Friday, July 30, 2010

Rise And Shine, Campers

Saw Groundhog Day under the stars tonight. This is pretty much my favorite movie ever. Director Harold Ramis said that after the movie came out, he got letters from people of every religion, all saying the same thing: Your movie represents our philosophy. I'm 0% religious, but the film represents my philosophy, too: Help other people. And that's it. Not, "help other people and you get the following awesome stuff! Yay you!" Just do stuff for others, end of story. Some people say "if you give a dude a fish, he'll eat for a day, but if you teach the dude to fish, he'll eat for a lifetime." Well, fine, but if you have a billion fish, just give the guy a goddamn fish, jeez. Have some compassion, fish-boy.

So for those of you who think GD is just some silly movie about a guy who lives the same day over and over, here's what it all means. You've got a man who realizes every day is the same, that nothing he does matters. This has nothing to do with science fiction and everything to do with real life. They even allude to it when Phil realizes these things about his life and mentions it to two yahoos, who then realize that that's exactly what their lives are like, too. So what does our hero do? He goes through phases. Phase one: Doesn't care anymore. Throws caution to the wind. Life doesn't matter anyway, so screw it. He has a ball. But it doesn't solve his problem--every day is still the same. Phase two: Get what you want. He uses his problem to score chicks. He is still only thinking of himself. He gets very close to getting the woman he wants, but fails. And can never even come close to what he did have with her again. He is still unfulfilled. Every day is still the same. Phase three: Take it out on someone else. It's Groundhog Day he's living over and over, so he kills the groundhog. But others are not his problem, the problem is within. Still, every day is the same. Phase four: Just forget it. He kills himself. Over and over again. He has given up. But in this case his problem is his savior, because even though he's given up, the days go on. Every morning he has a clean slate if he wants it. Even when he's made friends with the woman he wants, he knows there's no romance to be had, so he still floats through life with no purpose. Every day is still the same. Final phase: Do good for others. While floating along, influenced by the kind woman he tried so desperately and fruitlessly to seduce, the lightbulb goes off. And he finally is affected by the sight of the first person he encounters downtown every day, the frail homeless beggar. Suddenly he is improving himself, being kind to everyone, even trying to save the homeless man's life. His "day" is spent helping others. With big things, with little things. He has countless chances to seduce the same woman who is now seeing in him a good man, but he knows that's not what life is about. She has already fallen for him because of who he's become and what he does for others. And that part works itself out in the end. Having changed his life, Phil wakes up, and it's a new, but more importantly, different day. He has the girl, but the new Phil, on the day after Groundhog Day, isn't interested in what she can do for him, but what he can do for her: "Is there anything I can do for you, today?"

So that's why Groundhog Day is my favorite movie. It's more than a movie, it's a bible for non-believers.

Side note: A guy I went to high school with was there tonight. He hadn't seen me in 15 years and I knew he wasn't gonna recognize me. So I really could have gone up to him and broken into a full-on Ned Ryerson routine! "Jere! Jere Smith, Ridgefield High, 1993, bing!" I at least could have said "don't tell me you don't remember me cuz I sure as heckfire remember you..." Instead I just talked to him like a normal person, and he eventually came up with my name and we got to chat for a while. So that was good. Turns out he sells insurance now....

Hahahaha!! Needle-nose Ned... Great reference. I love that part in the movie when Phil runs into Ned (for the second or third time) and he initially says nothing - just gives Ned a huge body shove. Ned just takes it in stride.

I haven't seen this movie in years, but you may just have inspired me to rent it tonight.
Cool. Yeah that shove scene is great--got a big laugh last night. It flies under the radar compared to the time where he cold-cocks him. Which is also great.

It was really cool to see it in a theater-type setting again. All was right with the world...and no crazy people to ruin the experience this time!

A new favorite line of mine is "water damage." As Ned gives the list of things Phil bought from him, he says "...with optional death and dismemberment plan" but then throws in "water damage" to close out the list. I feel like I'd (somehow) never noticed the tack-on water damage until last night.
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Location: Rhode Island, United States