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A weather man is reluctantly sent to cover a story about a weather forecasting "rat" (as he calls it). This is his fourth year on the story, and he makes no effort to hide his frustration. On awaking the 'following' day he discovers that it's Groundhog Day again, and again, and again. First he uses this to his advantage, then comes the realisation that he is doomed to spend the rest of eternity in the same place, seeing the same people do the same thing EVERY day. Written by
In order to get the scenes to look alike many different takes were filmed in different weather conditions. Eventually Harold Ramis chose the bleak Wisconsin look for the film. See more »
At the beginning of the movie, while the white van is going from Pittsburgh to Punxsutawney, the WPBH signs stuck on the van's sides move from near the back of the van to near the front (see the 4 semicircular holes above each sign). See more »
Somebody asked me today, "Phil, if you could be anywhere in the world, where would you like to be?" And I said to him, "Prob'ly right here - Elko, Nevada, our nation's high at 79 today." Out in California, they're gonna have some warm weather tomorrow, gang wars, and some *very* overpriced real estate. Up in the Pacific Northwest, as you can see, they're gonna have some very, very tall trees.
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Bill Murray plays Phil Connors, a weatherman for a local news station. Every year he goes to Puxatawney, Pennsylvania for the Puxatawney Phil event: commonly recognized as Groundhog Day. You know how it goes. The groundhog comes out. If it sees its shadow, it's six more weeks of winter. If it doesn't, it's spring.
Well, the only problem about going to this event every year for Phil is that he hates it. He hates the cheery people. The little town. The weather. The event. The story. Everything. He hates it. He is a lonely, desolate, forsaken soul. With a great cynical side.
Andie McDowell plays a new manager--err, womanager :)--who goes with Phil to the event, along with Chris Elliot, the cameraman. Phil reports, they tape it, it's a done deal. The end. Phil goes back home. Only one problem. Due to severe weather, the roads have all been closed, leaving only one option: Stay in Puxatawney until the storm blows over. So, Phil heads back to his cheery hotel, and tucks in for a dreaded nap. But when he wakes the next morning, something odd happens. The day is the exact same day as before. It is Groundhog Day. Again. Phil panics as he finds everything exactly the same as it was the day before. He knows everything that is going to happen. He shrugs it off as a weird case of deja-vu and heads back to sleep. But when he wakes up, alas! The day is...yesterday. Again. Technically.
So Phil comes to terms with the fact that there is now way out of this small little town. He tries everything. He steps in front of a moving car. He electrocutes himself. He jumps off a building. All to no avail. Oh, he dies, all right. But the next day he's back and it's Groundhog Day again.
Part of what makes "Groundhog Day" so excellent is the story. The characters and actors alone are great enough to recommend this movie, but the truth is, I cannot think of a better story to throw someone like Bill Murray into. He uses his smart-alecky ways to a new extreme. His character is a bit like Scrooge from the tale "A Christmas Story," which is ironic, because Murray was in a parody on Scrooge's tale called "Scrooged." Anyway. Bill Murray is perfect as the irreverent and cynical Phil. Everything he does he carries out with a dumb, "I'm-smarter-than-you" face. He thinks himself better than everyone else. He thinks he is smart by skipping the big Holiday ordeal. It is all so stupid to him. But, as this story teaches us, having an attitude like that can get you in big trouble.
Harold Ramis, director of "Analyze This," star of "Stripes," directed "Groundhog Day." Bill and he are old pals, and it sure shows. I bet they had a great time making this movie. But what is good about it is that while making a fun movie they didn't forget to come up with an interesting and audience-catching tale.
Another thing that is great about "Groundhog Day" is that Phil Connors does what we would do. For example: When he finds out he has this ability to repeat the same day over and over, he does things the average person would do. The human weakness. Too many comedies with the same formula don't try to exploit this human weakness, but "Groundhog Day" does. We see Phil memorize the steps to successfully robbing an armored truck filled with cash. But the reason he can go to bed with a clear conscience is because he knows the next day that everything will be back to normal again. He will never have robbed the truck, never have bought a Ferarri, etc. Phil does what WE would do, and that is one importance aspect of "Groundhog Day." I would never rob an armored truck, but if I was stuck living the same day over and over, it would do no harm to take the cash - it would be back in the truck in the morning! So, I might do that. (although my conscience would still get in the way.) There was a little comedy with John Candy named "Delirious." It was about a soap opera writer getting trapped in his own world. And everything he writes on his typewriter comes true. While the movie was good, and pretty interesting, there were so many things Candy could have done with the ability to create and control any - and every- thing, and he didn't do them. I think that's where "Groundhog Day" steps in, filling in the blanks. There's nothing I love more than watching a comedy where the main character divulges into the human nature - in other words, I love watching the character do something the average human would do when given the power(s). And that's exactly what Phil does in "Groundhog Day." And that is why, among other things, it is one of my favorites.
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