A while back, the Guardian published an article by Adam Daniel, who watched Groundhog Day every day for a year. It was, of course a lockdown project, like my own obsessive watching of time-loop movies.
It’s a bold idea but I wonder if he actually did this, or whether the thought experiment is enough. The project raises the same sort of questions as Tom Friedman’s artwork 1000 Hour Stare. How do we know he did it? Exactly what is meant by ‘watched’ here? Did Daniel watch the credits each time? Did he give the film his full attention? (No double-screening!) What happened if he fell asleep during the course of the movie?
The article describes Daniel’s different levels of engagement as the year went on – with the plot initially, then looking for obscure details, realising how the extras in the background of some scenes were pivotal in others. Like any endurance event, there were the periods when it became a slog. There was a phase of creating wild theories about Punxsutawney’s townspeople. Adam talks about how he developed a relationship with the film as something like a companion.
Like with Friedman’s thousand hour stare, I find Daniel’s investment of time horrifying. I also find the feat compelling, even while I can’t imagine finding 101 minutes every day, even during the pandemic. And then there’s the total time spent, 614 hours out of our meagre 4000 weeks. Adam Daniel’s feat is incredible, but it’s one I could never imagine doing myself. My life has its own repetitions and wasted time, but they’re less intentional.If you want to follow what I'm up to, sign up to my mailing list