Groundhog Day (1993) Poster

(1993)

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10/10
A perfect blend of comedy, clever plotting, and character study
kylopod21 October 2005
Even the funniest movies eventually stop making me laugh after I've watched them enough times that the humor no longer surprises me. A joke never has the same effect when you know the punch line in advance. But every once in a blue moon, a comedy comes along that is so thoughtful and meaningful in addition to being funny that after seeing it a dozen times and laughing less often, I start noticing its depth and insight. For me, no movie has so perfectly united hilarity with profundity as "Groundhog Day," which happens to be my favorite movie of all time.

Superficially, this film belongs roughly in the same genre as "All of Me" and "Liar Liar," comedies in which a character becomes the victim of some weird supernatural fate and must adapt to the insane logic of the situation. But Steve Martin and Jim Carrey are geniuses of physical comedy, whereas Bill Murray specializes in understatement. I can't imagine any other approach having worked for this film, where the world is going crazy around Phil the weatherman, Murray's hard-edged character who keeps his emotions bottled up. What makes the initial scenes in which he first discovers his fate so hilarious is the mounting panic in his demeanor even as he tries to act like everything's normal. All he can think of to say is, "I may be having a problem." Uh, no kidding. Throughout the rest of the film, he'll deliver similarly muted lines to describe his situation, like "My years are not advancing as fast as you might think." It's striking that a man who has all the time in the world would choose his words so carefully, but it reflects a well-conceived screenplay.

In this comedy, the laughs are reinforced by repetition. The absurdity of Phil discovering that he's repeating the same day is funny enough, but every time that alarm clock goes off, and the radio starts playing, "I Got You Babe," and Phil goes through the same motions and meets the same people and then goes out into the street to be accosted by the same annoying high school buddy ("Phiiiil?"), I laugh again because I'm reminded how funny it was the first time around. People who didn't like this film (I've met one or two) emphasize how annoying it is that everything gets repeated. I sort of understand that complaint, since jokes repeated over and over usually fail miserably. "Groundhog Day," however, works uniquely well because the situation gets increasingly absurd and Phil gets increasingly desperate with each day that fails to pass.

The film would have fizzled out quickly had it spent the entire hour-and-a-half showing Phil meeting the same people and doing the same things time and again. The fact that "Groundhog Day" avoids this fate is one of its more striking qualities, since most high-concept comedies of this sort fall apart in the third act. "Groundhog Day" is a rare example of one that completely follows through with its premise, leading from the initial situation logically to the ending. Only the Jeopardy scene feels like a skit that could have appeared anywhere. But this scene actually is placed wisely: it occurs when Phil is becoming increasingly bored and lethargic, and it is used to separate two hilarious scenes where he gives nutty television reports.

It is in the middle, centering on Phil's attempts to seduce Rita, when the film reveals itself to be more than just a comedy. The underlying implication of these scenes is that Phil's powers are less important than he thinks they are. He probably could have done the same things (such as his exploits with Nancy) under ordinary circumstances, without the hocus pocus. In the end, his powers don't matter, because Rita is too smart and sees right through him. She may not understand the full supernatural implications of what he's doing, but she senses that he's somehow manipulating the situation. Phil may think he's a god, but he isn't all-powerful.

Phil's character development is convincing largely because we can so easily believe the situation would force him to look inward. Because he loves such a sincere woman as Rita, the only way he can finally impress her is by genuinely changing himself rather than faking it. The change he undergoes isn't an implausible leap, for he maintains many of the same basic character traits he had at the beginning, even though he becomes kinder and more caring. Earlier, Rita says that egocentrism is Phil's "defining characteristic," and, indeed, he doesn't stop being egocentric at the end; he merely learns to channel the egocentrism in a positive direction.

I have trouble imagining any other actor having pulled this off. Murray is not the only comic actor to have proved himself capable of dramatic depth, but he's one of the few who can so seamlessly combine his humorous and serious side into the same character. And he's a master at conveying complex emotions through an apparent deadpan. When his delivery sounds stilted in this film, the effect is intentional, for he's playing a man whose life has become a script.

Though this film has a serious message, it is still quintessentially a comedy. But it's a comedy that uses psychological exploration of a fascinating character to make its point. After the laughter has worn down, "Groundhog Day" turns out to be one of the richest and deepest films I've ever seen.
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10/10
Best romantic comedy ever
gogoschka-116 December 2013
* May contain spoilers *

Let's face it: everyone's a sucker for romantic comedies, but this one is something special. This movie has as much charm as it has bite, thanks to a fantastic script and Murray's excellent performance. Never dull or cheesy, this wonderful fantasy tale just hits all the right notes, and if anyone knows a better rom-com, please name it. I mean: what other romantic comedies are there where the protagonist commits suicide and you just have to laugh?

I've watched 'Groundhog Day' countless times and, without a doubt, I will watch it again and again (or for as long as I keep waking up to that nerve-wrecking song by Sonny & Cher). Priceless. My vote: 10 out of 10.

Favorite films: http://www.IMDb.com/list/mkjOKvqlSBs/

Lesser-known Masterpieces: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls070242495/

Favorite Low-Budget and B-Movies: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls054808375/

Favorite TV-Shows reviewed: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls075552387/
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10/10
Neglected Masterpiece
Ric-721 August 2005
I thought the film was terrific when I saw it in theaters twelve years ago. Recently in watching it again on cable, I was amazed at the quality of the screenplay. I didn't notice the first time. But on repeated viewings (like reliving Groundhog Day), I was impressed at the story created by the writers. This film is so much more than witty jokes and comic riffs arranged around a gimmick. It has an internal logic and consistency that is very rarely found in screenplays. No joke seemed disposable, and as you laugh your way along, the philosophy underlying the film takes over your imagination.

