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Ross Family Movie Challenge: 'Groundhog Day' vs. 'Searching for Bobby Fischer'

Louis Goldman;Everett Collection

Every week EW’s Dalton Ross and his wife, writer Christina Kelly, have a…um, lively discussion about what movie they should watch with their two children (Dale, 12, and Violet, 9) that weekend. Now they make their cases publicly and you get to vote on the choices and decide how the Ross family will be spending part of their weekend. The power is in your hands, people. Last week, Christina broke her losing streak as ‘Holes’ scored a decisive victory over Dalton’s pick of ‘Small Soldiers.’  Read on and then vote for which movie they should watch this week.

Dalton’s Pick: Groundhog Day (1993)
First of all, can we talk about how shameless my wife was last week, pulling out the birthday card to ensure she got enough sympathy votes so that she could once again taste sweet victory? What kind of message do such shady shenanigans teach our children, Christina? Well, I have another message I’d like to impart to the kids this week — repeatedly committing suicide is downright hilarious! At least when in the hands of Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. At least when in the hands of Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. At least when in the hands of Bill Murray in Groundhog Day.

Ha! Ha! You see what I did there? I’ve turned this week’s column into my own personal Groundhog Day! (But seriously, kids, don’t go and dive off a building, or step out in front of a speeding truck, or throw an electric toaster into your bathtub. Chances are the results won’t be quite as uproarious as they are here. Also, don’t go and punch people on a sidewalk that come up to say hello…unless their name is Ned Ryerson.)

Groundhog Day, of course, tells the story of grumpy weatherman Phil Connors (Murray), who travels to Punxsutawney to see if Punxsutawney Phil will see his shadow or not. Connors wants to get out of town fast but can’t, because he keeps reliving that same day over and over. Appropriate, seeing as how I could watch this movie over and over for the rest of my life and be completely satisfied. I am confident the kids will feel the same way. I am confident the kids will feel the same way. I am confident the kids will feel the same way. HA! Did it again!

Christina’s Pick: Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993)
I am no more excited to watch Groundhog Day  than I was the first time Dalton inflicted it on me. That was years ago, early enough in our relationship that I still made an attempt to be agreeable. Clearly, those days are gone. I wanted to counter with another Bill Murray movie, but I couldn’t think of any enjoyable ones that were appropriate for family viewing. I  mean, I am DYING to show the children Rushmore, but due to the repeated references to hand jobs, I’ll have to wait, maybe forever. I wish Wes Anderson would cut a clean version.

No matter, because I’ve got something really good this week: Searching for Bobby Fischer, a movie about a chess prodigy filled with positive messages. Based on a true story, well reviewed, and nominated for an Academy Award for cinematography: all signs point to a pleasant movie night for all. Both of our kids play chess, and Dale has actually competed in a tournament or two. I have not been able to beat him since he was about six years old, which is slightly embarrassing. Maybe I’ll pick up some pointers from the film.


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