Showing posts from December, 2013

that's not the worst part

Sometimes.... no--often, lately, I've come to this blog without a plan. It's my winter break from grad school so I should be doing some of the time intensive stuff. Hell, a few days ago I did some of that; I finally did the third TV Time loop day and I watched a couple time loop movies. I don't even remember what else I did this week. I know I talked about being in a relationship with Groundhog Day , and last night I wrote The Ballad of Phil Connors . But, the days blend together... But, maybe that's the point. You may notice that, here on Blogger I don't number the entries. But, I do number the Word files, and on both my Facebook page and Twitter I number them. But, here I let them be... timeless, sort of. And, in my head I not only forget what I've done lately--I swear, for instance, that it was recent that I wrote extensively about eternal recurrence ( 39 , 40 , 41 ) and Christ-Figures ( 93 , 94 , 107 , 110 ) and deja vu ( 14 , 15 , 16 ), yet those

you don't like poetry?

It's day 150, so I wanted to do something special. This was written only in the time it took for the movie to play (actually, a little less, as I completed writing it and typing it up just as the last day of the loop was just beginning), so I don't figure it's the best poem ever (and I can't believe I couldn't fit in the name Punxsutawney). But, I think some of the lines turned out quite well. So, without further ado... The Ballad of Phil Connors Come all and hear of the hapless weatherman Who in cold midwinter couldn't predict a storm. Time started repeatin', he had no choice but transform. Come listen to the sarcastic weatherman Who ridicules the townsfolk, tricks a local filly, Steals a bag of money, drinks and drives willy nilly. So, come all and hear of the sad weatherman Who, stuck in coldhearted curse of "I Got You Babe," Learned to lie and speak French better than ol' Honest Abe Come all and watch the lonely old weatherman Who for

you're playing yesterday's tape

The trailer for Groundhog Day , as my daughter said after seeing it, is cheesy. See for yourself. I don’t mind the cheesiness, or how much more the trailer feels like the early 90s (not the 80s) than the film itself does. Things I do mind: 1. That alarm buzzer. Considering “I Got You Babe” was in the script from the beginning, it’s a little weird they go for the buzzer. I get that they need the buzzer for how they use it, as a reset noise for new days within the trailer, but, well, I just don’t like it. 2. Giving away the punchline on the déjà vu exchange with Mrs. Lancaster… but I guess you’ve got to give away some jokes. 3. The “Why?” at 1:16. Phil does not ask “Why” when Rita ughs at him eating the cake. But, they edit it so he’s responding to Rita saying, “Don’t you worry about cholesterol?” So, they change the line. I don’t like that. 4. That “Ned!” before Phil punches Ryerson at 1:22. I’m not sure why they dubbed a different “Ned” than is in the film. Or maybe the one in

looking foxy tonight, man

Just one more note about her : though it's set in the near future, there is a certain style about the film, especially in the clothing, that makes it seem more like the 1950s. And, that got me to thinking about the costumes in Groundhog Day . Now, this isn't a film you'd necessarily think about having costumes. But, since the film is set on the same day over and over, I'm sure the costume department may have had several of each of Phil's shirts and ties, and Rita's blouse and vest and maybe even something like Doris' waitress outfit. A lot of the stuff with extras outside, like the Ned Ryerson bit, would have been filmed each version all in one day so costumes for the extras wouldn't have mattered much. Still, notable extras, like the ones I've called Pimp and Pimp's Boyfriend (also Earmuffs and Outdoor Yellow Hat Guy), also show up at Gobbler's Knob in the same outfits, so there was some consistency even with sequences that were not filmed

i think this is getting too personal

So, today I was at the movie theater watching her — —which, since several people have had no idea what movie I’m talking about when I mention it, I’ll describe. Spike Jonze writes and directs. Joaquin Phoenix stars as Theodore Twombly, recently separated with divorce pending, unable to really get on with his life. For a living, he works for Beautiful Handwritten Letters (a dot com I was actually surprised to find didn’t exist) crafting notes, postcards, and letters for other people based on whatever little information they provide. Arguably, he’s more responsible for some relationships than the people involved, with all the work he puts in. The film begins, in fact, with him composing one letter then immediately starting on the response to that very letter. Out one day he buys a new artificially intelligent operating system—OS1—for his computer/phone. His personalized OS—voiced by Scarlett Johansson—names herself Samantha because she likes the sound of it. She calls him at work and d

