It’s all the same, day in, day out. Rinse and repeat. This week’s theme.
Movie of the Week
Groundhog Day (1993)
- Groundhog Day (1993): I had this memory, that Groundhog Day was a really awesome movie. Last time I saw it, I must have been in my early teens. It’s just one of those films which, growing up, you would have seen countless time on free TV channels. Indeed, upon revisiting it last week, GD proved to be all that I remembered. A peak-form Bill Murray finds himself stuck on Groundhog Day, reporting on an insipid little feast which aims to foretell the arrival of spring. For untold reasons, the day keeps starting over every time, with Murray’s character alternating between disbelief, rage, madness before actually trying to enjoy the day. The story is pretty plain, although director Harold Ramis does well to keep it tight enough to withstand all the to and fro. It’s a bit of a prerequisite, the narrative simplicity, to allow for the many variations. Simplicity is a thing of beauty, when done right. GD is proof for that. 8/10
The much maligned
- mother! (2017): I’m a big Aronofsky fan, but mother! proved to be too much for me. A cryptic movie, with a plethora of unlikable characters, all sorts of allegories and metaphors, winding down after more than two hours of screentime – you know, I can take most of these things by themselves, but together I was simply irked. Ever since the first half hour, I just felt like there was no need for me to commit to mother!, to care. The way it unwinds later on made it harder still. It doesn’t matter whether the movie is about family, religion, immigration, what-have-you, because I failed to connect on any level. Some of the horror elements might have worked, had my mood by that time not been one of comic disbelief. Consequently, all I was left with at the end of mother! was a lovely little song over the end credits. 4/10
- Happy Death Day (2017): Unintentionally, I ended up watching this re-envisioning of Groundhog Day on the same week as the original. The concept is exactly the same and there are quite a few winks and nods towards Ramis’s picture. The twist: it’s the protagonist’s death that keeps rewinding the day. I failed to enjoy it too much in the end, not so much because the story was lukewarm, but because the characters were uninteresting. Here, more so than with GD, I kept asking myself why the little time-shifts don’t matter. For example, if you have a five second delay between one action or the other, many things can occur differently – like sprinklers coming on when you’re in a different place, and other cues like that. It matters more here because Happy Death Day gives the impression that it’s not an endless carousel, but a more limited approach to the idea, with the lead having a set number of opportunities to ‘fix’ the loop. Ultimately, the poor and predictable ending, didn’t do the movie any favors – but it’s still more enjoyable than mother!, haha. 5/10