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Sunday, February 1, 2015

290 of 1001 Movies: Groundhog Day (1993)

Groundhog Day is stranger and wackier than I thought it would be, and this turned out to be a good thing. Only Harold Ramis, the director, and Bill Murray could have brought it to life in the way they did. There is something valuable to be taken away from this movie as well about living in the moment, and trying to approach each day with a pleasant demeanor, that seems to particularly resonate around this time year. With it being Groundhog Day I bring you my thoughts on the movie.

Summary: Phil is a weatherman, who is moving on to bigger and better things after he fulfills his last day on the job after covering Groundhog Day. He also sadly has the same name as the groundhog he is covering. Phil will find out this isn't his last day on the job after he wakes up to find it is the same day again and again. With no help from his fell crew, Rita and Larry, he decides to make the most of his days on repeat, including trying to pursue a relationship with Rita. The ultimate question is Phil trapped to repeat everyday, or is there a way out of it?

This movie seems light on top, but underneath there seems to be much for the reader to read into. There are also many things that make this movie intriguing, and surprisingly not a science fiction or fantasy. It's only a comedy. There is no rhyme or reason to how Phil got into this, nor how he will get out. I liked this, and it made the movie unique.

Bill Murray is also the only guy who could play Phil. He's a very unlikable guy, but Murray has us relating and feeling like him. He does everything that a person would do or imagine doing if this happened.

What does puzzle me is how Andie MacDowell had the acting career she did in the 90's?  I thought maybe the character was poorly written in Four Weddings and a Funeral, or she was miscast, but she is bland. Perhaps she is just an under actor, and that isn't my thing? When paired with the expressive Billy Murray though it feels unevenly matched. She isn't memorable in anything yet plays quirky women, you would think you would remember.

The direction of the movie is good though, and Ramis keeps it moving so it never can boring. At first I was a bit baffled by the silly humor, and the sudden change of events, but it works because Ramis never gives us too long to focus on it, and more so directions our attention to the purpose of the movie. This guy ultimately has to learn to live in the moment without the next big thing to happen he's looking toward.

If you're at home this Groundhog's Day then you might want to grab this movie. It feels like the long months after Christmas in the winter, when you're waiting on spring.


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