The Bill Murray Stories: Life Lessons Learned from a Mythical Man (2018) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
24 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
A great capturing of a regular guy who happens to be a Super Star
dano133031 December 2018
Several years ago, a friend told me a story about when she & her husband were on a flight when she went to hand her empty glass to an airline steward. Being a stewardess herself, she quickly realized the guy who was taking up trash wasn't an airline employee - it was Bill Murray. He volunteered to help gather trash! Great story - which is repeated in different ways several times during this documentary. Such a great guy who likes to make people feel better. This is totally worth 1:10 it takes to watch this show. Highly recommend it!
14 out of 15 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
js-661306 November 2018
Bill Murray is the Banksy of public performance art. He's a warm, wonderful oddball who just might crash your next event, however small, or insignificant, and instead of dominating the room from a celebrity perch, he just blends in. These life bombs of wedding pictures, kickball games and karaoke bars, are now the stuff of urban legend. Though with digital proof, they are just legend.

Why a Hollywood hotshot would chose to mingle with his audience, sometimes for hours, is the question documentarian Tommy Avallone tries to answer in this rather fine film. We see the famous grainy footage: Bill tending bar, Bill washing dishes at a party, Bill treating a stranger to World Series tickets, and we meet the giddy recipients of these pop-up moments.

As theories are bandied about, it becomes clear that there is something transcendently magical about these experiences, for everyone involved. Less about giving, and more about sharing, Murray's connections are real, unscripted, joyous.

Tommy spends the whole of the movie tracking down the elusive movie star, culminating in an encounter which plays true to the spirit that Murray has cultivated.

Quite a lot of fun.
29 out of 34 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
No One Will Ever Believe You
masercot13 January 2019
This was a surprisingly good documentary. I think that the main premise was to try to make philosophical sense out of Bill Murray, the man. It doesn't start out that way. The beginning makes you feel as if the shows premise is the phenomena of Bill Murry stories. There are some heartwarming footage of Murray at various venues having just popped up randomly. Interspersed are some movie clips; and, the theme switches there to philosophy.

