When you consider movies about people caught in time loops, science fiction 12:01 probably isn’t a film that pops immediately into your mind. However, this little known 90’s television movie has lots to recommend it. It is interesting, funny, romantic, and hugely entertaining.
Review by Wasa
February 14, 2013
Director: Jack Sholder
short story: Richard Lupoff
television story: Jonathan Heap
teleplay: Philip Morton
Jonathan Silverman as Barry Thomas
Helen Slater as Lisa Fredericks
Jeremy Piven as Howard Richter
Nicolas Surovy as Robert Denk
Martin Landau as Dr. Thadius Moxley
Barry Thomas: “It has been a really tough week. It has been all Tuesdays.
For Barry Thomas, 27th April 1993 is not a day he would love to repeat. He starts it by being late for work and a traffic accident he runs into on the way delays him even further. One of the colleagues confronts him as soon as he walks into the office and his boss gives him a hard time about unfinished paperwork. A mistake he made the previous day does not help either or does his best friend, who has a habit of playing pranks on
During the day Barry manages to embarrass himself in front of Lisa, a woman he is in love with, and later that day she is murdered in front of him.
In the evening he drowns his sorrow in alcohol and when he gets home drunk, his hat lands in the aquarium and he knocks over a flowerpot, which shatters on the floor. At that point, he is more than ready to call it a day, however, the broken lamp electrocutes him while he trying to fix it.
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Well, tomorrow is another day as they say, but the next day everything repeats all over again and throws him for a loop. Literally. When he realizes the world is tossed into a time loop and only he can remember what happened the “previous day”, he decides he will save the woman he loves.
12:01 features an interesting plot with lots of twists and turns. Each “day” Barry discovers more and more information about the time loop and what causes it so the story progresses and unfolds a bit more each time.
Slight differences are added to the recurrent situations and they are shot from different angles, which makes watching all the more entertaining.
Even though there is a handful of supporting characters (for example people in the office), the spotlight is on Barry. He comes across as someone who lives in a time loop way before the actual time bounce occurs.
He repeats the same routine day in day out, caught in a job he loathes and loves Lisa from a distance. It is fun to watch his transformation from someone who takes things lying down to a can-do guy.
His courage grows, he starts to take greater risks as this unusual situation gives him a purpose and focus. He starts to live in the moment and notice details, but as the story unfolds second chances aren’t enough. He yearns for the real-life as he gets closer to Lisa and learns more about her. Although the story becomes more serious as it unfolds, the ending is on a feel-good note.
This television movie is based on Richard Lupoff’s short story “12:01 PM”. It was adapted into a much darker and serious short film of the same name three years earlier by director Jonathan Heap. In that version, Kurtwood Smith played the man who is aware that the world is caught in a time loop.
The same year, 1993, movie Groundhog Day was released and shares a similar premise – Lupoff and Heap were infuriated and felt they work was plagiarized by it – but 12:01 has more science fiction feel to it. Technology and “scientific” experiment are used to explain the time phenomenon. This makes the latter my favorite of the two.
Although the cast consists mainly of less-known actors, you will likely recognize Martin Landau – sci-fi movie vet, Jeremy Piven – plays the best never-short-of-a prank-buddy and colleague and Danny Trejo – who has a brief role as an inmate.
Jonathan Silverman is charming, lovable, and “so damn cute” as the laid-back Barry.
Helen Slater’s Lisa is a counterweight to Silverman’s Barry. Lisa is open-minded but shy and reserved. You may remember this actress from 1984’s superhero film Supergirl.
If you are in the mood for comedy, thriller and romance rolled into one with a smattering of lovable characters and entertaining plot 12:01 is a must-see. I guarantee it will keep you in the loop and in a good mood.