Saturday, February 03, 2007

Jonah Goldberg on "Groundhog Day"

Jonah Goldberg writes at National Review Online:
A Movie For All Time
Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow, Groundhog Day scores

Here's a line you'll either recognize or you won't: "This is one time where television really fails to capture the true excitement of a large squirrel predicting the weather." If you don't recognize this little gem, you've either never seen Groundhog Day or you're not a fan of what is, in my opinion, one of the best films of the last 40 years. As the day of the groundhog again approaches, it seems only fitting to celebrate what will almost undoubtedly join It's a Wonderful Life in the pantheon of America's most uplifting, morally serious, enjoyable, and timeless movies.

When I set out to write this article, I thought it'd be fun to do a quirky homage to an offbeat flick, one I think is brilliant as both comedy and moral philosophy. But while doing what I intended to be cursory research—how much reporting do you need for a review of a twelve-year-old movie that plays constantly on cable?—I discovered that I wasn't alone in my interest. In the years since its release the film has been taken up by Jews, Catholics, Evangelicals, Hindus, Buddhists, Wiccans, and followers of the oppressed Chinese Falun Gong movement. Meanwhile, the Internet brims with weighty philosophical treatises on the deep Platonist, Aristotelian, and existentialist themes providing the skin and bones beneath the film's clown makeup. On National Review Online's group blog, The Corner, I asked readers to send in their views on the film. Over 200 e-mails later I had learned that countless professors use it to teach ethics and a host of philosophical approaches. Several pastors sent me excerpts from sermons in which Groundhog Day was the central metaphor. And dozens of committed Christians of all denominations related that it was one of their most cherished movies.

... What is it about this ostensibly farcical film about a wisecracking weatherman that speaks to so many on such a deep spiritual level?...

My Comments:
All I know is that "Groundhog Day", which I first saw 12 years ago via pay-per-view in a London hotel, was shown by one television channel back-to-back-to-back today, and I watched it all 3 times.

Fr. Richtsteig has a very funny post about "Groundhog Day" over at Orthometer.


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