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Book Review – ‘The Big Bad Book of Bill Murray’

BigBadBookofBillMurrayTitle: The Big Bad Book of Bill Murray
Author: Robert Schnakenberg
Genre: Non-fiction (biography/humour)
Release Date: September 15, 2015
Rating: ★★★★

“He’s the sort of actor who can do Hamlet and Charlie’s Angels in the same year.
He shuns managers and agents and once agreed to voice the part of Garfield because he mistakenly believed it was a Coen brothers film. Bill Murray’s extraordinary career is rich with fascinating anecdotes, contradictions, and mystery, from his early success on Saturday Night Live and the biggest blockbusters of the 1980s (Caddyshack, Stripes, Tootsie, Ghostbusters) to his reinvention as a hipster icon in the early 21st century (in films like Lost in Translation and Moonrise Kingdom).
And now you can get your fill of Bill: part biography, part critical appreciation, part love letter, and all fun, The Big Bad Book of Bill Murray chronicles every single Murray performance in loving detail, relating all the milestones, yarns, and controversy in the life of this beloved but enigmatic performer. These pages are packed with color film stills, extraordinary fan art, and behind-the-scenes photography.” (Quirk Books)

If you know anything about movies then you probably know who Bill Murray is. Usually playing characters who are grouchy/eccentric/sad in an endearing way, he’s been a fairly permanent fixture on screens big and small since the mid-1970’s. But despite being such a pop culture icon, no one really knows anything about Bill Murray.

In all honestly he’s never been an actor who I’ve given a lot of thought to and I’ve always considered him as a comedic actor as opposed to a decent dramatic one. However his recent turn as the grouchy old man next door in St. Vincent went a long way to changing my opinion of him. So when I saw The Big Bad Book of Bill Murray on NetGalley, I decided I wanted to know more about him and, as it turns out, he’s actually a pretty cool guy with a tendency towards the eccentricity and grouchiness we love so much from his on screen personas.

Author Robert Schnakenberg has done a great job of compiling this book, working through Murray’s life alphabetically, leaving no stone left unturned and presenting us with an unauthorised biography of sorts. The Big Bad Book of Bill Murray is filled with stories dating back to Murray’s childhood, interspersed with weird little Murray factoids such as his favourite drink, his opinion of Seinfeld, and his thoughts on love. As well as a comprehensive look at all of his on-screen roles, there are also the ‘Tales from Murrayland’, that cover everything from his random appearances at bachelor parties at which he dispenses marriage advice, to tales of crashing parties, and photobombing unsuspecting people in the street.

If you wanted to know everything there is to know about Bill Murray, then this is the book for you. If you’ve never wanted to know everything there is to know about Bill Murray, then you should read it anyway just because. It was a really fun book to read and it made me want to be friends with Bill Murray. But as I know that will never happen, I will instead content myself with watching just about everything he’s ever been in because I feel as though I have underappreciated him for long enough.

Many thanks to Quirk Books and NetGalley for providing a review copy in exchange for an honest review!

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