41 Comments

  1. One of my Cairns, Daisy2Legs, would sit for hours on one end of the deck where she saw a chipmunk go in. I, of course, saw that it ran under the deck and came out from a hole at the other end, but I could never convince her of that.

  2. cheapens everything about the movie to whore it out for of all things a crappy Jeep — I’ve lost a lot of respect for Murray, who had in recent years been cultivating this aura of a wandering holy man, seeking enlightenment, who isn’t interested in money, won’t take your calls if your project is unworthy, and yet now gladly whores himself for *ptui!* Jeep… [shudder]

  3. Sure, it’s a commercial, but the product is irrelevant. Given the occasion, I thought it was nice to see Murray get a chance for some closure with a production that he found so intolerable (and which ruined his relationship with Harold Ramis for decades).

  4. I’ll agree that ultimately the product is irrelevant because the first part of the premise which you so readily toss away is all the condemnation you need: yes, it is a commercial. That in and of itself is bad enough. That the product is such a piece of crap (had the misfortune to be “upgraded” to one when I rented a car two weeks ago — had to swap it because the @%#$ing touch screen through which you have to do almost everything was malfunctioning) is just the jizz icing on the feces cake.

  5. @ larK – Usually people will attach their feelings for the actor to the product (that’s why we don’t see very many advertising testamonials from Darth Vader or Severus Snape), but in this case you seem to be punishing the actor for his association with a particular item that happened to be (massively) defective. Understandable, although Murray couldn’t have known about your predicament.

  6. No, I’m massively lowering my opinion of the actor for selling out; the product is incidental.

    They’ve also cheapened a good movie by selling it out (this is not parody).

  7. So, what about Jack Nicholson’s The Shining commercial (is that him? I can’t tell) . . . is that cheapened, too?

    Maybe ’cause I haven’t seen these two particular movies, I have no ’emotional attachment’ t them and find the commercials humorous. YMMV . . .

    I’m trying to think of a movie I like so much that I’d be offended by its use in a commercial . . . nope, can’t think o’ one. Maybe trading on the fame of Fargo and making a TV show of it would be equivalent, but nothing I was bothered about.

    The Truman Show? Other than that Jim Carrey should’ve won an Oscar for it, I got nothing there, altho I do think Seaside, Florida got much more famous, so maybe the movie was a commercial itself, eh?

    RHPS? So over the top, WHAT would one advertise with it? Corsets??

    All That Jazz? A funeral home, maybe, could use it in a commercial.

    BeetleJuice in a commercial for a real estate company; that’d be funny.

    Spielberg’s best movie, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, would be great for an adoption agency.

    Bell, Book and Candle – for a nightclub advert, or a publishing company.

    The Green Mile? Nope, got nothin’ there; oh, maybe a Scared Straight plug.

    Would I be offended by their commercial use? Meh, no skin off my nose.

  8. Definition of parody: an imitation of the style of a particular writer, artist, or genre with deliberate exaggeration for comic effect.

    If it walks like a duck, sounds like a duck . . . it IS a duck, commercial or not.

    ADDENDUM TO ABOVE: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil has certainly increased tourism to Savannah, Georgia, so it could be considered one long commercial in itself.

  9. Schindler’s List hawking life insurance?

    Sophie’s Choice advocating for Planned Parenthood?

    Office Space promoting Arthur Andersen?

    Saving Private Ryan peddling Smith & Wesson and RJ Reynolds products?

  10. Whatever floats your boat, altho I DO think there is some difference between a light movie like GD, and something more ‘deep’ as Sophie’s Choice, Saving Private Ryan or Schindler’s list. Again, I’ve never seen them, so . . . whatever the public will accept, companies will give ’em.

  11. Parody of course has no black and white definition; you need to consider a bunch of factors, and weigh them against each other to come to your conclusion.

    One very strong element of parodoy is subversion; when the product is sanctioned and created by the original creators, that’s not very subversive.

    Hand in hand with the subversion goes a certain character of mocking the original; it’s not necessary to mock the original, but if you are already burdened with being the one trying to parody your own work, it helps tremendously if you can show you are willing to mock your own work, to show that you don’t hold it sacrosanct; in the instant product there is very little mocking of said product evident to me.

    You bring up imitation: this is not imitation, it is outright continuation of production by the original producers

    Deliberate exaggeration for comic effect: what little exaggeration there is (this is really just faithful continuation/remake — eg: Ned was that annoying in the original, that was the joke — they’re just retreading an old joke) is not for comic effect, it is for shilling a crappy product.

    I’d hate to go duck hunting with you about as much as I’d fear to go with Dick Cheney…. Waddle into the blind and sound the duck call, BLAMO! you’re a duck!

  12. If the argument is about what is and isn’t parody, and your assertion is that you can tell because you have superior duck discerning powers, then it is within the rules of evidence to refute your duck discerning powers — YOU introduced it into evidence. Also, refuting a metaphor by ignoring the metaphor and instead bringing up irrelevant personal information again opens you up to legitimate comment/refutation/expansion-of-thought of your person, since YOU brought it up!

  13. FWIW, the Jeep commercial was the best liked among the family gathering last night.

    I have yet to see the movie myself.

  14. It could actually be construed as a commercial for the movie; I wonder how many decided to either see or re-see the movie after seeing the commercial? Guess we’ll never know, but I’ll bet there are quite a few.