If you love Bill Murray, you'll love this movie. If you don't, after watching this movie, you'll love Bill Murry... then, after you've watched the movie a second time, you'll love this movie.
8 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
It DOES matter--watch it!
melee38 January 2019
Warning: Spoilers
I watched this on Netflix, accidentally finding it hidden after hundreds of other recommended shows. I don't think Netflix really knows me as well as it thinks it does. Bill Murray was someone who grew on me. The first time I saw him on SNL I was not really impressed. But I grew to appreciate him and have enjoyed many of his movies. We watch Groundhog Day every Groundhog Day we can and I never get tired of it. When the Cubs won the World Series, there was an article about Bill Murray's excitement over the win on which had a quote it would have been good to have been included in the show--"Strive to be the Bill Murray this world needs." The documentary showed how true that it is--Bill Murray is what the world needs, and he helps the world one person at a time. There are a lot of things that just don't matter, but watching this is not one of them. Beware of the "F" bombs if watching it with kids. There were some who reacted as did Woody Harrelson's character in Zombieland when seeing Bill Murray or even reflecting on seeing him.
8 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
yesjp197010 January 2019
This is how all documentaries should be done. No political agendas, just fact finding and story telling. Loved it.
9 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Brilliant Docu
paulhapple6 December 2018
I thought this was a great doco, sitting down to watch it I was hesitant, but it really shows the character of Bill Murray as well as some of the fun stuff he gets up too. I would say if more celebrities got up to this, but I am glad they don't so we can see Bill in his full and fun self.
10 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Total enjoyment
tro-7626012 January 2019
Just watched in amazement and joy for the whole time truly a one of a kind genuine soul who happens to be a celebrity
5 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
williamsfrank28 October 2018
THE BILL MURRAY STORIES is a truly inspirational real life account of a legendary actor and Hollywood icon that has made a career for himself out of being a human surprise party, making the lives of normal, everyday people around him infinitely better and more interesting. It is one of the best docs you're likely to see today or anyday! Check it out!
16 out of 27 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Must watch...
efoxy30 October 2018
A must watch for any fans of Bill Murray, or for anyone else that just enjoys enigmatic awesomeness.
13 out of 23 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Recommended, but not perfect
carpe-dm6824 January 2019
The Bill Murray Stories is a documentary by a Murray fan that starts by recapping a bunch of the tales of how Murray intersects people's lives in ways that seem odd for a celebrity, and then explores how these stories tell us something about Murray and the life lessons we should take from him. On that level, it's very successful and well done. My only complaints are that the filmmaker inserts himself into the movie a little too much -- and especially in ways that make you think he hasn't internalized the things that he's saying make Murray so appealing. (And a couple of scenes with the filmmaker seem contrived -- as if they were a film school assignment.) My second complaint is that the movie doesn't explore/address some of the possible darkness in Murray. There is no attempt to deal with the drunken golf cart ride or allegations by his ex-wife. Don't get me wrong: I'm okay with a certain amount of mythologizing. And I do love this movie, but a more rounded picture of the man would've upped my 8 to a 9 or 10.
5 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Classic. Very Fun!
toothpickmusic28 October 2018
Great film. Def check this out. Super fun. Goes by too quick. Please do more of these for other quirky celebs! Bill Murray is awesome.
8 out of 15 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Bill, if you feel like picking olives one day, you're welcome to come to Spain.
deloudelouvain5 March 2019
I don't remember how I stumbled on this documentary. It probably seemed like something cool to watch. I'm an absolute ignorant when it is about celebrities, I know the faces and names from movies I watched, but I don't know anything about their life style or whatever they might be up to. So before watching this well made documentary I had no clue about Bill Murray besides him being a funny and good actor. The documentary shows a man that just wants to fit in without making a big deal out of it, a man that understands he makes people happy just by his presence and openness. For most of celebrities it's a hassle, for Bill Murray it's a thing he just likes to do, making people smile and making him being a regular guy. A regular guy, but still a stranger other than his celebrity by the way, that starts to do your dishes while you party. For Bill Murray it feels like something anybody could do, but let's be honest we would allow Bill to do the same at our house but I'm pretty sure that we wouldn't let any other stranger in withou being at least a bit cautious. The documentary is easy and pleasant to watch, showing Bill Murray as a guy everybody likes to be around. I think it's not even about him being famous, people that would not recognize him would still have a fun moment with Bill Murray. Bill Murray is just a nice guy, and that I won't forget the next time I see his face on tv.
3 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Wholesome comedy and genuine documentary at its prime
markwha24 February 2019
This documentary must have been as satisfying to make as it was to watch. It's genuinely evident that the film maker not only learned the most important lesson about Bill Murray, but an even more important lesson about why Bill Murray is what he is: A genuinely great, and thus rare kind of person. The same philosophy applies to this film within it's genre. Genuinely great, and like a perfect steak, it's quite rare.
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
hotwheelerd13 January 2019
Ok I DON'T think BILL has ever made a Bad MOVIE. He is ONE of my Favorite MOVIE STARS. Just Imagine BILL MURRAY BEING at your Party. JUST hearing his voice seeing him live on T.V. I Believe everything they say about him why? Just hearing his Voice seeing his Face, His SMILES, everything, He would be the Guy to Show up. Love you BILL YOU ALWAYS make me happy. I am homeless now because of a House FIRE. But it's your MOVIE'S your Entertainment that gets me threw the Bad days MR. MURRAY. Whever people ask me how do you get threw your Bad Days WHEELER. I ALWAYS say "IT JUST DOESN'T MATTER"
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The so-called life lesson is so incredibly shallow
daydayyang23 June 2019
The film really makes me wonder how many people are out there having never given any thought on the meaning of life? If they had, when Bill showed up, they probably wouldn't have to photograph him as some kind of rare living specimen, eagerly upload a video to Facebook, proudly prove the disbelieving friends wrong, and draw some shallow life lesson to forcefully make a big story out of a charming encounter.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Poor research. No Space Jam mention
sam-trillo20 June 2019
The director shows Murray's performance as himself in Coffee & Cigarettes as if it's some sort of turning point for the Bill Murray mythos while completely flossing over the fact that he played himself YEARS EARLIER IN SPACE JAM!!! And what does Bill do? Drink coffee and chit chat? NO! HE FRICKEN HELPS MICHALE JORDAN SAVE EARTH FEOM THE MONSTARS! This is truly the beginning of Bill Murray's epic private life and the direct(to video)ors decision not to mention it is bridging on conspiracy. No wonder Bill didn't want to meet with him. Some simple thank yous for protecting us from THE MONSTARS would have sufficed and Bill would have co-directed this flick. BILL simply goes around from town to town, party TO PARTY, so that he can get the proper thanks he deserves for saving ours and Jordan's ass. FMVP my ass. Bill didn't even know Space Jam was being filmed (it's a documentary) he just knew he had to ball.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An Intoxicatingly Cheerful Invitation To Spontaneity
david-meldrum1 June 2019
In the dark, strange days after 9/11, when the skies over London were still eerily empty of the planes that would on a normal day noisily criss-cross their white plumes overhead, a story spread across the city. There were, it turned out, variations on it, but it went something like this. A Muslim man had unknowingly dropped his obviously full wallet on public transport somewhere in the city; a fellow passenger saw this, picked up the wallet and handed it to its owner. He was very grateful, and as he thanked the person in question, he would lean forward and whisper to him or her "Stay out of (names part of London) on (names a day/date)."

