Have you ever had a day where you just kept having deja vu? One of those days that everything, and I mean everything just felt like a repeat of a previous date or time? No? Well, its weird as heck and frankly disarming. Now, imagine literally living the same day over and over again with no apparent end to the madness, plus youre stuck in a small podunk town on one of the silliest holiday’s of the year. This is what happens to Bill Murray in the film, Groundhog’s Day.
Today’s Key Movie:
Directed by his Ghostbusting Partner, Harold Ramis, Bill Murray plays Phil Conners, a Pittsburgh weatherman who has been sent to Puxsutawney to cover the emergence of a certain Groundhog named Phil. Accompanied by his producer Rita (Andie MacDowell) and cameraman (Chris Elliot), Phil soon finds himself living the same day over and over again desperate to find a way to get out of the time loop that is steadily driving him insane.
Why this movie?
When this film came out, I knew this was one I had to see in the theaters. Not only was I a Bill Murray fan but knowing that he and Harold Ramis would be reunited in a film was too good to pass up. Although this is technically a romcom, I am a sucker for odd twilight zone-esque scifi films so the whole concept of a time loop was too good to pass up.
Okay, you like this film, but is it really a ‘good film’?
In one word, YES. Not only is Murray at the top of his game in this one, but the supporting cast is one of the best. Stepping into the film, you fully expect this to be a basic romantic comedy with a pretty simple story of redemption for the prima donna weatherman. The thing that sets it apart is the journey that Phil goes through making him a better person after an untold number of repetition.
What I found really interesting is that the film actually follows the Kubler-Ross Grief Cycle that leads most people to a moment of personal growth. As soon as the time loop begins, Phil is in complete denial of his situation, he is in shock and doesn’t understand what is going on. Not long after, Anger sets in, causing Phil to lash out at everyone around him even punching his old friend Ned Ryerson (Stephen Tobolowsky) in the face. We touch on bargaining when he realizes that he is stuck and so he begins to just find ways to entertain himself in whatever way he can hoping that somehow he can break the cycle by going to the extreme. It is in this phase that he realizes that he has fallen for his producer, Rita, and wants more than anything to become the man she could be interested in (the romcom part of the film) but he soon finds himself rejected over and over again leading to the next cycle, depression.
In the Depression cycle, Phil actually begins to kill himself over and over again in an untold number of ways, or as Phil puts it, ‘ I have been stabbed, shot, poisoned, frozen, hung, electrocuted, burned and every morning I wake up without a scratch on me, bot a dent in the fender…’ Soon, however, he realizes that during his multiple time loops he has gotten to know everyone in the town and has actually started to have feelings for them.
It is only when he reaches Acceptance that Phil begins to develop as a person. After going through all of the steps, Phil finally decides to do something with his time and try to improve the lives of the people in the small town, even if it is only a temporary thing. Due to his change of heart and new view on life, Rita eventually takes notice and the two fall in love (more of the romcom part of the story.) Ultimately Phil finds his inner peace, and love in the process allowing him to escape the cycle.
Now, just how long this cycle took is another question all together, some claim it was 10 years while others think it was closer to 34 but, to me, the point of the story is not how long it takes to reach enlightenment but really, if you manage to reach it at all.
Overall, one of Bill Murray’s best films that can literally be watched time and again. It is a must see and thoughtfully enjoyable from start to finish. Sadly this film would mark the final time Murray and Ramis would work together as the two had a falling out during the making of the movie. What the falling out was exactly is unknown but it would not be until at nearly the end of Ramis’ life that they finally reconciled.
OK, where do I get this movie?
This is one that will likely never go out of print and is available pretty much everywhere. You can grab a copy here for about $15 or just go find a digital copy from your favorite digital distributor. Either way, just go watch it!
Late To The Game 9/5/2019
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