Friday, February 4, 2011

Film Friday: Groundhog Day (1993)

“What if there is no tomorrow?! There wasn’t one today!”

What would you do if you had unlimited time and there could be absolutely no consequences to your actions? That’s a question usually reserved for science fiction, but Harold Ramis uses it as the premise of Groundhog Day, a rather unique romantic comedy which has become one of the most memorable comedies ever made.

** heavy spoiler alert **

The Plot
Groundhog Day is the story of a single day in the life of cynical television meteorologist Phil Conners (Bill Murray -- Ghostbusters), which he lives over and over and over again. Murray, his producer Rita (Andie MacDowell -- Sex Lies And Videotape), and cameraman Larry, travel to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania to cover the annual Groundhog Day Festival, where Punxsutawney Phil predicts the weather. Due to a blizzard, they are forced to remain overnight. When Murray awakens the following morning, he discovers he’s reliving the prior day. How many times does he repeat the day? The film doesn't say, but apparently forty-two distinct days can be accounted for in the film. Ramis says 10 years actually pass and co-writer Danny Rubin claims 10,000 years pass -- though this seems unlikely given Murray’s continued sanity.

Whatever the number, when Murray realizes he can do anything he wants, because everything he does gets undone the following morning and because no one can remember what he did, he takes advantage of this situation to act on his worse impulses: he lies to seduce women, he steals money, he endangers lives and he gets thrown in jail. He even tries to seduce Rita, but fails. However, the novelty of the situation soon wears off and Murray becomes depressed at the repetition and meaninglessness of it all. At that point, he tries to kill himself, but even that won't let him escape the time loop. Eventually, he turns to self-improvement. This brings him happiness -- especially when he realizes he should use his new skills to help others around him. This in turn genuinely attracts Rita and finally frees him from the time loop.
What Makes Groundhog Day Work?
So what makes Groundhog Day so interesting? For starters, it expertly combines comedy, science fiction and romance. To achieve this, Groundhog Day follows the golden rule of providing an engaging story first and then deriving the comedy and romance from the story. In other words, Groundhog Day is not a collection of gags strung together by a loose plot, nor is the plot an excuse to get two idealized lovers together, it’s an actual story and the humor/romance arise naturally out of the story. This provides two benefits. It expands the appeal of the film beyond just those who share the film’s sense of humor or those who find the romance engaging, and it helps the film stand up to repeated viewing. Why? Because this type of storytelling creates a world which we enjoy visiting and characters we like being with, whether we care for the jokes or not. By comparison, a film based on gags or romantic highs only works if you like the gags/highs and it will get dull as the gags/highs get stale. This is like the difference between Gone With The Wind and a collection of vignettes showing the greatest moments of civil war films.

But more importantly, Groundhog Day gives us something to think about. At first glace, you probably think like Murray that this could be fun. Here is your chance to try everything you’ve ever wanted to try (and then some) with no consequences. Want to eat everything in a bakery? Try it. Run around town in your underwear? Take drugs? Kill your boss? No problem. In this world, you can act on every sinful, destructive or perverted instinct you’ve ever had without fear of the consequences (the movie does a good job giving us some suggestions). This sounds like fun and it surely sparks the audience’s imaginations. . . “what would I like to do that I could never do in the real world?”

Yet, we also know deep down this would hardly be a satisfying way to spend eternity. Our “sins” are attractive to us because we know they bring a momentary rush or temporary satisfaction. But that type of thrill is fleeting. Eating a thousand cookies might be fun bu. . . ok, bad example. . . killing your boss might be fun once or twice, but we know it won’t be fun the fourth or fifth or tenth time. We know what truly sustains us is what Murray eventually turns to: self-improvement. He reads, he learns languages, he learns to carve ice statues and play piano. This actually fits with one of the first thoughts attributed to the Ancient Greeks -- you cannot find happiness by searching for it, you can only find happiness by engaging in other activities which produce happiness as a byproduct. Murray's realization then goes deeper as he discovers that these skills are only meaningful if he uses them to help the people around him. Thus, the key to living happily is to become a better person. Only after Murray realizes this does he win his release.

Therein lies the lesson: we can obtain a momentary thrill by exploring our darker sides, but we can only achieve true happiness in life by making ourselves better and using our new skills to help those around us, even in a consequence free world like the one in which Murray lived.