Check the IMDb listings for this film's awards: look at the numerous British awards for writing. And yet this film was not even nominated for an Oscar. It is so rare that a film's jokes seem just as fresh more than a decade later, but I believe that is because the theme underlying the humor will never go out of fashion.

The acting was terrific, and I now think this is Bill Murray's best work (though I didn't take it seriously when I first saw the film.) But the screenplay is the one of the finest ever written. I don't know if it's studied in film schools, but it ought to be.

* * * * *

ON HAROLD RAMIS' DEATH: Ramis told The Associated Press in a 2009 story about the 50th anniversary of Second City. "When you hit it right, those things last."

I found that quote in a story on Ramis' death. The story curiously did not mention "Groundhog Day." If there is any film to serve as a fitting memorial for Harold Ramis, it must be "Groundhog Day." A totally perfect script, perfectly executed. He hit it right, and when will he get the recognition he deserved decades ago?
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9/10
When the gods wish to punish us...
G_a_l_i_n_a27 April 2005
In Harold Ramis's "Groundhog Day" (1993), an intriguing comedy about repeating the past, Bill Murray is Phil Connors, an arrogantly self-centered and cynical TV weatherman, sent for the fifth time to the small town of Punxsutawney, PA to cover the Groundhog ceremony held every February 2nd. He stumbles into a time warp and winds up repeating the same day over and over again until forced to look at himself from the distance and to examine his attitude.

I love this movie – not only it is one of the best, most original, clever and funniest comedies I've seen, it also makes you think of the serious questions. For instance, when Gods want to punish a mean, arrogant SOB, they would not take his sanity away – they will make the whole world around him mad and let him deal with the situation. Or another question, what would you do if you have eternity on your hands? Is it a curse or blessing?

Groundhog Day does not reuse tired and stupid jokes; its humor comes from the situations and characters. Bill Murray was born to play Phil Connors and movie uses his talent as a comedian to the fullest. I think it was the best role Murray ever played. His character has gone through transformation before our eyes, and it was very convincing.

9.5/10
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Movies can change lives
colour-me-kubrick3 July 2009
Often you hear the adage, "It is just a film". Well, for most times it is true. But on rarest of rare occasions, it isn't. This was one of them. Like a great piece literature, painting, poetry, speech it has the capacity to change the way you feel and think. It is the biggest compliment I can pay to a film. I rank Groundhog Day with Seventh Seal, Wild Strawberries, Waking Life, Synecdoche New York, Tokyo Story, Ikiru as one of the moves that has the capacity to change.

It is anything but a preachy film as the "intro" to the review might suggest. In fact it an extremely entertaining and funny film with one of the best performances ever by Bill Murray. The plot revolves around a weather man (Bill Murray) 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 realization that he is doomed to spend the rest of eternity in the same place, seeing the same people do the same thing every day.

The challenge here for the makers was in terms of screenplay, editing and performances. Bear in mind that, the "loops" Bill Murray's character goes through, might become redundant for the audience after a while. This is where the genius of Harold Ramis and Bill Murray comes into play, who seem to introduce a "novelty" factor with every shot of the same sequence. I couldn't think of any actor other than Murray who could have pulled this one off.

It is a movie likely to deceive you in its effortless narrative and casual comic tone. Yes, it is funny, but make no mistake about it, it is a film with a strong philosophical undertone. This is a quality that separates Groundhog from rest of the movies with similar intent. It tells you what it intends to on your terms. It deals with the questions that bother us for a better part of our lives i.e. meaning of life, purpose of life, existentialism, death, god but never preaches, nor propels any propaganda. But by the end of it, you know that something has changed, something you didn't see coming has happened. And then you watch it again only to realize the moment of Epiphany that eluded you the first time.

Every time I am down or losing perspective this is the movie that eases everything and makes me ask a simple question, "What is important?". One of the absolute great films of the 90s, but more than just a film for me.
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10/10
Bill Murray's greatest movie and one of the greatest comedies, no, one of the great movies of all time.
pachin17 November 2003
Warning: Spoilers
Two clues to tell if a movie is great is how often it is copied and how it has become a part of American slang. Groundhog Day has had both happen to it. Warning: POSSIBLE SPOILERS. Bill Murray played Phil Connors, a egocentric and grumpy weatherman in Pennsylvania who goes to Punxsutawny, Pa every year to see if the groundhog sees his shadow for the local television station with his producer, played by the wonderful Andie MacDowell, and his cameraman, played by a low keyed Chris Elliot.

Everything goes as Phil expects on the first day, except he is caught in a blizzard and has to stay the night. The next morning he awakes and it's Groundhog Day again! This pattern happens over and over again until he realizes he cannot escape Groundhog Day. In time Phil realizes the advantages of knowing what's going to happen before it happens and Murray takes full comic advantage of it.

However if this film was just that, it would be just a normal run of the mill comedy. Murray's character Phil learns and grows and becomes a better person during the course of the film and learns to love the town in which he felt he was trapped in. The chemistry with MacDowell's character of Rita is wonderful. It's a great film and to my mind the best comedy, no perhaps the best movie I have ever seen.
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8/10
Ingenious concept, enthusiastically presented.
barnabyrudge9 September 2004
Bill Murray can be a very funny guy, especially when given roles where his character has a deliciously cruel edge. He has one of those faces, and a voice to go with it, which can make nastiness and sarcasm funny. Groundhog Day is a highly enjoyable vehicle for Murray's talents. It also has a very clever concept, neatly brought to the screen by actor-turned-director Harold Ramis (who starred alongside Murray in the Ghostbusters films).

