Monday, July 20, 2009

One year anniversary, plus eye candy

"Dr. Venkman" and the Groundhog go for a little drive.

Hey, I just realized last week was my one-year anniversary! A whole year of blogging just about every movie I've watched.

Here's a movie I watched, with my son, Robert who is obsessed with Ghostbusters, so much that he now wants any movie with Bill Murray, or as he calls him "Dr. Venkhman." We saw this at Cinema Rex at the scifi Con which is a great place to see a movie like this: appreciative audience, comfy couch, and most importantly, free snacks.

Andie MacDowell didn't annoy me as much as she usually does, this time through. I used to shout, "thanks for ruining Groundhog Day" everytime I passed one of the Andie MacDowell "Got Milk?" billboards. Maybe I'm just lightening up in my old age.

I am still amazed that Bill Murray can say schlocky lines like "when you stand in the snow you look like angel" with complete sincerity and make me buy it. Though the best scene in the film is his "driving lesson" with Puxatony Phil, the love scenes in this sweet romantic comedy are both funny and romantic, often at the same time, which isn't always so easy.

There are some inspired short bits in the movie: the day that he shows up dressed like the Outlaw Josie Wales with a cigar and a sombrero. He gets in line to see the family movie "Heidi," saying "I've seen this film over a thousand times." In another scene he goes to visit the town psychiatrist who looks like he's about 25 years old, just out of college. He is clearly in over his head with Bill Murray's rather large psychiatric problem, especially after a few minutes when his new patient starts punching himself in the face with a pillow.

I wondered just how many days Phil Connors has to repeat in the movie. Screenwriter Harold Ramis said he had in mind that he was stuck in that one day for ten years. The premise is a useful way to look at the way we repeatedly fail in the same way in life. Connors makes the same mistakes with women, in this case the same woman. He is always working an angle, saying what they want to hear and trying to appear more than he is. He also treats people generally like crap. Over the course of the movie, he undergoes a Scrooge type transformation from malevolent egoist to obsessive do-gooder. Murray is great at making both incarnations of his character believable and funny. The big change is that he works on himself. He reads more, picks up hobbies, and in doing so he quits trying to impress Andie MacDowell so much. This is actually pretty good advice for anyone looking for love. The minute you stop trying so hard and focus on finding what it is you love to do, the right person usually comes to you.

7 comments:

Kate Gabrielle said...

Happy Anniversary!!

kda0121 said...

I love this movie. Bill Murray is such a fine actor and really been sadly underrated until the past few years. He can be sweet, sad and hilarious all in the same scene. His transformation from self-centered narcissist into a decent, caring human being is quite a feat of acting ability, because we believe it. It makes me wish we all were able to have the "do-overs" that Bill got, in order to get things right.

Kittenbiscuits said...

First of all, Happy Anniversary.

I love Bill Murray. I love Groundhog Day, but I'm with you on Andie McDowell. There was a commercial she did (maybe for hair color?) and every time it came on I would yell at the TV.

Arnie Perlstein said...

Jenny,

I am glad you came around, I think Groundhog Day is a great film, and I think Andie MacDowell was as perfect in her role as Murray was in his.

Now you need to see Multiplicity, where she was also the perfect complement to Michael Keaton!

Arnie Perlstein said...

Adding about Bill Murray--there is a tragic aspect to his role in GHD--I get the feeling that in real life Murray has always been a narcissitic butthole, and therefore it really was a measure of his acting ability to be able to be so convincing in portraying a man who overcomes toxic narcissism.

AbbyNormal said...

Happy Anniversary!

I think Bill Murray is a fine actor and like him in many roles. This is another example of him making it all look effortless and easy. Very enjoyable movie!

The Kid In The Front Row said...

Great post - I love Groundhog Day.