(Check out the list so far)
The Movie: Palm Springs (2020)
One Sentence Plot Summary: The time-loop movie gets a glam up as two people fall in love and realize just being a good person won’t get you out.
Why It’s on the List: The rule I had coming into this list was that I would not put any 2020 films on it because they would be too recent to process through. I’m also not even sure what the 2020 release schedule looks like at this point to know if there would be anything worth putting on. Then I saw Palm Springs the night it came out and was completely blown away.
It’s not just that the movie was genuinely funny and had multiple laugh out moments, but it also advances the way we think about time-loop movies/television shows. Groundhog Day is the king of this concept and provided a simple message to viewers: Become a better and more selfless people in order to escape the loop. This is a positive and simplistic concept that simply doesn’t hold water in 2020. Being a good person isn’t good enough when the world is on fire. In order to really achieve something, people have to be good and also take action.
In the final half hour of the movie, Nyles feels Sarah has abandoned her to go off on her own. In reality, Sarah is re-educating herself to be able to leave the time loop. How coincidental that she has to become knowledgeable about science and very difficult theoretrical concepts just to be able to leave. One could never have predicted this film would come out during a global pandemic where it does feel as though every day is the same, but this is the movie for this specific time period. In the end, Nyles and Sarah get out because of science, nor morality.
In thinking about the performances, Andy Samberg is someone who I once regarded as a pseudo Adam Sandler, and I’m pleased to report he’s much more than that, or at least is interested in doing different kinds of projects. Here he takes a more dramatic turn, and you can see a bit of Bill Murray in the way he delivers two important monologues. I’m not sure we’ll see him in dramas anytime soon, but it’s something to keep in mind for the future.
There’s also Cristin Milioti. She is someone I’ve admired a great deal since How I Met Your Mother. In casting her in an impossible role, that of the long-teased mother Tracy, Milioti was set up to fail. A number of potential love interests were very popular, and there was a lot of pressure on Tracy. Milioti absolutely crushed it and was then treated terribly in one of the worst series finales ever conceived. There have been some occasional moments of shine, but this is the first movie where it felt like she got a chance to really excel. She delivered big time and is the primary reason I put Palm Springs on the list.
*Nyles lying to Sarah about them having sex previously…not great.
MVP and Best Performance: Cristin Milioti is excellent as she has to carry a lot of the funnier moments while also having chemistry with Samburg. She also has to solve this puzzle and make some science talk sound comprehensible. I hope this is the beginning of a run of very good films for her.
Best Quote: “OK. Even though I pretend not to be I’ve realized that I am completely co-dependent but I’m cool with it because I think that life should be shared now and I need you to survive, but it’s so much more than that: I know you better than anyone knows you and remember the night that we saw the dinosaurs you said it yourself in order to ever really know anyone you need to know the entire package the good and the bad and I’ve seen your package and it is excellent Sarah & you’re my favorite person that I’ve ever met and yes I know that it’s crazy odds that the person I like the most in my entire life would be someone I met while I was stuck in a time loop but you know what else is crazy odds getting stuck in a time loop… I hope that blowing ourselves up works but it’s really irrelevant to me as long as I’m with you and if it kills us well then I’d rather die with you than live in this world without you!”- Nyles
Is there a sequel? No and I hope they leave this alone regardless of how successful this is on Hulu.
Check out Ben & Matt’s podcast review of this film for There Will Be Movies.