Groundhog Day (Supplemental Viewing)

Billy Pilgrim was unique, because he became unstuck in time.  Does this imply that the rest of us are, in fact, stuck in time?  Taking this idea to an extreme, Groundhog Day tells the story of Phil Connors, a deeply sour and egotistical weatherman, as he repeatedly lives through the same day (groundhog day) over and over again.

The story begins with Phil and his news crew (Rita the producer, and Larry the camera man) head to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania to cover the groundhog day festivities.  The groundhog (whose name, consequentially, is also Phil) ominously “predicts” a long winter.  Contrary to the prediction of Phil the weatherman, a massive blizzard hits, forcing the crew to stay the night in Punxsutawney.  This is when the cycle begins.  In this video, Phil Connors begins to realize what is happening to him.

 

Obviously distressing for the first few days, Phil ultimately learns to cope with the fact of his strange new existence.  In the process of analyzing and accepting his situation, Phil reveals more and more levels of his psyche.

His initial reaction upon recognizing what is happening is to find ways to take advantage of the cycle for his own benefit: seducing women, stealing money, and living, literally, without a care for tomorrow.  Phil has found power, and is using it to his own selfish ends.

 

This honeymoon phase doesn’t last forever.  It’s impossible to know how many groundhog days Phil experienced; some have estimated in the ten thousand day range, others far more.  As the day keeps grinding on, Phil grows tired of the usual debauchery.  Exhausted by the cycle, and worried that it might never end, Phil becomes increasingly existential.  He acts recklessly, interrogates his clueless peers about what he should do, and is driven to the point of insanity.

His woe reaches a climax, and he commits suicide.  Well, almost.  Upon death, he instantly wakes up at 6:00 a.m., with the same song playing, the same sun shining, and the same depression dominating his existence.  Still in total rejection of the cycle that won’t let him go, Phil attempts suicide again.  And again.  And again and again and so forth.  After countless deaths, the hopelessness of Phil’s situation is evident.

Repeatedly throughout the film, Phil is begged for change by an old homeless man.  Every single time, a countless number of times, Phil turns the man down.  But when Phil discovers that the day he has been reliving is in fact the day of the old man’s death, he is thrown into despair.  Over and over he tries to save the old man’s life, but to no avail.  Absolutely nothing can be done.  Much like Billy Pilgrim, Phil is forced to accept the impotence of his position, and simply face the fate that time has handed him.

 

This marks the turning point in Phil’s journey.  His focus turns away from mere self-pleasure, and instead turns outward to the people around him.  He begins taking steps to fundamentally improve his character, while simultaneously humbling himself.  With an infinite amount of time at hand, he ultimately accomplishes his goal.

On the last day of the cycle, Phil reaches perfection.  His good hearted producer, Rita, falls in love with him at last, despite hating him only a “day” before.  Phil wakes up beside Rita, and discovers that groundhog day has finally ended. Phil mentions that he would like to stay in Punxsutawney – the place that he so desperately wanted to leave earlier – indicating that he truly has eliminated his nagging desire to escape his fate.

I chose this film because I just like it so darn much.  Its intriguing premise and deep philosophical musings elevate it above the point of being a mere comedy.  Every time I watch this film, I find a new meaning within it that I had ever even considered before.  And that is what good entertainment, and good art, is all about.

Back to the Future

Well, let’s say this first.  What a great telling of paradoxes in the time travel genre.  First, there’s the question about whether a time traveler and/or a time traveling device would run into anything if leaving one time and entering another.  With the DeLorean, this is displayed even more so, because the Flux Capacitor’s power is directly related to the speed of the car.  So, when the car reaches 88mph, the Flux Capacitor generates the necessary electrical power to send the car into the designated time. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SR5BfQ4rEqQ&feature=relmfu

Now we have to contend with not only a car reappearing in an area that may already be occupied by something or someone, but the car is moving in a lateral direction as well, at 88pmh!  So, when Marty McFly travels back in time for the first time, he runs through a corn field, a scarecrow and through a barn door where the DeLorean stops inside as it crashes into bales of hay.