Thus, this film gives us two things to consider. First, it offers us the chance to imagine what we would do if we could let our dark sides run free without consequence. . . here cookie, cookie! But then it also enlightens us as it proves to us that we should be striving to achieve our better sides. That’s a pretty powerful lesson. Indeed, I would argue this is a much more effective lesson than the one-sided treatment you often get in shows like The Twilight Zone, where we see bad people punished for their sins, but rarely see them redeemed.

I think this is what separates Groundhog Day from the pack, and why this film has drawn such rave reviews from several religious groups. Buddhists in particular rank this film among their favorites because of its themes of rebirth and renewal, and Christians have praised the film for its message of redemption and that true happiness requires us to care for others. Both, I'm sure, are also pleased that the film clearly implies a higher power gave Murray this opportunity.

So what mischief would top your list?

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51 comments:

ScottDS said...

Believe it or not, despite being a fan of everyone involved, I only saw this film in its entirety for the first time a few years ago (despite non-stop airings on TV). I absolutely loved it and for one reason or another (which I won't go into here), the whole self-improvement thing really got to me on some then-unexplored emotional level. Dare I say it, I was misty-eyed by the time the movie ended. (Thus disproving my friend's thesis that I'm actually a robot!) :-)

A few thoughts:

-This'll sound morbid but someone on another forum claimed that, if Stanley Kubrick had directed this film, there would've been a rape scene or two as we learned more about the consequence-free environment. But no audience would continue to support the lead character afterwards (whether played by Bill Murray or someone else).

-Re: a film based on gags - this is my problem with a lot of teen comedies where all you care about is getting to the big set pieces. The American Pie films suffer from this (for example) and one reviewer on DVDTalk.com even coined the phrase "Noonan moments" (after Caddyshack's character) to describe the boring parts in between the big gags.

-No Groundhog Day review is complete without a mention of Stephen "Ned" Tobolowski. One of our best character actors, he was the subject of his own documentary a few years ago titled Stephen Tobolowski's Birthday Party in which he simply tells cool stories about his life as he and his wife prepare for a dinner party.

CrispyRice said...

"So what mischief would top your list?"

Donuts... lots of donuts...

OK, no, the point of the movie is very well taken. :)

I really enjoy this movie. In fact, it's an annual tradition on 2/2 around here! I love its message, and I love that it doesn't really beat you over the head with it. You have to think about it a bit.

You can take it as just a cute little movie, but there really is quite a deep (and life affirming) message there.

T_Rav said...

Andrew, I'm getting the impression that if you were in Murray's shoes, you would use this opportunity to eat cookies. Lots and lots of cookies.

DUQ said...

Good movie! I've been surprised at its staying power, but given your interpretation, it makes more sense.

I’d add that the sequence in which Murray tries to seduce McDowell emphasizes that fact that you can’t fake it, either. The more he repeats his attempts, the less sincere he appears, and the further from his goal he gets.

10 years, eh? I’ve always wondered how long he spends looping. I don’t think he’d stay sane over 10,000 years, either.

Joel Farnham said...

Andrew,

I would get brave enough to say exactly what I wanted to say to who I wanted. Eventually, I would get it exactly right. I also would do my best to learn as much as I can about the people around me. Maybe even learn piano like Bill's character.

I did enjoy that movie. By the way, it may not be associated with Science Fiction by some, but it still is a favorite SciFi story.

A similar situation was used in STNG. The Enterprise goes through a collision with another ship then all of a sudden it is back cruising along. It goes through it several times until Data uses a suggestion by Ryker instead of using a beam to push off the other ship.

"The Lakehouse" is a romantic comedy, sort of, with a time element in it. It too isn't considered a science fiction movie. I think of it as one.

One of Spider Robinson's first stories isn't strictly time travel, but it has an intriguing thought. What happens when a man is released after being held in a foreign prison for many years. What changes have occurred? Wouldn't it be time-travel into the future for this man?

CrispyRice said...

If only Bill Murray had a Data to get him out of it, LOL!

Re that STNG ep, it always bugged me that our intrepid crew easily intuitively felt after a just few short days/weeks that something was terribly wrong, but the other ship was in the loop for decades and acted like, "What are you talking about? Nothing's wrong!"

