Returning this weekend for its sixth year, its the Gateway Film Center’s Groundhog Day Marathon. Beginning Sunday , February 1st at 12:01am, GFC will run the 1993 Bill Murray comedy classic on repeat for a solid 24 hours. Surviving audience members will score free movie passes for a year. Tickets are $25 in advance, $35 at the door. Recently, I caught up with Chris Hamel, President of the Gateway Film Center. (jj)
614now: What percentage of people who show up for the marathon at the start actually make it the full 24 hours? Those that don’t make it…do they usually leave in tears, a fit of rage…what does that look like?
Hamel: Surprisingly, the majority of guests who attend the screening make it through. In 2014 about 185 of the 250 patrons “survived” and received the year’s worth of movie tickets.
614now: Is it true that the marathon began out of your love for the Sonny and Cher song “I Got You Babe?”
Hamel: This is a damn lie and may god have mercy on the soul of the person who told you this. Also, viva el Bono.
614now: Where does Groundhog Day fall on the list of Bill Murray movies? Above or below “Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties?”
Hamel: Listen, for me you can’t beat GROUNDHOG DAY. It is number one with a bullet. I know the kids love MEATBALLS and RAZOR’S EDGE but those are not my favorites.
614now: Is it true that you secretly dream of being Ned Ryerson?
614now: If you and Johnny DiLoretto were starring in a Gateway Film Center adaptation of Groundhog Day, which of you would play the Bill Murray role, and which would play the Andie MacDowell part? Why?
Hamel: Johnny DiLoretto would want the Bill Murray role but would more likely be cast as the groundhog. Sleeping in a cave and potentially being frightened by sunlight are things that would not require him to do much acting.