    Probably more than decided to run right out and buy a Jeep Wrangler, I’ll bet.

  15. And no matter how bad, or badly-received, a commercial might be, we will now remember this one for a looooooooooong time, and maybe even the product advertised. EVERYone seems to dislike the Gieco Gecko, but EVERYone remembers the product, and that’s the main point.

  16. I wouldn’t call this a sellout, because I’m sure Murray’s not hurting for money. More likely he agreed because he thought it would be fun.

  17. And now, for something completely different – I think Ground Hog Day is a fine example of a Greek tragedy. A man condemned to life. Wonderful concept and I’m sorry to hear he had a hard time with it. Other than a weak closing line, this for me is in the top 5 or 10 best movies. And it was fun seeing the commercial references, I enjoyed it.
    And I wouldn’t own a Jeep.

  18. Just remembered the one other commercial that got good marks in my family, the self-pahkin cah (Hyundai).

    Now that I’ve read the Wikipedia entry, it sounds like I’ve missed a really good film.

  19. It seems silly to condemn an actor for making a commercial based on a movie, and so vigorously at that: “selling out”? “whore”? Seriously? The original movie was fun, and I enjoyed it, but it was done to make money, so it’s not clear why making the commercial is any more “selling out” than the decision to make the original movie. You might as well say that Disney sold out when they made the shocking decision to debase their Frozen movie by making Olaf alarm clocks.

    The comparisons to Schindler’s List and Sophie’s Choice, if anything, makes the condemnation here look ever more inapt. Those are considered “serious” movies, and I think most of the people in them would claim that their main goal was to convey a serious message, not just to take home a paycheck (although obviously, in the end, the studio made the decision to make those movies based on expected profits). In contrast, while Murray may have thought about more than the paycheck when he decided to be in Groundhog Day, I doubt that he, or many others, would assign the movie as lofty goals as the makers of Schindler’s list. It was just a fun movie whose purpose was to make money.

  20. I don’t know if it’s worth the bother pointing out that:
    I did not compare Groundhog Day to Schindler’s List and Sophie’s Choice; I was responding to “I’m trying to think of a movie I like so much that I’d be offended by its use in a commercial . . . nope, can’t think o’ one.”

    I don’t like commercials, I don’t like our commercial culture; this Jeep ad is a particularly insidious example for me of exactly how selling out cheapens the touchstones of our popular culture, especially because so many people see it as benign. You might not agree, but at least argue against my actual arguments, not strawmen misconstructions.
    As for Murray, I alluded to his cultivating an aura of being this iconoclastic guru who won’t return your calls if your project is unworthy (cf: The Bill Murray Stories: Life Lessons Learned from a Mythical Man (2018)), so to see him so readily sell out when the paycheck is high enough reminds me of the old Winston Churchill joke: “Madam, we have already established what you are, we are now merely haggling over the price.”

  21. “a movie I like so much ”

    That’s what makes a difference; I stuck to movies I’ve seen and liked; granted, there haven’t been many, but definitely not anything Holocaust- or war-related.

  22. “You might as well say that Disney sold out when they made the shocking decision to debase their Frozen movie by making Olaf alarm clocks.”

    Not to mention making the shocking decision to allow theaters to CHARGE ADMISSION to see the movie, rather than letting everyone in free, so as to best share the selfless beauty of their Pure Art.

  23. larK: You did seem to be comparing Groundhog’s Day to Schindler’s list. Yes, if Andréa’s comment had occurred in a total vacuum, then sure, your response has nothing to do with Groundhog’s Day. But I think it was (and is still) reasonable to think that your mention of Schindler’s List was intended to be relevant to the topic at hand.

    If your point was simply that Andréa was wrong about a specific statement that she made in a comment, but that they way in which she was wrong has nothing to do with the topic at hand (and that any assumption that they are is a ‘strawmen misconstruction’), then kudos to you on winning a technical point, I guess.

  24. The Mountain Dew commercial starred Bryan Cranston (Malcom in the Middle, Breaking Bad).

    I had seen that one along with “Smaht Pahk” on YouTube for days preceding, to the point where I was pretty sick of the latter.

  25. In last Saturday’s SNL, there was a bit with the Devil (who’s a woman in this) and included Flo from Progessive. Later there was a (real) commercial with same. See about 6:08 below.

    Also, Jon Lovitz is in the sketch (Alan Dershowitz) who frequenly played the Devil when he was a regular.

  26. Bill: I kind of figured the Churchill joke was apocryphal, which is why I was ambiguous, referring to it as that old Churchill joke — which could mean a joke about Churchill just as easily as a joke Churchill actually made…
    Now what about the, “Madam, I may be drunk, but in the morning I will be sober, whereas you will still be ugly” quote? The link you gave would make that one highly doubtful, too.

  27. I had always heard that the haggling over price joke was uttered by Groucho Marx. May not be true, either, but it certainly fits the Groucho character.

  28. Therre’s a rule of thumb among quotation researcher buffs that I’ve seen as boiling down to “Most unsourced quotations wind up assigned to Winston Chruchill, Abraham Lincoln, Ralph Waldo Emerson, or Groucho Marx.” And Lincoln or Emerson would be a stretch here.

  29. Almost all the Mark Twain quotes really do come from Mark Twain.

    Yogi Berra gets a lot of the unsourced quotes. He once said “I really didn’t say everything I said.”

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