Movies, TV, & Comedy


August 8, 2000

I enjoyed reading your essay on the film, which I feel will stand out with
few others as the best of the past century. I think another interesting
piece, more a personality profile, would be about why Bill Murray, and
almost nobody else, could pull off this role.

You could go down the line choosing other actors (maybe Jack Nicholson or
Chevy Chase) who may have been considered for such a part, and while
adequate in some respects, would never match Murray's performance.

There's a moment in Groundhog Day during one of his suicide attempts where
he jumps off a bell tower. The expression on his face, just before the fall,
is perfect. It says it all- the desire to end it coupled with the innate
knowledge that there is no end. I had a friend who was so intrigued by Bill
Murray's single expression in this scene, that she freeze-framed it and took
photographs from her television, making a collage.

Anyway, long after "Forrest Gump" has become a cute memory, "Groundhog Day" will endure.

Rick Monaco

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July 2, 2000 

First of all, let me thank you for your time and effort in building
Transparency into the quality site that it is.

On comedy, may I suggest one other possibility? -- that of innocence. What 
Married . . . with Children, Seinfeld and others might have in common more
than anything else is the praise of innocence. These characters allow the
Other to be the Other, despite the conflicts. In fact, in comedy, we don't
expect characters to change, to improve, to conquer life and become
something the character is not. Characters accept each other despite
differences and conflicts, and even when they say stupid or shocking
things, they are still accepted within the circle, which is something we
normal humans fear we will lose.

George Sherwood

"Having resentment is like taking poison and waiting 
for the other person to die" -- Malachy McCourt.

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May 25, 2000

Your interpretation of Tarzan films as a analogy of male aggression towards 
women seems irresponsible and ill-conceived. While this is a theatrical 
portrayal of mankind's illogical hatred of the natural world, with today's 
amount of pollution from automobiles, and the ongoing destruction of our 
environment for highways and shopping malls ever taking place, the guilt in 
this madness is equally shared. This is even more readily apparent as women 
achieve prominence within corporate power, which, according to your theory, must mean they are acting out some sort of penis envy when promoted to their "rightful places" as conquerors and dividers of our habitat and its limited  resources. I feel I must also say that personal bigotry does not belong in education, and your psychological reading of this film is sexually obsessed and irrelevant. I am not merely attempting to anger you, and appreciate your consideration of alternative viewpoints.

Sincerely,
Steve Johnson

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I enjoyed your article on Groundhog Day.
I just finished teaching a course on the Political Philosophy of Nietzsche
where we read much N. including Zarathustra.  I ended the course by showing
Groundhog Day and applying it to Nietzsche's doctrine "The eternal
recurrence."  I think Groundhog Day provides an excellent argument for the
ethics of accepting the doctrine of the eternal recurrence.  Phil becomes a
good person by accepting the reality of the eternal recurrence showing how
Nietzsche's moral code could possibly work toward a positive end as opposed to nihilism.  Phil was nihilistic at first, once he realized his Christian
ethics no longer applied to him.  However, by eventually embracing the
eternal recurrence, he listened to his best internal instincts and became a
very decent person.

Kerry Hunter
Politics Department
Albertson College of Idaho

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On Groundhog Day:

It is clear that as the story unfolds, there are days that are implied but 
not actually shown. Are there any views on how many times the day was 
repeated? Is it possible that this could stretch into years? How long does 
this sort of transformation (and becoming a concert pianist into the bargain) 
take?

In Nick Hornby's novel 'About A Boy', the sensitive child character, Marcus 
(on realizing that the choice of Groundhog Day as a video to cheer up his 
suicidally depressed mother may not have been wise) states: 'But then the 
film changed, and became all about suicide. This guy was so fed up with 
being stuck in the same day over and over for hundreds of years that he tried 
to kill himself.'

My other question apart from the above is, is there a connection with the 
concept of re-incarnation or rebirth? I note that there was a link with an 
essay giving a Buddhist perspective that is no longer available. Is it 
possible to supply an address for this site?

Steve Fowler, Manchester, United Kingdom.

Answer: I suspect that the movie leaves the time deliberately vague. After all, this is myth and fairy tale and the point is precisely that the protagonist is lost outside of time. 

Yes, I think there is a connection to ideas about rebirth. Many Eastern philosophies hold that we live our lives over and over until we get it. That's what happens to the protagonist, except he lives one day over and over. 