It's a classic urban myth; it plays on fear and prejudice; it's always 'a friend' or a friend of a friend' to whom it happened; the actual people involved are always just one remove away. These myths spread like wildfire across cities - even before the internet and social media were in wide use - and become accepted truths. Of course, these days one can find few people who actually believed this myth; but back in the day when most of us heard it most of us believed it, at least for a few minutes. For some of us, such stories become a prism through which we view an issue; the more light-hearted ones become shared jokes which bind groups together. In many cases the truthfulness of these myths isn't what's most important; it's what they mean at a deeper level that matters, the way they shape us and define our views of people or things. Urban myths are in that respect a close relative of what we now call fake news.

Bill Murray is an actor around whom a series of what appear to be urban myths have grown up, and this documentary is the story of a film-maker trying to get to the bottom of them, establish their truthfulness and meaning. It turns out that the myths around Bill Murray are mostly true - he really did turn up to a student party and do the washing up; he did join the engagement photo-shoot of a random couple; he did play kickball with some people in a park that one time; he did turn up at a bar and start serving drinks behind it.

On they go. The documentary is intoxicatingly cheerful; it's the good-natured story of a global star, blessed with magical comic timing, who has appeared in some of our best-loved movies, doing nice things for ordinary people. What does it all mean, the film-maker wants to know?

I remember Bono once being quoted as saying 'I see fame as a calling'. It's one of those Bono-isms that winds a lot of people up: I understand that, but I couldn't help thinking of those words when I was watching this film. It seems that Bill Murray sees fame in a similar way; if one has this ridiculous thing called celebrity, one might as well do something useful with it, the logic goes. Bono takes that in one direction; Bill Murray in another. The roots of this seem to be in his improvisational comedy background; as the film explains, in improv the artist has to say 'yes, and ... ' then move further down the road. Fear must drive you to new things in improv, not weigh one down the way it does so many of us. He has no entourage to bring with him, no PR people to spin. He's just himself, improvising outside the performance space.

What's interesting is what this all means to the people Murray meets. One of his directors says 'he shows up not to take over, but to be present'. One person who testified to one myth's truthfulness first-hand said 'He made feel like a bigger person than I am ... I'm not part of his story, he's part of my story.' Another says 'By action, if not by word, he's teaching us how to live.' It's an invitation not to live on autopilot, but rather to live wherever the wind blows.

For the follower of Jesus, this all sounds a little like Jesus speaking of how the Holy Spirit, the essence of God, guides us and works. It sounds a lot like an invitation to embrace the opportunity to see transcendence and holiness and opportunity in the ordinary stuff of the day to day, for ourselves and for those standing in queues with us, at the next table, in the car beside us. What if we Jesus followers saw those moments as chances to bring transcendence to others and ourselves in those ordinary moments; what if we did so in such a way so as to not draw attention to ourselves with a lecture or sermon or the like? But something more simple - quietly paying for someone else's coffee, for example.

I don't know how all this works. Bill Murray is no Jesus - a quick read around online relates that many have found him hard to work with and that one ex-wife mentioned abuse and addiction as a cause for her seeking divorce (though these claims were later withdrawn). In these true myths, is Murray somehow seeking atonement for all that too? We can but guess. But it all seems to be the sort of gentle, grace-giving, enlightening thing Jesus to which Jesus might call us.
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Such an uplifting watch!
sankalpkhare1 April 2019
I randomly stumbled upon this during a flight, in the in-flight entertainment, and boy was it a lovely find! I thought I'd check it out, and once I began watching, I just couldn't stop. I recommend it highly
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The Story Behind the Stories About Bill Murray
stu-003294 March 2019
The Bill Murray Stories: Life Lessons Learned from a Mythical Man, a 76-minute documentary from filmmaker Tommy Avallone, looks at the persistent stories of the beloved actor/comedian randomly interacting with ordinary folks in a variety of situations.

The stories are legendary, but many are true: Murray crashing a couple's engagement photo; joining a kickball game in a public park; DJ'ing at a birthday gathering; or serving as a roadie and tambourine player for a band at a house party.

CNN writer David Allen posits that, in an era when people are glued to their phones or sleepwalking through life, Murray wants to wake them up - remind them to live in the moment and be mindful of what's around them.

"You know, I'm not always aware that I'm thinking of what I want them to take away from it," Murray told Rolling Stone. "My hope is that it's going to wake me up. If I see someone who's out cold on their feet, I'm going to try to wake them up. Cause it's the same thing; it's what I'd want someone to do for me. Just wake me up."

