02 February 2011

2 Feb - "a thousand people freezing their butts off to worship a rat"

Groundhog Day (1993)
dir. Harold Ramis (Year One, 2009)
Bill Murray (Scrooged, 1988)
Andie MacDowell (Bad Girls, 1994)
Chris Elliot (There's Something About Mary, 1998)
Stephen Tobolowsky (Memento, 2000)
Brian Doyle-Murray (Caddyshack, 1980)

Ah! Holiday appropriate movie! I'm so glad I had time to watch you today :)
This is not the picture from the DVD cover, but it's better, so you're welcome. Everyone says they love Bill Murray, but his movies are consistently underrated. Especially Groundhog Day. I love this movie! But a lot of people forget that it gets very dark around the hour mark. Poor Phil here kills himself a number of times in desperation. The trick is that he has to live the same over and over until he gets it right. And when he gets it right the girl falls in love with him, but in order to do so he has to stop worrying about himself, about the girl, and he has to be good and considerate to everybody in Puxatawny. He has to be perfect, if only for one day.

And it takes a long time for him to figure it out. In the interim, he learns how to play piano, and reads a whole lot of books, and learns the life history of everyone in the town. Does that mean it's impossible for us, the one-day-at-a-time populace, to ever get it right?

It's a strange idea for a movie. Why Groundhog day? The plot would lend itself well to Christmas, maybe even better for Thanksgiving or New Year's Eve. Maybe it's because Groundhog day is inherently dual-natured. On one day the potential for spring and winter are equal. Until today we don't know how long the winter is going to last, and our Hero, however long it takes him, gets to learn how to live in the moment. Or maybe the point is that it doesn't matter what the groundhog says, because spring is going to come whether he sees his shadow or not. It doesn't change anything, what the prognosticator says, and nothing that Phil does on his endless day: murder, suicide, sex, love. It doesn't matter, the only change can happen within himself.

1 comment:

  1. I saw this for the first time last weekend actually! I really liked it :)