Posted in Freedom Friday

Groundhog Day

Every February the second or so, my kids and I pop some corn, grab a few drinks, and ease into our seats in front of the TV to lose ourselves in the movie Groundhog Day. It’s been a tradition in our family for quite a while. Every few years even my wife joins in on the fun. What is it about Groundhog Day that makes me want to be a better person? Let’s find out and chalk my findings to Freedom Friday.

Groundhog Day
Groundhog Day

Let’s get one thing out of the way—this is not a movie review. These are random thoughts about a movie, how it’s affected my life and continues to affect my life from one year to the next. Besides, something about a guy who goes crazy believing he’s a god makes for an interesting story. We’ll get back to that a little later on.

If you haven’t seen Groundhog Day, the premise goes something like this: What would you do if by some fantastic freak event you had to relive the same day over and over again? I’m sure the comment on the tip of everyone’s tongue wouldn’t be anything less than, “It depends on which day.” What if it was the worst day of your life? Not traumatic, but a real bad day gone south.

I’ve thought about this long and hard. There’s no escaping it. I’d probably end up doing exactly the same thing Bill Murray’s character did when attempting to cope with his predicament:

  • I’d fall into a cycle of denial
  • I’d realize I could do whatever I want knowing tomorrow’s another day
  • I’d believe I was a god
  • I’d get fed up and want to kill myself (remember, he’s stuck in hell)

But you know what? No matter how bad things get something good always comes from something awful. That, without a doubt, is the message of the movie.

Groundhog Day clock
Groundhog Day clock

Without specifics, I’ve had to live through my own Groundhog Day, which I now embrace as something that has made me who I am today. Had I not gone through that experience, I certainly wouldn’t have gained a more focused approach in my ability to look on the bright side.

Someone said to me this week, a lesson not learned is a lesson worth repeating. I’m not sure if that’s a real quote but it makes for a great motto. Take it from a guy with a hard head—you crash into a brick wall a few hundred times, eventually it’s going to start to hurt. Of course then the question surfaces, why would you want to crash into a brick wall in the first place? Like I said, I’m a guy with a hard head.

Thankfully, I haven’t had to threaten kidnapping of Punxsutawney Phil or our beloved Canadian groundhog Wiarton Willie. Nor have I had to worry about dressing as Clint Eastwood’s Man with No Name in order to consider myself worthy of popular opinion. Although I reserve the right to change my mind on that last point. A guy has to have fun once in a while.


Do you feel that sense of wanting to be a better person during Groundhog Day?

Posted in Women Who Wow Wednesday


In the early part of the year when I first began my Women Who Wow Wednesday feature, I concentrated my efforts on kick-ass women. If you ever wondered about Ellen Ripley, Hit-Girl, The Bride and Mathilda, they’re all there waiting for your craving eyes. As the months went on, however, I noticed a subtle change. Rather than focus only on women who physically can beat the willies out of their enemies, I’ve also chosen to write about women who are kick-ass in heart, style and grace. Take a look at my posts for Debra Barone, Adrian, Rose, and Scarlett O’Hara.

Scarlett Johansson as Charlotte
Scarlett Johansson as Charlotte

Enter Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson), who I’m sure doesn’t even have a last name in the movie Lost in Translation. At least I didn’t catch one, I’m sure of it. She’s stuck in a hotel room in the Park Hyatt in Shinjuku, Tokyo while her photographer husband is on assignment shooting who knows what. She passes the time staring blankly out her 56th floor window to the Japanese skyline. There’s a lot to see when you’re lonely.

Bob Harris (Bill Murray) makes his appearance soon after. A film entourage greets him in the lobby speaking nothing but Japanese. With certainty, something’s bound to get lost in translation. He’s twice Charlotte’s age, married, kids, and almost there as a favor for his agent who can’t get him a gig anywhere else. No one says he’s done, but the implication is there, given his stint working in a whiskey commercial in Japan.

They first notice each other in a cramped elevator filled with Japanese businessmen. They don’t say much. She smiles, yet continues with her day. It isn’t until they catch eyes once again in the hotel’s New York Bar located on 52nd floor that they wonder how weirdly coincidental life is. It’s late in the evening, he leaves, paying his tab, and she stays with her husband, laughing with friends.

Lost in Translation's Charlotte
Lost in Translation’s Charlotte

As the clock hits 4:20 AM, unable to sleep, Charlotte dives under the covers with her husband, but he grumbles something and tells her to go to sleep. In another room, four floors below, Bob lays awake sitting on his bed in a daze. A fax comes in from his wife in America asking him which shelves he wants in his study. Renovations, I suppose.

The next night, at 3:00 AM, again Charlotte can’t sleep. She finds herself at the bar as Bob remains seated, lost in his thoughts. He notices her. They strike up a conversation. He talks about his wife needing space. She talks about her husband’s work. They get to the marriage questions. She’s been married two years, and he says he’s got her beat at twenty-five years. In that brief moment she jokes about him experiencing a mid-life crisis and wonders if he had purchased a Porsche yet. He’s thinking about it, of course. He asks her what she plans to do with her life. She says philosophy—she doesn’t know what to do with it, but she can certainly think about it a lot. They click their glasses wishing they both could sleep.

So that’s how Charlotte meets Bob, in a bar, fifty-two floors above the Japanese skyline. It doesn’t end there, by any means. It’s only the beginning. You see, Charlotte represents a woman lost in life making a connection with someone who awakens her ambition to better herself. Someone who speaks to her soul. Not in an emotional or sexual sense. More on a deep, intellectual and spiritual level. Whatever she may have felt before meeting him hadn’t disappeared. It still lays there dormant, waiting. Yet he introduces something in her life, something of substance she craved.

He doesn’t ignore her.


Have you seen Lost in Translation? What did you think of Charlotte’s friendship with Bob?

Posted in Women Who Wow Wednesday

Charlie’s Angels

Okay, I’ll have to admit, some people didn’t like Charlie’s Angels (2000). It felt like a bunch of music videos put together to make up a movie. Ah, but how sweet a movie it is for those of us who want flash, action, and popcorn excitement.

Charlie's Angels
Charlie’s Angels

For the first time since I started writing my Women Who Wow Wednesday series, I’m not going to look at one kick-ass chick. Not two. But three! That’s right. I couldn’t decide on who to choose, so I decided to do ‘em all. Hold on to your butts. It’s gonna be a wild ride.

Natalie Cook—Played by Cameron Diaz, she’s the platinum blonde of the bunch. Highly skilled in martial arts, able to give a punch and take one without effort. She’s an expert driver and pilot. If it has wheels, she can drive it. If it has wings, well, you know the rest. There’s not a vain bone in her body. As a nerd in high school, she once dressed like Princess Leia (braces, glasses, and the bun). Although some folks might consider her naïve, in reality she graduated MIT with a Ph.D., and worked as a research scientist for the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

Cameron Diaz as Natalie Cook
Cameron Diaz as Natalie Cook

Natalie’s known for her fantastic optimism. Life is better when justice prevails and evil gets it up-and-comings. She has supermodel presence, but she’s unaware of it. She’s the type of girl who will answer the door to the UPS guy in her underwear. Yeah, in her Spider-Man underwear.

Alex Munday—Played by Lucy Liu, she’s exotic, an expert in linguistics, and possesses business acumen beyond genius. Much like Natalie, she’s proficient in kung-fu. Her major love is fencing and horseback riding. She may seem small, but her background is massive. Once a teenage gymnast going for the gold in the Olympics, she also proves herself a large asset for NASA as an on-call government engineer. And let’s not forget her stint dancing with the Stuttgart Ballet. The benefits of a classical education.

Lucy Liu as Alex Munday
Lucy Liu as Alex Munday

Alex is the most versatile of the angels. She can play many roles, and slip in and out of characters without hesitating. She also has a love for cooking, regardless if the kitchen hates her.

Dylan Sanders—Played by Drew Barrymore, she’s the hostile one with the curled hair and short fuse. She managed to squeeze some time away from the police academy after beating the crap out of her training officer. Generally rebellious, always an anti-everything. She never looks before she jumps. Her education? Lackluster.

Drew Barrymore as Dylan Sanders
Drew Barrymore as Dylan Sanders

But Dylan has something going for her: she finds the good in everyone. She’s also the most affectionate of the three. Even though she can clear out a room of bad guys with her hands tied behind her back, her real talent lies in her power to be different. A tongue-bearing rocker at heart. She is a force of reckoning.

These are the angels. Unique in every way. Divided, they pose a threat. Together, they can annihilate.

Long live the angels.

Ever see Charlie’s Angels? What did you think of the awesome trio?