Pittsburgh weather-man Phil Connors (Bill Murray) is sent on assignment to Punxatawney, where on Groundhog Day each year the locals have a tradition of consulting the groundhog to find out if spring is imminent or if they should prepare for 6 more weeks of winter. Phil despises the job and the town, and can't wait to get it over with.... even though he has a soft spot for Rita (Andie MacDowell), the producer overseeing his broadcast. Phil's dislike of Punxatawney, its people and its traditions is set to get a hell of a lot worse though.... as when he awakens the next morning he finds himself reliving the same day. And so it goes - every time Phil gets up, it's still February 2nd and he seems destined to be stuck in the same day for the rest of eternity.

It seems early on in the proceedings that the film might run out of steam and inspiration. After all, how can a film about a day which repeats itself be anything but repetitive? Thankfully, Groundhog Day is full of ingenious ideas, and it successfully throws up new developments and delightful twists at every opportunity. The film is laced with memorable dialogue, and Murray gets to play one of the defining roles of his career as a facetious, sharp-tongued misanthrope who ultimately learns the error of his ways. Groundhog Day is a very good film indeed, and restores one's faith in the imagination still lurking beneath the dismayingly shallow surface of Hollywood.
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10/10
Excellent comedy that anyone can relate to.
MovieAddict201612 March 2003
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.

5/5 stars
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Perfect!
renaldo and clara20 August 2001
It's kind of hard to pinpoint what makes 'Groundhog Day' work just right- many movies have great premises, some even a bit more ambitious than this one (though not as heartfelt, maybe) but fail. I think that 'ratedness' may play a bigger role than people imagine. For example, this movie came out a bit before my time, and because of that I missed the trailers and stuff for when the film came out. Even so, people that were around when 'Groundhog' came out in the theatres, might've also thought it was underrated, as the title 'Groundog Day' doesn't necessarily *try* to draw in huge crowds.

OK...all my above rambling means one thing: I loved 'Groundhog Day', but I'm embarrassed I didn't watch it sooner. Having the typical Generation X-er mentality I assumed this film would have outdated humour- but let me assure you (and seeing Rushmore confirmed this for me) -Bill Murray and his humour will NEVER go out of style; he is fabulous. He takes just the right amount of self-deprication (not too much) and combines it with cynicism....well I don't want to try to *define* his humour- the easiest way would be to watch him in action! Also, the writing for this film is absolutely perfect.

Go see for yourselves... and hope that ONE DAY the groundhog will actually NOT see his shadow......lol
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8/10
Bill's Best
caspian19786 December 2004
Not counting Caddy shack, this is Bill Murray's best performance. While Christmas and Halloween have their annual holiday movies, who would have thought that Groundhog Day would have a movie of its own.

A terrific (family) movie, Bill Murray stars as a sullen / sarcastic news reporter who is stuck living the same day over and over again....until he gets it right. This comedy stands alone as one of the funniest and most original movies of the 90's. Not many comedies can be funny and also end with a moral. Groundhog Day has both. Before the Farrelly Brothers or Wes Anderson found an audience, there was Groundhog Day. Pennsylvania never looked better or funnier.
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There is a fifth dimension, beyond that known to man....
rmax30482328 January 2003
Warning: Spoilers
This one is a winner in almost all respects, a kind of comic Twilight Zone episode that never quits. Murray has had roles in which he does nothing funny but seems to stand around waiting for laughs anyway, wearing a goofy expectant smile, as in "Stripes." But not here. This is probably his best role. He may still have the goofy expression but this time the laughs arrive on time.

The movie excells at three levels.

One is the overall conception, the comic theme itself. Murray, a sarcastic and sadistic weatherman finds himself stuck in a small dreary town in Pennsylvania with two colleagues, one of them Andie MacDowell, his producer. They cover the local Groundhog Day celebration then find themselves unable to leave because of a blizzard. The next morning Murray wakes up to find that it's the same Groundhog Day all over again. And the next morning too. And so on ad almost infinitum. So far so good. A nice concept but it could go either way, depending on how it's handled. In fact, it's handled very well. What could have been a one-gag movie that ran out of steam after the first quarter hour turns instead into a neatly logical progression of plot and character development. Murray of course is the centerpiece of the tale and it is his changes that occupy our attention; the other roles, although well done, are mostly there to provide reflections on Murray's moral evolution. (Andie MacDowell, wardrobed in slacks, white blouse and checked vest, and done up with long fluffy curly black hair, looks radiantly appealing.)

Murray's reaction discovering that he is now living Day Two is one of a terrible anxiety. He manages to get this across effectively, even though it is tinged with his own brand of distant amusement. On Day Three he is depressed and gets drunk. On Day Four he realizes that tomorrow will have no consequences and tests this hypothesis by breaking all of the rules of traffic. As the days pass, he plans to seduce MacDowell, and he implements his plan cleverly, discovering more and more about her -- her favorite drink, her favorite toast, the kind of man she is looking for. He has so much time on his hands that he learns to play the piano expertly because MacDowell likes men who play instruments. His scheme seems to be working but no matter how perfect his playacting he simply cannot get her into bed in one single day -- and every day he must start over with her from scratch. ("Twelve years of Catholic school speaking," she tells him.) Eventually, however, he comes to realize that he really DOES care for her because, after all, he's gotten to know her quite well with the passage of time, although she doesn't know it. When he undergoes this epiphany he goes about doing good, no longer just acting nice but actually BEING nice, whether it advances his desire to get her in the sack or not. Obliquely, indirectly, it works without his having intended it to. She falls for him and they live happily ever after. That's the overall conception and it's very well handled.

