Come Back to Me Blog Notes

by | May 14, 2023 | Episode Blog | 0 comments

Season 2, Episode 4 Blog Notes (Aired 7/2/2022)


Commentary Segment

For this episode of Popped!, Daniel decided to throw Ben and Tanya a curveball with the film Somewhere in Time.  As we have learned in previous episodes, Ben is not a fan of time travel films and Tanya generally gives romantic films a big goose egg.  Daniel was curious to see if this film would break their antipathy to their respective irritants.  Daniel also noted that he was generally not a fan of romance, but “this film gets him”.


As far as first impressions go, Tanya talked about how she initially bristled at the thought of having to watch the film, but was surprised to find that she liked it.  She loved the 1912 storyline and felt that it was visually lovely. Although admittedly there were some moments that made her go “eeeewwww”, she ended up thinking on it for a long time after she watched it.  Ben remarked that he felt that it was not a time travel movie per se, but rather a romance with time travel in it.  He described it as not a typical modern Hollywood “let’s show everyone how crazy we can be with time travel fuckery”.  He added that it was a delightful love story that he enjoyed the hell out of.  Daniel thought that the film was sweet, sentimental and wonderfully made, and was excited to share it with his co-hosts.

The gang then discussed what they felt was the theme of the film.  Tanya described it as love and everything that goes along with it, perpetuating the concept of “the one” and that love is worth the risk.  For Ben, it harkened back to that age old line from another Popped! episode “I am your density”.  As he so eloquently put it, “when two people are meant to be together, time and space will arrange things so they can be together”—or it could just be a mushroom-fueled hallucination.  Tanya refused to accept the hallucination theory…maybe she’s more of a romantic than she thinks she is!  Daniel recommended that if you are also not a fan of the hallucination theory that you not read the book.  We’ll just leave that there.  In any case, they all agreed that they enjoyed the fact that the film left it to the audience to decide what was ultimately transpiring.

One of Daniel’s favorite moments in the film was when Richard Collier was in the Hall of History and sees Elise’s photo for the first time.  It took him a few watches to realize why, but he loved the mastery of foreshadowing in that moment.

Tanya echoed his sentiment, saying the he falls in love with a picture of a woman who was looking at and falling in love with him, with set the time travel paradox in motion (whew!—did everyone follow that?).  Speaking of paradoxes, what about that watch?  Daniel thought it was the perfect McGuffin of the film, with no discernable beginning or end. 

Tanya commented that she wracked her brain trying to figure out how the watch could have been logically introduced, but was unable to come up with how.  Last time we checked, she was still demanding an explanation.

There were a lot of great performances in this film.  It’s semi-antagonist, Robinson, played by Christopher Plummer, was magnificent, according to Daniel.  He called his appearance “one of the stand out performances” of the film.  Tanya noted that Robinson was the perfect replacement for the overbearing, protective father figure.  They also spent a fair amount of time reminiscing about Christopher Reeve.  Tanya admired the physicality he brought to the role, adding that he pulled it off well and it had great comedy to it.  Daniel raved that Reeve was the best Clark Kent and Superman that has ever been, so much so that he finds it difficult to watch the new iterations.  He added that Reeves took the role to break the Superman mold and he nailed it.  For Ben, Reeve’s standout performance was in Noises Off and that the film was a great departure from Superman.  That said, Ben was greatly impressed with all three principal actors in the film, saying that they were “magnificent in their delivery of exposition through body language and facial expressions”.

Ben also appreciated the slower pace of the film, which surprised him as he generally doesn’t enjoy that speed.  He felt the reason was that it wasn’t slow just to fill time, and every moment gives the audience something more.  As a musician, the thing that struck Daniel most about the film was the soundtrack, calling it “one of the most gorgeous soundtracks he had heard to date”.  He actually bought the soundtrack before buying the film, and because music touches him so deeply, he sought out the Rachmaninoff music because it is “one of his favorite pieces of music there is”.  Ben commented that the music reached him right away, and that it signaled to him that “something wonderful and lovely” was happening.  He felt that it was expertly used in the film, particularly in the musical transitions.  Tanya appreciated how it was woven in different forms throughout the film.

