2.02.2007

Groundhog Day

Today was Groundhog Day, and the meteorologist on VPR said that the date is a good approximation of the mid-point of winter, regardless of the whole 'shadow or no shadow' thing. It's nice because the sun is rising in the sky and feels a little stronger day by day, Vermont is pretty gloomy during December and January. For the record, it was sunny here in the morning, but cloudy and snowing lightly in the afternoon, so I don't know what that means for the rodent's prognostications.

Groundhog Day is also the title of a Bill Murray/Andie McDowell romantic comedy that actually raises a serious question: What if you had your life to 'do over' again and make it right? This idea sounds attractive in theory but in the film it is more of a trap than anything else, as Bill Murray's shallow, callow and narcissistic character is forced to re-live 'the worst day of his life' over and over until he learns to value what's important, experiences growth and finally gets the pretty girl in the end.

Phil: I've been stabbed, shocked, poisoned, frozen, hung, electrocuted, and burned.
Rita: Oh, really?
Phil: Every day I wake up without a scratch on me, not a dent in the fender... I am an immortal.
This does have a certain resonance for me because I am prone to being a glass is half empty person and there have times and opportunities in my life where my way of looking at the world has led to missed opportunities both large and small. I look back on these situations after the fact and think to myself "that was really stupid and destructive". This movie has actually provided lots of fodder for sermons by clergy of various denomimations and perhaps some of the questions it raises are worth considering even if one is not prone to sitting in a church/temple/synagogue with any regularity.

Finally, I'll conclude by saying that I find Groundhog Day to be a much more thoughtful and entertaining movie than Lost in Translation, the ongoing popularity of this film, is just another cultural artifact that I can't easily understand.

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