The image of non-creative types mucking about with (and screwing up) movies and television shows is nothing new — we’ve seen it in everything from Barton Fink to The Player to The Larry Sanders Show — but we got a rare opportunity to observe a real-life example of it recently, when a memorandum of notes from the suits at Tandem Productions to the makers of Blade Runner started popping up online. Those hilarious criticisms and suggestions got us wondering about other classic movies that came close to ruin thanks to studio interference. We’ll take a look at Blade Runner and several other examples after the jump. … Read More
Happy Groundhog Day! With the East Coast in the frosty clutches of cold and snow, it’s high time we turn to Punxsutawney, Pennyslyvania to see if Phil will emerge from his nook and condemn us to six more weeks of winter not. More importantly, it’s also the time of year we should take a moment to acknowledge another national institution: Harold Ramis’ Groundhog Day, which happens to celebrate its 20th anniversary this month.
It’s easy to undervalue (or even dislike) Groundhog Day as a goofy high-concept comedy, a gimmicky Twilight Zone cast-off, a sideways take on It’s A Wonderful Life. It shouldn’t be. As the critics and directors (including David O. Russell) who listed it on their 2012 Sight & Sound Greatest Films ballot can attest, Groundhog Day is not only a great film, it’s a veritable treatise on life. As such, it might be cinema’s greatest self-help manual, full of invaluable lessons about both the day-to-day minutia and profound things that can make our individual existences better. … Read More
Today is Groundhog Day, when loyal citizenry, local mayors, and rookie reporters troop to zoos across the country to eagerly await a midsize rodent’s reaction to the morning weather. Wiarton Willie, Punxsutawney Phil, and Staten Island Chuck will all have their moment in the sun (or cloud cover), and, meteorologic equipment be damned, we might still believe just a little bit that they hold the power in their tiny paws to banish the remaining weeks of wintery doldrums. Groundhog Day is perhaps the weirdest nationally acknowledged day of observance, stemming from a Pennsylvania German tradition in which a badger or bear would perform the groundhog duties. But it’s far from the world’s only piece of bizarre weather predicting lore. From watching a cow tail to gauging the height of wasp nests, these traditions will have you feeling grateful for The Weather Channel. … Read More
Over the weekend Bill Murray finally confirmed his involvement in the third installment of Ghostbusters — the film that helped to solidify his post-Caddyshack career back in 1984. He’ll be playing the ghost of Dr. Peter Venkman, per his request. Funny enough, this isn’t the first time that Murray has played dead (or some version of it) on screen. So when did the comedic actor become so morbid? … Read More
In his upcoming Bible-belting farce Year One, Harold Ramis stars as Adam, an opportune role for the former ace of American comedy. Indeed, Ramis was in large part responsible (as the lead scribe) for modern comedy’s version of Original Sin, that ne plus ultra of Greek-life propaganda Animal House. On Friday night at the Times Center, the cheeky writer-director-actor regaled the audience with thirty-plus years of anecdotes and asides to hype his latest film.… Read More