Tags

, , ,

(Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt was for a poem featuring repetition, so what better film to inspire me than one about a time loop?)

I woke up this morning
And jumped out of bed.
I woke up this morning
And lay there instead.

I woke up this morning
To paint the town red.
I woke up this morning
And ended up dead.

I woke up this morning,
My wild oats spread.
I woke up this morning
To tears and bloodshed.

I woke up this morning
And panicked and fled.
I woke up this morning
And just shook my head.

I woke up this morning,
To nothing but dread.
I woke up this morning
With nothing ahead.

I woke up this morning
Again, as I said.
I woke up this morning,
Tomorrow still gone.
So how many mornings
Will this hell go on?
______________________

MPA rating: R (mainly for language)

Time loop movies have gotten a sudden surge of interest recently, from the action of Boss Level to the teen romance of The Map of Tiny Perfect Things (both of which I still need to see), but 2020’s Palm Springs was a pandemic-era hit that brought the subgenre to the fore. I don’t want to sound dismissive, but no time loop movie will ever top the fantastically original Groundhog Day, which every other such film will inevitably be compared to and found lacking. Still, Palm Springs proves there’s room for more than just one ‘90s classic.

Set in the titular California desert resort, Palm Springs mixes up the usual time loop scenario by throwing in two loopers (well, actually three) rather than a single sufferer. The two in question are wedding guest Nyles (Andy Samberg) and the sister of the bride Sarah (Cristin Milioti), both of whom stumble upon a mysterious energy source within a cave at different times and end up endlessly repeating the wedding day, “one of those infinite time loop situations you might have heard about,” as Nyles calls it. Like Bill Murray did before, the reactions of the pair range from hedonism to despair to eventual nihilism as they both decide that nothing matters when time itself won’t let you move forward or even die, though each of them are in the rare position of having someone else sharing the same predicament, someone who may offer them something worth caring about.

I can certainly appreciate an unconventional rom com, and Samberg and Milioti make a likable pair to root for… eventually. Truth be told, I didn’t much enjoy either of them at the beginning, owing to their casual promiscuity and growing cynicism, but they both reach a point where they realize their own failings and strive to be better. And while one finds their way to an actual solution to the time loop problem, the other grows confident enough to give a stirring confession of love reminiscent of the end of When Harry Met Sally…. Plus, there’s J.K. Simmons as a third time looper who naturally steals his few scenes with a different response to eternity than the other two.

I suppose my main complaint is one that few will share, just disappointment that this had to be R-rated when Groundhog Day remained clean enough to be watchable by all. Even so, Palm Springs caters to my fondness for time loop stories and becomes a far more satisfying and endearing rom com than I expected from its first half. Like its predecessor, it cleverly finds ways to keep its potential repetition from getting boring and has more original ideas than its borrowed concept might indicate, so I can give it some respect. But Groundhog Day was still better.

Best line: (Nyles) “You’re my favorite person that I’ve ever met, and, yes, I know that it’s crazy odds that the person I like the most in my entire life would be someone I met while I was stuck in a time loop, but you know what else is crazy odds, getting stuck in a time loop…”

Rank:  List Runner-Up

© 2022 S.G. Liput
767 Followers and Counting