They then went on to discuss aspects of the story that moved them.  Daniel described the “come back to me” scene as “goosebump inducing”, while Ben noted that the scene gave hints of other-worldliness in an ordinary setting, creating a great balance of the two things. 

Tanya was bummed that it seemed like Elise “wasted her life” and found it desperately sad…she’s such a downer!  Daniel brought some perspective, pointing out that love fundamentally changed her and that the movie earns its sentimentality.  Moving on, Daniel noted that in Richard’s search for Elise, he actually had to do the footwork (there was no Google in the 80’s, kids!).  Daniel also noted that Elise is actually based on a real woman that Richard Matheson had run across.  Her name was Maude Adams, a turn of the century actress who was best known for her work in Peter Pan.

Time travel also played a central role in the film, and the gang talked about their thoughts on how it was done.  Ben felt that they used a nice, balanced touch with time travel, and that it wasn’t “in your face” in the film (no one jumps out of a swirling ball of light screaming “you’re going to destroy the timeline!”).  Daniel mentioned that Richard’s professor was the impetus for the time travel, and that there was great foreshadowing not only with the professor’s book, but also in the fact that he was wiped out after the experience.  Daniel highlighted the importance of getting rid of modern things in order for the time travel to be successful, and pointed to the dastardly shiny penny in Collier’s pocket that ripped him back to the future.

Tanya was very impressed with the visuals in the film.  She highlighted in particular the scene when Richard sees Elise for the first time through the window, framing his reflection with her in the distance, as well as the scene where they were walking in the park, which echoed impressionist paintings.  Ben was struck by the outside shots, calling the gorgeous and commenting that the film was chock full of “costume porn”.  Daniel, who does a lot of historical reenactments, loved the period pieces and costumes.

Segment: “Have We Met Before”

The great Christopher Plummer was the subject of our actor highlight segment.   Tanya’s first memory of him was in The Sound of Music, which she saw for the first time at her grandmother’s house.  She had a little girl crush on Captain Von Trapp and described Plummer as a “tour de force actor and a class act”.

Ben remembered him best as the villain in Dragnet with Tom Hanks and Dan Aykroyd. He said he was a magnificent antagonist.  Daniel remembered him from Sound of Music and Somewhere in Time, but highlighted his performance as the Shakespearean quoting Klingon in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.  He called his credits “astounding”.  He added some throwback from past Popped! episodes, noting the Amanda Plummer of Joe vs. the Volcano is his daughter, and that he played Sherlock Holmes at one point.

Segment:  Let’s Get Poppin’

Tanya-4—She was surprised that she enjoyed it, as she is generally not a fan of romance movies.  She called it visually stunning, with perfect pace and compelling characters.

Ben-4–Ben called his 4 provisional, as he didn’t connect with it in the same way as other films he would give 5 pops to.  However, he loved many things about it and he may have even shed a tear or two.

Daniel-4.5–Daniel almost gave it a 5, but wished that the film would have explored the relationship more.  He loved the acting, casting and direction and appreciated the emotional effect and sentimentality of the film.

Interview Segment

We had the pleasure of interviewing Jo Addie, who has been the president and editor of INSITE, the International Network of Somewhere in Time Enthusiasts, for 23 years at the time of this recording.  She had the opportunity to be an extra in the film, and called it the “most extraordinary experience” of her life, and the wealth of information she provided cannot be overstated.

INSITE was founded in 1990 by Bill Shephard, who felt that the film was underappreciated and underpublicized. He wanted to create a space where people could learn about the film, celebrate the people who made it and help it continue to live on as an influential film in the genre.  Addie took over this labor of love, and has continued providing fans with resources and information for all things Somewhere in Time.

