SXSW 2018 Review: THE BILL MURRAY STORIES: LIFE LESSONS LEARNED FROM A MYTHICAL MAN

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

Actor Bill Murray not only is a talented and accomplished actor who has received acclaim for both comedic and dramatic performances, he has also developed a reputation as an outgoing and highly spontaneous person who loves reaching out to his fans in the general public.  Not all of the stories have been confirmed, as some of them might be urban legends.  However, the fact that there have been several accounts of Bill Murray crashing random parties of regular people and sharing lengthy conversations and encounters in public places means that some of these stories have to be true.  Director Tommy Avalone has grown fascinated with these stories and hopes to uncover the truth with this endearing and enjoyable documentary.

Avalone chases down some of the sources of these stories and tries to acquire more insight on the fun and highly approachable actor.  In discovering some of the facts behind these crazy stories and juxtaposing them with some of his more memorable characters, Avalone merely reveals the truth behind the stories, but also raises more questions about Murray’s real motivations.  Maybe he is simply a  joyously amusing and gregarious person, or maybe he has a more Zen, Buddhist approach to living. Either way, the man pretty much lives up to the legend.

One doesn’t have to be a dedicated Bill Murray fan to truly enjoy this film.  It might just make a non-fan into one, or at least turn some detractors into fans of the real Bill Murray.  I have been an admirer of the actor’s work since first seeing him star in the 1979 film Meatballs, and though I had heard a few stories where he partied with non-celebrities, I had no idea how many instances have occurred or exactly how they all went down.  Avalone’s film gives a fascinating and entertaining look at Bill Murray’s lovable extra-curricular activities, but disappointingly doesn’t ever get Murray’s take or explanation for it all. Either way, it is a great film to see a truly social person at work and enjoy his approach to life.

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