It's that time of the... couple weeks again when I take some impromptu speaking prompts and link them all to Groundhog Day, which I did here, here and here before (actually, that last one I didn't finish in just one entry because it was late and I was tired, so there was a part two). Now, on with the show...
Actually, I must interrupt first. See, today at the tournament there were several people asking me about this blog, what's the goal, what's the point, what's the value, and once again "what the fuck are you doing?" But, that last guy, aside from the profanity, can't be trusted anyway because he doesn't like museums or beaches or trees. That's just not normal. The museum thing is funny because a) he doesn't like paintings because they're abstract representations and not reality itself but he has been known to write screenplays and b) if he doesn't like abstract things, I suppose he wouldn't understand why I'm doing this. But, anyway, I've got 21 quotations to get through, a couple that might be fairly tricky and several of which I will have to make quite metaphorical or abstract to get at them properly.
Now, on with show...
Actually, this will be a little strange because I also turned on the movie earlier when I didn't have a ballot in the first round--that's forensics speak for I didn't have to go judge anything that round--and just to perplex and intrigue people a bit more, since they were already asking me questions I didn't necessarily want to answer too specifically, I would recite dialogue along with the film.
Now, you may be asking why I didn't give clear answers to everyone's questions. Well, if you've been keeping up with the blog all along, you probably don't even question it anymore. you get it, on some level. At dinner after the tournament a couple tournaments ago, one of my friends suggested that people should do more strange stuff like this project. I wholeheartedly agree. Stuff like this, off the beaten path, outside the box, whatever you want to call it--this is what many of us need, I think, in the modern world, especially in the Western world or the geopolitical North, the Core where we understand Bokonon's "busy busy busy."
But, that isn't why I do this. I mean, that may be part of it. And, when I began it, it may have been a crazy whim, a mad idea that I hadn't really thought through to the end. It may have been a desperate way to find some new, structured thing I could grasp onto to get ahold of the tattered remnants of my recent years, a way to control something in my life, to control it all on my own. Sure, I have to adjust it to the schedule of grad school, the schedule of my kids, the schedule of speech tournaments and errands and homework and eating and sleeping and everything else that is life, but it's still all mine. I sit down and focus on the film and the ideas that are nestled overtly in its story and that linger deeper beneath its skin. I find new ways to talk about the same 101 minutes, to extrapolate this simple little story into the story of all of us...
Someone asks me why I'm doing this, and I just want to assign them a few entries to read and then maybe I'll be willing to answer their questions. Why am I doing this? a) Why not? Life needs outlets, life needs meditative spaces where one can expunge emotion and explore ideas and make stupid jokes and come up with excuses to watch other tv shows and movies that involve time loops and also find excuses to inject all of this into a formal study of communication. As it says at the top of this blog I'm "watching a movie over and over again, a movie about living a day over and over again, because that is what life is all about." Life may not be as meaningless as Ralph implies in the bowling alley, but it certainly is so very repetitive if we are not deliberate in our efforts to make it interesting.
Why am I doing this?
Because someone needed to. Because every piece of art deserves to be studied and broken down. Every piece of fiction deserves to be dissected until we know not just what it means but what it can mean. I'll get into this more tomorrow--or maybe the day after if I don't ever manage to get to the impromptu quotations today--but there is a very important bit of the way I break down the story of Groundhog Day that applies to life. your life, my life, Phil's life. See, I recently pointed out in my new breakdown of days in the film that I put the end of each of its three acts in Phil's room at the Cherry Street Inn. For Phil, every day begins in that room and most every day ends there as well. But, for us, we don't see every morning wake up, and we only see a few nights in that room. But, Rita is there three times (not counting her brief appearance there in the series of slaps). She is there as date night peaks, then the darker portion of the film gets going... see, I don't necessarily put the act break at the beginning of Phil's pursuit of Rita but rather at the end of it, when he should be realizing he can't control everything no matter how much effort he puts into it. Rita is there again at the end of god day which is when Phil has moved past depression and death to find some semblance of peace with his situation. And, that night he sees in Rita something of the person he can be (even if I have suggested more than once that Rita is not nearly as good as what Phil sees in her). I think this makes the second act quite short, unlike a lot of films, but I don't mind so much, but I'll get into that more tomorrow or the next day when I deal explicitly with the structure. Rita is again in Phil's room at the end of the third act, though we don't get to see her there at night but rather the next morning as the time loop is broken. Not because Rita is there. She's something of a symbolic representation of where Phil is in regards to his situation but she is not the reason for his transitions per se. But, I've already made that argument before (and will probably make it again). My point now is that it's something of a symbolic thing that each act ends in that same room because that is how life is. Most any day is just the same old stuff as the day before and the day before that. That the big transitions for Phil might come or at least be triggered there in his home away from home is nothing if not representative of real life.
But, I digress. I'm supposed to be dealing with impromptu quotations, but I may just break with the "tradition" and get to them tomorrow, because I don't think I'm done with this just yet.
Why am I doing this, you ask.
Read this entry in which I explain the project and its place in my life to the people studying this in the future.
Read this entry in which I start with some silly, shallow stuff then start getting into personal stuff.
Read this entry that gets rather serious about what we spend our lives doing and what maybe we should spend our lives doing.
Read this entry which was a primer of sorts for new readers a while back.
Then, read all the rest of the 112 entries (not counting today, Day 113, because you've obviously read this one already. Then if you still want to ask me why I am doing this, I will welcome your questions.
Today's reason to repeat a day forever: fuck you. I am not your performing monkey.