Showing posts from June, 2014

because i'm egocentric

A couple brief updates: I’ve been working on putting together a party for Day 365, an outdoor screening that may mix together three different pools of people I know—grad school folk, speech team folk, and relatives. Should be interesting. My Woodstock Willie cookie from Jaci’s Cookies —my prize for getting the opening question right in the trivia contest back at the Official Groundhog Day Breakfast in Woodstock, February 2nd—has been eaten, so it no longer sits on either of my Groundhog Day shelves. I suppose it wasn’t made to last forever, and get moved around occasionally. Parts of the icing started falling off. Two days ago, I opened the plastic to try to re-place them, and inadvertently made it much worse. So, then I bit the bullet (figuratively) and bit the cookie (literally), then broke off pieces for my kids, and in no time the cookie was gone. Flavor-wise, it held up well nearly five months after being made. I recently acquired a LEGO tree stump, so my second LEGO pr

you think i'm acting like this...

Before I get into Tru Calling , I must wonder aloud--or whatever the onscreen text version of aloud is--have I shared Noel Taylor's (1993, February 12) review of Groundhog Day ? Back in '93, Taylor wrote a review for the Ottawa Citizen and, well, he didn't really like the movie. Probably because he's a Canadian fool, but I can't be sure; I don't know the guy. Anyway, the title of his review is "Even Bill Murray can't save repetitive comedy." And, he says, somewhat accurately, "Murray being nice is less fun than Murray being insufferable," and less rightly, "He does his best, but Groundhog Day is one of those comedy routines Murray should have been glad to escape from." Counter that with Bill Provick (1993, September 3), also at the Ottawa Citizen : "If only Bill Murray could be this funny all the time. Perhaps he should always co-star with a groundhog. He was hilarious as in Caddyshack as the crazed groundskeeper stalki

the ticket for you

Two things to talk about today: 1) Paul Hannam's (2008) The Magic of Groundhog Day and 2) a few more episodes of Tru Calling . For the record, I have not finished reading Hannam's book. And, I might not do so. Mostly because, somewhat appropriately, the book is fairly repetitive. Hannam made his point early on, and then he's repeated that same point in slightly different ways a few chapters since. I may sample a bit here and there in the later chapters, see if he takes it anywhere interesting. But, I've got other books I need to be reading on this summer break. How about some highlights? In the meantime, Tru Calling 's "The Getaway" is messing with time again... in the annoying way, I mean. New guy--Jason Priestly's guy whose name I haven't noticed yet for some reason--is just starting work, which would be how long after his interview in the previous episode? This is television so no interview process takes more than a week, I'm sure. But,

we could do it again sometime

Watching another episode of Tru Calling (episode 12 - "Valentine") and it's shaping up to be the most like Groundhog Day yet; a blocked road, an isolated location (even no cell service--which was not an issue for Phil in the movie but was an issue in Ramis' drafts; Phil drove up in his own car and had a car phone which cuts out at one point.). But, it's Tru Calling so there's a murder. (For the record, I called which guest star was the murderer, but then he showed up dead... but with what looked like scratches on his neck like maybe he tried to kill again and got scratched. I'm not ruling out the possibility that I am wrong.) Something occurred to me while watching Groundhog Day today. Ned is not interested in getting reacquainted with Phil. At least not in the film version. In Ramis' drafts, Ned is excited just to be recognized by Phil. But, in the final product, Ned is just trying to take advantage of their past relationship to make a sale. C

if it's not too boring

Today's reason to repeat a day forever: to feel and be felt. i have to sit here?

I rethink things. Too much sometimes. For example, I had intended to revisit the TV Time Loop episodes I'd watched before ( here , here and here ) for this blog when summer break came. Watched two off the top of the randomized list yesterday and then looked back at the previous entry that included those two and I'm not sure I really added anything especially notable in the more recent discussion. Rethinking my actions, or worse yet, overthinking actions before I've even committed to them--this has been a problem of mine for a while. Today we--the speech team--had our first of four planned summer practices. One of the team-building exercises we did involved "fear rocks." Basic idea, at the beginning of practice everyone got a rock--mine was particularly big and kinda wedge shaped, the kind of thing that would cause blunt force trauma a bit too well if it came to that. On that rock, we each wrote a fear we had regarding the upcoming year in forensics. Then, we

how much longer...

