Bill Murray’s movie career is explored along with various artists’ interpretations of him in numerous media in the Art of Being Bill.
Bill’s life (in movies at least) is broken up chronologically into eight chapters:
- The Jester
- The Thinker
- The Intense
- The Charming
- The Exasperated
- The Melancholy
- The Complex
- The Legend.
Each of Bill’s movies are described in a one-page movie synopsis accompanied by the movie poster and a short behind-the-scenes’ blurb. Then two to four artists offer their interpretation of Bill at that point in his life and career. Using seeds, pastels, pencils, paints and software, each picture is engaging. At the beginning, Bill was portrayed as a clown, a suave player and even a punk rocker. By the end, the representations became increasing melancholy and regretful—just as Bill appeared in his later works.
The art varies widely in media, style and quality but each are valid interpretations of their subject. The text does a excellent job exploring the experiences of an aging comic actor’s early attempts to be taken seriously (i.e., The Razor’s Edge) to actually being taken seriously later in his career (i.e., Lost in Translation). It is easy to see the same trajectory in other comedians’ lives that did not end as well (i.e., Jerry Lewis and Robin Williams). Overall, the Art of Being Bill is more than just the sum of its wide-ranging artwork and provides a thoughtful reflection on life itself. 4 stars!
Thanks to the publisher, Race Point Publishing, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.