Last week I watched Groundhog Day...at work. Yes, I got paid to sit in a conference room with other coworkers and watch the Bill Murray classic on a week that was already cut short due to Thanksgiving and all. Really, not too shabby of a situation, for more reason than one, as it eventually turned out.
To be honest, I know that at some point in my childhood I had watched this flick from beginning to end. Otherwise in recent years I'd only caught snippets during its annual airings on cable.
Boy does it make a difference to watch a movie without large sections cut out due to commercial breaks! I saw many scenes that I didn't even remember, most of which are very important turning points that add a lot more meaning to the story. Groundhog Day is a whole new movie in my eyes. It went from a movie I thought was funny, to something I find to be rather genius. Now I really get all that praise.
While watching the movie though there was something bugging me - doesn't that young guy (Fred) look familiar? I couldn't put my finger on it, but didn't bother to investigate further, which is nuts considering I inject IMDB directly into my veins on a daily basis.
Only today was I gifted the answer to this perplexing mystery. It was Michael Shannon! Michael Shannon is in Groundhog Day!
Now, this is a revelation.
This fact came up during Michael Shannon's recent interview on The Nerdist Podcast, thanks to Chris Hardwick's obsession with the movie.
Besides talking about random roles, this interview is a must listen, especially since it features some hilarious deadpan commentary from Shannon, an actor that usually seems very serious. Being a perfect villain in movies like Man Of Steel might have something to do with giving off that icy vibe.
But there is none of that holding Shannon back from talking about how he still uses a flip phone and how he believes that Nestle is stealing all the water. Not to mention that he has a fantastic sardonic sense of humor (which also made him an amazing contestant on @Midnight) and, just like all the best people, refers to Joseph Gordon Levitt as JGL.
This all only made me love Shannon more and took me back to the first time I noticed him on screen. It was in the theater watching the film that really brought him out into the mainstream. He was playing the mentally unstable man who overpowered an uncomfortable lunch in Revolutionary Road. No one sitting around me could figure out whether to laugh or gasp as he told off [more like told the truth] Kate Winslet, Leonardo Dicaprio, and Kathy Bates.
He was then and still is a dynamic presence on screen. I am instantly interested in a movie if Shannon's name shows up on the cast list. This is especially true due to his semi-muse relationship with director Jeff Nichols. In the last couple years the two have made a couple wonderful movies together - Take Shelter and Mud - and I can't wait for their latest project Midnight Special to be released in the spring of next year.
Shannon never sticks to one type of movie, which is also what makes him an interesting actor to watch. Other than being a part of about 10 upcoming movies, you can currently be checking him out in something that I'm sure is leaning more on his comedy side - The Night Before.
Or you could just watch him in Groundhog Day. It's always fun to find big actors of today pop up in obscure roles from their early years. You never know - the young gal playing a waitress in that bad holiday Hallmark movie you have on right now (that's just a guess) might, many years from now, become the next Meryl Streep.
Until next time.