Showing posts from February, 2014

get it while it's hot

This entry is for new arrivals. It is unfortunate that a sad event--the death of Harold Ramis--might bring me new readers, but I welcome you nonetheless. This is The Groundhog Day Project where I watch Groundhog Day every day--today is day 210--and blog about it (or inspired by it). If you want to catch up, there are indexes (of everything prior to February) on Day 180 , Day 121 , and Day 62 . Or, if you just want to understand why I'm doing this, maybe read this , this or this . In the meantime... I meant to write about e' gia Ieri today. That translates as "it's already yesterday" but the film is also known as Stork Day . It's the Italian remake of Groundhog Day . Variety , 15 February 2004, tells us that producer Riccardo Tozzi and director Giulio Manfredonia "were talking about making a 'what if' comedy and decided to go straight to that subgenre's original source." The thing is, I never managed to watch it today. And, it

the head groundhog honcho

The only time Harold Ramis ever worried about his career was in 1972. He was living in Encino, California with his first wife, Anne. He had $40 in the bank. He'd written a novel with Michael Shamberg. An editor sent back the manuscript alone with a copy of The Elements of Style . He recounts the story in GQ , July 2009. "My wife said to me, 'Has it occurred to you that you might not be successful?' She wasn't saying I wouldn't be. She was just posing the question. And I said, 'Oh man. It's occurring to me right now .'" The reporter, Brett Martin, asked, "How long did you beat yourself up over it?" Ramis responded: I swear this is true: At that moment, the phone rang, and it was the owner of Second City asking me to come back and produce the television show that reconnected me with Bill Murray [Ramis had covered the troupe in 1968 while writing freelance for the Chicago Daily News and had worked with Murray on The National Lampoon

the last thing that you heard

Two things: Michelle and I were saddened to hear of the passing of Harold Ramis, one of America's greatest satirists, and like so many other comedic geniuses, a proud product of Chicago's Second City. When we watched his movies – from ‘Animal House’ and ‘Caddyshack’ to ‘Ghostbusters’ and ‘Groundhog Day’ – we didn’t just laugh until it hurt. We questioned authority. We identified with the outsider. We rooted for the underdog. And through it all, we never lost our faith in happy endings. Our thoughts and prayers are with Harold’s wife, Erica, his children and grandchildren, and all those who loved him, who quote his work with abandon, and who hope that he received total consciousness. and Harold Ramis and I together did the National Lampoon Show off Broadway, Meatballs, Stripes, Caddyshack, Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day. He earned his keep on this planet. God bless him. That longer one is from President Barack Obama. The shorter one is Bill Murray. But, I actually didn&#

more than anything else

There's a force in the universe that makes things happen. All you have to do is get in touch with it. Stop thinking. Let things happen and be... the ball... Find your center. Hear nothing. Feel nothing. That's Chevy Chase as Ty Webb in Caddyshack . I get the impression from quotations in articles or interview clips that Harold Ramis was a bit zen like Webb. He didn't "want to be the Buddha," though, he told Perry Garfinkel of Shambhala Sun . "I just want to admire him." Brett Martin, writing for GQ in 2009, calls Ramis a "sympathetic, though nonpracticing, Buddhist." With that one character in Caddyshack , with his own understated performance as Egon Spengler in Ghostbusters , and most obviously with the entirety of his cinematic masterpiece Groundhog Day , Ramis infused his films with a relaxed sort of zaniness that makes them hold up quite well long after the fact of their releases. Despite his success, he didn't particularly buy in

i'm waiting for the punchline

On the one hand, I've got nothing in particular to write about tonight. Phil has just figured out that he can take advantage of the time loop on my TV, and just punched Ned. I got back from hanging out at a speech tournament less than an hour ago (and it's 11:21 PM right now), and I've been out most of the day. (I wasn't judging, and didn't snag any sheet of impromptu topics, either, so I won't be connecting Groundhog Day to a bunch of random quotations.) On the other hand, I've been meaning to get back to critiquing Benesh and I've still got a handful of Groundhog Day -related articles nearby that I could write about or in response to. In particular, the manila folder that holds articles I haven't stuck in one of my Groundhog Day Project binders, is open to " Seeing the Shadow " by Dairyu Michael Wenger Sensei. It's a Buddhist piece. I was thinking about writing about the Buddhist take on Groundhog Day again. I didn't end up