>>eyeroll<< I love/hate STNG.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"However, the novelty of the situation soon wears off and Murray becomes depressed at the repetition and meaninglessness of it all."

A greater lesson here is that nihilism (promulgated by the logical conclusion of post modernism and deconstructionism...emphasis on destructionism) is depressing.

I don't think one can become a better human being; a charitable,m loving, giving person and still be nihilistic.
Afterall, what would be the point?

There's no purpose in hedonism and nihilism. There's no meaning. There's no...hope.
No Beauty, Goodness or Truth.
Certainly no nobility or honor.
PoMo Nihilism can't enlighten.
All it can do is depress and darken.

As the movie so aptly shows, it becomes a form of insanity.
Only after Murray embraces Goodness without any gain or payoff to himself does he break out of the insane prison he found himself in.

One could view this prison as extreme narcissism or selfishness.
Dare
I say...malignant narcissism?

Yes, one could also say this is a form of insanity, because taken to extremes, when one's self (ego) becomes what you worship what's the freakin' point?
Like a robot it's just the same
sh!t over n' over.
Depressing as hell...perhaps even hell itself (or one of the outer planes for you Dante fans).

Why does helping others make us feel better than anything we can do for ourselves?

Why is it better to give than to receive?

Can humans be noble? Can Love conquer Hate? Can Truth conquer the Lie?

This excellent movie answers that and much more.

Great review, Andrew!

This superb flick is enjoyable on so many levels and the water it holds is pretty much as deep as you wanna go.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

CrispyRice:

There was a plethora of paradoxes in STTNG. :^)

LawHawkRFD said...

Andrew: I think Bill Murray is one of those actors you either like or you don't. Most do, I don't. I never got "slob humor" (although I'll make an exception for Caddyshack). I can't shake that image of Murray no matter how hard I try or how different the part is he's playing. Though I agree about everything you said about the movie otherwise, the star ruined it for me--like putting on your best dress shirt and finding a gravy stain. I know I'm in a distinct minority on this.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, It is a touching story, even for robots -- so your thesis is not actually disproved! LOL!

Believe it or not, I actually thought about Kubrick during the film and that very issue. I had just watched 2001 (for another review) and I was comparing that to Clockwork Orange, and it just kind of dawned on me that a guy like Kubrick would have tried to push Murray a lot further in his negative behavior. And when she pushes him away, it kind of hit me that this would be Kubrick's moment. And you're right, it would have totally ruined this film. While we like the idea of being able to do anything we want, there are still limits that we want to think we would obey.

I would say a lot of comedies suffer from the gag syndrome, and teen flicks in particular fall into this category. Not all, but most of them do. And the ones that don't are the ones that stay popular because they give you more to like than just "gee, that was a funny moment."

In fact, if you think back on Groundhog Day, for example, you really don't remember the specific moments or the specific lines that made you laugh, but you remember a general sense of what he did and why you liked it. That's the kind of thing that lets to watch the movie again because you can't just replace the movie by telling the joke.

AndrewPrice said...

Crispy, I think that's true to. In fact, one of the things I really appreciate is that the movie does NOT end with Bill Murray turning to the camera and telling us what he learned. It's enough that we see what he's learned. If they had spent time staring at us and telling us "this is what you must learn from this movie," that would have felt insulting. . . not that this would stop most films. Subtlety is an art, a much appreciate art. Always remember the maxim, "less is more."

In terms of the other day being the Groundhog Day, yep, good time to review this film!

Hmm.... donuts.

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, I know what you mean.... about waiting to be in Murray's shoes?

Actually, I have to admit, I would probably have a lot of the wrong kind of fun at first just for the experience. Seriously, who wouldn't want to try to rob a bank or go racing through a town Dukes of Hazard style? But ultimately, I would probably be pretty grateful for the opportunity to catch up on my reading and learn to play an instrument. . . while eating cookies. ;-)

What about you?

AndrewPrice said...

DUQ, What's interesting about the seduction is that it seems to work at first. She seems to completely fall for him as he perfects the day. But then he hits that point where he can't get her to go further, because it isn't genuine -- it's cynical. And I think that fits perfectly with the theme. This is a movie with all around very good values... a real surprise coming from Hollywood!

