My DVD Shelf: 'Groundhog Day' (BluRay)
I've always admired "Groundhog Day," but each time I revisit it, I find more to like about the movie. Maybe that's appropriate. When the BluRay showed up last week, I put it on the "next to be watched" stack, looking forward to it. The transfer is bright and crisp and really shows off John Bailey's cinematography, but "Groundhog Day" is never going to be one of those films people buy to demo a high-def system.
No, this is a film for people who demand a little more from mainstream comedy, a high point for all involved. I know Bill Murray's had an interesting run over the last decade or so as people finally caught on to the idea that he's more than just a comedian, but as much as I like "Lost In Translation" or "Rushmore" or "Broken Flowers," I'd argue that this movie represents some of the very best work he's done on film. He's perfect as Phil Connors, the Sisyphean hero of this twisted parable about making the most of one's life. He manages to make it funny and sad and moving and absurd, and he sells every beat of the film as believable. So many high concept comedies struggle just to get their premise of the ground, while "Groundhog Day" never bothers to explain how or why the time loop is happening to Phil; it just is. I love that there's no angel or magical remote control or some other contrived bullshit designed to hold your hand as you watch. You experience things the same way Phil does, and you discover things as he does. It's a very simple script in some ways... very direct. Danny Rubin, with Harold Ramis batting clean-up, created a perfect vehicle to explore the way we evolve as individuals, but in a non-pretentious and fun manner. I think it's sort of amazing how "Groundhog Day" works as a simple comedy, but also as serious philosophical exploration of what it is we do with our lives, and how we piss away rivers of time instead of holding each moment precious.
There are many people writing about this film online today for obvious reasons, and Ali Arikan's take over at The House Next Door is a particularly rich read. Personally, I'm just glad SPHE put out such a solid BluRay edition. Now if they could get Bill and Harold to record a commentary together to talk about how this film pretty much destroyed their professional and personal relationships... THAT would be the anniversary edition everyone would pony up for. In its stead, this one will do.
1997 | Crime | RSummary: Quentin Tarantino adaptats an Elmore Leonard novel into this story of a few increasingly desperate people scraping to get by.Director: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster
1993 | Sports | PGSummary: Emotionally powerful sports classic featuring Sean Astin as a skinny high school kid with big football dreams and the determination to make his way towards his dream team at Notre Dame.Director: David Anspaugh
Cast: Sean Astin, Jon Favreau, Ned Beatty
2013 | Drama | RSummary: Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill have boundless energy in the story of a real-life commodities crook who earned millions through scummy small-time stock trades.Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie
2013 | Comedy | NRSummary: Insanely funny comedy show created by Amy Schumer, who stars in brilliantly funny sketches about sex, city living, dating, and friendship.Director: Daniel Powell, Amy Schumer (creators)
Cast: Amy Schumer, Kevin Kane, Mike Houston
1995 | Mystery | NRSummary: Denzel Washington plays an out of work WWII vet who takes the wrong job and is soon neck-deep in a mess of politics, murder, and jazz in '40s Los Angeles.Director: Carl Franklin
Cast: Denzel Washington, Tom Sizemore, Jennifer Beals
2008 | Science Fiction | PGSummary: Animated series continues the story of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker as they battle the Emperor Palpatine, Count Dooku and General Grievous, but also takes time to explore other smaller characters in the Star Wars universe.Director: George Lucas (creator)
Cast: Tom Kane, Dee Bradley Baker, Matt Lanter
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