Documentary The Bill Murray Experience Via Gravitas Ventures Lands A Bit Short Of Its Potential
Now honestly, this really is the perfect way to meet the man.
Making her directorial debut, actress/filmmaker Sadie Katz (Blood Feast, Wrong Turn 6: Last Resort) gives us an inside look into a journey of a lifetime, one fraught with set backs, loss, heartache, and yet some semblance of healing, all with the end goal of meeting one Mr. Bill Freaking Murray in hopes of bringing some magic back into Sadie’s life. Which works, kinda.
Right out the gate we learn that Sadie is going through a difficult time in life: her engagement has been broken off, she’s needed to find a new place to live, and she’s feeling empty, like the magic in life has just gone away and she needs to find a way to fill the void. It just so happens that everywhere she goes online she sees another story about Bill Murray, something funny and off the wall, and falls in love with the magic and mystery that is Bill, so she decides that meeting him is exactly what she needs to do to bring the magic back to her own life. Here’s where it gets a bit weird.
Sadie enlists a few friends to help her make a solid plan on finding a good place to meet Bill, but nothing pans out. Poor research, distraction through obsession, infighting, and bad timing are at the heart of the problem, but Sadie pushes forward looking over every possible lead until one day at a comedy club she accidentally meets Joel Murray (Bill’s brother) who is sympathetic to her mission and eventually offers to help hook her up with a few possibilities of where she might be able to meet Bill. While those opportunities are waiting in the wing, Sadie gets a chance to sit down with PJ Soles (Stripes) for an interview about all things Murray, which is fun and helps inject some much needed positivity and professionalism to the film. Eventually the big day comes to meet the legend himself, and Sadie walks away from it all with a very important life lesson in her back pocket. Getting to that point though was extremely frustrating and overly emotional for not just Sadie, but for the viewer as well, which greatly detracts from the excitement of the documentary’s premise.
In nearly every cut away that takes you back to Sadie explaining what is going on in the next scene, shows her crying, right on through the end of the film. I’m all for putting yourself out there, but after a few times it stops being an emotional bridge to bond with your audience over and starts making you look like a train wreck. The first 30 to 45 minutes is so disorganized you begin to lose interest, but it does pick up some steam after that. Joel and PJ’s cameos help to bring some stability to the film, and in the end the film does a solid job of resolving itself so you don’t feel like you’ve wasted your time. All in all, I’d give it a 5 out of 10. Plenty of potential that was just simply underutilized.
Trailer can be seen here
The Bill Murray Experience starring Bill Murray, Sadie Katz, P.J Soles, Joel Murray