Monday, June 30, 2014

you think i'm acting like this...

Before I get into Tru Calling, I must wonder aloud--or whatever the onscreen text version of aloud is--have I shared Noel Taylor's (1993, February 12) review of Groundhog Day? Back in '93, Taylor wrote a review for the Ottawa Citizen and, well, he didn't really like the movie. Probably because he's a Canadian fool, but I can't be sure; I don't know the guy. Anyway, the title of his review is "Even Bill Murray can't save repetitive comedy." And, he says, somewhat accurately, "Murray being nice is less fun than Murray being insufferable," and less rightly, "He does his best, but Groundhog Day is one of those comedy routines Murray should have been glad to escape from."

Counter that with Bill Provick (1993, September 3), also at the Ottawa Citizen: "If only Bill Murray could be this funny all the time. Perhaps he should always co-star with a groundhog. He was hilarious as in Caddyshack as the crazed groundskeeper stalking a relentless rodent [not a groundhog, I would point out] and he's quite amusing her as a smartass weatherman trapped in small-town Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, on Groundhog Day." Provick calls it a "tailor-made role." I kinda hope Provick and Taylor fought about it, except that fight would have been Canadian and far too polite.

Speaking of Canadian reviews of Groundhog Day, Peter Birnie (1993, February 12) at the Vancouver Sun has a nice, wholesome turn of phrase in his review; "Holy Gophers," he writes, "I can't believe I'm using these words to describe a Bill Murray movie: Heartwarming. Charming. Delightful. Complicated." Bill Brownstein (1993, February 13) at the (Montreal) Gazette says Groundhog Day "will remedy many of your winter woes. The tonic? A ton of chuckles."

"A ton of chuckles?" Who talks like that?

And, I'm stuck on old reviews today, because I'm going through my folder of unread Groundhog Day articles. I've watched the film already today. Tru Calling plays on the TV.

"Murray hasn't made a comedy this winningly dumb and smart and - yes - sweet in a long time," Steven Rea (1993, February 12) at the Philadelphia Inquirer said. "If, indeed, he ever has." Rea does point out a couple faults in the film, though. "There are times," he writes, "when you wish that [Harold Ramis] had pushed the material just a little further and worked just a little harder. And the ending has a sort of Hollywood tidiness to it that is disappointing in light of some of the inspired business that has come before." Amusingly," Rea follows that up with this parenthetical: "(OK, I don't know how I would have ended it; maybe the letdown is unavoidable.)"

Meanwhile, by the way, Jason Priestley's Jack is delightfully pushy as a character so far in Tru Calling. Not just this episode ("Rear Window") but the few he's been in so far. He's obviously making moves, quite deliberately, into Tru's turf, but it all plays just innocently enough that he'd seem like a potential love interest if the show were not also insisting on keeping Luc around.

And finally, at the end of this episode, Davis and Tru learn that Jack may be repeating days; he was hospitalized for believing as much.

New episode: "D.O.A." Lindsay's new (old) guy proposed between the last episode and this one, even though it is logically the very next day--or Tru and Davis are very slow in processing new information. She did know the guy previously (dated him while studying abroad), but they only got back together... I was going to say "yesterday" but Tru just said it has been a week that they've been dating this time.

An interesting note I didn't expect: in an interview with Psychology Today (1996, July/August), Harold Ramis actually said of Rubin's script for Groundhog Day, "what it lacked was comedy." "I rolled up my sleeves and made it funny," he says. A little full of himself, I think. Not entirely off the mark, but still.

Tru told Jack what she does. The Tru/Luc (Truc?) shippers must have cursed at the screen when this episode aired originally.

It occurs to me that I said I wasn't going to go episode by episode on Tru Calling, but what the hell?

(I've got a few time loop movies still to watch for this blog as well.)

Jack reveals he's acting in favor of people dying. He's the Evil Rewinder.

Jack: Tru, think a minute. Nadine Casola is supposed to die. Why should you change that?

Tru: Because someone asked me to. Because l can.

Jack: That's not good enough. You have no idea what you're doing. lf you save someone who shouldn't be here, there are consequences.

Tru: Do you think l'm messing up some grand plan? Maybe l am the plan! lf someone needs my help, l am not gonna stand by and watch.

Jack: And I'm not gonna stop you... this time.

He lets her act, but now she and Davis (who figured it out on his own) know Jack's working against them.

Episode also gets Tru and Luc back together just before it ends. I have a few vague bits of info about this show, and I know Luc's going to die. I now assume he's dying in the next episode. Get them back together then rip them apart. That's drama.

Season finale time: "Two Weddings and a Funeral."

Episode starts with Tru and Davis arriving at Jack's apartment, mostly empty. He's gone because they were "on to him." Except, well, keep reading.

Episode establishes that a) Lindsay is already getting married and b) it has been less than a month since she and Harrison broke up. My problem here is not with Lindsay being too quick in her relationships--that's her prerogative--but Tru and Davis spent a week worrying about Luc's possible rewinding and have now spent another 2-3 weeks doing... well, nothing about Jack being the bad guy. And they knew where he lived but were only "on to him" after those same weeks? Well, Tru apparently told Harrison about Jack between episodes, so I guess she did the least she could do. Actually, there's another problem--Jack's conversation with Harrison plays like there should have been a few episodes in the meantime, building up Jack as the bad guy...

Jack: Look, l know Tru wants you to think l'm the enemy. l'm not. Your sister and l just see things differently, that's all.

Harrison: Right. She saves people and you kill them.

Jack: l'm not a killer. Straight up. When a bullet gets shot into a man's chest l don't pull the trigger. When a drunk driver takes out a family of four, l'm not behind the wheel.

Harrison: But when those people ask for my sister's help you're not exactly lending a hand now, are you?

Jack: Death can be tragic. Death can be unfair. But as much as we may all hate to admit it death is inevitable. l'm merely helping fate get what it wants.

Harrison: And you're telling me this because?

Jack: Because she listens to you. And you love her. And l know that you will find a way to make her stop. Stop saving the lives of people who are supposed to die. Stop messing with fate. And stop screwing with the order of the universe.

Harrison's line after he dies--to jump ahead a bit--fits with there being a bunch of other episodes building up Jack as the bad guy; Harrison says, "You can't let him win."

Amusingly, Harrison is excited about being the one whose death triggered this resumption.

I imagine Jack's rewinds make no sense without Tru, yet he was doing it before she was. He relives a day to do what? To make sure it happens how it already did. Boring.

Jack insists that if Tru saves Harrison, someone else will die in his place. Jack's knowledge seems to come form nowhere. I don't like that. He's not Tru's opposite if he's got a preternatural source for his information.

Tru tells Luc what she does. He leaves. Tru has to go save her brother rather than chase after Luc.

Jack sets Luc up to get killed.

His insistence that someone else would die instead of Harrison--Jack argued that as if the universe would correct itself, but he specifically manipulated things. I can't decide if Jack is a liar or a crazy person. Maybe he's both.

Another narrative issue--aside from Jack's motivations being a little weird--is that Luc never actually got to believe Tru's story before he was killed, so they were actually barely back together when he died, so aside from some serious Truc(k)ers, dramatically speaking, Luc's death doesn't seem all that important. He averaged one scene per episode the last few episodes, then it was like he was about to become important again but never did.

The final twist kinda makes up for a lot of the weaknesses here, though. Jack is working with Tru's father who was the Evil Leaper to Tru's mom's Sam Beckett. Nice touch.

Today's reason to repeat a day forever: to find my Evil Leaper (or Evil Looper, I guess) and, you know, hang out.

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