this is a restricted area

Today for Connorsmas, my daughter got me this: Two things: 1. That’s the Beanie Baby version of Punxsutawney Phil ( his name is Punxsutawn- e Phil). Inside this tag is the following poem: At Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney Lives a groundhog who’s big and brawny Punxsutawney Phil’s the name Predicting spring is his game! And he was born February 2, 2002. Twenty years after Rubin et al went to Punxsutawney to see the festivities to figure out what they could use in the film. 2. Yes, I called today—December 25—Connorsmas. Yet another way for me to be blasphemous and cute at the same time. It occurred to me recently that Phil is not the only person to die in Groundhog Day and come back. O’Reilly does the same, and he dies without the expectation the next morning that he might be alive and… as well as could be expected for a homeless man. Speaking of O’Reilly, what kind of nurse tells the next of kin (as far as she knows) that his loved one (as far as she knows) “was just old”

our nation's high

Rita’s imitating a groundhog right now, and Phil just called her “new.” But, just like the last couple days, I’m going to be talking mostly about something other than Groundhog Day today. I watched another time loop movie this morning, a Canadian “thriller” called Repeaters . Imagine if the time loop followed, instead of weatherman Phil Connors, a few drug addicts. The basic premise, three addicts get a day pass out of rehab, the day doesn’t go so well, but then, through mostly unexplained circumstances, the three of them get to repeat the day again and again. Like Phil Connors... Assume SPOILERS ahead. Like Phil Connors, these three get out of the loop by doing good, sort of. Day 1 starts with Kyle woken by—I guess he’s a doctor, his name is Bob—telling him it’s 7:30. Then we meet Michael, who, though he turns out to be the id of the group, seems the more put upon, getting tripped by a fellow “inmate” (patient?). Kyle, who will turn out to be more the ego of the group, here is sh

and we're clear

Subtitle this one: TV Time Loop Day Part Drei: This Time It’s Less Interesting . Seriously though, after two previous times doing this ( here and here ), the structure is rather obvious. You got your central plot with the protagonist and then various side bits put there just so they can solve other stuff (like Phil’s good deeds but less… important). For example… actually I’m not sure any of these episode involved solving other stuff, but there were things obviously there to prove the loop was happening; in Smallville , for example, Clark knows to whom the flowers are being delivered and tells Chloe to prove it—it’s a girl who works so hard Chloe says she can’t have had a date in years, so Clark isn’t just guessing. It is interesting in these episodes that characters have to deal with the deaths of people close to them, sometimes the deaths of several people, depending on what resumption they’re on. Phil deals with his own death, of course, and O’Reilly’s death, but some of these ep

we made love like sea otters

Today was going to be the third TV Time Loop Day , but I got to it too late. Instead, I'm watching 12 Dates of Christmas , a 2011 ABC Family original... that is far too cheesy just during the opening cover of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" and a montage of New York City street scenes. This might actually be painful. But, if Phil can put up with Rita for all those years of Groundhog Days, I can watch this movie for 1 hour 26 minutes. Even the opening line, "What is a calling bird anyway?" is kinda lame. And, Amy Smart is now in this, with some trite dialogue and I'm wishing I were watching The Butterfly Effect instead, because she's far better in that than I imagine she will be here. This girl has a "life plan"--she should watch Groundhog Day . And get out more. Five minutes in and we get another version of "The Twelve Days of Christmas." I get that the title of this movie is a play on that song, but, still, could they not get any

you just fell to sleep

Despite the title of today’s entry, I will not be listing off the many faults of Rita Hanson, who says that line just before the end of the film. Instead, I use that line because it was the last correction I just made in a 3 hour plus process of fixing the transcript I have of the movie. See, I got the transcript online and use it occasionally to find lines to use as titles, but far too often there are mistakes. Prior to today, I’d reformatted the transcript that existed—if you click on that link above, you’ll see how it’s organized (I get the feeling the “transcript” was actually just pulled off the subtitle file, hence it being broken up as it is)—and corrected some lines. But, tonight I set out to fix the whole thing. (Now, I can print a copy and mark each line I’ve used for titles and mark off new ones as I go so I can be sure not to repeat myself.) At first, I thought it wouldn’t take too much longer than simply watching the movie. But, 20 minutes into the process I was only

