The Big Bad Book of Bill Murray
by Robert Schnakenberg
Quirk Books, 2015
Bill Murray turns 65 years old today. He is one of the most beloved comedic actors of the past four decades, and his legend grows with each photobomb and impromptu kickball game. Robert Schnakenberg’s The Big Bad Book of Bill Murray, subtitled A Critical Appreciation of the World’s Finest Actor, examines the enigmatic entertainer’s professional career through all the ups (Ghostbusters) and downs (Where the Buffalo Roam). All of his film appearances are listed with an overall movie rating and a Bill Murray score to guide the diehard fan in what to watch first, and what to watch only if you have nothing else to do. There are also anecdotes (styled “Tales from Murrayland”) and tidbits about movies Murray didn’t appear in. For instance, Murray was apparently considered for the roles of Han Solo, Indiana Jones, and Forrest Gump.
Obviously, in a book this size, there is a lot of information about what Murray did not do. He could have been Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story, and Sully in Monsters, Inc., and the titular character in Shrek. But for one reason or another, he wasn’t. There are also several facts included in this book that seem extraneous, such as the fact that Murray does not find Adam Sandler funny, he doesn’t like e-mail, he prefers Mexican Coke, and he usually dressed up as either a hobo or a ghost for Halloween when he was a child.
Schnakenberg wraps up the book with some quotations by Bill Murray, and others about Bill Murray. Among the wise words of the Murricane is this gem on art: “It’s hard to be an artist. It’s hard to be anything. It’s hard to be.” Murray has done an excellent job of entertaining millions with his art, and Schnakenberg does a fine job capturing those moments in The Big Bad Book of Bill Murray.