Level Two is the script, the dialogue, and this too is superior. How many movies can throw in a handfull of quotes from Sir Walter Scott and people of that ilk -- one quote is in French -- without making a contemporary audience, used to MTV, squirm? "And winter/ slumbering in the open ground/ wears upon his smiling face/ a dream of spring." And it isn't just stuck into the script; it fits into the scene and is an appropriate comment on the plot. But more than that, the lines are not only intelligent but sometimes very witty. Just a few examples that come to mind.

On Day Two, I believe, Murray is sitting in a bowling alley with two local drunks, bemoaning his fate. He once spent a beautiful day in the Carribean with a gorgeous girl. They drank pina coladas. They watched the sun go down and then they made love like two otters. Why couldn't he be stuck in THAT day instead of this one? "How would you feel," he asks his pals, "if you woke up every morning and it was the same awful day and nothing you ever did made the slightest difference because nothing meant anything?" One of the drunks, glumly replies: "That about sums it up."

On Day Three, Murray and MacDowell are sitting in the Tip Top Cafe and he has a huge tray of fattening food in front of him. He lights a cigarette

and stuffs whipped-cream pastries into his mouth. MacDowell: "I hate to see a man of your advanced years destroying himself." Murray: "Maybe they're not advancing as fast as you think."

Last example from dialogue, somewhere down the time line, after he's begun worming his way into her affections: Murray and MacDowell are walking along at night in the snow, her arm through his, and she tells him, "Thank you for a very nice day. It's the kind of day that could never be planned." Murray: "Well -- it CAN be planned but it takes a lot of work."

The third level at which the movie works is, very simply, the actual small bits of business that the actors involve themselves in. Ramis, the director, plays the doctor who checks out X-rays of Murray's skull to see if there's any pathology. Ramis stares at the photos and says, "No clots, no tumors, no aneurysms -- at least as far as I can see," then he turns around and squints tightly and rapidly three time in a row. (Who thinks up something like that?) And Murray takes a girl to a Clint Eastwood movie and does an expert impression of Eastwood, from the Man With No Name costume to the voice. When he turns his back and speaks, it sounds exactly like Eastwood. There are running gags about things like innocent-looking but bottomless puddles in the gutter. I know that some of these things sound old, but they are so well realized here that we can forget their age. They seem born anew, just like Murray.

There is one danger in a story like this that the movie skirts neatly. The romance between Murray and MacDowell, had more been made of it, could easily have turned cloying. That's what happens to Jack London's characters in "The Sea Wolf." You've got to handle this carefully, because, as we all know, comedy in itself is of no significance. (How many comedies win academy awards?) The movie has to be about something deeper, of course, and the sort of logic that comes to that conclusions must also come to the conclusion that the audience consists of an unwashed horde of semi-moronic dolts who must have the "seriousness" pounded into their heads with a sixteen-pound sledge hammer. The problem is deftly avoided in "Groundhog Day." The romance is funny more often than not. And during the moments when it isn't played for laughs, it advances our understanding of the changes in Murray's character. And MacDowell looks angelic enough that Murray's growing feelings for her are believable. I should also mention the use of appropriate musical numbers on the track. "The Pennsylvania Polka" is used as punctuation throughout. Midway through the movie, we get Ray Charles' "You Don't Know Me," underlining the uncertainty of the romance. By the end we have an even more romantic theme from Rachmaninoff that begins in sincerity and ends in a jolly jazzed-up version.

This is one of the best comedies of the last ten or fifteen years, including "The In Laws" and "The Freshman" and "My Cousin Vinny." Before that, there were "Love at First Bite" and "Murder by Death." Pure comedies, successful ones, come along rarely.
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An endless day where everyday is like Sunday
dbdumonteil12 August 2004
Phil Connors, a cynical and unbearable journalist goes like every year in a small town in Pennsylvania to report on "Groundhog Day", it means the beginning of the spring. But, he is out of luck because due to the bad weather, he and his crew (including the pretty Rita) he is compelled to stay at his work place for the night. The following day, he awakes and lives exactly the same day again but he is the only one to realize it. It is like this, the next days again and again! What should Phil do to stop this? Maybe an improvement of his personality would be the wisest solution.

You can easily imagine what a filmmaker like Frank Capra would have done with such a topic but Harold Ramis managed very well and he signs here his most beautiful success to date and one of the finest comedies of the nineties. The main strength of "Groundhog Day" comes from a strong and inventive screenplay which enables Bill Murray to go through all the different states which is logical because if tomorrow is the same day, anything goes for him! The script also draws its comical force from the repetition. This process gives delightful sequences, notably in the first part of the movie. You have to see Murray live the same day again, faced with the same situations and as he despises people, it can only make the spectator laugh. Moreover, Ramis described his main character by mocking at him a little.

Of course, the evolution followed by Murray is a little predictable (scornful at the beginning, he will succeed in becoming nice at the end of the film and in finding love with Rita) and you easily guess the message that Ramis tries to put across. But it remains nevertheless warm and deeply humane. However that may be, the director gave us a pleasant, sometimes funny sometimes moving movie to watch. And it is one of Bill Murray's best performances: fair, never bombastic. What more could you ask from him?
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10/10
Groundhog Is Jesus
RARubin7 April 2005
Groundhog Day was a Harold Ramis-Danny Green script that Ramis ingeniously shot in a freezing Woodstock, IL for a 1993 release. All the film critics at the time noted it as a cute romantic comedy with no particular accomplishment. Everyone I know who has seen it, myself included, liked it and smiled on their way out of the theater. Groundhog Day is on the American calendar, and the film is often played on that day in mid-winter where those of us in colder climates are dreaming of Spring. Today Groundhog Day is considered one of the great American Films of the late 20th Century. Danny Rubin created the concept while Harold Ramis, co-writer of Animal House and Caddyshack broke away from his previous gross-comedy productions to direct his Opus Maximus. That's how Jonah Goldberg of the National Review described it in the February 2005 issue of the Conservative magazine.