In terms of the time period, I can't see him staying sane for 10,000 years. I think the repetition would drive him mad. I can see ten years, though I personally always thought it was a lot less. Some people have tried to estimate it based on the skills he learns, i.e. how long does it take to learn French, how long to learn to play piano, etc. And they agree with 10 years.

Originally, to mark time, they intended to have Murray read one page of a book per day and he would eventually be seen going through the whole library. I'm glad they didn't do this though because this is one of those issues where it really depends on the person for how long it would take for the realization to hit that they need to make themselves better. So by leaving it vague, I think they make it easier for people to insert themselves in the film.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, This film isn't intuitively science fiction, but the theme of repeating time is generally a science fiction idea. So I think it has to be classified that way.

That's one of the better Star Trek TNG episodes. I think they do an excellent job with it too. It's also a different take on the repeating day idea because they don't know they are repeating the loop until they are well into it again, which again shows how little variations in science fiction themes can create dramatically different feeling stories.

I think the time warping concepts are very popular with us precisely because it gives us a chance to ask questions like this -- what would you do it you have all the time in the world. And other questions like what would happen if you changed time, etc. We seem to be fascinated with those kinds of question.

CrispyRice said...

Andrew, you know what else is interesting about the ending?

He CHOOSES to stay.

After being in this "prison" arguably for 10 years, he is finally set free, yet he decides to stay.

That speaks volumes to me.

And, Ben, ummm, wow. Very insightful. I need to go have some coffee and think for awhile.

AndrewPrice said...

Crispy, That always bothered me too, but the episode is well enough done that you can accept that. Plus, maybe it has to do with the length of time each spends in the loop? Maybe Sideshow Bob's ship is only in the loop for a few second (the actual collision) whereas Team Picard is in it for a few hours?

On thing that did always bother me though, was why don't they just stop the ship the moment they think they're in the loop? That's the one thing they probably never tried the first time. And if they did that, then they would probably miss the collision entirely.

CrispyRice said...

Oh, let's not get into the myriad ways Team Picard (LOL) could have gotten themselves out of that one once they realized or suspected they were in it!!
- Check with a Star Fleet time beacon to see if they are in it and then do something wacky
- Stop the ship cold
- Take a hard turn at high speed in a direction picked by a random underling crew member stopped in the hallway
- Send an immediate message to Star Fleet (I'm having visions of another ship arriving and sitting a few hundred yards away, watching the crash over and over and going, gee, if only we had an android to save them.)

Wait, sorry, I'm starting to rant off topic here, LOL...

And yes, despite all that, it's one of my more favorite eps, too. grumble grumble grumble

Poor Bill Murray has only limited resources to attempt to stop his loop - ie death - and that doesn't work. He's truly helpless in that regard.

AndrewPrice said...

USS Ben, Thanks Ben! And great comment! Very deep, and very accurate -- as always! :-)

It took me several tries to write this review because I wasn't sure how deep to go into these issues, and I think you're right. At its core, this movie attacks cynicism, hedonism, and the self-involved lifestyle which is at the center of nihilism -- a trait that has become much more common with post-modernism and deconstruction, both of which tell us that only ourselves matter and that everything else is BS. This movie blows a hole in that, and does so brilliantly.

I say brilliantly, because the film never has a character stand up and say, "Bill Murray is cynical and self-centered and the product of the modern culture. . . now watch what happens", but we recognize right away that Murray represents a common personality that our culture has been producing for 30-40 years now -- a totally self-centered, cynical man who believes that everyone functions on the idea of self interest.

And the films proves to us that this is wrong, i.e. flawed thinking, by giving Murray what would appear to be the ideal world for such a personality -- a world where Murray is freed from the restraints of society and can truly act in ANY selfish/self-centered way he could possibly want. Anything he wants, he can take. Anything he wants to do, he can do. And he will never bear the consequences.

(continued)

AndrewPrice said...

(continued)
To the nihilists, this is the ideal world because they can be completely centered on satisfying themselves without ever having to worry about punishment or the effect on others around them.

