Groundhog Day

Last night while drawing my horrible Dick Cheney post and trying to figure out why that post and several others are not appearing in the blog reader or under their corresponding topic, I was watching Groundhog Day.
Groundhog Day (thank you IMDb):
  • features Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell
  • directed by Harold Ramis
  • written by Danny Rubin and Harold Ramis
  • released in 1993 on Groundhog Day

I’ve watched Groundhog Day several times (thanks to NetFlix, I’ve it watched again). The first time was in a theater in Seoul, Korea. The theater was full and boisterous, but very few Koreans showed. The ex-pat community was out in force and we had a great time (I’m sure many of them had snuck booze into the theater–those naughty foreigners). My ex didn’t understand the movie and thought it was boring and that Bill Murray is ugly. That generally is the case with many American or European comedies in South Korea. Honestly, I don’t care because most Americans and Brits find Korean entertainment either boring, overly-melodramatic or just plain odd.

Keep in mind, Groundhog Day the holiday is odd. It’s a dumb holiday that I didn’t get when I was a kid. As an adult, it is one of those holidays that only justifies the consumption of more Budweiser. Essentially an End of Winter Cinco de Mayo, but with polka music and no jalapenos. The movie is just as odd. Bill Murray is the champion incarnation of misfit jerks. The twist in this story is that Murray’s character without being body slammed by a time-paradox (which the DVD or Netflix versions never explain thankfully–the electrocution explanation in the theaters sucked and was unnecessary) would today, twenty-years later, be just another jerk working in television. Think Steve Ducey on Fox News’ Fox and Friends.

Bill is great. The role was written with him in mind. Andie MacDowell does a better job and on top of that as a very attractive woman who I guess is a sucker for morons who are closet nice-guys comes across as elegantly, intellectually sincere (this only happens in movies of course). She is one of those career minded women who if she never ran into Murray’s character prolly would have gotten married to some other jerk-made-good, had some babies, got cheated on, gotten smart and divorced the SOB and then to accommodate the needs of her kids taken jobs that pay less than she deserves like being a substitute teacher in some family friendly community like Provo, UT (yeah, yeah I identify with the female lead more than the male lead).

Thank goodness the movie ends well for the American audience. Afterall, confused people don’t laugh and confusion on the home-front is never good for a movie. I mean, look at what happened to 1941. Personally, I would have loved it if Murray and MacDowell never had that one day where he-sweeps-her-off-her-feet & she-convinces-him-to-become-a-better-man. A better ending would be where she heads back to Pittsburg and he remains a forever trapped soulless moron, getting his just rewards (think of the many similar old Twilight Zone black and whites). Hollywood can’t let that happen, that turns a cute romantic-comedy into a twisted, intellectual art-film. Why would anyone want that? The ending to the movie is still nice. Murray achieves nirvana/redemption and MacDowell gets the jerk she later marries, has five kids with, gets cheated on and divorces prior to her move out here to the mormon-Rockies.


11 thoughts on “Groundhog Day

  1. I absolutely LOVE that movie. But you know, it took him over 30 re-tries to get that one day ok in order to win her over. Wonder if the next day he got to start over and over again or if he lost her before they got back home…

    • I watched the specials that came with the DVD years ago before my kids cracked it. Harold Ramis said it took thousands of tries for him to get that one Groundhog Day right and that by their estimation Murray’s character was stuck for thousands of years of Groundhog Days, but the studio and Ramis himself wanted to avoid a preponderant feeling of oppression in the film.

      A fun twist to the time-warp is that each of those days plays out into life times. Andie MacDowell’s character has thousands of similar Groundhog Days and lives her life thousands of times either affected or unaffected by this one Groundhog Day, she just never knows it. Only Murray’s character is aware, but for only one day and only one life after he finally gets that day “right.”

    • Absolutely, this movie is one of the best romantic comedies ever. I think many love this movie because it attempts to be complex and does so successfully without loosing it’s core hilarity.

  2. an intriguing post on mother’s day!
    i loved that movie and watched it many times. at that time, i was stuck in a bad place in my life and it served well as metaphor. but i haven’t seen it in a long time, so i’m not sure – now – how i’d like the ending. i am attracted to your noire ending – maybe i’ll watch it tonight to see if i’ve changed.

    • It’s always good when cinema forms benchmarks in life. I love many movies for this reason. For me too, this movie is a metaphor. ONe I hope I’ve gotten past, but if not, that’s okay. I have a lot of time to get things right.

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