I read the 2003 New Yorker piece about Ramis. He's Chicago born Jew with no religious training. He is a Hollywood director, actor, and comedy scriptwriter presently studying Buddhism with his second wife. I don't know anything about Danny Rubin other than his version of the script had Andi MacDowell also reliving Groundhog Day along with Murray's Phil, the slimy weatherman for a Pittsburgh TV station. Ramis made the necessary changes and the rest is possibly the greatest non-secular religious experience in American Cinema. The fact that Rabbi's, Ministers, and Priests are showing this film to their parishioners all over the world is a testament to the film's masterful Aristotelian philosophy of redemption and rebirth.

There are so many classic comedy bits, lines to remember, and moments of hilarity for a short review but often overlooked is the theme of rescue through learning. Adults are cursed to make the same mistakes over and over again. Every Freudian shrink has heard his patient's repetition of behavior. Every man is trapped by his wiring. Then, sometimes, maybe because of a catastrophic event, a religious insight, or an intelligent evaluation, there is an epiphany. We can't be sure how the application of intelligence, talent, or luck can establish great work, but we must appreciate it when we see it and be the Groundhog.
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10/10
An eternal movie.... (DVD)
leplatypus19 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I thought at first that it was only a concept movie: a "what-if" story; an unbelievable story in reality but a very funny & rich one in the philosophical reflexion, like only arts can offer. Another example of this free creativity would be for me "Back to the future"... You can't go back in your past, but your imagination does! Here's the bottled-up feeling of eternity is excellently considered: the assets (you have time to learn, you know everything & every one...) and the pitfalls (a final boredom, the sadness of losing people without preventing it,...)

Then, I realised that this movie is closer to every one's life than many others.... The revelation occurred while the chat between Bill Murray & 2 buddies at the bar:

  • "What would you do if you were stuck in one place, every day was exactly the same, nothing you did mattered ?"


  • "That about sums it up for me;"


It's my life: I always complain about today is like yesterday & as tomorrow! Getting up tired, taking crowded subways, managing different kind of people with a perverse boss, back to the home to eat nearly the eternal same supper, complicated relationship..... Well, same day over, over & over....

That's me, maybe you, and you or you..... This movie appeals to every one: Fantastic!

And it offers in addition a solution: being socially generous.... Smile, help as much as you can & you will have the payback: your life will improve!!!! Zen, philosophy, psychology, religion says the same thing but in hundred years, thousand pages of writing..... Here's what a 2 hours movie can do!!!

But that's not all: all this would have been impossible without this superb duo of Bill Murray & Andie MacDowell: I am a fan of both and they excel in this movie: I think they never have been closer than their true self: Murray has really two faces: the cynic & the kind... MacDowell: well, she smiles, she laughs, she plays, she is kind, romantic, honorable, trustful... the perfect soulmate for every one...

And the final touch: the Director: Harold Ramis.. I was a fan of National lampoon, Ghostbusters and with his DVD commentary, I discover a great man: sympathetic, spiritual. He shares his enthusiasm with success and gives great insights for his movie (the symbolic & funny thanks of all the town as his motivation to direct...)

So, if you have infinite time, enjoy this one as much.. And if you don't have time, give yourself a little to view it !!!!!
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10/10
This movie gets better every time I see it
petabit2 February 2005
I just read somewhere that the Internet is full of philosophers and religions that have adopted this movie as their favorite parable. I'm not surprised, but that's not the reason I love it.

This movie starts with a premise that could be light, silly, trite, or promising but disappointing. Through deft writing and Murray's amazing comic timing, it manages to be none of those. The movie just keeps getting better the longer you watch it, and every silliness comes with a bit of serious thinking behind it.

Take home from this movie: A visceral awareness of what really matters in life, and how your own attitude in it is really everything there is. Not just mostly... entirely everything.

This movie threatens at first to go on forever, but after a while I wished it would. It compresses the lesson of "It's a Wonderful Life" into its first act, and then improves continually from there. I honestly can't think of how this movie could be improved.

To see how bad this movie *could* have been, watch "Multiplicity" with Michael Keaton. Then watch "Groundhog Day" again and enjoy. I've lost count of the number of times I've seen it.
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10/10
A Masterpiece! Bill Murray is Terrific!
namashi_14 June 2012
Harold Ramis's 'Groundhog Day' is A Masterpiece! A wonderful, meaningful film, that also offers loads of entertainment. And Bill Murray delivers a yet another Terrific Performance!

'Groundhog Day' Synopsis: A weatherman finds himself living the same day over and over again.

'Groundhog Day' is perfection, believe me it is. Here's a comedy, that offers meaning. I was engrossed from start to end. The journey of its protagonist Phil Connors, played by Murray, is so entertaining & meaningful, that I was taken aback. The Screenplay Written by Danny Rubin & Ramis himself, is simply marvelous. Ramis's Direction, on the other-hand, is efficient. Cinematography, Editing & Art Design, are pitch-perfect.

Performance-Wise: Murray is Terrific! The legendary actor delivers a yet another performance, that deserves to be respected. Andie MacDowell is fantastic. Chris Elliott does his part well. Stephen Tobolowsky is hilarious.

