It’s Groundhog Day. So here’s a re-view.
World weary TV weatherman Phil Connors (Bill Murray) is making his annual trip to Punxsutawney, a small hamlet in Pennsylvania to cover the annual Groundhog festival. Every February 2nd, the townsfolk gather to greet Punxsutawney Phil, a groundhog who comes out of his hole to predict the end of winter. If Phil sees a shadow, there will be 6 more weeks of winter. This time Phil (the human, not the groundhog) has a new producer Rita (Andie MacDowell), and is being joined by cameraman Larry (Chris Elliott).
After completing the report in the most routine way possible, Connors is rushing to leave Punxsutawney but gets stuck in a blizzard that he said would miss the area. They all go back to Punxsutawney, where Connors goes back to his room will Rita and Larry take part in the Groundhog festivities. When he awakes the next morning, he hears the same song on the radio, and assuming that the radio station is playing the previous day’s tape, sets about his day. He soon realises that it is still February 2nd, and that it is still Groundhog Day. Bemused, Connors does his report again, but when he goes to sleep, he wakes up again on February 2nd.
Connors soon falls into despair with re-running the same dull day over and over again. He kills himself multiple times, gets incredibly drunk and eats like a glutton. He attempts to seduce Rita but keeps getting rejected. He snaps and steals Punxsutawney Phil and drives into a quarry, but still wakes up on February 2nd. What can Phil do to escape Groundhog Day?
Groundhog Day is a comedy that you enjoy the first time around, and come to enjoy more and more on each re-watch. Ned Ryerson (Momento’s Stephen Tobolowsky) is a great comedic character, and I love the “I am a god” section of Phil’s day, but the more you look at the film, the more layers there are. You can read as much into it as you want. Director Harold Ramis’ Buddhist beliefs have meant people position it as Connor achieving enlightment over the course of the film. There are Nietzschean interpretations… or is Connor performing mitzvot, and is that what allows him to move on?
This is my favourite solo Bill Murray film, and one of my all time favourite comedy films. Danny Rubins wrote this and almost nothing else, which is very strange! I think it’s definitely Harold Ramis’ best film, and I’d recommend anyone who hasn’t seen it to watch it now, and if you’ve not watched it recently, give it another watch. It has definitely held up well for a film that is nearly 25 years old!
Until next time, stay gold, Ponyboy, stay gold. See you soonish.
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PS As a special treat for reading all the way to the end, here’s… well you guessed it.
A previous version of this article appeared on SnootyUshers.com