Addie described the film as being about finding “the one”, and that it is set apart from other romances because it also gives people hope.  She talked about her enormous respect and love for the film’s fans, which she called the “cream of humanity”, noting that they are romantic and heart, and that they appreciate beauty and believe in true love and commitment.  She also made a great case that Somewhere in Time is not a chick flick, noting that it was written by a man and told from a man’s point of view, and that the film society was founded by a man.

Tanya asked Jo to elaborate on her article in the INSITE newsletter for our Popped! listeners, as it changed her views about Elise’s role in the relationship.  Addie artfully described how Elise’s longing and desire for the man of her dreams effectively pulls Richard out of the future and into her present.  She talked about how the film was layered with depth and nuance and is greatly enhanced with more viewings.  We highly recommend that you check out the newsletters here.

Daniel and Jo discussed the similarities and differences between the film and Matheson’s book Bid Time Return.  Addie appreciated that Matheson kept the rules of time travel in that Richard is unable to change the past and that he was foreordained to live two days in 1912.  Daniel noted that the book and the film did not end the same way.  Addie talked about how the key to the book was in the forward and afterword and said that the book is indeed more tragic, but provides the reader more nuance for Richard’s motivation. The director, Jeannot Szwarc, felt that terminal illness didn’t work in the film.  She also added that in the book their night of love was “hot”, which in our humble opinion is never a bad thing.

We also had to discuss the watch.  Addie talked about how Richard knew the watch had no beginning and no end.  On set, there were even tee shirts that said “ask me about the watch” and “what watch?”.  Daniel loved the watch and thought that it spoke to the creativity of the film, calling it “its own character”.  Jo agreed and called the hotel its own character as well.  She recounted a great story about the scouting of the location and said that the hotel owners offered the film crew use of the hotel for free…how awesome it that?

Jo also went into detail surrounding all of the amazing projects that INSITE spearheads.  INSITE releases a quarterly newsletter devoted to Somewhere in Time.  It has great *insights* (cue drum riff) about the movie that was so rich with material.  In fact, INSITE has published over 2500 pages dedicated to the film!

They also spent a lot of time discussing the annual Somewhere in Time Weekend, which is held at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac (pronounced Mackinaw, in case you were wondering) Island.  At the time of the recording, INSITE had hosted a whooping 31 annual weekends, with 600-700 people attending from across the world every year.  Jo described the event as special because you get to celebrate the film in the spots where it was filmed.  This island is a gem in itself, as it is only open to tourism six months out of the year, and no cars are allowed on the island (it’s horse and carriage and bicycles people!) making it easy to imagine that you have stepped back in time and straight into the film.  Jo called it “the closest thing to actual   time travel as you will ever get”.

Attendees dress in period clothes and can attend celebrity panels (Reeve attended in 1994 and Jane Seymour has attended three times), round tables, walking tours of set locations, and enjoy multi course Edwardian style dining, which is included in the package.  The weekend also features cocktail receptions and dancing in the evenings.  Jo’s husband films the weekends and commemorative DVDs are available to purchase at the INSITE website.  We highly recommend that you check them out.  If you are interested in attending the weekend, you can contact the Grand Hotel to book reservation.

Jo Addie is truly a wellspring of information about Somewhere in Time.  If you are a fan, whether longtime or new, we encourage you to drop by the INSITE website so you can delve more deeply into the rich tapestry that is Somewhere in Time.

Somewhere in Time is available to stream on Tubi for free, or can be rented on Apple TV, Amazon or Vudu.

If you would like your own copy, you can order it here.

Podcast Episode Details:

Written, recorded and edited by Daniel Hendrix

Intro Script by Daniel Hendrix

Performed by Daniel Hendrix, Ben Wilson and Tanya Holstrom

Blog Notes and Entry by Tanya Holstrom

Popped Intro Music:  Spooky-Funk-Instrumental

Voice Over Introduction by Glenn Thayer

Piano Cover and Original Music by Ryan Hendrix