Tuesday, September 8, 2015

do you know what today is?

A week with Groundhog Day. Seven days in a row of this one film. Who would have thunk that I could survive it? I mean, the repetitive nature of the film itself should have made repeated viewing unbearable. But no. Remarkably, it was quite readily repeatable, this film about repetition. And, watching it these last seven days has been rather comforting, like coming home to an old friend.

But, I am not done with that friend. I’m not even done with the final revision of the script for that friend. But, I will be soon.

I said that there were nine tabs left, so let us just be systematic about this...

Beware, six days ago, I said this: “Now, let us just do this systematically. I will try not to mention every little tab or highlight.” Today, I will mention every little tab... of the ones that are left.

#10... because I skipped this one on the previous page of my printout - the girl who comes out of Mary’s house, i.e. the piano student Phil gets thrown out into the cold out of selfishness, is not named Sue. This matters of course because this girl, previously known in this blog as Katie,

is also the girl in the counting cracks scene (filmed but neither include in the film nor as a deleted scene on the DVD or blu-ray). If you don’t know what I’m talking about, read this entry or this entry for more about that. Let us not belabor the point, because this blog has never been about belaboring any points.

To make #10 simple, the girl who comes out of Mary’s house is simply LITTLE GIRL in the script. Not, apparently, intended to be the same girl from the previous scene. But, that’s okay because that previous scene was cut anyway.

#9 - tab on page 112 says “x-rays - deleted scene”—meaning the following deleted scene is there in the script; it’s not rocket science—

—that tab also has this note: “but NO poem?” Because, when I was reading the final revision, I was stupid and didn’t realize that the poem scene would come later (pp. 116-117), on the final resumption of the time loop, duh. When, well, here’s that deleted scene:

#8 - page 114, “doggie - deleted scene” for this deleted scene involving a doggie:

#7 - page 116, “NOT joey or mike” because the kid who falls out of the tree, previously known as Zacchaeus around these parts, and who has to be either Joey or Mike because he’s in that sidewalk crack counting scene, is simply YOUNG BOY.

Not mentioned on that tab but happening on that same page is the following scene (part of Phil’s good deeds) that may have been filmed but certainly didn’t make it to the final film:

CLOSE-UP - A PACKAGE

Someone is shakily gift-wrapping a package with ribbon and having considerable trouble doing it until a hand reaches in and holds the knot with an index finger.

Simple, amusing, but not much of an image, a box and some hands.

The next tab is a sad, sad thing. Continuing on the stupidity of that second note on #9...

#6 - Page 116 again, “Poem on the last day” as if it has ever been on a different day. And, you (I) call yourself (myself) an expert. I shake my head at thee (me).

Just in case you have no idea what the poem is, read this entry or scroll back up and watch that second embedded video above, you lazy little troll. Scrolling along, reading the words, but not clicking on the videos? What is wrong with you?

No, really, thanks for being here. You don’t have to click on anything you don’t want to click on.

#5 - page 117, “inside of the van” - where Larry echoes Phil’s line from earlier. In the film, of course, Phil never uses the “inside of the van” line. But, way back when, I argued that Larry hitting on Nancy was a deliberate echo of Phil anyway, and that was before I knew the line was specifically Phil’s to begin with. I am awesome. You should come back every day just to see how awesome I can be...

Though, maybe it’s hard to plan for this blog with the new format, having to just show up and hope for a good movie when I barely plan ahead now. But, you should come for my great intelligence and wit and let the specific film being viewed be a bonus.

But anyway, I digress.

#4 - page 119, “it’s a little strange being stuck here” for, well, Rita saying, It’s a little strange being stuck here... It’s a line that might have worked earlier in the film—

(And, last night, I dragged Gilbey back into this. Now, my first Groundhog Day Project binder and Dyer back into it as well. It’s like a nostalgia-fest.)

—as Dyer (2010) points out, “In the first few pages of your screenplay, one of the characters should state the story’s theme out loud.” He cites When Harry Met Sally... as a great example, as Harry states early on that “men and women can’t be friends because the sex part always gets in the way.” In this final revision of the Groundhog Day script, though, that first day takes so damn long that it would have been (roughly) twenty minutes before they hit the blizzard and another four before we see Rita again. Twenty-four minutes in is too late for a line this on-the-nose, and when we’re coming up on the end of the story, this line is just a groaner. It is nice that the reason Rita says this line is that Phil actually asked her if she had a good day.

#3 - page 121, “NO ZOD KISS” because, while Debbie does kiss Phil, Fred (aka General Zod) does not kiss Rita immediately thereafter.

#2 - page 122, “teen girl wants him?” because after Doris volunteers Phil for the auction,

A precocious TEEN GIRL turns to her FATHER.

TEEN GIRL
That’s the man I want, Daddy.