Yet, it doesn't take long before we see that this kind of world is hollow and unpleasant. And the film is so well made in terms of the human aspect of this, that its proof is irrefutable. In other words, while we can rationalize our belief that such a world would be pleasant and fun in theory, we know from our own experience that "this would never grow old fast" in practice. Thus, we realize that if the ideal world for the nihilist would become hell, then maybe nihilism is a flawed theory, and maybe that's a bad idea around which to base our own existence?

Then, when the film goes the next step and teaches us that the only thing that makes life better is for Murray to work to make himself better and that necessarily requires him to help those around him, you come up with a truly power philosophical message -- the idea that life is about something much great than our own enjoyment.

I think that's why so many people have said this film is a powerful religious experience, because it does affirm the same message presented by most religions and it does it in an irrefutable and most powerful way.

Anonymous said...

"On thing that did always bother me though, was why don't they just stop the ship the moment they think they're in the loop? That's the one thing they probably never tried the first time. And if they did that, then they would probably miss the collision entirely."

This episode is Cause and Effect and it is one of my family's favorites of the series. In answer to your question, once they figure out that they are going through a loop they discuss reversing course, but then discard it because they don't know if reversing course is what causes the loop originally. When they get close to the rift in space, they try to back off, but can't. Yes we have watched this episode MANY times and never tire of it.

By the way, I love Groudhog Day. It's been a while since I've seen it. I'll have to break it out again.

TJ

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, I'm in a strangely opposite, yet similar boat than you are on Murray. I like him a lot, but I don't tend to like his acting!

In other words, I like him as an actor, I have much good will toward him, and I want to like his films. . . but they are often far too flat, and I think that has to do with limits on his acting ability. He really needs to be paired with a strong cast, strong writing and a stronger director. When he doesn't get that and they just let him try to carry a film, it always feels like a wasted concept to me.

AndrewPrice said...

Crispy, That is an interesting aspect too. At first blush, you would think he would want to get the heck out of this town now that he's free.... like he's fleeing a prison. But then you realize that this wasn't a prison in the end, it was more like a school and he found happiness here. Moreover, what he's learned is that it's how we treat those around us who matter, and where we are isn't what matters. So he's found a happy place where he can live a better life, so he stays.

Also, this declaration I think gives the viewer the sense that he really has changed and that he's not about to go back to being the person he was before the loop began.

AndrewPrice said...

Crispy, I think the difference is that STNG is telling a "neat" plot-driven story about how the crew escapes this time trap, Groundhog Day is about something different, it's telling a character-driven story about how Bill Murray's character evolves from depressing, rotten, wasted lifestyle to happy, noble lifestyle.

So while STNG could use a Data (or any other gimmick) to escape their loop, Bill Murray had to do it himself. If Andie MacDowell told him how to escape, then Murray wouldn't have experienced the personal growth necessary because, personal growth has to be something you find within (another theme of the film) -- you can't be told "this is what you must do." In fact, I think the fact that the film doesn't tell you this is what is happening, but instead leaves you to figure it out yourself, backs that up. It's up to you to reach this decision yourself.

AndrewPrice said...

TJ, It's well worth seeing again! Great film!

My point on STNG is that logically, they should have done the one thing they would not have done the first time because they would have had no reason to do it. I know they are concerned that they might have tried everything already, but from a logic perspective, since they failed the first time (before they knew they were in a loop), they should try something that they would not have done before they had any idea to suspect a loop existed. The most obvious of those would be to stop cold, because there's no reason they would have done that the first time.

In fact, I think any change in course would have kept them out of the loop -- but stopping cold for some length of time should most certainly have worked because that's the one thing they wouldn't have done the first time.

Of course, the writers could have worked around this in any number of ways to get to the ending. But from the logic perspective they should have done something other than what they would have done the first time.

P.S. Despite my criticism, that is one of my favorite episodes as well.

Anonymous said...

Andrew, one thing I have discovered about any show or movie dealing with time travel is that you can't look at it logically. I've gotten into numerous discussions on IMDB about this (especially concerning "The Lake House"). I think that is why I like time travel stuff so much.

Another one of our favorite movies is "The Final Countdown" with Kirk Douglas and Martin Sheen. Martin Sheen's character gives the classic paradox when he says "imagine that I go back in time to meet my grandfather, before he was married and had kids, and we get in an argument and I kill him. If that happens, then I would have never been born and if I had never been born, how could I have gone back in time and met my grandfather?"

