Monday, February 2, 2015

At Least We Will Always Have Punxsutawney

At some point today, you should avail yourself of the opportunity to watch "Groundhog Day", which if is not in fact the greatest movie ever made nevertheless has secured a spot for itself on the medal platform.  For anyone who might in fact be digging out from an actual snow event, the link in the preceding sentence will lead you to a list of times, channels and platforms where it shall be broadcast today.  

This classic film represents the high point of the joint venture of two very smart, very funny friends:  Bill Murray and Harold Ramis.  It represents as well the final work the two men ever did together.  Sadder still, it was during the making of this film that their once iron-clad friendship collapsed.  

As someone who counts their collaborations among the films that have made me laugh the loudest - including Meatball, Caddyshack, Ghostbusters and the seminal Stripes, I used to root for them to reconcile if for no other reason than to give audiences one final memory.  They never did.  And last February, time officially ran out on the making of a sequel.  Harold Ramis, who had battled an autoimmune disease for several years, died.  

Apparently, however, at the urging of his brother Brian Doyle-Murray (the Caddy Master in Caddyshack among other roles), Bill Murray paid Harold Ramis a visit shortly before Ramis's death and the two made their peace with one another.  Shortly before he died, speaking of his relationship with Murray, Ramis said, "I could help him be the best funny Bill Murray he could be, and I think he appreciated that then.  And I don't know where that went but it's there on film.  So whatever happens between us in the future, at least we have those expressions." 

When Ramis died, Murray eulogized him succinctly and poignantly, "Harold Ramis and I together did the 'National Lampoon Show' off Broadway, 'Meatballs', 'Stripes', 'Caddyshack', 'Ghostbuster' and 'Groundhog Day.'  He earned his keep on this planet.  God bless him." 

And as the movie of one's life fades to black, what greater praise can one hope to elicit than that? 


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