Wednesday, February 5, 2014

to strangers and children

Saturday and Sunday morning in Woodstock I was able to watch Groundhog Day on the big screen again. I hadn't really seen it on the big screen since it was first released in 1993... well, I had, sort of, last summer; a week before I started this project I attended an outdoor screening, but the screen wasn't nearly as big. Anyway, despite the dark of the theater, I managed to scribble some notes (which I later copied to make a little clearer while on the plane from Chicago to San Francisco... but, really, that's more information than you need).

The following will be divided into two sections. First, notes on the film:

I noticed that Phil's collared striped shirt appears to have blue stripes, grey stripes, or green stripes depending on certain scenes. I assume this is a color timing (or lack thereof) issue.

Ned pulls his business card out of his glove when he first tells Phil that he sells insurance. And, the card is a bit mangled from having been in there. That really doesn't seem like a good approach to making a good impression on potential clients.

A minor timing issue: on Day 3, Alice grabs a coffee pot from the older waitress after the waiter drops his tray. On Day 4, Alice already has the coffee pot when the tray is dropped. Of course, this could come down to a butterfly effect thing with Phil having made a big enough change to what was going on at the Tip Top that the waiters' and waitresses' locations could all be different and there wouldn't really be a continuity issue.

I may have to look closer but the bookcase behind Ramis in the doctor scene seems to be full of law books. I worked in a law library for a while, though I admit medical books can look quite similar. Secondary problem there, though, that bookcase should be in the doctor's office, not his examination room.

A couple details about the psychiatrist's office I hadn't noticed before: 1) he's recording the session apparently on a minicassette recorder 2) there is an audible ticking through the scene. There were numerous background noises in scenes that I hadn't really heard before. For example, in the hospital scene, you can hear the nurse on the phone talking.

The "boats but not the ocean" speech and the speech to sleeping Rita resonated a little better than their usual lately. Those two speeches used to work really well for me but after a while they've just become part of the whole. But, on the big screen, these two scenes worked for me. And, I was glad. Mostly, it seemed like the only real difference seeing the film on a bigger screen after so many days with either my iPad or a 37-inch TV screen, was slightly different visual levels--the paisley texture on Phil's blue pajamas stood out, for example. But, here, the larger screen pulled me back into the movie in a way the smaller screens haven't of late.

In watching the DVD copy and my iTunes copy again since, the line is still "a dog barks" but in the theater, with the sound a little more pronounced, I heard (on both days) "dog bark."

I was able to read the sign on the candy shop finally, and it was Anderson's Fudge Shoppe. The container of Rocky Road ice cream Phil has later has on its label "Anderson's" (as noted before) so presumably he got the ice cream at the candy shop.

I want to recheck this bit to be sure if it only happens once, but just before Phil steps in the puddle--on Day 1 I believe--you can see an extra in the window waiting, presumably for a cue, to start walking into the scene.

Next, notes on the audience:

Being a Woodstock audience, and watching the film in the movie theater featured in the film no less, it shouldn't be surprising that folks applauded (both days) when the van comes down Main Street past the theater into the Square.

Day 1, DJ 1 (Richard Henzel) says "don't forget your booties" and some kid in the audience was amused, crying out "booty!" and laughing. There were more kids in the audience on Saturday than Sunday. I'm not entirely sure why, maybe just more locals that day.

Both days, kids laughed a lot at the "you like your guys with the prominent upper teeth" bit.

When we cut to night on after the robbery--but before it's obvious this is the costumes scene--a kid in the audience who knows the film, but not well, proclaims: "this is when the old man dies." It wasn't.

When Ralph falls down trying to open the door to the car, a little girl asked, "what happened to him?" I don't think she understood that he was drunk.

When Phil is making out with Nancy on the couch, one kid two seats down from me, maybe 10-11 years old, covered the eyes of the kid next to me, maybe 8-9 years old, which I thought was funny, not just because he was covering his little brother's eyes, but because it was possible he really didn't know there wasn't going to be anything... explicit on the screen. By their ages, in that town, I expected they would have seen the movie before.

The first time Phil dies, exploding at the bottom of the quarry, a little girl announced: "he's okay."

When Phil calls O'Reilly (the Old Man) "father" and "pop" there was some appropriate confusion with at least one kid, who asked, "that's his father?" Honestly, Phil's choice to refer to O'Reilly as such is one detail that bugs me in the movie. But, it also allows for some interesting interpretations regarding Phil's psyche.

When, Phil says, "Ned!" and punches him, one kid immediately repeated the "Ned!" and made a punching sound.

And, finally, the scene in which Phil hugs Ned just a little too long got a good laugh both days.

There's nothing too shocking or profound above, but I must say that it was a good experience seeing the film not only on a larger screen but with an audience. It made it more of an experience than just another screening.

Today's reason to repeat a day forever: to watch the movie with every audience I can find, to compare and contrast reactions.

No comments:

Post a Comment