Monday, June 23, 2014

okay, that's enough

I used to try to stay up all night sometimes. I thought if I could stay conscious I could figure out what was going on, or at least hang onto something from the day before. But I gave up on that a long time ago. (Ramis, 1992, January 30, p. 98)

Oh, and let's subtitles this, there's no way these notes on Ramis' third revision of the screenplay for Groundhog Day... is ever going to end, as long as I nitpick the details.

(But, what the hell? Details be damned.)

Phil has managed to get good at not only pool and bowling, but also juggling and hacky sack, and he can ride a unicycle (p. 99).

There's an extra detail to the moment at the end of "god day" in which Rita inspires Phil. Phil concedes that he isn't a jerk and adds, "It really doesn't make a lot of difference. I've killed myself so many times, I don't even exist anymore. I'm just completely empty."

"Or completely clean," Rita replies.

"If you're going to be this positive all the time I may have to rough you up a little." Phil's got a nice way of being both playful and slightly threatening at the same time. I think it's endearing and I suppose Rita does as well.

I already mentioned how Rita's "thousand lifetimes" line seems less like something someone would actually say in this draft:

Sometimes I wish I had a thousand lifetimes. One to be a great journalist. One to, I don’t know, go back to school, study art, or auto mechanics. One just to take care of all the busywork, you know, pay the bills get my car tuned up. One to be the wild woman of Borneo. One to be Mother Theresa. Maybe it’s not a curse, Phil. It all just depends on how you look at it. (p. 101)

Phil's speech to Rita while she's sleeping has a little more detail to it, and it makes it a little more... schmaltzy? cheesy? something.

Here. Compare:

As it is in this draft:

What I was going to say was, I think you're the kindest, sweetest, prettiest, most wonderful girl I ever met in my life....

I could never tell you this, but from the first minute I looked at you I wanted to just hold you close and be with you forever. Everytime [sic] I saw you around the station, I thought my heart was going to explode. I used to dream about us being together. In my dream you loved me as much as I loved you and we didn't have to say anything because I knew you understood everything....

I know a guy like me could never deserve to have someone like you, but if I did, I swear I would love you for the rest of my life. (pp. 103-104)

As it is in the movie:

What I wanted to say was… I think you’re the kindest, sweetest, prettiest person I’ve ever met in my life. I’ve never seen anyone that’s nicer to people than you are. The first time I saw you, something happened… to me. I never told you, but I knew that I wanted to hold you as hard as I could.

I don’t deserve someone like you. But if I ever could, I swear I would love you for the rest of my life.

Scene 143, Page 106, Phil goes to the library and inquires about the philosophy section, his education more overt than that shot of him sitting at the counter at the Tip Top reading with a stack of books nearby.

Another report from Gobbler's Knob (including a lesson in groundhog physiology similar to my Day 238 - waiting to worship a rat):

In fact, the groundhog's legendary ability to predict the weather may be more than just the German folklore of the region. Higher temperatures trigger hormonal changes in the testosterone levels of male groundhogs, which may in fact wake them from hibernation and send them out to battle with other males for mating rights.

So, the truth is they're not looking for their shadows, they're looking for groundhog chicks. (pp. 107-108)

Oddly enough Rita is "delighted with" this report.

Page 108, Ramis employs the image of calendar pages flipping by as Phil learns the piano at Mary's house. Gilbey (2004) calls the accelerated shot of clouds at the beginning of the film "only slightly less cliched than the peeling leaves of a calendar, or the swiftly rotating hands of a clock, in its evocation of the passing of time" (p. 24). This particular instance--involving pages that are all February 2nd--was Bill Murray's idea, according to Gilbey's endnote. He says it "was shot but eventually cut when no suitable place could be found for it" (p. 90).

Scene 152, Page 109, Phil learns stonecarving from Old Tucker, "the town stonecarver." Also, Phil mentions to Rita that he has "piano and then drums" (not just piano).

Ned's "homophobic shock" scene is in here. That phrase bugs me.

Scene 158, Page 112, this deleted scene:

Scene 161, Page 114, this deleted scene:

So, in the film, Phil saves Buster from choking. In the second revision, it wasn't yet Buster but an unnamed businessman. Which is why the last bit of dialogue in that scene is the guy who Phil just saved asking, "Who was that guy?" In this draft, it is Buster and it is Buster's son who asks "Who was that guy?" By the time we get to the final product, it is Buster who Phil saves but it is also Buster who asks, "Who was that?" This is at lunch--

(And, I don't think I have ever specifically noted that Phil saves Buster at lunchtime, not dinnertime.)

--and just a few hours earlier, Buster was listening intently to Phil's Chekhov report from Gobbler's Knob. You'd think he'd know the guy.

Anyway, Rita's following Phil around, sees him save Buster and wants to know what's going on. It's remarkable how much this draft (and Ramis' second revision) work structurally closer to E' Gia' Ieri (the Italian remake) than to the Groundhog Day film; the last day isn't "god day" but Rita definitely is clued in to what's going on more than she is in Groundhog Day. Phi tells Rita that he's "really pressed right now. Meet me outside the hospital about 4:00 and we'll talk about it."

Scenes 163 to 164, Page 116, Phil's at the hospital to save a teenage girl named Janey. Nurse thinks it's insulin shock but Phil knows it's an overdose. Once again darker than the final film.

Still at the hospital, Scene 165, Phil makes balloon animals. And, Rita arrives. Phil takes her along as he saves Zacchaeus from breaking his leg falling out of the tree.

Scene 167, Pages 118-119, this deleted scene:

The banquet is the KLEISER-SCOTT WEDDING. So, a) it's a wedding to end the story, a reification of gender norms, which I've discussed a few times, and b) Kleiser seems here to only be the last name of Debbie (here Doris).

Secondary note here, Doris'/Debbie's line, "We're like going to be in Pittsburgh anyway" is scripted (and apparently was in the second revision as well), but it is Fred who says it.

Just like in the previous draft, Phil actually tells Rita what is going on again, when she asks finally. "No," she says, "there's something going on with you."

"Okay," Phil replies. "I wake up in Punxsutawney on February second--every day. It's supernatural. I don't even try to explain it anymore. So, I live each day as if it's the only day I've got."

"That's pretty amazing," Rita says.

"You want to know what's really amazing," Phil asks. "I've been waiting for you every day for ten thousand years. I dream of you every night of my life. You've been my constant weapon against total despair and just knowing you exist has kept me alive. How's that?"

Regarding whether or not Phil dreams, of course, check out this entry.

Phil hasn't fixed Felix's back but that of an "old coot" called Uncle Leo who dances with Rita at the wedding.

A while back, I noticed the piano at the Cherry Street Inn and briefly lamented the fact that we never see Phil play on it. In this draft, as if to test if his newfound skills and knowledge are his to keep, on the morning after the time loop ends, Phil briefly leaves Rita alone in his room so that he can run downstairs to "expertly" play a few bars of "a difficult classical piece."

Finally, Scene 177, page 128, Phil has his one bit of leftover voiceover:

And so began my final lifetime, and ended the longest winter on record [though technically, it is not on record, I would point out]. I would find myself no longer able to affect the chain of events in this town, but I did learn something about time. You can waste time, you can kill time, you can do time, but if you use it wisely, there's never enough of it. So you'd better make the most of the time you've got....

Larry never got through the blizzard, so none of my groundhog reports ever made it on the air. But, Rita and I--we lived happily ever after.

A weird mix of practical detail there and a last line that is deliberately evocative of a fairy tale.

Today's reason to repeat a day forever: to live the fairy tale, to fight monsters and save princesses... metaphorically, of course.

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