let me just drop a tip here

I wrote about Larry's bar scene (and relationship chances) with Nancy way back on Day 32 . There isn't much dialogue to the exchange; it's mostly Larry... Larry: People just don’t understand what is involved in this. This is an art form. You know, I think that most people just think that I hold the camera and point it at stuff. There is a heck of a lot more to it than just that. Hey, would you be at all interested in seeing the inside of the van? Nancy: You know, I really have to get back to the party. Larry: Great idea. I think I’ll go with you. Let me just drop a tip here. And Larry puts maybe a dollar down and then quite deftly picks it right back up once Nancy isn't looking. Ryan Gilbey (2004) barely mentions this scene in his critique. "In the bar of the Pennsylvanian Hotel...," he writes, "Larry is trying, and failing, to seduce Nancy" (p. 76). The character of Larry is called "darkly funny" by Janet Maslin in The New York T

i surprise myself sometimes

Sometimes, you just have to run with an idea no matter how crazy it is. Today, I took a Myers-Briggs personality test... twice. And, I wasn't answering for myself. I was answering for Phil Connors, not how he would answer, per se, but what an honest answer would be if I were him. The first test--pre-loop Phil. The second--late- or post-loop Phil. For the record, I used the Human Metrics site . A couple of the notable prompts, considering who Phil is and where he ends up: 16. You are inclined to rely more on improvisation than on prior planning. 21. You know how to put every minute of your time to good purpose. Anyway, Phil's results pre-loop, though I was the one answering for him, surprised my a little. He got ESTP, broken down as follows: Extravert(1%) Sensing(38%) Thinking(38%) Perceiving(11)% You have marginal or no preference of Extraversion over Introversion (1%) You have moderate preference of Sensing over Intuition (38%) You have moderate preference of Thinki

what if there were no tomorrow?

I drove past my childhood home today--hadn't seen it in a while. It looks different but the same. Where there once was no fence dividing the front yard from the side yard, and where my father once built a fence, there's now a wall. Where there was a tree I used to climb and from which hung a tire swing and a rope, there is a different, smaller tree. I imagined going inside but the inside would probably be even more different than the outside. My memory of the place remains intact. That's good enough, I suppose. My daughter is in a play next week, and this evening she lamented that she's grown close to the other members of the cast and after their string of performances in just over a week she might not see some of them ever again. I thought that was at once a sad fact and a fascinatingly... happy isn't the word, but maybe somehow enlightening. Like a sand mandala or an ice sculpture--it's a form that exists here and now and is that much more powerful and affect

it was just his time

I neglected to mention one particular media use of "Groundhog Day" yesterday. Al Logan Slagle, aka Allogan Slagle, according to his biography on UC Davis ' website, ...was a member of the United Keetoowah Band of the Cherokee of Oklahoma and worked as an attorney for the Association of American Indian Affairs (AAIA) in Washington, D.C. Prior to that he worked for the California Indian Legal Services in Oakland. He was the co-author of the book, The Good Red Road (1987). He completed his doctorate at Loyola University and was admitted to the California State Bar in 1979 then beginning his career in defending the rights of Native American tribes. His research included making use of National Archives Indian rolls, family genealogies, tribal records, and other documents to write petitions for Native American tribes seeking official legal tribal status. He was also a regular contributor to News from Native California magazine . I've found his column as far back as 199

