Yes friends, I said I'd be back and here I am...ready to share with you my annual Groundhog Day tradition. As lame as it may sound, my father and I for the past 7 years have watched Bill Murray in Groundhog Day...a film as dedicated to the special day as it is about the weight of time. I remember seeing this movie on an airplane when I was a kid and finding it mildly amusing...I found the time warp that Murray's character Phil Conners finds himself in very interesting. I mean, what would it be like if you found yourself trapped in your worst day and couldn't escape it until you turned it into your best day? It really challenged my young mind. Later in life, I found myself drawn to the romance story and how Phil goes from trying to manipulate Andie MacDowell's Rita to really appreciating her...and also discovering that the best way to get her is to not try so hard.
For those of you who don't know, Groundhog Day tells the story of weatherman Phil Conners (Murray) and how he is making his umpteenth trip to Punxatawney, PA to cover the Groundhog Day festival (that really happens there) which is centered around Punxatawney Phil, the groundhog who every year predicts the end of winter. Phil finds this to be very boring and condescending work, beneath him, and only does it because he is required to by the station. He makes it through the day, doing his best with the newscast and having a generally poor day...he even gets trapped in town when a blizzard hits, closing the roads. However, when he wakes the next day...he finds that it is not the next day, but rather a repeat of February 2nd. Every day becomes the same day and Phil goes through many stages, including but not limited to...crime, womanizing, gluttony, and even suicide. But after finally hitting rock bottom and spending days and days of feeling sorry for himself, he finally decides to look at eternity not as a trap...but as a road to self-improvement and inner discovery. Its very deep for a romantic comedy, but not so much so that it dilutes the entertainment value. A special nod goes out to Murray and MacDowell, our two leads, but special mention should all be made to the town-full of supporting characters that we all slowly get to know over the course of the film. People like Doris who works at the restaurant, or Nancy who fill makes his first one-night stand with no consequences. I like to assume that everyone has seen this movie...but if you haven't, or if its been a long time, you really need to pick it up and watch it. Its a great film and really shows Murray's potential as a serious actor, which would later be capitalized on in films like Lost in Translation.