Blue Monday: Three comedy films (and styles) for the bluest day of the year
Text: Martin Johansson
What We Do In the Shadows
What We Do In the Shadows is the film that brought New Zealand actor and director Taika Waititi into the spotlight. The film is a mockumentary, i.e., a fictional documentary, in which we follow four vampires who live together on the outskirts of Wellington. We watch as they struggle to navigate everyday life, keep up with the housekeeping, lure potential victims to their home, and get into the local nightclub. It’s a perfect film if you just want to sit back and enjoy the ride, even if the style may be a bit outdated.
Chance the gardener is a simple man who has spent his entire life living a sheltered existence behind his long-term employer’s garden walls, with TV programmes as his only source of contact with the outside world. When his employer suddenly dies, Chance is thrown out of the house and forced to find his own way in cut-throat Washington, D.C.. Yet his lack of intellect doesn’t prevent him from making his way to the upper echelons of the city’s political elite through a series of coincidences and misunderstandings. This film is just as much a satire about the political game as it is a comic story about how sometimes success in life is simply about saying the right thing at the right time.
Imagine waking up every morning and re-experiencing the same day, over and over again, no matter what you do. For Phil Connors, the cocksure weatherman for Action 9 News, this scenario becomes a reality. What follows is one of the best comedies ever made. Bill Murray excels in his interpretation of a man who first gets to “live the dream” in an existence in which none of his actions have any consequences, only to then realise that this also means that nothing he does matters. In terms of clothing, we’re bombarded with knee-length coats and thick scarves, but also get to see Murray playing the piano like an old jazz legend, wearing sunglasses and a mandarin collar.