Showing posts from September, 2013

that's not true

I wouldn’t say I make a habit of attacking people in this blog. I mean, yeah, I spent a few days on how bad Rubin’s use of voiceover was in the original script. But, mostly, I say positive things. But, I was looking at some of the links I haven’t used yet for this blog, happened upon a couple about the town of Woodstock, Illinois—the filming location for Groundhog Day . And, I just have to say that Maggie Crane of Woodstock is a liar. Ok, some context: A.V. Club did a piece about Woodstock this past July. At one point, the author points out that “the people of Woodstock are still every bit as excited about their claim to fame, many of them having witnessed firsthand its production—which was, like Punxsutawney, inescapable—and appearing as extras.” One of those people they mention specifically is Maggie Crane, “who missed much of the filming due to her job at the library, fondly recalled fetching the French poetry that Murray’s character quotes to impress Andie MacDowell.” The thing

maybe he's not omnipotent

Sometimes, it’s the little things that grab your attention—especially when the big things are repeated day after day after day. You start to notice things, like how Rita and Nancy harmonize when they say “hi” to each other, or how there are three volunteers for the bachelor auction before Doris volunteers Phil—so, what happened to them? Were they even worse picks than Larry, considering he’s able to get up on stage after Phil? Or maybe those three guys weren’t volunteering, they were heading out some back exit because they didn’t want to be auctioned off like chattel. You can see them, here: But, let’s backtrack to earlier in the film… For example, Rita is amused by Phil making fun of her in the newsvan, or at least Andie MacDowell’s grinning like she’s amused. She should be offended, but she isn’t. Even when he says the line about the pelvic tilt outside the Pennsylvanian Hotel, she is still amused. She’s totally into him already; I’m not sure why hooking up with her is so diffic

probably be some accumulation

I ended yesterday’s comments on Danny Rubin’s script notes with a simple justification: “…it’s appropriate that Rubin overthought it even before he wrote it because now, more than 20 years later, I’m overthinking it all over again.” Rubin’s got additional benefits to repeating the same day over—in addition to the generic “no consequences” and the “no hangovers” bit we get from Gus (and which is in Rubin’s notes): “No fear of V.D. No fear of what other people think.” Two very different benefits there. And, there’s more: Don’t have to wash clothes or dishes. Don’t have to go to bed. Always know where you left things. And, there’s a point in Rubin’s notes where he takes it farther than the script would ever go. First, there’s a note about deer hunting, noting cleverly, “All the sport could’ve gone out of that. He knows where all the deer are.” Then, there’s more killing: Macabre Twist: Since death had no consequence, (and he had grown bored with killing deer)), it’s [sic] couldn’t

mix together at high altitudes

I had trouble reading the Script Notes bit in the eBook of How to Write Groundhog Day before—it’s not Rubin’s notes typed up but scans of the original typed pages. Full page images are not the easiest thing to navigate (and text in them is hard to read) in the nook app. Then, I forgot about the section until recently, and finally read through it yesterday. Most of the Script Notes seem to have been written before Rubin even completed a draft of the screenplay. Then, there are some check marks next to each of them. Not sure if he was checking them off as he put them into the screenplay or what… not even sure all of these things went into the screenplay. But, it’s interesting to see even more of the process not just in Rubin’s head but what he put to paper before he even sat down to write. The first note kinda gets the movie totally, so really, I could just cover it and call it a day. But, of course, I won’t do that. Anyway, the first note: “If there are no consequences for actions,

keep your fingers crossed

Recently, I made the argument that a) there is no inherent meaning in things and b) we make meaning by finding/manufacturing it. And, obviously, I’ve found plenty of (and presumably manufactured some) meaning in Groundhog Day or this project would have already been done and lamentably forgotten. And, plenty of people have found not only meaning but personal meaning in the film. And, by personal meaning, I mean they don’t see it as some obvious screed with its own message but a message befitting of their own personal beliefs. In fact, the film was featured in the Museum of Modern Art’s film series “The Hidden God: Film and Faith” back in 2003. Alex Kuczynski wrote in The New York Times : …the film “has become a curious favorite of religious leaders of many faiths, who all see in “Groundhog Day” a reflection of their own spiritual messages. Curators of the series, polling some 35 critics in the literary, religious and film worlds to suggest films with religious interpretations, found

