Friday, February 8, 2019

Netflix Movie Review of “The Bill Murray Stories: Life Lessons Learned from a Mythical Man”

By Matt Pascarella

Rated: TV-MA

He’s very well known. From Dr. Peter Venkman to Carl Spackler to Mr. Bishop, Bill Murray has been all over the film and even some of the television screen. In this documentary, director Tommy Avallone discusses the famous Bill Murray stories - strange encounters with the actor in everyday life.

Murray started on “Saturday Night Live” (SNL) in 1976. He came from the Second City Improv group and after his success on SNL, his movie career began to soar.  “Caddyshack”, “Ghostbusters”, “Lost in Translation” and “Life Aquatic” are just to a few of the movies that are a household name.
The documentary begins with various people describing stories they’ve heard or experienced in which there is an encounter with Murray. Stories that include: A wedding photographer recounts meeting Murray while taking a couple’s engagement photos, or when Murray crashed a house party, where he danced and was the DJ. He also stopped by a bar and was bartender for a night, just out of nowhere.

He is slightly compared to Bigfoot in this documentary, but Murray has been spotted more times than Bigfoot and everyone is very accepting of these random Murray appearances. One person stated, “he has the power to make other people have an amazing experience.” He doesn’t make a big deal about himself, he’s just there to have fun and live in the moment, which is a big part of Murray’s lifestyle.
The documentary continues with more Murray appearances, some standard, like a Comic Con presence, others weirder, like randomly joining a kickball game. One of the funnier things he has said during these unplanned appearances is “no one will ever believe you,” which is true, unless you have proof.

Murray’s random presences aren’t just only wild experiences that happen out of nowhere. There are lessons that he inadvertently teaches to these unsuspecting individuals. He is about having a good time, the documentary explains. A theme in many of Murray’s movies and himself is ‘it doesn’t matter’ it’ll all even out in the end; a ‘roll with the punches’ attitude.

Individuals who have had encounters with Murray say he connects with people on a very human level. When he shows up at a party, he’s not there to perform or show off his celebrity, he’s there to just hang out and get to know people, to create a moment that people will doubt really happened, even after it happened. He is such a famous person, but he still finds the time for people. He removes the barrier between celebrity and regular person. I’ll admit, watching this made me want to meet Bill Murray.

This was an interesting documentary about an interesting guy. If you are a Bill Murray fan, I’d recommend it. If you’re just looking for something to watch, this is probably not for you as it airs a little on the slow side. While Bill Murray has made appearances all over the world, it made me ask the question, could Bill Murray appear right here in Windham, Maine? You never know.

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