Bill Murray is the closest thing to god that I believe in.
Okay, maybe that’s a bit hyperbolic and heavy-handed, but at every phase of my life, for better or worse, I’ve wanted to be some version of Bill Murray. I’ve wanted the easy charisma of Tripper in MEATBALLS, the cocksure confidence of John in STRIPES, the romantic perseverance of Peter Venkman, the ceaseless sense of wonder of Bob Wiley, the tenacity of Phil in GROUNDHOG DAY, and that’s just the stuff from when I was a kid.
With RUSHMORE, we started to get a new Murray. Gone was the loveable goof, and forged was the reticent cad, the noble goof, if you will, characters who look back with some regret but still keep an eye on the ahead, characters who believe that whatever they’ve done or not done, there’s always the chance of being better. This mindset applied to his roles in films like LOST IN TRANSLATION, BROKEN FLOWERS, THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS, and ST. VINCENT have produced some of the more tenderly hilarious performances the medium has ever known, like Buster Keaton met Jimmy Stewart and somehow science gave them a beautiful baby boy in the body of a curmudgeonly jester.
It is this Murray who has ascended to the Mt. Olympus of not just comedy but indeed all culture. Bill Murray isn’t a comedian and he isn’t an actor, he’s just Bill Murray, and that is what makes him so uniquely entertaining. He doesn’t do it for the money and he doesn’t do it for the fame – he doesn’t even have an agent or publicist – he does it because it’s what he was put here to do, he does it because it’s his nature.
Thus, there’s a lot to be learned from Bill Murray, and not just as an actor or comedian. When I said Bill Murray is the closest thing to a god that I believe in, what I really meant what like one would a religion, I think there’s a lot to be learned about living from Bill Murray and the characters he’s played: take chances, risk regret, keep your friends close, love openly, don’t resist chance, it’s never too late to turn it all around, and above all else, don’t take everything so damn seriously.
The philosophy of Bill Murray is the subject of this outstanding video from Wisecrack called, well, THE PHILOSOPHY OF BILL MURRAY, and it is easily the most important and most entertaining video you’ll see this week. Clocking in at a mere 8 minutes, it is an all-encompassing look at the man, his work, and his worldview.