First D.J.: "Rise and shine, campers and don't forget your booties 'cause it's cooooold out there today." Second D.J.: "It's cold out there every day. What is this, Miami Beach?" First D.J.: "Not hardly. So the big question on everybody's lips..." Second D.J.: "On their chapped lips..." First D.J.: "...their chapped lips is, 'Does Phil feel lucky?' Punxsatawney Phil! That's right, woodchuck chuckers it's...
(IN UNISON): GROUNDHOG DAY!!!"
Today, Punxsutawney Phil --- the Seer of Seers, Sage of Sages, Prognosticator of Prognosticators, and Weather Prophet Extraordinary will predict whether we will have six more weeks of winter. According to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, Phil has seen his shadow 97 times, and hasn't seen it (predicting an early spring) only 14 times. Phil's track record is hotly disputed, though he's has had a pretty good run recently. Nevertheless, thousands will await the sunrise and the groundhog at Gobbler's Knob in the tiny Pennsylvania hamlet that has become known as the "Weather Capital of the World," due in no small part to the movie that makes every day Groundhog Day.
This is one time where the Internet really fails to capture the true excitement of a movie about a large squirrel predicting the weather. However, you can see the trailer as a refresher (while BuzzFeed compiles trivia).
In 2005, Roger Ebert revisited Groundhog Day, declaring that the film "finds its note and purpose so precisely that its genius may not be immediately noticeable. It unfolds so inevitably, is so entertaining, so apparently effortless, that you have to stand back and slap yourself before you see how good it really is."
At the other end of the political spectrum, Jonah Goldberg's equally effusive movie meditation grabbed the cover of National Review: "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."
Indeed, a 2004 article mentioned by Ebert (but not linked) from London's Independent observes that the Harold Ramis comedy has been hailed by some religious leaders as the most spiritual film of all time. More examples can be found at the NYT and the Christian Science Monitor.
As Phil Connors ultimately observed: "When Chekhov saw the long winter, he saw a winter bleak and dark and bereft of hope. Yet we know that winter is just another step in the cycle of life. But standing here among the people of Punxsutawney and basking in the warmth of their hearths and hearts, I couldn't imagine a better fate than a long and lustrous winter."
ACCORDINGLY, we conclude:
...with Sonny & Cher on Hullabaloo and famously on Letterman years later, plus UB40 with Chrissie Hynde, not to mention The Cynics (from the Bonograph tribute CD), and David Bowie & Marianne Faithfull.
UPDATE: Phil saw his shadow; his main rival, Staen Island Chuck, disagreed.
RYLEY WALKER, Live at Rough Trade BK, January 26, 2017.
LEE RENALDO, Live at the Church Park Co-op, January 22, 2017.
CATE LeBON, Live at The Bowery Ballroom, January 26, 2017.
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THE BEST TAKEDOWN OF HOLLYWOOD came from James Baldwin.
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UKRAINE began evacuating civilians from the eastern town at the center of the deadliest flare-up in fighting in 1 1/2 months between government forces and Russian-backed insurgents.
IRAN: White House national security adviser Michael Flynn delivered a tough warning to Iran on Wednesday for test-firing a ballistic missile and said it was in violation of a United Nations Security Council resolution.
SEALS and PENGUINS engaging in an extreme form of sexual behavior...mass hysteria!
OLLIE the BOBCAT: Officials at the National Zoo suspended their search for Ollie, who escaped Monday from her enclosure...only to find her on zoo property.
AN OREGON WOMAN managed to get her pet python stuck in her earlobe.
COCKFIGHTING: A NYC teacher is charged with training roosters for the ring.