something is different

How I Met Your Mother just began its final season this week. While some have complained about the implication that the show will once again revisit Ted and Robin and their potential as a couple, even as the entire season takes place during the weekend of her wedding to Barney, Donna Bowman at A.V. Club , has a great take on not only why it makes sense for the show to return to this before the end but also how this fits with storytelling in general: This show started with Ted and Robin. It’s not going to reach its titular moment, much less its final season endgame, without returning to Ted and Robin. Not only do I not mind this fact, but I’m happy to see it. Ted’s search for true love has become especially poignant this year. Robin’s engagement and impending marriage have raised for him an unavoidable question: Was she here all along? … This story, like all good stories, isn’t about getting to the ending. Good stories are about the hero becoming the person that the ending can happen t

another reason why today is especially exciting

Yesterday was Time Loop Day Part Deux: This Time I Neglected to Announce it on Twitter . Once again, I watched seven TV episodes dealing in time loops. It’s all genre shows, so if you’re not into that… well, why are you reading a blog about Groundhog Day , one of the great, classic science fiction comedies? Anyway, the episodes were: The Twilight Zone – “Judgment Night” Early Edition – “Run, Gary, Run” Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman – “‘Twas the Night Before Mxymas” Charmed – “Déjà Vu All Over Again” Seven Days – “Come Again” Eureka – “I Do Over” Fringe – “And Those We’ve Left Behind” As Groundhog Day begins here on my iPad, I imagine that the time loop has a specific reason—Phil Connors, egocentric user of women is being punished. If that is the case, then The Twilight Zone ’s episode “Judgment Night” is structurally much the same. Of course, there’s only one resumption shown, but for a half-hour show, there wasn’t much time to be too creative about the loo

the same thing your whole life

Not that there’s something wrong with being conservative—and I don’t mean politically, for the record, but just taking things slowly, being careful. Being averse to change. Not trying new things all the damn time. It can’t all be the “adolescent phase.” You can’t always live for today. Sometimes you should probably assume that tomorrow will not only get here but people will expect that you had fulfilled your responsibilities in the meantime. But, oh how fun it would be if you could. Honestly, I wanted to write today a response to yesterday . Toe the line, follow the rules, clean up your room, stand up straight, pick up your feet, take it like a man, be nice to your sister, don’t mix beer and wine ever, don’t drive on the railroad tracks… I keep my room pretty clean, I think I’m pretty nice to my sisters—if you don’t count my snide and sarcastic comments. I don’t mix beer and wine, but that’s just because I don’t like beer— (There doesn’t seem to be any good reason for that rule,

if you only had one day to live

I imagine the days where Phil Connors gets contemplative. Maybe it’s before he turns to depression. Maybe it’s after. And, a weird thought occurs to me—he can never fast. I mean, he can go without food for a day, sure. But, that’s it, a day. His digestive system will have food from the day before, so he probably won’t be all that hungry. I mean, yeah, when we’re used to eating regularly, we’ll get hungry after missing a meal. But, that’s not real hunger. There’s an interesting bit in Siddhartha in which Kamaswami asks Siddhartha what he has learned that he can give. Siddhartha’s response: “I can think. I can wait. I can fast.” Kamaswami asks, what good is fasting? He’s a businessman, a merchant who certainly doesn’t value the contemplative moments of life. Siddhartha explains: It is of great value, sir. If a man has nothing to eat, fasting is the most intelligent thing he can do. If, for instance, Siddhartha had not learned how to fast, he would have had to seek some kind of work t

i really feel weird

Subtitle: one lingering detail that wasn’t all in voiceover. Just after Phil was “learning how to listen” in Rubin’s original, there’s a scene at a Basketball Court. Phil plays one-on-one with “some TEENAGER.” In the direction, “Phil steals the ball and does a good lay-up. The Teenager calls it a “[p]retty good move for an old guy.” Phil says he practices a lot. (Six months, four to five hours a day, and you’d be an expert.) So, the Teenager says he’s going to practice a lot, too. And, Phil asks him, “Aren’t you supposed to be in classes now?” (Nevermind that in Punxsutawney, they probably get the day off school… despite the frog prince scene as well.) The Teenager responds: “You wanna be my daddy or you wanna play b-ball?” (There’s already some things going on on Groundhog Day regarding parenting and parental roles, but they’re worthy of a separate entry.) Then, it’s the Teenager’s turn to do some exposition, while dribbling: Everybody worrying about my future. I say, “He