Okay, so first thing’s first: Hulu’s new movie Palm Springs isn’t actually about a pandemic. But it captures the feeling of love and relationships during the unending weirdness of Rona Life.
The movie is kind of like a weird take on Groundhog Day, but if someone else had gotten sucked into the madness along with Bill Murray. Oh, and there’s a wedding going on that the main two characters relive over and over and over again!
So, let’s talk a bit about what makes Palm Springs an excellent choice for a stay-at-home movie night!
Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti: Charismatic Charmers
So much of the success of Palm Springs rests on the shoulders of its protagonists. Andy Samberg plays Nyles, a chilled-out dude who’s just rolling along with his existence in a never-ending repeat of a wedding he was invited to. Due to a crazy happenstance, he’s eventually joined by sister-of-the-bride Sarah, portrayed by Cristin Millioti.
These two have a beautiful, laid-back chemistry that props up the whole film! I’ve enjoyed Samberg on SNL, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and his ridiculous mockumentary Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping. In this role, he still has some of his usual goofy charm, but there’s a little more uncertainty, philosophy, and even angst underneath his silly exterior.
Cristin Milioti really hit the scene as the Mother on How I Met Your Mother. That show did her wrong by introducing a charm-bomb of a character and then throwing her away when it was convenient, but we’re lucky that she keeps showing up in other great performances. Palm Springs gives her a chance to be a little bit snarky, sweet and weird!
It’s A Rom-Com With Bizarre Flair
Speaking of being sweet and weird…Palm Springs is absolutely a rom-com, but it has a tendency to lean into strangeness. After all, its quirky main concept already involves the potential for a multiverse theory that cannot even be escaped by chaotic accidents and death!
I don’t know about you all, but I am a huge fan of the “time passing,” montage in movies and tv. A great example comes from the Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt action movie Edge of Tomorrow (also known as Live Die Repeat), which sees Tom Cruise training and fighting in a war and rebooting after his death again and again and again. Palm Springs repeats this sense of familiarity in its own montages and sequences. From the ever-present same red and gold beer cans to the handful of memorable settings, Palm Springs uses its everyday repetition to great effect.
If you’re tired of formulaic entertainment, why not check out a movie in which there’s a perfectly-choreographed dance in the middle of a bar, a “millionth birthday party,” celebration, and a dinosaur that may or not be real? Palm Springs provides all of this and more!
Love In The Time Of…Weird Times
There’s a reason I describe Palm Springs as the perfect pandemic rom com, even if there’s not an actual pandemic in the movie. Ever since March of this year, our entire world has been upended. For those working at home, life may feel like an endless string of Zoom calls that blend together. For others, who’ve been furloughed or temporarily laid off, the structure-free days spent at home provide a side-by-side feeling of freedom and banality. In so many ways, time and the way we spend it feel off-kilter and meaningless.
This is exactly the feeling transferred onto the time-looped world of Palm Springs’ protagonists. Some days you may repeat the exact same series of tasks as the day before. Other days you think, “heck, why don’t I shake things up with an intensely creative project?”
But the beautiful thing is that Palm Springs reminds us that just because time and activities feel confusing and mundane, it doesn’t mean they’re without meaning. This is also true of the relationships we fill our days with.
There’s a moment in Palm Springs in which one character in the couple worries they’ll get sick of each other. And then the other character responds with something to the effect of, “We’re already sick of each other. And it’s great.”
That was the moment in which my husband and I looked at each other from different ends of the couch and smiled. Because really, whether you’re in “normal life,” a pandemic, or an endless time-loop, I think that being sick of each other and still finding one another great is the perfect way to describe the fantastic tedium of a good relationship.
So, if you’re looking for a unique piece of pop culture to check out, I heartily recommend Palm Springs! Its imperfect, quirky qualities make it an ideal movie to enjoy with the partner, buddy or roommate who’s helping you get through our current predicaments.