let's get you someplace warm

Les Podewell, who plays the old homeless man O'Reilly, died in 1998. He was 91. Hospitalized after a stroke, the Chicago Tribune reports, 26 November 1998, Podewell, asked the usual questions to test his coherence—who's the president? how many fingers am I holding up?—he instead, at his daughter's urging, "regaled [his doctors] with the Player's Speech, a soliloquy from Shakespeare's 'Hamlet,' which he last had performed in the 1930s." The same Chicago Tribune article tells us, “Mr. Podewell's career spanned 70 years, and he had more than 100 productions to his name. In the film ‘Groundhog Day,’ Mr. Podewell played a homeless man befriended by Murray's character.” Podewell seems like he was a cool guy. Aside from that Hamlet thing, According to his daughter, he “was very unassuming; he never talked about himself--which is unusual for an actor.” In Groundhog Day , of course, he doesn’t even speak. He barely even make a sound (and the sou

it's hard down there at the bottom

I don't like that Gregory Solman, writing for Film Comment in November 1993, calls O'Reilly a "wino." But, even more I don't like that Solman labels the old man pejoratively yet suggests that his death is undignified... as if a "wino" would have any other kind. Even worse, though, he says Phil "is doomed to witness daily" O'Reilly's death. The first two things were somewhat subjective, but that last one is not. Phil does not witness O'Reilly's death until the day he takes him to the hospital. On screen, that is only two nights before the end, which means Phil witnesses O'Reilly's death twice. Even if we assume (appropriately) that many days are not shown on screen, putting the old man's death this late in the presentation implies that it became a part of Phil's experience late in the loop. So, no, Phil is not "doomed to witness daily" the old man's death. He's not doomed to witness it at all, i

it's led you here

I saw About Time again today, and I was reading over my entry here about that film, and I noticed an error. POTENTIAL SPOILERS AHEAD… Taking the protagonist’s do-each-day-twice methodology and twisting it together with Nietzsche’s eternal recurrence, I suggested the following: 1) live each day as if it were the specific day you had time traveled to, as if it's the most important day you have and 2) do with that day only things you would be willing to do again and again and again. I'm certainly not suggesting that eternal recurrence is real, but it's a great way to look at the present. If something isn't worth doing again, why do it once? And, no, that’s not the mistake. I still like the idea of that now, about five weeks later. And, considering this blog (and Groundhog Day is so often about the passage of time, it’s remarkable how recent that blog entry seems to me. But, anyway, I do think the day can be so much better if you both relax into it and make the effort

what is going on?

Today's entry will contain very few words. That doesn't mean it didn't take some effort (and a lot of computer time). See, today, I cut two different versions of Groundhog Day . Nothing too fancy, just used Windows Live Movie Maker . The longer version (actually 6 minutes shorter than the real version) is not online yet, but the shorter one, which I call Rita's Groundhog Day is online. Recall my entry about Rita's perspective and why she would have any interest in Phil. Or, if you missed that one, go have a read. It was one of the more fun entries to write. Anyway, this short version of Groundhog Day cuts out the time loop entirely and ignores stuff Rita is not there for-- (Except for Larry hitting on Nancy, though I probably could have cut that as well. I think I may have a second go at this particular version of the film, cutting out the Larry and Nancy bit, which means a more complicated cut from the establishing shot of the exterior of the Pennsylvanian to

you've got to believe me

I like that Gregory Solman, writing for Film Comment in November 1993, agrees with me that Phil Connors merely “memorize[s] French poetry” rather than the usual interpretation people make—that Phil actually learned French. I, of course, also contend that Phil didn’t necessarily master the piano either—we only see him play two songs... but there’s a problem with cynicism on that second bit. See, presuming the Phil doesn’t learn French but merely memorizes enough to impress Rita fits with the flow of the story; at that particular point in the time loop and in the filmic representation of Phil’s journey through the loop, it makes sense that Phil would take the shortcut. But, later, on the final day of the time loop, it doesn’t make as much sense to assume Phil isn’t really making the effort. But, that’s just the obvious take—that Phil improves himself in act three and that’s a bit of the lesson he learns: bettering himself makes him worthy of release from the time loop. Of course, there