I know this isn't exactly what you're saying about "Cause and Effect", but if they just stop cold then you wouldn't have had all those interesting scenarios they took us through each time they went through the loop.

Anyway, just my two cents worth and I really enjoy discussing this with you.

TJ

BevfromNYC said...

This is great review. It's got everything - a great review, a nod to GWTW, so I don't have to force the issue, and free-range cookies!

I love this movie because of exactly the reason you stated.

A movie with kind of a similar topic to this and one I can watch over and over - "Defending Your Life" by Albert Brooks with Meryl Streep. Though is more direct in it's message about selfless acts versus selfish acts. If you've never seen it, it's worth a snowing day's viewing.

AndrewPrice said...

TJ, There is something about paradoxes and time travel that really challenges our imaginations, and I think that's what makes these kinds of episodes so fascinating. . . the "what if" potential. We seem to like speculating about how things would turn out if we tried different things or if history was changed ever so slightly.

In fact, I've noticed that alternate timelines and time twists seem to be the most popular shows of any science fiction series, and films dealing with those matters almost always become big hits in the science fiction genre. And they really are fun to talk about -- so I'm glad you shared your thoughts on this!

The IMBD sometimes has some really neat discussions, though sometimes people get kind of nasty over there. Someone posted the link to my Ninth Gate article over there once and it got both rave reviews and total hate. It was kind of fun to watch -- though I didn't comment personally. I had to laugh though that the two guys who really hated it didn't have the nerve to come comment at our site. It would have been interesting to debate them.

And you are of course correct that if they had solved the issue right away so easily in STNG, then we wouldn't have had the neat episode to watch!

I really enjoyed The Final Countdown! I especially like the struggle they had about "do we change history or don't we" and how time made that choice for them -- although I think it would have been really neat to see F-14s at Pearl Harbor! Very interesting movie!

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, Thanks! I'm glad you liked it! I figured you would like the GWTW reference... and the "free-range" cookies! LOL!

Hmmm... cookies!

I've actually never seen Defending Your Life. I'll check that out. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Okay now, you guys are really making me hungry for some cookies! I guess I'll have to stop by the store and pick some up on my way home tonight LOL!

Yes, yes, yes, Andrew, F-14s would have been totally awesome back in WWII. I guess you can't tell I REALLY LIKE jets!

TJ

T_Rav said...

Andrew, I would probably learn a lot of languages, watch a lot of movies, and then sleep. And maybe try my hand at writing. I don't think I'd be tempted to break the law that much; the only reckless behavior I see myself engaging in would be spending a lot, since my bank account would be back to normal next morning. And I wouldn't spend it all on cookies, either--I might also splurge on donuts.

AndrewPrice said...

TJ, We'll stop with the cookies! LOL!

I love jets -- they are totally cool. I'd love to be able to fly one too, but that's not happening. Oh well.

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, Donuts! Now that's an investment that pays for itself!

I love the idea of having forever to write -- though sadly, that wouldn't work in the Groundhogs Day scenario. Still though, it would be pretty cool to have as long as you needed to write whatever you wanted! I've been working on some things and as I work through them, I keep getting more ideas. At this point, there are probably more ideas than I'll ever be able to do in my life... so having forever would be a big help.

The one thing I'd really like to do though is to learn to play an instrument. That would be great.

Plus I'd rob banks. . . just kidding.

Ed said...

Great review! I really love these. They're a great way to end the week. Excellent point too about this film. I always found the film to be energizing when it's over and I think the positive message is why. You leave feeling like you're ready to go out and be a better person and I think you're review explains why. Good job!

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Ed! I like writing these and I love talking about them. Films are the biggest window we have into our culture, so I think discussing them is a great way to examine who we are and what we believe. Plus, I like films! :-)

Anonymous said...

It's too late now Andrew, the cookie . . . I mean the cat's out of the bag so to speak and now T_Rav has got me thinking about donuts . . . yum.

We try to go to Oceana Naval Air Station every year to catch the Blue Angels and it's always a great show. The F-22 Raptor is a real treat to watch and unfortunately they have retired the F-14s so we don't get to see them anymore.

TJ

AndrewPrice said...