Seven Days - “Come Again” ... again . I’ve been wanting to revisit some of the time loops of old. “See you yesterday, Mr. Parker.” That would make a good title. “Research show that people from small towns are much more likely to lead happy, productive lives.” Olga tells Parker this because he isn’t impressed by the old diner they go to. I note it because, hey, obvious, it’s the kind of thing Phil Connors might point out after his time in Punxsutawney. But, I also noticed—since I’m focusing on this episode right now—they weren’t in a small town, per se, but at a roadside diner. First backstep, Parker is already manipulating time to go after the girl (Olga). By the second go round (the time loop in effect), he’s given up on that already. In case you don’t know this series, Seven Days involves regular time travel. Parker pilots a machine that backsteps up to seven days to save some life or lives, or keep some horrible thing from happening. In this episode, a Dr. Axelrad has importan

you gotta check your mirrors

Watching Tru Calling again, and Luc and Tru have known each other for more than a month now according to dialogue but Tru's brother and Tru's best friend only got together like once according to dialogue, even though those things happened a day apart if anyone would bother with actual continuity. Groundhog Day doesn't have this problem, but imagine a Groundhog Day TV series... like Day Break minus the cops and criminals or Tru Calling minus the talking dead people. It would end up having a whole lot of continuity problems. Unless they had an entire crew of writers and producers responsible for nothing but continuity. Continuity is good. Groundhog Day doesn't have much in the way of continuity errors. The Phil Sign Girl's disappearing friend is the big one. That the DJ banter and the street scene outside don't have quite the same timing from Day 1 to Day 2 would be a little one. (I've gone over errors before , so let's not linger.) Continu

okay, that's enough

I used to try to stay up all night sometimes. I thought if I could stay conscious I could figure out what was going on, or at least hang onto something from the day before. But I gave up on that a long time ago. (Ramis, 1992, January 30, p. 98) Oh, and let's subtitles this, there's no way these notes on Ramis' third revision of the screenplay for Groundhog Day ... is ever going to end, as long as I nitpick the details . (But, what the hell? Details be damned.) Phil has managed to get good at not only pool and bowling , but also juggling and hacky sack, and he can ride a unicycle (p. 99). There's an extra detail to the moment at the end of "god day" in which Rita inspires Phil. Phil concedes that he isn't a jerk and adds, "It really doesn't make a lot of difference. I've killed myself so many times, I don't even exist anymore. I'm just completely empty." "Or completely clean," Rita replies. "If you're g

five, four, three...

Subtitle: notes on a draft, because these things don’t write themselves, part three. Scene 100, Page 75 - this deleted scene (which has very little content; I would rather see something like the room-destruction scene really, since it was apparently actually filmed): Kind of makes Phil seem like a stalker. I like the idea of Scene 102, in which Phil sees Nancy again and speaks to her. It’s like the brief bit in the costumed scene outside the movie theater in which he acknowledges her in the movie, but with a little more dialogue to it. “Hi,” Nancy,” Phil says. “Hi,” Nancy replies. “Do I know you?” The description here is interesting: “Phil can’t manage enough enthusiasm to pursue her yet again.” “No,” Phil says then, “I guess not. I thought you were someone else.” And, he keeps on moving to where Rita and Larry are waiting. In the banquet sequence at the end of the movie, we get to see Nancy again, and she even bids on Phil, but there’s no acknowledgement by Phil of there having

