It might not seem like the obvious link to connect Groundhog Day to those teen movies from the 1980s (or any decade) that I watched over the past month (or ever). But, there's a reason I refer to Phil's "adolescent" period when talking (or blogging) about this movie. First of all, that's how Harold Ramis refers to it on the commentary track, if I remember rightly. But, also, it just makes sense. Phil Connors, realizing the freedom inherent in the time loop, is like an adolescent sowing his wild oats. Pre-loop Phil is also like a teenager in that he thinks he knows everything, thinks he's better than everyone else and he is entirely self-centered and selfish.
But, mostly, I don't want to talk explicitly about Groundhog Day tonight. I will note that the movie is going by unimaginably fast, like I'm so familiar with it, it almost isn't registering. I'd be tempted to stop typing and just focus on the movie, but who's got the time for that? I was at school for 14 hours today. And, I could probably use some sleep tonight.
So, today is supposed to be a recap day. That last one—Day 515 – if you want to come back tomorrow, i could—--covered a good chunk of "phase two" of this blog, a month each of romantic comedies, slasher films, Thanksgiving movies and Christmas movies. Below, you will find links to all of my entries for my month each of 1980s action movies, musicals and 1980s teen movies.
(A little preview before moving on to the links: the upcoming month will be formatted a little differently--I will try to remember to mention that each entry for new readers--giving only 3 days to each film because I will be watching 10 films recommended to me by readers, friends and/or family. After that may finally be the month of westerns I've been putting together; it will be formatted like the slasher film month, one film a day, tracking the genre over time. I may squeeze a "normal" month in between so the format of phase two doesn't get lost completely. I've got a handful of sets of four films in mind for upcoming months so it shouldn't be too hard to come up with one. In fact, while typing this, I have narrowed it down to two sets, four of my favorite movies (to counter the recommendations from others) or four movies about personal identity (since I'm about to get into researching that in depth for my thesis, which got mentioned by my instructor in class tonight, which was pretty cool). I'll decided for sure sometime during this upcoming month of recommendations.)
My action movie month began with Lethal Weapon. Day 516 – i think i’m an eighties man got right into what would become the ongoing theme for the month--that 80s action movies were a response to America losing the war in Vietnam. That theme goes away so I can discuss in Day 517 – what the hell have we gotten into, here? why Lethal Weapon works as a Christmas movie and I nitpick a few details of the film... and I need to keep this recap moving along or I will get lost. Day 518 – way behind the times is a bit rambly, dealing with stunts and cell phones and violence. Day 519 – there’s no more heroes left in the world deals with the character of Martin Riggs as inhuman, and then Day 520 – the world’s lousiest christmas turkey delves into the idea of Riggs as Christ Figure. Then daughters become props for fathers in Day 521 – we’ve got his little girl. Finally, Day 522 – mama says policemen shoot black people deals with race.
Next was Die Hard, the one of the four with the most tenuous connection to the refighting Vietnam theme. I started with what should have been a fairly basic review in Day 523 – who said we were terrorists?. Then came the 24-hour business cycle in Day 524 – better than a shower and a hot cup of coffee and another Christ Figure treatment in Day 525 – it’s not the police. it’s him. I dealt with the convoluted history of scripts for (and not for) the Die Hard franchise in Day 526 – no relation. Day 527 – you know what i’m sayin’? deals with misfires in communication and Day 528 – benefits of a classical education rejects a bit of the happy ending. Finally, Day 529 – attention to every conceivable detail mentions some changes from the novel on which Die Hard is based before eventually suggesting that Gruber's plan was pretty good.
I started my week with Commando with a review of sorts in Day 530 – i’ll be back then the refighting Vietnam, American hegemony theme drifted into reclamation of masculinity in Day 531 – i don’t believe this macho bullshit. It expanded in Day 532 – these guys eat too much red meat to rugged individualism and then, in Day 533 – now, that is american workmanship, into violence and pornography. I barely touched on Commando itself in Day 534 – what are you expecting? world war iii, instead telling a personal story of growing up at the end of the Cold War. Then, I imagined the Gene Simmons-starring version of Commando that never was in Day 535 – shopping and then got into Cold War propaganda in Day 536 – this green beret is going to kick your big ass.
Rambo was made for this month's theme in Day 537 – the old vietnam’s dead, which got right back into hegemony and masculinity in Day 538 – the mind is the best weapon. Then, race and Rocky got involved in Day 539 – that’s a hell of a combination. I compared James Cameron's script to the film, the novel, and the cartoon in Day 540 – it was just supposed to be another assignment. Then, Rambo, too, gets the Christ Figure treatment in Day 541 – he’s hung up. he’ll be torn apart. Then, I get back into the original script in Day 542 – do we get to win this time? before finally putting the film (or rather the character) into its historical context in Day 543 – wasn’t my war, colonel. just cleaning up the mess.
The month ended with an extra movie (six days only) because I wanted to time my next viewing of Groundhog Day with the holiday. The extra movie was Top Gun, which began simply in Day 544 – we’re gonna have a good time. Then came the military-entertainment complex in Day 545 – a lot more than just fancy flying, homoeroticism in Day 546 – i want some butts, and the history of the real "Charlie" in Day 547 – not in the ladies’ room. I tied the movie into the ongoing theme of these action movies being about refighting Vietnam in Day 548 – by the end of vietnam… and then I dealt with some loose ends in Day 549 – so long, pete mitchell.