The film attributes this to Murray's background in improv comedy, which forces participants to be acutely aware of the moment and react creatively.

"Bill can take these small moments and transfer them into something memorable," says Avallone. "He seems to just have this chameleon-type quality when it comes to social situations. He comes into peoples lives, gets a feel for the room and then makes the moment something special."

The photographer who took the engagement photo, Raheel Gauba of Charleston, S.C., agrees.

"It wasn't really a photo bomb, where he just randomly popped up in a photo. ... Bill showing up in the most unexpected of places, giving a piece of himself, giving a little memory to someone -'memory bombing' would be a more appropriate term."

Tyler Van Aiken owns an Austin, Texas, bar where Murray visited, befriended an employee and ended up tending bar. He thinks the actor simply has come to terms with his unique level of fame.

"How crazy would it be if you walked around town and everyone loved you? ... That would be exhausting," Van Aiken says. "But he seems to have turned it on its head and just gone with it - and realized that he has the power to make other people have an amazing experience."

CNN's Allen spots a deeper theme that recurs in Murray's films: "It just doesn't matter."

"Things are always up and down. Good things can lead to bad things; bad things can lead to good things. If you have this 'It just doesn't matter,' if you have this more Zen, if you will, outlook on it, and can look at the big picture of it, your whole life is going to be more even keel."

Ultimately, filmmaker Avallone concludes that people don't cherish their encounters with Murray because they met a celebrity. "It's because they had a real interaction with a real person," he says.

Director Peter Farrelly, who worked with Murray on Kingpin, puts it this way: "Part of Bill's charm when he shows up is not to take over. Like, when he shows up to someone's house and does this kind of thing, he wants to be in the house and part of the gang. That's the joke. He's not tap dancing or juggling, he's sitting there watching TV with them. And yet it's Bill Murray. And that's part of it. It's not showing up to entertain; it's showing up to be present."


Stu Robinson practices writing, editing, media relations and social media through his business, Phoenix-based Lightbulb Communications.
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Fanboy obsessed with cult culture, makes a movie
dxmr5 May 2019
This documentary lacked a lot. Taking a quote from a Bill Murray movie then trying to make it the movies mantra. Blah. I love Bill Murray. This "director" ruins all that is mythical of the man himself. Let him do his thing. We didn't need a documentary about it.
2 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Exposing the side of Bill Murray some already realized existed.
MartinHafer11 July 2019
The strange behavior of Bill Murray off camera is a fact that many probably already are aware least to a point. I knew that Murray liked to occasionally drop in on weddings and other celebrations unannounced. He apparently doesn't come to spoil the celebrations in any way...but likes to join in with the fun with huge groups of strangers. However, "The Bill Murray Stories" exposes not just him crashing weddings and parties but much more. He apparently just loves being with people and it's almost like a form of performance art! The film details example after example of his antics....all harmless and odd....and it also tries to help understand WHY and WHO Murray is and why this is something he's famous for doing. A truly odd documentary about a truly odd man....well worth seeing but probably not a big surprise to many, as Murray is famous for this sort of thing.
1 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
This BM fan found the documentary disappointing
stevepat993 December 2018
In the case of Big Foot I expect documentaries to offer 98% on-screen 'witness' accounts of sightings and 2% of questionable footage. Given todays world, where everyone has a video camera on their body or in their purse, I expected this documentary 'film' to be showing us great footage of many of the cited events. Not the case at all. It took about 20 minutes or nearly one third of the film before we are shown grainy footage of Bill tending bar. This film is not about 'seeing' Bill in action but more like 95% of on-screen witness accounts. I recall only one well shot clip of Bill with sound. Sadly, Bill did not participate in the film. His discussion and/or re-enactment of these events would have been a big plus.
6 out of 47 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
cheap tricks
Ringding31 February 2019
I was so annoyed by the quick edits of all the photos, etc. Shame they felt the need to tease the audience with such good material available.
1 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
So Refreshing After Scraping Netflix's Barrel Bottom!
atomicis12 June 2019
I've been watching lots of NF's offerings, and consequently I've seen some real "dogs" from our favorite "... & Chill" site, so I'm especially sorry it took me so long to watch this gem! Others here have said how the movie flies by, and I couldn't agree more; I can't recall a movie ending when I thought there'd be at least an hour left. I simply liked Bill before watching this, so I'm not a "fanboy" (as one reviewer rudely called this movie's producers), but after seeing "Bill Murray Stories", I am now a fan. I hope I run into him in the real world. Too bad every celebrity can't enjoy the power their fame affords them as Mr. Murray does. Well-made Film (capital "F")!
0 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed