Sunday, April 3, 2016

855. Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day
Directed by Harold Ramis

I have had many periods in my life where I basically felt as though I was living the same day over and over again.  It is a special kind of hell, seemingly reserved for the most cowardly among us.  It is a fascinating concept for a movie.  It is particularly ambitious to make this a comedy; the idea almost sounds like a depressing Russian short story.

Phil Conners is a cynical, condescending weatherman from Pittsburgh (Woo, Pittsburgh! Ow Ow!), sent to cover the Groundhog Day festivities in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.  After Phil gives his report, a blizzard shuts down all travel, forcing him and his hot television producer Rita to spend the night in Punxsutawney.  Phil wakes up the next day to discover that he is living Groundhog Day all over again, although no one else is aware of the time loop.  No matter what he does during that day, he always wakes up on the morning of February 2.  This opens up exciting, and devastating, possibilities.

I love what the filmmakers do with this idea; in lesser hands, it could have been a disaster.  Bill Murray is perfect here as a likable jerk; I was pretty much with him from the beginning.  Groundhog Day is just ridiculously cutesy and weird.  I also live in Pennsylvania and a groundhog is used to advertise the PA lottery in the most obnoxious commercials ever created.  Sorry, I am digressing slightly.

This film really explores all the possibilities of the concept of an endless day.  In other movies where the characters experience some sort of fantastical change, I always find myself wondering "why wouldn't they try x or y?"  This film actually spends time dealing with the implications of this universe; otherwise, the whole story might seem like an annoyingly moralistic fable.

Of course, it doesn't explore the "he could murder and rape people without any consequences" aspect of the story.  Thank god; I think my soapbox is about to break.

RATING: *****

Interesting Facts:

Bill Murray was severely bitten by the groundhog twice during filming.

One of the first drafts of the script explained that Phil was trapped in a time loop because an ex girlfriend cursed him to teach him a lesson.

It is estimated that Phil spent 34 years in a time loop.


  1. I thought this movie was really fun. it was just a great idea and they played with possibilities in a fun way. I cringed with embarrassment for him when he wanted to re-do the best day--it was also sadly sweet. Good movie--agree---5 star rating

    1. Oh yeah there were a lot of cringe worthy moments.