On the whole, 'Groundhog Day' is an unmissable comedy.
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10/10
Incredibly deep and also hilarious
the-jerk13 June 2005
"Groundhog Day" is another example of a movie that deserved multiple nominations (and wins) at the Academy Awards. At the time, it was often dismissed as a light fantasy-comedy. But actually Danny Rubin and Harold Ramis wrote an incredibly intelligent, heartwarming, and funny script, and Bill Murray put in the performance of his lifetime.

Phil Connors, played by Murray, is having a bad day. A nearly infinite amount of times. I don't believe the story that the movie takes place over 10 years of reliving the same day; it's clearly implied that it's A LOT more than that, and that's what the screenwriter originally had intended anyway. And this is where the brilliance of both the script and Murray's performance lies; we're not watching the same thing over and over again, because we have as a focal point Phil, who's reliving the day and reacting to it differently each time. The stages he goes through until he finally learns to accept it and try to make something of it are interesting. By the end of the movie he's reached something akin to nirvana, where every move he makes is perfect, and thus he's finally allowed to move on.

We never get an explanation of why this is happening, which only heightens our fascination of it. It seems implied by the ending that something divine is going on; Phil really seems to reach perfection, a state of being, perhaps, a perfect human being, or as close to it as we can get, and that's where the timescale becomes apparent; think how long it would take to achieve such a thing! And all this is masked at first appearance by all the humor going on. At first glance, it really appears to be a screwball comedy (and even as such, it's laugh-out-loud funny), and you can't see the brilliance behind everything. It's a nearly perfect movie, and it's one of my favorites.
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10/10
Wiil Bill Murray learn that the path of true happiness goes through the land of art and empathy?
jkenny-227 April 2005
For me this is one of the few movies of recent vintage that could be called a writer's story. It's wonderfully thematic! Phil has so much to learn and takes a long time to learn it, but what he learns is so encouraging and humanistic. He learns that by developing his artistic side he will learn to love and be loved. He learns to sculpt and play the piano beautifully. And, it seems to me, finally, that he chooses to do it for the right reasons: the pure joy of expression, the pleasure of bringing beauty and truth to the world. My wife asked me in wonder how I could love this flick so much; it's so unrealistic. But, ah, the theme is so strong that I want to suspend my disbelief. It functions ultimately as an allegory. We must all learn to try to forget ourselves and concentrate on the moment, live each day not as if it will be our last, but as though it will be our only day! When we learn that lesson, then we can begin to live again...
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Among the most novel and entertaining of movies, a genuine modern classic.
TxMike1 January 2001
Warning: Spoilers
"Groundhog Day" is Bill Murray's serious movie. Along with Andie McDowell they make great chemistry. "Phil" is the wise-cracking weatherman who thinks he is too good for everyone else. He is in PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa to do a newscast, and wishes he were just about anywhere else. They get snowed in, have to spend the night, and the next morning at 6AM the fun begins.

It is groundhog day again! He goes out, sees all the same people, doing and saying all the same things. To everyone else, this is the only time they have lived this particular day. But for Phil, it is the second time. In fact, every morning thereafter he awakes at 6AM to exactly the same music, the same day, it looks like it will be for eternity.

January 2007: Just watched it yet again, it never gets old. (pun)

Feb, 2, 2009 - Groundhog Day - I just watched it again. Never gets old!!

Feb 4, 2010 - Two days late. But never better, I even saw some things that escaped me the first several times.

CAUTION--SPOILERS--

At first, Phil takes the "repeat" days to deal in funny, or cruel, ways with others he knows he will meet. He knows everything will be wiped clean and he can start fresh the next day. No one but he will remember what happened the prior day. After a while, he gets depressed at the thought of being sentenced to an eternity of living the same day, so he tries to kill himself. Jumping off a building, taking a bath with a toaster, driving a car off a cliff, getting into the path of a truck. He succeeds each time, however when 6AM comes the next day, he's back in his bed, Groundhog Day again, and his daily cycle starts again. And eventually he decides to go ahead and try to make good use of his situation.

So he takes on new hobbies. He becomes expert at ice sculpture, medicine, piano-playing, poetry, and a number of others. He comes to know all the people in town, not only their names but also intimate details of their lives. The film never hints at how many times he re-lives the same day. However, to gain all the proficiencies he did, it must have been several hundred. Perhaps even in the thousands. But that detail doesn't matter.

As he becomes more and more charming, he decides to try and seduce his producer, played by McDowell. Each day he gets a bit farther, only to show off as the real jerk that he is, then is slapped and snubbed. But each day, since he is the only one who remembers, he gets a bit further. However, he is destined to never get the girl, unless he really changes, and he doesn't realize this.

In the last 1/4 of the film, he has become a truly changed man. He helps people because it is the right thing to do. He is humble about his successes, and it is this change that ultimately attracts the woman of his dreams, and which gets him out of the seemingly endless cycle of re-playing Groundhog Day.

And that, in a nutshell, is what the film is all about. In a unique way - the re-play of a day - it is a commentary on the need to be true and pure in our intentions to be able to get out of our rut and make any meaningful contribution to this world. I rate it "10", and is one of my favorite movies of all time.
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10/10
One the best movies of all times - on a comical level
hellaszer17 March 2012
I must admit this movie was one of my favorites when I was a teenager. I'm just watching it again, and I felt it necessary to review this film, as the effect has not only not faded away, but actually made the jokes more powerful - as I grasp on them differently, more fully.

Bill Murry's jerk character is so hilarious and original, and his lines are so funny that you cannot resist liking him. On the other hand Andy's angelic, curly haired, innocent face opposes this brut.

I think one of the smartest ideas is that the setting is pure and simple: it could be anywhere BUT nowhere important. Of course, it is important for our character to get stuck in the middle of nowhere - as of course it wouldn't come as a curse to spend every day on a nice island or a big city. Here monotomy hits us hard. And here comes the maturity: people in their 30s, 40s can easily get the metaphor: that 'every day looks the same'. We work, sleep, eat, .... and what else? Something is missing, right? It takes an eternity to realize that there are more important things, human relations, remembering who we are, what makes us happy - and the full capacity of love. This deeper message is nicely wrapped in a funny storytelling, and even more hilarious actions. I don't think we have to simplify it for a "bad" man becoming "good", more virtous, but rather waking up from his own 'groundhog' sleep, a sleep in which he has been spending most of his life....

Have fun, and don't be afraid of your own shadow:)
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9/10
philosophical comedy genius
TheNorthernMonkee14 July 2005
Warning: Spoilers
SPOILERS It's almost unheard of for a piece of comedy genius to also be so deeply meaningful and philosophical. Yet, in 1993's "Groundhog Day", writer Danny Rubin has created something very special. Hilarious at times and often quite deep, this film is deservedly praised by everyone who sees it.

Phil Connors (Bill Murray) is an arrogant news reader. Travelling to Puxatony to witness the world famous Groundhog Day, Connors finds himself repeating this day over and over. With none of his actions affecting his life, Connors firstly experiments with life before realising that he could well be stuck repeating this same day for eternity.

This light hearted comedy is perhaps Bill Murray's finest performance. Going through a renaissance of sorts since the Millennium, Murray has evolved into a much more serious actor. Deservedly Oscar nominated for "Lost In Translation" (2004), Murray is at his funniest all these years back in 1993. Rude and self obsessed to begin with, the transformation of Murray's character is pure genius as he relives the same day continuously until he learns the error of his ways and wins the girl (played surprisingly well by Andie MacDowell).

The social commentary of this film is absolutely superb. The way Connors is able to often deceive others with prior knowledge is superb. As, most notably, is the way that Andie MacDowell's Rita can so magically change her opinion of Phil the second that she finds out that he plays an instrument. Rita is actually just as superficial as Connors and truthfully it would be brilliant to see how well the two coped over the following few months after the film ended.

Personally the finest Philosophical story about this film is the death of the old homeless guy. Irrelevant of how Connors acts, this man always dies at the same point of the day. As the doctor says 'it was just his time'. This quote is brilliant because it suggests that however we live our lives, when we are due to die, we are due to die. This is one of the most important, most powerful, messages of the film, and it is delivered with subtlety and beauty. Full marks to director Harold Ramis for this one five minute period of skill.

It's easy to over think the intelligence of "Groundhog Day". Yes first and foremost it is a comedy, but it is also incredibly easy to see more depth in a generally simple comedy. So, as a comedy, let us consider it's main points. Well, firstly it is a hilarious piece of work which is well written and adequately shot. Secondly it is brilliantly acted by everyone involved, including the usually awful Andie MacDowell. Finally, it is a feel good story which leaves you with a smile on your face. So whether you think of the film as being deep or whether you view it as a simple romantic comedy, it is perfect on either level. It is genuinely an excellent film.

Brilliant on so many levels, "Groundhog Day" is one of the finest romantic comedies of all time. Daft but entertaining, it features a great performance by Bill Murray as well as a potentially deep message. All in all, it's just a superb entertaining film and it should be watched at all costs.
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10/10
The greatest comedy of the 90s
DavidSim24018327 March 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Bill Murray is without a doubt one of my favourite comedians. His deadpan, laid back attitude always makes him a hoot to watch. That was one of the reasons why Ghostbusters was such a success. But Groundhog Day has got to be his best comedy since, because this ingenious Harold Ramis film is tailor made for Bill Murray's talents.

Murray plays weatherman Phil Connors. A selfish, cynical and sarcastic man, he is not one of the easiest people in the world to like. Every February 2nd, he travels to Punxsutawney, P.A. to cover the annual Groundhog Day festival. Legend has it if the groundhog (also called Phil) sees a shadow, it won't be an early Spring.

This is an event Phil hates, and he can't stand the town. This year, he goes there with his cameraman Larry (Chris Elliot) whom he insults every chance he gets, and his new producer Rita (Andie MacDowell). Phil falls in love with Rita, but can't open up to her in that way, and comes off as arrogant to her.

This marks his fourth visit to Punxsatawney, and after Phil (the groundhog) predicts that Winter won't be ending anytime soon this year, Phil can't wait to leave town. But a blizzard unexpectedly strands Phil, Rita and Larry, and they are forced to spend another night in Punxatawney.

When Phil wakes up the next morning, he's got a real freaky sense of deja vu. His clock radio is blaring out "I Got You Babe", the DJs are saying the exact same shtick as yesterday, and when he looks out the window, people are getting ready to go out. It's Groundhog Day all over again.

Everyone else doesn't seem to notice, and to them everything is perfectly normal. What is wonderful about this film is the way it explores every possible angle to Phil's situation and covers such a wide spectrum of emotion. From being initially baffled, to exploiting it for his own gain, depression, suicide, acceptance, and finally, self-reflection.

Despite the repetition of this never-ending day, it surprisingly never becomes boring. Although the situations may be the same, you know Bill Murray is going to do something slightly different with it. His reactions are priceless, and he experiments in a variety of different ways.