Then comes the idea that you should not tamper with the past.  The slightest instance could result in catastrophic consequences!  “GREAT SCOTT!”  Butterfly Effect, anyone?  So, when Marty accidentally “falls” into the lap of his mother’s home, she becomes smitten with him, and therefore, the chain of events that originally led to her meeting Marty’s father, George, no longer exists. 

Now, Marty has to convince his mother that he’s not for her, convince George (dad) that he’s good enough for Lorraine (mom), and convince mom that George is a worthy mate!  All the while, he must deal with Biff, the local bully/thug. 

And during all this, with the Mom/Dad path disrupted, Marty begins to FADE!  Without his parents meeting, and ultimately hitting it off, he will never be born.  Therefore, his very existence in the past could result in his death long before he’s even born!!  Wrap THAT around your noggin!  “This is heavy,” indeed!

All in all, the movie shows intelligence in the way that it tells the time travel story, but also incorporates enough action, comedy and love story to keep everyone’s attention.  And even if you don’t completely follow the science of science fiction, you’re still okay, because the script allows it to be told in a way that puts you at ease if you don’t completely “get it.” 

This is a great flick; a classic from an era in America that was filled with great achievements in entertainment…the ’80s!! 

The acting is superb, the direction is flawless and the script is a thing of beauty.  There aren’t many movies that Spielberg has done that you can say a lot of bad things about.  No change here.  And Christopher Lloyd and Michael J. Fox display an on-camera chemistry that may make you want to meet the characters in real life…if they were real, that is.

Overall, I would give this a 9 out of 10.  I would recommend this for anyone interested in any number of genres.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KPeHFDxKUP4

 

 

Supplemental Viewing – Hot Tub Time Machine

Hot Tub Time Machine

I honestly watched this movie by accident and I did not like it. The language was filthy, the material just didn’t appeal to me, and the science and paradox was barely addressed. It is a comedy and probably would appeal to some college students, though. And it has to do with time travel, so it is relevant to the class.

Summary

The movie begins by setting up the lives of three childhood friends who never see each other any more. Adam recently had a breakup and his girlfriend has just moved out. Nick gave up his dreams of becoming a singer so that he could be a good husband to his wife, and he is now a dog groomer, and completely unsatisfied with life. Lou is an alcoholic wild child who annoys even his own friends to the point that they never answer the phone when he calls. Jacob is Adam’s nephew and live is the basement of Adam’s house. He is a computer nerd and never leaves the basement.

After a night of drinking, Lou ends up in the hospital and his two friends Nick and Adam come to visit him because the doctor thinks that he tried to commit suicide because he is unhappy with his life, and he encourages these two friends to cheer him up. Nick and Adam try to cheer Lou up by planning a trip to the ski lodge that used to be THE PLACE to hang out when they were teenagers. Their idea of this place is that it is a party place where everyone gets laid. Jacob, Adam’s nephew tags along with the three friends. The place is now a dump, all their old hangouts are closed, and they are gravely disappointed. They settle for a night of drinking in the hot tub. They all get drunk and pass out.

When they wake up and go skiing for the day they notice everyone is wearing brightly colored spandex retro ski suits, bandanas, everyone has funky hair cuts, girls are wearing leg warmers, and young kids are everywhere. When they get to the ski lodge they see old tube TVs showing mostly black and white, old TV shows, and people are buying cigarettes from a cigarette box machine. A young man is listening to a walkman cassette player. When Nick asks a girl “What color is Michael Jackson?” and she responds, “Black,” They freak out and run back to their room. In their room they discover that even though they see fat middle aged bodies, when they look in the mirror, their teenage selves are looking back at them, and Jacob is flickering like a TV screen.

(-What color is Michael Jackson?