By the way, I kind of wanted to deal with the "invention" of the teenager tonight but I haven't had much time for research. I suppose I will get to that topic at a later date, when I squeeze a teen movie into some other theme. I watched Groundhog Day on Groundhog Day and I linked the film in Day 550 – will you be checking out today, mr. connors? not to the refighting Vietnam theme but the "soulless consumption" of the 1980s. It was on this Groundhog Day that Michael Schulman's piece on the film--The Accidental Swami--which included a whole lot about me and this blog was published over at The Believer.
Then came my month of musicals, starting with Singin' in the Rain in Day 551 - …is now a musical. I get into invented identity in Day 552 – are you anybody? and the unchangingness of characters in Day 553 – i am just about to be brilliant... an awesome entry in which I told "future, thesis-writing me" that he "should not be quoting all of this [entry] because if it doesn't contradict some of [his] argument, it certainly muddles it up." Identity led into gender with Day 554 – you look pretty good for a girl. Day 555 – a trend in musicals dealt with musical numbers, and then I came right back the presentation of self in Day 556 – i don’t have time to find out before I got really wordy, and thoughtful, in Day 557 – i think i hear a footstep.
My week with West Side Story began in Day 558 – that’s why i’m a mess. Love and heightened reality came along in Day 559 – there’s something due any day. Then came race and color in Day 560 – oh, that color is bad for anita and Puerto Rican history and Nuyorican poetry in Day 561 – if you’re all white in america. I really try not to talk about love and romance in Day 562 – it’s when i don’t look that it happens and delve into rape culture in Day 563 – all right, boys and girls before finally getting into Saul Bass, doors, sodomy, same-sex relationships and performing utopia in Day 564 – it’s right outside the door.
Familiarity was key to Moulin Rouge! in Day 565 – the greatest thing you’ll ever learn…. My demands for movies came out in Day 566 – the show must go on. In Day 567 – standing in for the unconscious and Day 568 – she is mine, I got into some psychoanalysis in preparation for an upcoming school paper. Then, the film turned feminist, or maybe its opposite, in Day 569 – you don’t have to wear that dress tonight. Reality and fantasy bumped up against each other in Day 570 – to make you a star and then the film turns Marxist and deconstructionist in Day 571 – where the rich played with the young and beautiful.
As my week with Across the Universe got going, there was more on identity and love in Day 572 – all you need is love and then disparate characters and historical threads in Day 573 – they stick out in all different directions. Images replaced words in Day 574 – a bit unreal. But, words came back strong, along with the mundane and the magical in Day 575 – couldn’t see it properly. Day 576 – all the little girls that look like me got into gender and sexuality and Day 577 – into the light of the dark black night got into race. Then, I finished with Across the Universe and musicals by tying words to reality and imagination in Day 578 – it keeps the demons at bay.
I watched Groundhog Day again and wrote a very personal blog entry in Day 579 – can i buy you a drink? What I neglected to do was talk about the upcoming Groundhog Day Musical that Tim Minchin is working on--he's got a song from it that he's been performing at his concerts and it sounds awesome.
My month with teen movies began with Porky's and it's explicit obsession with sex in Day 580 – has anybody seen mike hunt?. This expands into nostalgia, nuclear monsters and AIDS in Day 581 – you can take your moral turpitude… before getting into queer coding in Day 582 - …and you can stick it up the old gazoo. Two angles on sexism emerge in Day 583 – that seducer and despoiler must be stopped and Day 584 – he’s still our buddy. Then, self is malleable in Day 585 – the only way i do business and then my own childhood with movies takes center stage in Day 586 – liable to fall in.
Next was Fast Times at Ridgemont High, and it was political right away with Day 587 – what is it that gets inside your heads? I dealt with teen sex, virginity and exploitation in Day 588 – take his order. look him in the eye, then Linda specifically in Day 589 – it’s no huge thing; it’s just sex, and Stacy in Day 590 – she’s a very aggressive girl. Spicoli was the center of Day 591 – what are you people, on dope? I get into the book a bit in Day 592 – people exaggerate so much here and I say goodbye to Fast Times at Ridgemont High in Day 593 – aloha, mr. hand.
There are few words in Day 594 – it’s a little childish and stupid, but then, so is high school, my first entry on Ferris Bueller's Day Off. I get sidetracked by box office and martians in Day 595 – a little more time dealing with yourself. Teenagers and adults don't get each other in Day 596 – make this one count. There are issues of class in Day 597 – for people like us to tolerate a person like yourself, and strippers and hippies in Day 598 – the man could squash my nuts into oblivion. Hollywood magically cures depression in Day 599 – sooner or later everybody goes to the zoo. Day 600 – you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it deals in nazis, schedules, Picasso and the meaning of life.
My week with The Breakfast Club begins with Day 601 – an essay of no less than a thousand words. I went to the theater for a screening and retrospective and wrote about that in Day 602 – the kind of friends i would have. Clothing matters in Day 603 – who you think you are and Day 604 – does barry manilow know that you raid his wardrobe? Lyrics matter in Day 605 – i am a walrus. St. Elmo's Fire interrupts for a bit before I start getting into the future with these characters in Day 606 – you grow up, your heart dies and Day 607 – don’t you forget about me
And then, tonight, I turned on Groundhog Day once again, and I've still got it memorized. And, though I wanted to talk about the invention of the teenager, I instead stuck mostly to this recap in Day 608 – teens tonight.