First D.J.: "Rise and shine, campers and don't forget your booties 'cause it's cooooold out there today." Second D.J.: "It's cold out there every day. What is this, Miami Beach?" First D.J.: "Not hardly. So the big question on everybody's lips..." Second D.J.: "On their chapped lips..." First D.J.: "...their chapped lips is, 'Does Phil feel lucky?' Punxsatawney Phil! That's right, woodchuck chuckers it's...
(IN UNISON): GROUNDHOG DAY!!!"
Sunday, Punxsutawney Phil --- the Seer of Seers, Sage of Sages, Prognosticator of Prognosticators, and Weather Prophet Extraordinary will predict whether we will have six more weeks of winter. According to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, Phil has seen his shadow 97 times, and hasn't seen it (predicting an early spring) only 14 times. Phil's track record is hotly disputed, though he's has had a pretty good run recently. Nevertheless, thousands will await the sunrise and the groundhog at Gobbler's Knob in the tiny Pennsylvania hamlet that has become known as the "Weather Capital of the World," due in no small part to the movie that makes every day Groundhog Day.
This is one time where the Internet really fails to capture the true excitement of a movie about a large squirrel predicting the weather. However, you can see the trailer as a refresher (while BuzzFeed compiles trivia).
In 2005, Roger Ebert revisited Groundhog Day, declaring that the film "finds its note and purpose so precisely that its genius may not be immediately noticeable. It unfolds so inevitably, is so entertaining, so apparently effortless, that you have to stand back and slap yourself before you see how good it really is."
At the other end of the political spectrum, Jonah Goldberg's equally effusive movie meditation grabbed the cover of National Review: "When I set out to write this article, I thought it'd be fun to do a quirky homage to an offbeat flick, one I think is brilliant as both comedy and moral philosophy. But while doing what I intended to be cursory research -- how much reporting do you need for a review of a twelve-year-old movie that plays constantly on cable? -- I discovered that I wasn't alone in my interest. In the years since its release the film has been taken up by Jews, Catholics, Evangelicals, Hindus, Buddhists, Wiccans, and followers of the oppressed Chinese Falun Gong movement."
Indeed, a 2004 article mentioned by Ebert (but not linked) from London's Independent observes that the Harold Ramis comedy has been hailed by some religious leaders as the most spiritual film of all time. More examples can be found at the NYT and the Christian Science Monitor.
As Phil Connors ultimately observed: "When Chekhov saw the long winter, he saw a winter bleak and dark and bereft of hope. Yet we know that winter is just another step in the cycle of life. But standing here among the people of Punxsutawney and basking in the warmth of their hearths and hearts, I couldn't imagine a better fate than a long and lustrous winter."
ACCORDINGLY, we start off the week:
...with Sonny & Cher on Hullabaloo and famously on Letterman years later, plus UB40 with Chrissie Hynde, not to mention The Cynics (from the Bonograph tribute CD), and David Bowie & Marianne Faithfull.
UPDATE: Punxsutawney Phil predicts six more weeks of winter. Because it's only February.
JD McPHERSON advance streams Let The Good Times Roll.
QUARTERBACKS advance stream their self-titled debut.
RHIANNON GIDDENS (Carolina Chocolate Drops) advance streams Tomorrow Is My Turn.
THE DISTRICTS advance stream A Flourish And A Spoil.
THE KEGGS have a tragic story that leaves only 10 copies of "To Find Out" known to exist.
NENA: "99 Luftbalons." Because I found myself watching Watchmen the other night.
FATHER JOHN MISTY: Josh Tillman talks to The Guardian about the creation of his current persona and the making of his new LP, I Love You, Honeybear.
EMMY THE GREAT dscusses her musical upbringing with DIY, from Elton John to Metallica.
LAURA MARLING talks to The Guardian about living in Los Angeles and leaving it to return to Britain.
STEELY DAN, ranked by Stereogum.
WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: American Sniper dominates for a third weekend with 31.9 million. That's a 50 percent drop, partially due to the Super Bowl. Then again, this is the most money any movie has ever made on a Super Bowl weekend. The Clint Eastwood pic closes in on a quarter-billion in domestic receipts, with another 67 million so far from overseas markets. Paddington and the debut of Project Amanac will battle for second and third place awith an extimated 8.5 million apiece. Paddington is doing fine on worlwide grosses; Project Almanac, which sat on the shelf for a yearin th hope it would open like Chronicle did on a Super Bowl weekend, will likely break even on a meager 12 million production budget. The fourth-place debut of Black or White is a mere6.5 million, fortunately against a 9 million budget. The Boy Next Door slides 59 percent to round out the Top Five with 6.1 million, but a 24.7 million total against a 4 million budget. I've heard it's sufficiently fun-bad that it could become a cult classic.
BOBBI KRISTINA BROWN: Whitney Houston's daughter was found unresponsive Saturday morning in a bathtub full of water in Roswell, Georgia. She “is stable at the hospital.”
BRUCE JENNER is becoming a woman.
VAL KILMER was in intensive care for some reason... but it's not a toomah.
STEVE KROFT “really paranoid about right-wing zealots” finding out about his affair with a young lawyer.
THE SUPER BOWL ADS, in case you missed them.
YEMEN's dominant Houthi movement on Sunday gave political factions three days to agree a way out of a crisis that led to the resignation of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi before the group imposes its own solution.
EGYPT: Al-Jazeera journalist Peter Greste has been freed, deported, and flown to Cyprus, bringing an end to 400 days behind bars.
JORDAN has threatened to fast-track the execution of a would-be suicide bomber the Islamic State is trying to free if the terror group kills its captured pilot.
THE ISLAMIC STATE: Abu Malik, a chemical weapons engineer who worked at Saddam Hussein's Muthana chemical weapon production facility before affiliating with al Qaeda Iraq in 2005, was killed Jan. 24 in a coalition airstrike in the vicinity of Mosul, Iraq.
ALBATROSS CAM, Live from Kauai, Hawaii.
BATS GO BATS during a trial in an Arkansas courtroom.
SALTY THE CROCODILE predicted the Seahawks would win the Super Bowl. Salty would have handed the ball to Lynch.
SNAKE IN A CAR ENGINE? Just pull it out and tuck it in a sack.