Title: Groundhog Day
Release Date: 12 February 1993
Director: Harold Ramis
Production Company: Columbia Pictures
I hadn’t watched Groundhog Day since the 1990s so I figured the 25th anniversary of its release would be a good time to see if it has held up. The first thing I noticed about the movie is that the production is very 80s/90s, and OMG! Bill Murray looks so young! The story is familiar, seeped into our culture by now. We see egocentric meteorologist Phil Connors head to cover the Groundhog Day ceremony and then he has to live that same day again and again and again, until he learns a lesson and does it right. The thing that’s always impressed me is that Phil doesn’t repeat the same day for a week or two, but it’s implied that he’s caught in the loop for thousands perhaps tens of thousands of times. It’s also impressive that the filmmakers were brave enough to never offer an explanation of how or why Phil gets caught in the loop (or how he gets out), it just happens.
Groundhog Day is more melancholy than I remembered. It moves very smoothly among madcap comedy, romantic comedy, and a more solemn reflection on mortality and morality rather seamlessly. Much of this is due to the versatility of Bill Murray who can offer both wacky and gravitas depending on the situation. I guess Groundhog Day set him up for these type of roles that he’s become more well-known for in his later career in movies such as Rushmore and Lost in Translation.
So it turns out that Groundhog Day is actually better than I remembered and a deserved classic.
Author: Nicola Yoon
Title: The Sun is Also a Star
Narrator: Dominic Hoffman, Bahni Turpin, Raymond Lee
Publication Info: Listening Library, 2016
This beautiful and romantic young adult novel tells the story of two teenagers who share one significant day together. Daniel is the Korean-American son of immigrants, an aspiring poet, and in order to fulfill his parents’ aspirations is heading to an admissions university for Yale University. Natasha is an undocumented immigrant from Jamaica brought to New York due to her father’s quixotic dreams of becoming an actor, is passionate about science, and is meeting with a lawyer in a last ditch effort to stave off deportation.
They meet by happenstance, then meet again, share their dreams and philosophies, and fall in love. This book is completely unrealistic in that there’s no way that Daniel and Natasha could do all the things that they do in a single day, and the coincidences are too many. But Daniel and Natasha are REAL, their thoughts and conversations spectacularly illustrate them as fully fleshed and specific teenage human beings. Natasha and Daniel alternate as narrators offering different perspectives on the same situations, and there are also chapters from a third person omniscient narrator who fills in the details on the seemingly minor characters and family members who play a big role in the story.
This is a terrific and thoughtful novel.
Recommended books: Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann, White Teeth by Zadie Smith, and Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell