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Happy Groundhog Day…Happy Groundhog Day…Happy Groundhog Day

Do you know what day it is?

February 2, 2017.

Along with it being February 2, 2017, today is Groundhog Day. Yes, the one day each year when people (especially those who complain the most about wintry weather) pause their work and pay closest attention to…a groundhog and his shadow (or lack thereof) in Pennsylvania. This groundhog’s name is Punxsutawney Phil, of course.

And Punxsutawney Phil makes an annual prediction of whether we will (likely) endure more winter or if spring sun will rescue us a few weeks early. Remember those people mentioned above, the ones who complain about wintry weather, well…  

Sadly (my view, anyways), Punxsutawney Phil’s shadow was visible early this morning, which doesn’t spell very good news. This shadow sighting translates to six more weeks of winter. Maybe my view of a longer winter will change when I can park my car in a garage? Perhaps. Anyways, today’s tradition centered on a groundhog is one of many reminders of why it’s fun to be an American. Think about that for a second. We turn our attention to a groundhog. How wildly fun is that? Personally, this is a great yearly event. I hope it continues for decades and decades and decades. 

Another thing I hope continues for decades is our annual viewing of a B-movie classic.  

You’re welcome.

You’re welcome.

Bust a Move

Will the new Ghostbusters movie honor the original by more than simply name only?

That is the question and a heated one at that.

July 15th is the movie theater release date, so there’s still plenty of time for debate and prognostication. For now, fans of the Ghostbusters can unite together to sing and dance to one of the single greatest (if not the greatest) original pop songs for a major motion picture.

Here’s a throwback to the ’80s synthesizer.

Ray Parker Jr. still has it.

As does Bill Murray!

The Ghost of Busters Past

There was a time when people didn’t have Ghostbusters in their lives.

And they had no idea who to call.

For today’s history lesson, June 8, 1984 was the day when the science-fiction comedy starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Sigourney Weaver, Rick Moranis and Ernie Hudson changed the real movie world by saving a fictional one with proton packs, sharp wit and the courage to cross streams. With a 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes (that’s pretty good), Ghostbusters is uniquely beloved by fans and critics alike. This is important to note because part of the intense backlash against the new all-female reboot this summer is not a reaction to an all-female cast, but more to do with the caricature nature of the new cast and their characters. The original film and its superb cast was smart, clever and never tried hard to be funny.

They were naturally funny, endearing and (ironically) real.

As odd as it sounds, the 1984 classic doesn’t appear like actors playing parts, but instead felt like a genuine group of misfit friends chasing and capturing ghosts throughout NYC in the coolest ways imaginable within the parameters of a major motion picture. The film has an escapism quality that transcends far beyond the cinema and culture of the mid-1980s.

Thus far, the reboot isn’t generating that same reaction.

For the record, this is how you make a Ghostbusters trailer that kicks some–

History thanks you (in more ways than one), Ghostbusters.

The True Colors of Bill (and) Murray

Spoiler Alert: Content from this blog post is from the May 6, 2015 episode of The Goldbergs

“I want my MTV!”

The ’80s were a glorious time, when music was forever transformed into a visual addiction for hours and hours of VHS-quality entertainment. Fortunately, Adam Goldberg figured out what made this groundbreaking art form such a success.

“A music video is one part thumping bass, one part big hair and one part animated dancing cat.”

Adam’s expertise as a pop culture savant and budding filmmaker came into play because Erica was bound and determined to make the perfect audition video for Juilliard. Since Juilliard was (and is) the best performing arts school in the country, her singing would have to be the best of the best…like Madonna good. And double fortunate for Erica was the fact that her smother mother Beverly would be right by her side throughout the entire process.

Beverly literally held up a fake Garfield puppet on Erica’s right side during her MTV music video-inspired audition tape. Clearly, nothing could go wrong here.

Murray, on the other hand, surprisingly discovered the one person who brings a smile to every man’s face: Bill Murray. Even more impressive (and comical) was that his enemy was named Bill and they were in the principal’s office when this “coincidence” about their names was revealed. Surely (“Don’t call me Shirley”), the writers were waiting for the right moment when they could premiere this episode with that title and storyline. Hopefully, the writers gave themselves well-deserved high-fives.

Bill and Murray soon became the best of friends, which led to watching TV together, eating Philly cheese steaks together, drinking beer together and napping on opposite sides of the couch together. Nothing could come between this electrically-charged adult bromance, except the one thing no men dare talk about under any circumstance:

Feelings…with tears.

Well, Bill/Murray was nice while it lasted.

As Erica and Beverly watched Adam’s raw editing magic, they immediately realized the Jenkintown Funk Academy may be more her speed. Despite glorious, but ultimately disastrous attempts by Adam to recreate iconic ’80s music videos (from A-ha to ZZ Top), Erica’s hopes at Juilliard were dashed. Devastated, she chose to think about her path to becoming a pop singing sensation, which led to a beautiful rendition of, “True Colors” by Cindi Lauper to end the episode. As this show does so perfectly, Erica’s singing provided the inspiring mood for Murray to hear Pops when he explained the true meaning of friendship in a heartfelt moment for the kings of the Goldberg castle.

This revelation further proved that Bill/Murray in any form will live forever, regardless of the quality of character impressions (looking at you Murray!).

The A-ha video (“Take on Me”) that Adam tried to recreate for Erica’s video is widely regarded as one of the best music videos and one-hit wonders of all-time. I can’t remember when I first saw it, but it was around Adam’s age in the early to mid-’90s and it remains one of my permanent impressions of the ’80s. I wanted to be in a world that was part real life-part pencil drawing. Spielberg movies, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Superman and Speed the movie (among many other influences), the music video below was a prime example of the excitement related to escapism into a new, fun place for a little while. This all helps frame our imaginations for the future, which is an eternally powerful force.

The Goldbergs is a weekly reminder of the awesomeness of the ’80s and all its funny life lessons involving family that helped shape its very enthusiastic fan base. The show’s viewers thoroughly enjoy the nostalgic trip down memory lane to a world that borders between real life and a wonderfully exaggerated picture of the past.

A-ha, got it.