The date is now Thursday, March 1069th, 2020.

Adam Daniel: I watched Groundhog Day every day for a year:

"What would you do if you were stuck in one place, and every day was exactly the same, and nothing that you did mattered?" [...]

In 2021 I was wrestling with the same question. Living in lockdown, I was feeling frustration, ennui, and like forward progress had ground to a halt. The circumstances created an opportunity to subject myself to a very unusual challenge: to watch the same film once a day, every day, for a year. [...]

I began to notice the reoccurrence of certain extras from scene to scene, building my own narrative around their identities. I realised the boy in a wheelchair in the background of the hospital scene is the same boy Phil will eventually save from breaking his leg every day. [...]

By the midway point, my viewing had shifted into a mode of cataloguing and memorisation. Phil Connors's weather reports ran through my head unbidden, and I had built myself a mental map of Punxsutawney to where I felt like I could give directions to a visitor. I began to talk to the film as it played.

Some days, the viewing felt like a curse. When Rita discovers Phil's dilemma, she says: "Maybe it's not a curse. Maybe it depends on how you look at it."

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20 Responses:

  1. granville says:

    Thanks for posting a link to this, I found this part at the bottom interesting:

    In recent years, many scholars have examined the practice of repeat viewing, particularly with the emergence of technologies that provide flexibility to view when and where we like. Film theorist Barbara Klinger suggests familiar movies have the capacity to become our “friends” and she introduced the term “karaoke cinema” to describe the joy of deep familiarity and quotability, arguing this experience provides the audience with an element of both comfort and mastery.

    How often do you watch your favorite movies? Once I would have said at least once a year, but I've noticed that number has declined a lot.There are gaps of years between viewings. What I re-watch the most is mainly familiar crap - Arrested Development or certain documentaries or shows, amusing and comfortable garbage. Maybe "comfort viewing" in the sense of "comfort food"?

    I'm not aware of this existing in any other medium. You don't fill your house with paintings and art that you kinda like. I've never said "Yeah I don't want listen to my favorite songs too much, time for the 500th play of Bryan Adams and Billy Joel Sing Broadway!"

    • Clem says:

      I know for my own viewings that over the last 20 years my favorites have reduced from once every couple of months to once every couple of years.

      Despite that....   my own child still watches his favorites on streaming at least once a week.  Which is an 'improvement' over what I remember my sister doing when I was a kid, watching films once a day on VHS.  Even films I liked I couldn't handle once a day.  My kid has the right idea.

    • Rodger says:

      > How often do you watch your favorite movies?

      That's a tricky question because of the nature of the notion of "favourite". I have films that I think are brilliant, but I may never watch them again, or only very, very rarely: Elle, Aniara and the like, because they're very difficult material. Conversely I might re-watch Heat or Ronin every few years not because I think that they're brilliant, but because they're comfortable spectacle.

      There's also dipping into particular scenes, in the manner of re-visiting a particulary apposite passage in a book: do I need to re-watch an entire film or TV series to revisit moments that matter to me?

      It is a striking change, though: I grew up with film as a fundamentally ephemeral art form, one you could see at the cinema during a release run (for popular movies), a festival (for other things) or perhaps never at all (if you didn't live in a major, film-oriented city, there were plenty you'd hear or read about but never be able to watch) but never reliably again. Cinema was more like going to restaurants that change their menus seasonally: you might never get that meal again. The move to many channels showing film, VHS/DVD/etc has fundamentally changed that - and repeat viewings are a part of the experience now in the way they never were.

  2. thielges says:

    A classic icebreaker question is “if you were stranded on an island and had only one song to listen to, what would it be?”

    I don’t know of a good answer.   I’d burn out on any song after a few dozen repeated plays, no matter how much I like that song now.  So I guess my answer would be a track of complete silence.  Surely some avant- guard musician can provide a track devoid of any sound.  

  3. kudzu surfer says:

    holy shit, jamie... are you auto-blocking 'old' browsers or something? i get the 403 NO ROBOTS page with every desktop browser, for the past full week. typing this on a goddamn phone, because its the only thing i have thatll get through. using the same connection thats blocked on desktop, so its not my ip address. damn.

    • kudzu surfer says:

      edit: nope, same 403 with latest firefox 109.0.1.

    • jwz says:

      I'm recently blocking anything claiming to be running a decade old Windows installation, because that's either a botnet... or a fuckin' idiot.

      • kudzu surfer says:

        Will miss this site. I'm sure there are lots of other non-bot readers who are as baffled as I was.

        "A light has gone out on the web..."
        -some jwz guy

      • Derpatron9000 says:

        People on the interwebs running legacy operating systems are like cult members, you can't explain to them why they're wrong. Best to block.

        • jwz says:

          Well, it was broke. So I fixed it.

          There are too many badly-behaved "baby's first web crawler" out there and many, many of them claim to be browsers running on 10+ year old installations of Windows because that's the UA some script kiddie found on Stack Overflow.

          • Turtle Boughs says:

            I sympathize, and I support the idea "My website, my rules". I just find the path taken offends my modest sensibilities. With the inexorable degradation in software and user experience (see all of right now), the notion that I could in theory retreat to Windows XP was a comforting one. And I say this as someone who hasn't used Windows since 2013.

            • Derpatron9000 says:

              Retreating to an OS which is unpatchable is a comforting option?

              • Turtle Boughs says:

                Yes. Patches and updates in today's world are best characterized as a form or Russian Roulette. Will the update strip important features? Will the update brick my device? I have all my devices set to require manual updates. Depending on mystery patches for security is naive at best, and foolhardy at worst.

                • jwz says:

                  Really don't care what your reasons are for your retrocomputing project -- enjoy. But that it is Microsoft that you are fetishizing makes me even less sympathetic to whatever problems you have chosen to self-inflict.

                  • Turtle Boughs says:

                    I haven't used Windows of any flavor since 2013. And I don't have any issues with viewing the site, or with computers in general.


                • Derpatron9000 says:

                  I'm sure your time spent reading and understanding every line of code in the operating system, and reverse engineering every proprietary blob have served to give you the peace (or piece) of mind you desire

            • narf says:

              C'mon now! If you are going to troll, troll correctly.

              Modest sensibilities? No clutching at pearls?

              Retreat to Windows XP?!?!?!?!? Nah, bruh. We go to Gentoo where we can compile our own! Or, for the lazies, a stable version of Debian.

              Win XP... *smdh*

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