-Black.)

There is an eerie mechanic who appears from no where and tells them that he is fixing the hot tub and they are not to change anything or it could affect their futures.

The three friends remember that this is the night that Adam breaks up with Jenny and gets stabbed in the eye with a fork, Nick sings on the stage and then has sex with a girl named Tara, and Lou challenges the ski patrol to a fight and gets the crap beat out of him by six guys because his friends didn’t show up to have his back.

As they go about trying to reenact their past, all three of them have a hard time going through with it.

Adam thinks about his miserable life with his girlfriend who just dumped him and moved out, and he wonders why he broke up with Jenny. He can’t bring himself to break up with her, but he meets a journalist who he really likes but tells her that he can’t talk to her because “this didn’t happen before.” Jenny breaks up with Adam and he tells her she is going to get fat and she stabs him in the eye with a toothpick.

Nick doesn’t want to sleep with Tara because he feels like he would be cheating on his wife. His friends pressure him that he can’t cheat on someone he hasn’t met yet, and they pressure him into having sex with Tara. While she is on top of him, Nick is crying and repeating “I’m sorry Courtney!” Tara realizes he is crying and gets angry. Nick tells her something that he has never told anyone. That he found out that his wife cheated on him.

Lou doesn’t want to get beat up, but he challenges the ski patrol and tells his friends “You guys better show up this time.” He also tried to have sex with a girl that he didn’t have sex with in the past, but it didn’t work out.

Adam spends the evening with the journalist girl, Nick performs songs ‘from the future’ for his crowd that ends up loving it! And Lou wins a bunch of money in a bar by making bets on the football game that is on, since he already knows what will happen in the game.

The eerie mechanic guy tells them that the hot tub will only be a time machine again if they can get a Russian beverage that the ski patrol have in their possession. The three friends and Jacob have to break into the ski patrol’s house and steal the beverage. There is a party at the ski patrol house. Adam’s sister is there, and Lou has sex with her (That’s how Jacob is born). The friends and Jacob go back to the hot tub where they travel back forward in time, but Lou decides he wants to stay in the past and be a good parent for Jacob because he is miserable in the future.

When Jacob, Adam, and Nick travel back to present day there is a DVD waiting for them in their room. Lou is on a big Yacht and tells them that he used his knowledge of the future to make a lot of money. The Bellman gives them directions for them to go home. They all have different lives than they did before. Adam is now married to the journalist woman. Nick is the owner of a huge recording studio, and his wife never cheated on him, and Lou is married to Adam’s sister and taking care of their son, Jacob. “Google” has been renamed “Lougle,” and the band “The Motley Crew” is renamed “The Motley Lou.”

Themes

There is a theme of second chances in this film. These friends are given a second chance to relive their pasts in a better way than they did the first time. They make different choices since they still have the wisdom and foresight that they have now that they have come from the future. Their experience gives them a new perspective to use better judgment. Adam chooses to spend time with this amazing journalist who he knows would be really great for him instead of dating the girls that have all left him high and dry. Nick chooses to spice things up for his crowd and sing songs from the future to spark his singing career and to create a fan base for himself. Lou chooses to stay in the past and be a good father since he never really did anything with his life the first time around.

There is a theme of reaching out to friends as well. The three friends, prior to this weekend trip, have really drifted away from one another. All three of them have miserable lives, and now none of them even have friends. The second time around, Nick and Adam forgot to show up at the fight between Lou and the Ski patrol. They forgot for the second time to have their friend’s back. They find Lou drinking on the roof where he tells them that they are not his friends and that they have never been there for him. He knows that they never answer his calls. He tells them that he hates them. That’s when they all realize that they could be there for each other more often. They could stand by their friends more.