down and down and down i go

Subtitle: Notes on Harold Ramis' third revision for Groundhog Day , part two: Groundhoggier . While this draft does give some more examples of Phil being an ass, he also seems a little more reasonable in some instances. Case in point: Rita asks, "What do you want me to do?" In the film version, Phil says "I don’t know! You’re a producer, come up with something." In this draft: "The truth? I'd like you to spend the next 24 hours with me and don't leave my side for a second." It reads at first like he is genuinely trying to get Rita's help, asking for it rather than demanding it. But, here is where, in this draft, Rita says, "You know, Phil, you can charm all the little P.A.'s at the station, all the secretaries, and even some of the weekend anchors, but not me--not in a thousand years" (p. 41). Of course, then that thousand year bit at the end reads like deliberate setup for the unspoken joke to come--Phil will spend a thous

this is your third

Subtitle: notes on yet another draft of the screenplay for Groundhog Day , part one. Phil in front of the green screen doesn't include any dialogue. The WPBH scene would be scripted and filmed later of course. An additional scene (the opening scene at the news station in Pittsburgh) was shot after the movie wrapped, written by Harold. (Rubin, 2012, p. 121) Gil Hawley--Phil's boss--is still in this draft, and he gets some of the lines that later to go Rita and Larry. He gets Larry's bit about San Juan Capistrano and Rita's "cute story" bit, for example. Phil, even though this draft and the previous one were done after Bill Murray got involved, is still described as being in his mid-thirties. And, he's got a little more of an attitude about doing the groundhog coverage again. In response to Hawley telling him he "covered the swallows returning to Capistrano for ten years in a row," Phil tells him, "You should've killed the guy who ma

i thought you were supposed to disappear

Note: I've only read half of the recently discovered "third revision" of the screenplay, so I won't get into picking that apart just yet . Today, I've watched 3 more episodes of Tru Calling and, while I don't intend to go episode by episode like I did with Day Break , I figured I'd share some thoughts. Also, I've had some thought about the future of The Groundhog Day Project after Day 365. First, Tru Calling : Episode 6 - "Star-Crossed" - Turns out Davis (Tru's boss) knows what she can do, so there's a brief conversation about it, and she's got a great response to Davis calling her repeat-a-day gig "a gift." She says, "Candles are gifts, boots, bath salts maybe, but this is... I don't know what this is..." My first problem (for this entry, not my first problem with the show; that would be the lame, 90s-indie-band-that-never-made-it-big theme song) here is the more Tru does this, especially now with h

you must really enjoy it

I cannot decide if it’s weird that the first thing I wanted to check in the third revision of the Groundhog Day screenplay was O’Reilly’s name—the paramedic Bud refers to him as ol’ Reilly (recall, there was a weird typo in the second revision that made the name semi-unreadable). And, in the deleted scene, the paramedic calls him ol’ Jedson . See: I haven’t read the third revision yet. I may do so tomorrow. And, I figure that it will take me at least three entries to pick it apart. As it was with Rubin’s original: Day 49 – it’s groundhog time Day 50 – see, i knew you were gonna say that Day 51 – i really feel weird And, Ramis’ second revision: Day 36 – i’ve already done it… twice Day 37 – watch out for that first step Day 38 – sounds like a lot of fun Or the three days I spent breaking down the structure of the “screenplay” of the final film: Day 114 – catch you tomorrow Day 115 – what if there is no tomorrow? Day 116 – there wasn’t one today For now, having only g

hello, father

Yesterday was Father’s Day, but I had people over and had to write about that . I had intended to write a companion piece to the Mother’s Day one. Today will have to do. Two things: First, Phil refers to the Old Man, Jedson O’Reilly as “father” and “dad” and “pop”—something that I have always found to be a bit, well, weird. Gilbey (2004) suggests that Phil’s use of “father” specifically, “with its religious connotations, is interesting here, though it doesn’t feature in Rubin’s first revision” (p. 74). (Note: I have never read Rubin’s first revision, just Rubin’s original and Ramis’ second revision. A quick Google search just now and I still cannot find that one online. However, I just found Ramis’ third revision, it is already printing, and I will read it soon. So, I got that going for me.) Me—I hear Phil call O’Reilly “dad” and it sounds to me like that moment in Back to the Future when Marty accidentally calls George in 1955 “dad” then awkwardly tries to cover it by calling