Groundhog Day makes a repeat appearance in the Sean Coleman thriller novels
People who’ve read my books may have already figured out that I’m a big fan of the movie Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell. The film, which I was surprised to learn today is 25 years old (my how time flies), is referenced in two of my three novels.
I hold Groundhog Day in high regard not just because it magnificently showcases Murray’s comedic stylings, but because I find the underlying love story to be very sweet and relatable. It taps into my hopelessly romantic younger self, who tended to believe he was never quite good enough to win over the affection of the women he was interested in.
Oh, what a young and single John Daly wouldn’t have given to have had several do-overs in his awkward attempts to catch the eye of a school crush or an attractive co-worker.
Of course, the allure of multiple chances to make a first impression would probably exist for anyone, at any age.
In the movie, after weeks and months of missteps and teachable moments, Murray’s character finally manages to achieve the perfect date with MacDowell. After a playful snowball fight with a group of kids, the two end up on a park gazebo where they waltz to the Ray Charles classic, “You Don’t Know Me.”
No, you don’t know the one
Who dreams of you at night
And longs to kiss your lips
Longs to hold you tight
Oh I am just a friend
That’s all I’ve ever been
Cause you don’t know me (no you don’t know me)
I love that scene, so much so that I used it to develop the Lisa Kimble character in From a Dead Sleep:
Her eyes tightened and she flipped on the power button of a small radio that sat next to the phone. The dual speakers emitted a familiar melody amidst accompanying static that dissipated when she toyed with the tuner. Her eyes closed and the fine features of her face soothed to the slow tune of an old Ray Charles song titled “You Don’t Know Me.” It was a personal song to her, and its random timeliness was nothing short of eerie. It was the song she and her husband had danced to on their second date when they ended up in a nightclub inside the Golden Nugget casino in the wee hours of the morning. She’d loved the song ever since watching Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell dance to it in the movie Groundhog Day. She enthusiastically tried her best to reenact the scene with her husband-to-be that night, guiding him through the steps as best she could as an uneasy grin resided on his face, signaling he hadn’t a clue what was going on.
And since we’re talking about Groundhog Day, it seemed only right to reference it again, two books later, in Broken Slate:
When the swirling rhythm of a Ray Charles tune called “You Don’t Know Me” climbed up from the speakers, Sean thought of an old girlfriend. He smiled at the memory of her telling him how she’d fallen in love with that very song after watching Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell dance to it on a gazebo in the movie Groundhog Day.
Happy Groundhog Day, everyone!