he's already in there

”When you find yourself needing the phrase This is like ‘Groundhog Day’ to explain how you feel, a movie has accomplished something.” So says Roger Ebert in his revisited review of Groundhog Day . Australian CPA , March 2004, provides this definition for the use of the phrase “Groundhog Day”: Ever feel like you are doing the same thing over and over again with little profit or gain? If that’s the case you are having a Groundhog moment/day/week/life. So coined after the 1993 film starring Bill Murray as the obnoxious weatherman destined to relive the same day over and over and over—until he smartens up and plays right. A saluatory [sic] lesson to us all. (p. 13) And, “Groundhog Day” has been applied to a lot of different things. For example (and this list is far from exhaustive) it has been applied… to an amnesty bill in Thailand, The Economist , 9 November 2013. to long-term, unsuccessful mental health therapy, Psychotherapy Networker , May/Jun 2013), and to a specific type of

i want to see his chart

I should be celebrating. It's day 200. Instead, I'm wondering about Phil Connors' astrological sign. There's something wrong with me. Pretty sure. But, anyway, I dealt with Phil's favorite color yesterday. I can deal with his astrological sign. The impulse is to just give him the same sign as Bill Murray. Murray was born 21 September 1950. This makes him a Virgo. According to Birthday Personality -- (And, I must say that I just picked a link from the top of the Google search because a) it's astrology, so are there really reputable websites and disreputable websites? b) I'm doing silly things; I needn't spend all day on them.) --that makes Phil Connors a "sensation seeker." His greatest challenge is "finding [his] own sense of direction." Yeah, that fits. The way forward [or out of the time loop you might get caught in] is to understand that organizations or people can’t give you a sense of purpose; the only way is to find

somebody asked me today

I must admit I had nothing to write about today. So, I asked my daughter Saer to ask me a question about Groundhog Day and I would spend today's blog answering it. She asked what Phil Connor's favorite color is. But, an aside first: I kept busy most of the day, including cutting apart the deleted scenes from Groundhog Day for later use, skipping through Planes, Trains & Automobiles and all three of the Nolan Batman movies (because Bob Hudgins mentioned that the Amstutz Expressway in Waukegan, Illinois--which is where Phil talks to the trooper in the snow--was used in one of those... (I swear he implied it was the latest one, but it was in Batman Begins (and I started with the latest and worked backward) that I found the brief moment in which Batman drives the Tumbler on that highway.) Since I found it and all, here you can see the shape of the overpass (where the Amstutz deadends): Which is the same shape (but I'm fairly sure not the same bridge) as the one

it's beginning to grow on me

I feel like I could keep writing about my weekend in Woodstock for days and weeks on end… but I’m not going to. Seriously though, I could give a narrative account of trekking through the snow to get a few photos of locations that wouldn’t be on the walking tour. Or, I could invent a more interesting end to my interactions with a local unemployed man who reminded me of O’Reilly, or the random woman standing on a street corner a block off the square who I imagined might be my Nancy Taylor if the day repeated. Or, I could just share the last batch of photos and get on to other topics. Hell, I’ve got more of Benesh’s dissertation to pick apart, actors to profile. And, I’ve got more graduate papers to tie into Groundhog Day and I’d surely share them here… Anyway, photos… First, this photo, taken today. That’s the current setup for my Groundhog Day stuff… though I just noticed my signed copy of the screenplay isn’t there. Gotta fix that… Had to make a judgment call between display

i never miss it

I drift away from talk of Woodstock--well, really, I planned to talk about reviews on the anniversary of the film's release, and that slipped into a bit about Bill Murray rather easily. But, I'm still not quite done with Woodstock. So, subtitle this one: Notes on a Walking Tour (or Two). And, the title is a lie. I miss Woodstock sometimes. I still obsess about locations, by the way. Just tonight, I was trying again to find a location from the big car chase. On Saturday's walking tour, Bob Hudgins mentioned that they filmed on a highway "between Country Club and 120." In McHenry, not far from Woodstock, there's a country club not far from 120. But, I check street view in Google Earth and have yet to find the distinctive pillar visible in this screencap: It's the sort of thing that I figure should still be around even if the nearby area has changed, more houses, fewer houses, whatever. But, I haven't found it yet. But anyway. Things from the tour