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Wow, your site is stunning, and I am most grateful for your in depth look at so many tidbits but most importantly your look at Groundhog day the film.

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I don't know who you are but if you're the author of the article in
the above subject line, I must say that was one of the best written articles I've seen in I don't know how long.

I am doing a short report about Sherry Turkle for a homework assignment
and happened upon your article and was struck with its beautifully stated insight of the movie. It was a fantastic film. You obviously are very well-spoken.
I've said enough I think. Back to the homework assignment.

Bob Thompson

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August 7, 1999
Our family misses (Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman), and are really upset with CBS, so much that CBS is off our viewing list forever. We are saddened and amazed at the greed CBS has for money instead of family values.

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Feb., 3, 2001
Hi,
I read the essay about the movie Groundhog Day and really enjoyed it- I
noticed at the end of the essay there's a Buddhist interpretation about
the movie that we could also read. I'd like to share my interpretation
about the movie as a Christian. The movie Goundhog Day made me cry and
cry- I've watched it several times and I've cried and cried each time.
Why?
First, because it revealed to me, in one way, my past life. Like
Phil, I found myself trapped in a life with no way out. Killing my
self, like Phil demonstrated, seemed to be the only way. I no longer
wanted to be in the land of the living. I couldn't or wouldn't change
and so I was stuck on this endless merry-go-round (like his endless
day) with no way off! Like Phil, I didn't really care about anything or
anyone but me. When I finally was confronted with the man in the mirror;
and what I'd become; it was ugly and selfish. I was finally left with
nothing to show for 35 years of living except emptiness, loneliness and
hopelessness. But death would not come.
Next, was Phil's 'second' chance at life. There was another plan
for him- just like me. It's been said; that when a person seeks God,
like a drowning man fights for air, then you will find Him. My fight
consisted of confessing (admitting) to God my selfishness and sin and
then asking Him to forgive me, and for all the hurt and pain I caused
all those around me. Please help me I cried! I don't want to be this
way anymore... please, please help me. I wanted so badly to change,
and somehow get another chance at life. I couldn't live, and I didn't
want to die. I wanted/needed something; but I wasn't even sure what it
was. I knew I didn't want religion. I didn't want 'rules to live by'
I was oh so thirsty- but what or who could help me? Then, Jesus came.
And, like in the movie, it began to snow.
I asked Jesus to change me- to come into my heart and do something with
me. Repentance, I learned, isn't changing. It's admitting we need to
change- then He does the changing. Even God can't fix anything in our
lives- until we first admit something is broke. There is so much more I
could write here. My 'snow falling' Groundhog day took place over a
dozen years ago- the babe born in a manger so long ago- and then the
man who hung on a cross, I learned, hung there for me (us). In His
death- is our (my) new life. Undeserved. Why did He do that for me?
Love. His unreasonable love for each and every one of us.
Lastly, I'd like to point out that in Phil's death (old self wanting
to die) came his new life. I'm not a biblical scholar, but the
parallels in this movie are staggering with that of the true Christian
experience. The movie even reveals the dynamic 'after' one gives
themselves to Jesus- of dying to ourselves day to day. Yes, failures
come, I'll never be 'perfected' on this side of heaven. However, as we
grow as a child of His- He will continue changing our old hearts of
stone- into hearts of flesh. It's a journey, of discovery, repentance
and change. Not a religion, but a real relationship. A life long
relationship with Jesus.
Some once wrote: Man's way is to use people, and love things. God's
way is to love people, and use things. That's what Phil learned in his
journey and that's what I'm learning in mine. Forget self. Give of
yourself and serve others. I am now constrained by love. His love.
What He's done is written His way and love on my heart by the power of
His Spirit, and He'll never let me go. This (snowy Groundhog Day) is for
all who hear and then ask Him to help with all your heart- then He'll do
the rest..

Thank you for allowing me to share this with you. Blessings.

In His grip and grace,
-don
PS: And may Jesus do for you what He's done for me... He's awesome!

PS- PS: The actual Goundhog Day that we celebrate (Feb. 2nd)does have a
'very special' meaning to me cause God blessed me with a daughter on
that day.

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Jan 9, 2001

Let me know if I'm wrong, but didn't the final episode of BNS have the
Hartley's moving from Chicago to Seattle? QUESTION: Wouldn't it be a
hoot if Dr. Robert Hartley, still residing in Seattle, met up with
fellow psychiatrist Frasier Crane as a ... guest appearance?

Mark Brainard 

 

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