An example is when he runs into an old high school friend, Ned Ryerson (Stephen Tobolowsky). An insurance salesman who is ingratiating, persistent and extremely annoying. Someone you can't wait to get away from. After a couple of times Phil punches Ned, and then much later, embraces him, to Ned's horror. Stephen Tobolowsky is perfect as Ned, and nobody else could have done the performance as well.

I like the part when Phil has different ways of destroying the clock radio, from knocking it off the table, to hurling it to the floor. That's understandable if you had to wake up to "I Got You Babe" every single morning. Harold Ramis clearly wanted to be as inventive as possible with this comedy, to keep the viewers interest, which he certainly did.

Phil's various suicide attempts are a highlight in a morbid way, because he goes through every death imaginable to try to break this time warp. Unsuccessfully of course.

The main focus of the film is Phil's attempts to get it on with Rita. But she is not the kind of person who just wants to get into bed with someone, unlike Phil. Although he does learn things about Rita, he just can't seem to make it work with her. But eventually, Phil gradually realises his shortcomings, and begins to change things about himself.

Phil learns to appreciate life more, and begins to care a great deal for the people of Punxatawney. One of my favourite scenes is when he tries to save a homeless man from dying of old age. But every day, he still dies, no matter what Phil's efforts.

The film does have a happy ending, but it doesn't feel contrived the way Scrooged was. You are genuinely happy for Phil when he finally wakes up to a Groundhog Day with Rita who loves him in return. Wisely, we never find out what was causing the time warp. It adds to the charm of this film. Any attempt to explain it would have cheapened the impact.

This will always be one of my favourite films, and the wonderful range of quirky characters ensure you will always be entertained. Harold Ramis showed a capacity for storytelling on a par with Frank Capra, giving us a benign story about how you can improve yourself today for a better tomorrow.

Groundhog Day is a timeless film.
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10/10
Man, what a masterpiece!
IkuharaKunihiko28 January 2005
1993 was a wonderful movie year. 2 movie masterpieces stand out today from it; "Schindler's list" and "Groundhog day". Personally, I always loved the second one more. "Groundhog day" is a perfect example why Bill Murray will always be a superior actor than the Oscar darlings Tom Hanks and Spencer Tracy. He plays Phil whom thanks to a time distortion ( a day repeating itself again and again ) gets away with stealing money, committing suicide 20 times, sleeping with local girls without consequences and finding out everyones deepest secrets.

The story is so subtle that you may at first think its just a comedy. But once you think about it, you will realize how almost every problem from life is contained in it. Most noticeable, the one about how people will make the same mistakes again and again, until they change. And that's what's all about: change. Once when Phil changes himself, the world changes finally too. He is a grown man, but childish in his persona. That's why thanks to the time distortion he ages psychologically, until he finally becomes a real man, not a spoiled kid. This is an extreme satire about life. Think about it. Its about the imprisoned human spirit crying for a change, a difference. Phil became an individual, the only person on Earth that has self-consciousness. At that moment all other characters just became puppets. You can also regard it as a parody of Totalitarian regimes ( Phil is the only person that does something different than the others, and that's why he is misunderstood ). Plus the explanation for the mysterious time distortion is never given. It's shown more like something as natural as the weather, something that just happened.

--------------

The only great film the director Harold Ramis ever made, "Groundhog day" was until recently the highest marked Murray film on the site rotten-tomatoes.com with extremely high average grade of 8.1/10. "Lost in translation" beat it, with 8.4/10, but quite frankly, it was overrated. If there was any justice, "Groundhog day" should have won Oscars and Golden Globes for the best picture, script and the main actor. But alas, since Murray was underrated for so long, its finally time he gets overrated for once!

You just have to love him when he is in the studio doing a weather forecast: "In California there is going to be a big heat tomorrow, and gang fights and too high real estate prizes too. Oh, what's this? A cold front is coming up! Fuuuu( blows the clouds on the screen)." The only flaw is that some better director could have directed it more radical and extreme than Ramis, but if we love Frank Capra, we must love this symbolic story about the triumph of emotions over cold cynicism.

Grade: 10/10
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10/10
A masterpiece of cinema magic.
serviola10 February 2008
Do you know that feeling when a movie connects with you so much that you identify with the characters and your thoughts and feelings are stirred?

It might have some continuity or factual errors, it might not deserve an Oscar for lighting, soundtrack and so on, but the magic of cinema really happens here.

I got out of the theater going over the movie in my head and wondering what I would do if I lived the same situation. I still do when I watch it on DVD.

I find the movie very funny, very intelligent and with a very good and uplifting message.

For all that, I consider this movie truly excellent.
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8/10
It's just what life is all about.
Danny-Szlanina9 November 2004
My brother told me that some people say "ground hog" day is one of the most spiritual movies ever made. First times I watched the movie ( I already have seen it a dozen times) I just laughed about it. But after some times watching I saw what the director wanted to say with it.

In my own life the same thing happened but not as heavy as in the movie. I mean, in my life the day just become another day. ( really I ask myself, the only thing that was different that was the date) I think a lot of people live in groundhog day, doing the same thing again and again, not taking the best out of life. Just living without any consciousness. Not having enough time by their own fault, because time is a thing you can offer yourself by making other choices.

Groundhog day....I personally am getting rid of that day more and more fortunately and finally too. More and more I am trying to make best of life and using every day in another way.

I am not crazy. No, I just watch movies with some kind of view lately. In every movie there is a hidden message told.

Enough about Ground Hog day....I gave the movie an 8 because the number 8 is the number of eternity. And that's also a thing the movie is about. About eternity and not about the bad and boring repeating of the stupid livings.

Danny
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