Saturday, November 17, 2007

That Kind of Day

I have just finished washing and, worse, drying an entire load of my favorite work clothes as well as my Eternal Sunshine Clementine Krusczynski orange sweatshirt with, apparently, a purple pen in one of my pockets. Why, how are you?

Admittedly, this kind of where-was-my-mind and how-much-will-this-cost humiliation on a cold, rainy Saturday afternoon is not quite the same thing as being caught in a hellishly intractable temporal loop, reliving the same kitschy and uncomfortable day over and over again, finding that even throwing yourself in front of a truck or off a cliff doesn't break you from the cycle. I still wouldn't recommend the day I'm having, at least so far, but having finally seen Groundhog Day for the first time in my life—and isn't that weird?—I came up with this to say about it earlier in the week. And now, as apropos as it suddenly feels, is a perfect time to share it.

(Photo © 1993 Columbia Pictures)



Blogger Dr. S said...

Ohhhh! Oh no!!!! My sympathies to you and your clothes. Damnit! (Is there any chance it's washable ink...?)

4:50 AM, November 18, 2007  
Blogger J.J. said...

GD is one of my favorite movies (indeed, I watch it every Feb. 2) and it's a consistent pleasure, so it's nice to read some fresh criticism, which is mostly accurate and excessively surgical.

I, for one, am thankful for Ramis' lack of "directorial verve." (Not everyone can or should be a Paul Thomas Anderson, and thank *heaven* for that.) If any story deserved a hands-off treatment, it's this one. Murray's character is abandoned by the natural order of things, and it would be tonal sabotage to have a theistic hand skewing camera angles, tinting frames and further interpreting the story.

3:52 PM, November 19, 2007  
Blogger NicksFlickPicks said...

@Dr. S: One shirt saved, but the rest: no.

@J.J.: I agree that a flashy mise-en-scène or those other "theistic" possibilities you mention (great term, which I'll probably steal!) most likely would have felt gratuitous in this movie. Just to be clear, by "directorial verve," I also mean the kind of direction that would have encouraged Murray to go further with the character instead of reiterating his own deadpan persona quite so much, or would have paid more consistent attention to those supporting players and made their scenes pop a little more, or drawn out the ambiguities of the conclusion a little more, or would have used music or sound choices that brought the movie to even more life instead of that muzak-y stuff. It doesn't need a Malkovich makeover, and yet SOME of that quality through which Malkovich makes even simple and non-gimmick-driven moments crackle—Cusack trying to pick up Keener, Cusack and Diaz at home, the way he shoots the side of the NJ Turnpike—would have been welcome here. For me, anyway.

4:13 PM, November 19, 2007  
Blogger tim r said...

Right, but then Being John Malkovich is a crackpot indie experiment that worked out, and Groundhog Day is a first-quarter mainstream release (from Columbia, of all studios likely to peddle the same old formulae) which had to be pitched as a romantic comedy to make commercial sense. I'd argue Ramis's direction is sitcom-ish -- chirpy, a little canned, as you say –- but isn't Phil's predicament the ultimate situation comedy? The same damn thing replaying itself over and over again? It's like he's stuck in his own TV show -- The Truman Show's really the better comparison point. I think the limitations of Ramis's "style" (lack thereof, whatever you want to say) actually help the movie realise the oppressiveness of Phil's personal hell, in a funny sort of way. Not another establishing shot! See my point?

Peter Weir, a far better director, goes theistic here and there in Truman and that scenario never achieves the same nightmarish potential. So I'm sticking up for Ramis, musak and all. Though maybe not MacDowell. And, having seen Multiplicity, I'll be the first to admit it's a trick that only worked once...

I'm very sorry about your shirts, particularly the Clementine one. Can you not get another?

1:46 PM, November 20, 2007  

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