There is a theme of having closure, not letting guilt ruin your life. Adam shares with the journalist girl that his dad used to take him and his sister to a steak sandwich joint every Saturday for dinner. One time a new pizza place opened and he and his sister begged their dad to go to the pizza place. Close to 40 people died of eccoli. Adam still blames himself for his father’s death. The journalist tells him that he can’t let one bad pizza ruin his life. This is an important moment of release for Adam. He finally lets go of the guilt that he has been harboring for years and allows himself to live a happy life.

Time Travel

When I though about a ENG 232 class at the University of Montevallo, time travel was not something that came to mind; however, that was the exact class I was taking for a ENG 232 credit. When the class started, I was less interested in the material because I had never seen anything like it. The only thing that I could thing of with time travel was Reading Rainbow, and I hated that show as a kid.

As the class went on we began reading things that interested me a little, but not as much as I would like, so I considered dropping the class. After the midterm, I had no clue what was going on in the class. Everyone seemed to be enjoying the class and I was entirely lost.

During the second half of class I tried to understand the material that we were reading and I agree with myself to give this time traveling thing a chance. The first text that I really enjoyed was “A Sound of Thunder”, then I went back and read “A Little Something for us Tempunaunts,” and I really enjoyed these readings. Then came “Kindred,” which was a easier read for me and I really enjoyed. Then there was “The Yiddish Policemen’s Union.” This was the hardest of everything we had to read. I got very confused while reading this work, but the blog and the class discussions helped me a lot.

I really enjoyed this ENG 232 class and the teacher was great. I now find myself noticing more time travel now than I ever had. I really enjoyed this class and the blog.

Keep Bow Tie Wednesdays Forever!!!

“Idiocracy” Supplemental Film Viewing

Ladies and gentleman, welcome to the future.

We have awesome money, a bad ass president, and the best fast food out of a vending machine that you could ever ask for. Check out our ballin’ TV. And before you ask, yes. It does come with a toilet.

Before I really go head first into this analysis, I would just like to say one thing:  this was a kick-ass movie, brought to you by Carl’s Jr.

Continue reading

Supplemental Viewing: Memento

Natalie: What’s the last thing that you do remember?

Leonard Shelby: My wife…

Natalie: That’s sweet.

Leonard Shelby: …dying.

Memento is about a man named Leonard Shelby, who is on a strange search to find and kill the man who raped and killed his wife. Leonard awoke one night to find his wife out of the bed. He heard struggling coming from the hall bathroom, so he grabbed his gun. When he busted into the bathroom, he saw a man over his wife, who was being suffocated. He immediately shot the intruder, and when he went to assist his wife, he was attacked from behind by another man. His last normal memory is lying on the bathroom floor and watching his wife die.

Continue reading

In Time (Supplemental Viewing)

 In Time takes place in the year 2161, where humans have been genetically engineered to stop aging at 25 years old. When babies are born, they have a year of time imprinted on their arm. As soon as they turn 25, the year starts counting down. So, they have an extra year to live after age 25. The only way to live longer is to steal or borrow time. Here, time is everything. It is currency, it is the law, it is your life. In the same way that we depend on money for things, these people depend on time. Although, it is even more of an necessity. As soon as they get time, whether it is a day, a month, or just an hour, it starts counting down by seconds. If your clock reaches zero, you “time out,” and die instantly. So, it is deathly important to have time. In the ghettos of Dayton, many “young” people live day to day getting by with just barely enough time to survive. However, the rich upper class society of New Greenwich has more than enough time, making them practically immortal. 

Image

This movie is full of social class conflicts which involve the rich getting more and more time while the poor can barley stay alive. This is an unequal distribution of wealth, only with a different type of currency. The rich control the poor because they own all the time that everyone needs. One man, Philippe Weis, owns everything in the town of Dayton. The story focuses on a citizen of Dayton named Will Salas, who lives with his mother and must fight for time and find it wherever they can. At a bar one night, he witnesses a wealthy man being mugged for his time and helps him escape. The man had lived to be 105 years old and was ready to die. He gives Will 100 years and lets his time run out, killing himself. Will wakes up to find a century on his arm and a note saying “Don’t waste my time.” Since Will was there at the scene of his death, Will is accused of murdering the gracious man. 