TJ, Yeah, it's hard to put the cookie/donut genie back in the bottle! LOL!

I've seen the F-22 in the air, but never up close. A friend of mine has a really cool picture of it in his office because he worked in a procurement office that bought parts of it and everyone on the program got a copy of the photo.

We have an AFB nearby that occasionally gets jets -- I think the guys at NORAD use them to keep up their air time, so occasionally you see them flying over the city here. The coolest thing I ever saw them do was one day they were practicing take offs and landings, and they were flying low over the runway and snapping up at the end of it, right over the road that led to the AFB. That was really wild to see these (F-15s) shoot straight up a few hundred feet away.

They also had an SR-71 land here once for a couple days, which was SUPER cool! That's my all time favorite plane. . . though it's now retired.

Writer X said...

I love this film, and I am a huge Bill Murray fan. He has the ability to be funny, smart, and loveable all at once. He just clicked with Andie McDowell and the writing, well, that's what made it. I think Harold Ramis is a genius.

Great review, Andrew!

AndrewPrice said...

Writer X, Thanks!

When it comes to making enduring comedies, Harold Ramis has proven to be an absolute genius! And I agree, everything in this movie clicked, especially the relationship between Murray and MacDowell.

Anonymous said...

My husband's favorite also happens to be the SR-71. I really love the jets, but my absolute favorite is the BUFF or B-52. I don't know why, but there's just something about that monster. I guess it could partly be blamed on Dale Brown's book "Flight of the Old Dog". When I first read it, I couldn't put it down. I have read it several times since and still thoroughly enjoy it.

They've had B-52s on display at the airshows we've been to, but we've never seen one fly over.

I tell you what is really cool is watching Fat Albert (that's the Blue Angels C-130) use it's JATO (for those not familiar with that term, it means "jet assisted take off"). You see this huge prop plane lumbering down the runway and all of sudden the jet engines kick in and it shoots straight up almost as easily as those F-15s you saw. It's really incredible to behold.

Sorry to get completely away from the current topic, but once you get me started on jets I can't seem to stop talking, or as in this case, writing about them.

TJ

AndrewPrice said...

That's ok TJ, off topic is fine too.

I've never seen them use the JATOs in person, but I've seen it on the Discovery Channel. I've seen the C-130s overhead, but not on the ground. HUGE planes! In fact, they're so big I'm amazed they can even fly.

I've never seen a B-52 in person, though I'd like to. I have seen the B-2, which is a great plane but somehow doesn't capture my imagination like the older bombers. I guess it's a nostalgia thing? Who knows?

Anonymous said...

Here is a good clip of some bombers you might enjoy:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L18p35eYZVA

Sorry, I haven't figured out how to post the link properly.

TJ

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks TJ! Here's the link:

LINK

Joel Farnham said...

All this talk of cookies and donuts got me hungry.

Andrew,

One thing this movie did have for me is a retro feel to it. It reminds me of Hollywood movies of years before.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, That's the problem with cookies and donuts... just mentioning them is enough to make people crave them!

On your point about the retro feel, I can see that. It's got a "It's a Wonderful Life" feel too it, with the town festival, and his living in a bed and breakfast rather than a commercial hotel. It definitely does not feel ultra "modern." Plus, the whole sensibility is rather 1950ish in that everyone except for Murray is distinctly not cynical.

rlaWTX said...

http://old.nationalreview.com/flashback/goldberg200602020835.asp

for another, similar perspective...

rlaWTX said...

http://old.nationalreview.com/
flashback/goldberg200602020835.asp

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, Here's the link: NRO LINK

Tennessee Jed said...

skydiving and high peak ascent. Nothing michievous, but never had the guts.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, Skydiving sounds pretty cool, so would deep see diving at that point. I guess you could do a lot of things that might normally get you killed?

As an aside, it might be interesting to see a movie like this expanded beyond the confines of this town. Or maybe even let the whole community go through the same thing with Murray. I wonder how that would play out?

Doc Whoa said...

Great movie and excellent review! This is a real feel good story because it all works out so well at the end. He's a better person, he gets the girl, and everyone in town is happy. I never thought about the particular message, but you're very right.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Doc. I'm glad you liked the review. It really is a heartwarming film.

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