bartending to posing for a wedding photo. It was then that stories began to formulate around these exploits.
People would talk about their random interactions with Murray and how much it left an impression on their lives. Some stories seemed innocent enough while others just came off as outlandish. Thus the “Bill Murray Story” was born and The Bill Murray Stories: Life Lessons Learned From A Mythical Man explores these stories and looks into the man who has transcended from being an icon to supposed living legend.
While the movie is a straightforward documentary, it starts off a little awkward with series of fictionalized vignettes of “Bill Murray Stories.” They are off-screen narrated scenes of various characters meeting “Murray” who is played by an actor in a terrible mask. These scenes are meant to be charming and play off the folklore aspect of meeting him but in the end, it just comes off as uncomfortable. The good thing is that it is very short and never pops up again.
The rest of the documentary can be broken into two parts, interviewing people about their “Bill Murray Story” and finding out more about the man himself. The first section is quite fascinating as we get a much deeper insight into these tales. Every story starts out in a similar fashion in that people are at an event (normally bored) and Murray shows up or someone who kind of knows him invites him over.
From that point, the attendees are surprised by his sudden appearance and then he livens up the party by doing some random activity that simultaneously perplexes and entertains everyone around him. One story discusses how he was invited to a dinner party and decided to start disc jockeying. Another story is that Murray shows up at a party in England and after a conversation with the hosts decides to start washing the dishes. The general consensus around these events is that he is genuine and that’s why every moment is special.
Later on in the documentary, there is an analysis of why Bill Murray participates in these little excursions. Again, it is fascinating what occurs because there are numerous explanations that are conceived. It is implied from various interviews that through a combination of years of improv comedy, film choices, fame, and other life experiences, Murray has become an inadvertent Taoist monk. This notion does seem a little outlandish but there is a book called the Tao of Bill Murray and the author is one of those interviewed.
One major criticism that can be made to the film is that it does romanticize Murray quite a bit to the point that he no longer seems human. It seems that the “Bill Murray Stories” has overtaken Bill Murray the person. A lot of this has to do with the director who seems like a genuinely nice guy who has just fallen in love with the mythos and may just see things with rose-colored glasses.
Aside from a rough start and little too much idolizing, The Bill Murray Stories: Life Lessons Learned From A Mythical Man is a sweet and touching documentary that romanticizes a prolific public figure whose interactions leave a lasting impact on those lucky enough to have them.
The Bill Murray Stories: Life Lessons Learned From A Mythical Man was presented at the Cinepocalypse 2018 event at the Chicago Music Box Theatre.