The one saving grace here, perhaps, would be that because apparently the production was reusing its child actors, it would have been Kate/Sue who wanted to buy Phil. And she would have gotten some dialogue that she didn’t have to share with Joey or Mike.

Ultimately, the two kids who still get do something in the film make for more memorable moments because they don’t have dialogue, though. Kate/Sue (Angela Gollan) and Mike/Joey/Zacchaeus (Shaun Chaiyabhat) remain silent. She leaves Mary’s house confused, maybe a little upset, and we remember how Phil paid $1000 for a piano lesson and got that girl kicked out, and it’s funny. He falls from the tree, and Phil catches him (and if we don’t recognize him from the hospital, we might have thought he was saved from death rather than just a broken leg) and yay, Phil, those “errands” are going to be some good stuff now that you’ve learned to be a better person, and then Phil is still incorrigible enough to demand thanks, and the kid is stunned enough (or just not paid the day rate for a speaking part enough) to run off without a word, and we laugh.

#1.5, which has no tab, sorry. I just wrote on the page itself for this one. Just about all the notes on this final revision over the past week involve tabs and/or words written right on the page, and probably some yellow highlighting... you know, in case you wanted some behind-the-scenes information like that. Anyway, Phil’s sculpting for Rita, and he tells her, Let me get it into the light and He turns it. That’s it. She replies, Oh, Phil. It’s beautiful. It’s just amazing. Except, we have no idea what it even is. The script doesn’t tell us that it’s her face, explicitly. And, I wrote NO DESCRIPTION? BAD SCRIPTING.

I mean, sure, after Rita asks, How did you do that? Phil replies, I know your face so well I could’ve done it with my eyes closed. But, as far as we can tell from the script, it could be a giant sculpture of her nose, or an earlobe, or her crooked smile. This is a script, damn it, not a movie. TELL, DON’T SHOW.

#1 - page 126, “I love those guys” because when Phils wakes up on February 3rd, he kisses the radio and says, I love those guys. Rita asks, Are you always this jolly in the morning? He runs to the window, looks outside, everyone’s gone, like in the movie, but Rita responds to his They’re all gone with You must’ve had some dream.

Phil stops, thinks.

PHIL
Did I just dream it?

Phil opens the door and runs into the hallway wearing only pajama bottoms.

RITA
Phil? Phil!

#0, because this tab was hiding almost exactly behind another one, but hey, it follows right out of #1 - page 127, “Piano at Cherry Street” - and I have talked before—I don’t know when—about there being a piano in the dining room of the Cherry Street Inn and Phil never playing it, like some poorly executed Chekhov’s Piano, but it’s because the payoff was in the script but not in the movie. Anyway, following right after Rita calling after Phil:

Rita sits up in bed and waits. Suddenly, from somewhere else in the inn comes the sound of Phil at the piano expertly playing aa difficult classical piece. He stops after a few bars.

PHIL (O.C.)
Yeah!!!!
[Seriously, Ramis put four exclamation points. I must shake my head at him, now. A disappointed shake. A knowing shake.]

Phil runs back into the room.

PHIL
It really happened! You’re really here!

And the scene continues briefly, and oddly Phil says, Let’s go! and scoops her up in his arms but then they show up in the dining room fully dressed. He was just in pajama bottoms only and who knows what she was wearing. The script doesn’t tell us. Anyway long story short: he introduces her to Florence, says, She stayed with me last night. Florence, AKA Mrs. Lancaster (Angela Paton), tells him, That’s all right. No extra charge. It’s amusing, but it doesn’t add much.

Finally, no tab for this, but on the final page (128), as Phil and Rita walk off down the beautiful, snow-covered streets of Punxsutawney, I wrote in rather large letters, NO ROBOT?! Because, as we all should know by now, Rita is a robot.

 

 

 

 

 

And, I never mentioned the old ladies. Turns out, there wasn’t a tab for them. Poor old ladies.

(I would include a screencap but Angelfire is being weird about logging in again. I can use old images but not upload new ones.)

Anyway, the driver (Barbara Ann Grimes) is named Gertie, the one in the passenger seat (Lucina Paquet) is named Ruby, and the one in the backseat (Ann Heekin) who later buys Larry for two bits is named Sara.

I didn’t say it was exciting.

I just like it when characters have names.

Now, I will see you all tomorrow, when I will be watching... something else. Haven’t decided yet.

P.S. Rita pays $365.88 in the final revision, but $339.88 in the movie. I cannot decide which number is funnier.

P.P.S. I should mention this, because synchronicity. Today at the mall I saw a sign that said ”Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.” It’s cheesy, but it fits well with Groundhog Day. Thing is, I wasn’t inspired to include it while passing that sign at the mall. But, then I’m doing a Google search for a screencap of the flat tire ladies (just in case I can figure out how to store my images at blogspot finally, and an image comes up in the search results with just that same quotation on it.

Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.

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