Sunday, January 10, 2010

If You Can't Step Away From The Screen (Vol. 6)

Comedic bombasters Bill Murray (Saturday Night Live's lounge lizard, Caddyshack's Carl) and Harold Ramis (author of Animal House) are an unlikely pair to arrange one of the most special effects in film -- the audience's easy acquiesence in the impossible.

That trick is particularly impressive if employed in the service of a thoughtful, subtle story. Add intelligent comedy and the neighborhood becomes rarified enough to be a prime beneficiary of Allegheny County's reassessment policies.

Murray and Ramis use an ingeniously (but ridiculously) recurring device to construct a changeless world, then use that world to chronicle a character's change. The character, with the film, becomes reflective and instructive -- to the point of redemption by self-awareness and Andie McDowell.

Reflective, instructive, funny and smart would recommend any film. Add the distinctions of being the medium's best treatment of Pittsburgh television news, of Punxsutawney and of an underappreciated holiday, and the result is an enjoyable film so memorable its screenwriter and fans are discussing it constantly -- by blog -- nearly 20 years after release.

If you can't step away from the screen, aim that screen at TVLand next Sunday (January 17), beginning at noon, for a great movie, Groundhog Day.

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