“And no-one will ever believe you,” Bill Murray might quip after unexpectedly dropping into your life to create an everlasting memory. Tommy Avallone’s uplifting documentary recounts some of the bizarre stories surrounding the celebrated Hollywood actor. Although flawed in its construction, The Bill Murray Stories: Life Lessons Learned from a Mythical Man will not only make you laugh, but make you think about how you live your life.
Have you met Bill Murray? Perhaps he casually dropped by your university house party, scolded you for the state of your kitchen, and then subsequently washed up your dishes before disappearing into the night. You might have been served a drink – not the one you actually ordered – when Bill Murray decided to tend a bar in Austin, Texas. One of your relatives might have been working on the construction site where once Murray turned up and started reading poetry.
The stories featured in this documentary are hilarious in their absurdity, and it is heartwarming to hear of their profound impact. Murray has changed the lives of those he has randomly visited They describe his ability to make everyone in the room feel noticed and special, and of his free spirit in trying any activity.
The most interesting aspect of this documentary is its analysis of what Murray’s random sightings imply about his philosophy on living a full life: living in the moment, and celebrating anything life throws at you.
Make the most of the opportunities right in front of you because, like Murray himself, life is unpredictable and either good or bad could be just around the corner.
For all its strengths in its content, the organisation of The Bill Murray Stories often feels awkward. The film is too long for the points that are being made; a fault that could have been easily remedied by cutting segments that were tenuously linked to the subject matter and avoiding unnecessary repetition. For instance, the documentary maker comes to a profound conclusion at the end of the film, but one of his features guests had already made this point earlier in the film.
Having learned of these Bill Murray moments, it was a disappointment that the actor didn’t surprise us by attending the screening and busting a move in front of the theatre. Nonetheless, The Bill Murray Stories has a lesson for all of us: live life fully.