An organization called the “Time Keepers” are like today’s policemen, only they monitor the citizens of their time zones very closely. They are comparable to a communist government in that they watch what happens to everyone and try to control them. When someone gives away 100 years, they know it. Every time a new baby is born and a year of time is added to the population, they see that too. So when that much time is placed in the hands of someone who they believe does not deserve it, they will do anything to get it back. This goes along with the theme of government control. The entire movie is a satire of our generation, I’m guessing, and how it could become. In the movie, the Time Keepers raise the cost of living and income tax tremendously almost every week, making it almost impossible for some people to live, because they have to spend all their time on necessities. One character in the film says “Everyone can’t live forever; where would we put them all?” So this is their form of “population control.” If they can’t kill them, they will just make it impossible for them to live. In a sense this happens today. Many hunters of animals say they are doing society justice by participating in “population control.” Also, in the movie the people who lived in a certain place could not go to a different time zone. (Time zones in this film are just like communities or cities in our society.) Each time zone is blocked off by huge barriers, and the only way to get across is to give away months, even years of your life.

This movie was similar to the ideas in The Yiddish Policeman’s Union by Michael Chabon. Instead of an alternate history, it is an alternate future. (At least I hope that’s an alternate future.) It also reflects some of the inequality in social classes just like Chabon’s book represents. In The Yiddish Policeman’s Union, the Sitka Jews are treated unequally and are forced to move around from place to place because they do not fit in. Especially those that have mixed heritage with Native Alaskans. In Time takes the two major classes of people and splits them up socially. Instead of forcing the poor to move, they keep them from doing so. No one can go anywhere unless they have the time to do it. These are based on actual situations; some people today cannot afford to go anywhere are have nice things because money rules everything. In that same way, time controls their lives.

The movie addresses Darwin’s Natural Selection. This was also addressed in H.G. Well’s The Time Machine. I thought this was interesting because I wrote my midterm paper on this topic. Just like in The Time Machine, there are two distinct classes of people, only here it is the rich and the poor. “Only the strong survive,” says Will Salas, talking about the way that the social classes are split up in this altered universe. the clip below explains how Phillipe Weis (the richest man in Greenwich Village) feels on social evolution that has taken place.

http://www.metacafe.com/watch/7592793/in_time_clip_natural_selection/

http://www.metacafe.com/fplayer/7592793/in_time_clip_natural_selection.swf<div style=”font-size:12px;”><a href=”http://www.metacafe.com/watch/7592793/in_time_clip_natural_selection/”>In Time Clip – “Natural Selection”</a>. Watch more top selected videos about: <a href=”http://www.metacafe.com/topics/Movie_Trailers/&#8221; title=”Movie_Trailers”>Movie Trailers</a>, <a href=”http://www.metacafe.com/topics/In_Time_(film)/&#8221; title=”In_Time_(film)”>In Time (film)</a></div>

I thought In Time was very interesting. I never thought about it that way, “What if time ruled everything?” I’ve heard the age old saying “Time is money,” but never thought about it in this aspect. Time really is money for the people in this movie. It made me think about how risky it would be living your life with only seconds left, knowing the exact moment you would die. However, I don’t think I would want to know when I was going to die. Also, people killed each other just so they could steal time. If someone walked around with a lot of time on them, they could get shot in the street. I thought that would make life a lot more dangerous. This movie was thrilling and had me on the edge of my seat at times. It makes the viewer see what it is like to live from day to day, or in this case minute to minute. Just like the characters lived a life of uncertainty, as the viewer you feel what they are feeling. It also made me appreciate aging. If we all stopped aging at 25, we would all look the same and you wouldn’t be able to tell who was your elder and who was younger than you. So, be careful what you wish for. In Time was a great movie and I would definitely watch it again.