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Groundhog Day (1993)

July 11, 2009

9/10 Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth…Chances

It took me a couple viewings to really get how good and how funny this movie is, but it’s a freakin’ classic that doesn’t get it’s due.

Groundhog Day is about a d-bag weatherman named Phil that gets stranded with his news crew in Punxatawny, PA on Groundhog Day, his least favorite day of the year in a town he hates. So in order to get him to change his d-baggy ways, worlds collide, the sands of time get turned on their head, and Phil quickly realizes that he is being forced to continually relive Groundhog Day in Punxatawny with each new time he wakes up.

The great thing about Groundhog Day is that everyone’s had this idea before in some form or another, not just with déjà vu, but more like, “what kind of stuff would you do with your life if there weren’t any consequences for your actions and you could just start fresh the next morning?” Chances are you’d probably follow in Phil’s footsteps and steal money from an armored car,  punch out that guy who annoys the hell out of you every day, and eat whatever you want in a manner that would normally lead you down the road to morbid obesity.

And why would you do all these things? Because you’ve always wanted to and, dammit, now you finally can.

It’s rare when comedies come along that are fuelled by hilarious running gags that always land and never get old; the only other one I can think of off the top of my head is The 40-Year-Old Virgin. And the gags all work because they’re all directed at finding as many ways as humanly possible to annoy Phil to the point where Punxatawny becomes a living hell. Being forced to wake up every morning to “I’ve Got You, Babe” by Sonny and Cher? Sucks to be you, Phil.

And it also doesn’t hurt that Phil is played by one of the all-time Gods of comedy, Bill Murray. I really shouldn’t have to explain or back up this fact of life, but I will anyway…in one word: Caddyshack.

And hey, look what we have here! Groundhog Day is written and directed by Harold Ramis, who also wrote and directed…CADDYSHACK! It’s a comedy miracle!

But aside from this being a really, really smart and funny movie with a brilliant premise, it also makes a lot of good, subtle points about the many benefits of leading a positive life and making a difference with the time you’ve got. While it’s funny to see Phil deal, or not deal, with his strange circumstances, you do get connected to him and you want see him change. Maybe it’s because he’s such a smarmy bastard to begin with, but he’s an endearing smarmy bastard, and you can’t help but root for him to turn things around.

I love Groundhog Day, it’s one of those movies that I’ll always stop and watch while channel surfing because I know I’m gonna laugh every time. Also a great movie to quote with friends who are part of the Groundhog Day cult. So get to it and watch this timeless comedy classic.

SIDE NOTE: Here’s a link to a great article that came out a couple years ago in the New York Times about how Groundhog Day is regarded as the most insightful and profound movies by religious clerics across the board. Cool stuff, definitely worth a read.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Ryan Burke permalink
    July 12, 2009 10:55 am


    • Aiden R permalink*
      July 12, 2009 11:07 am

      Am I right or am I right or am I right? Right? Right? Right?


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