“Groundhog Day” (1993)

Unintentionally, but perhaps not unsurprisingly, my husband and I seem to be on an 80’s-comedy bender. The past month included 3 birthdays, three work-intensive birthday cakes, one family visit, and four cases of strep (one for each of us.) So at the end of each day, just about all I want to do it collapse on the couch and be entertained. And Groundhog Day was ideal for that.

Bill Murray is Phil, a bitter weatherman on the embarrassing-to-him trip to Punxatawney, PA to cover the emergence of the groundhog, also Phil. His nastiness projects him into a type of purgatory, in which he wakes every morning to the same February 2nd.

I was in the Virgin Islands once. I met a girl. We ate lobster, drank piña coladas. At sunset, we made love like sea otters.
*That* was a pretty good day. Why couldn’t I get *that* day over, and over, and over…

He goes through the Elizabeth Kubler-Ross stages of grief, along with detours into crime and hedonism, but has a lot to learn on his way to the end of the movie, which is apparently a favorite of both Buddhists and Catholics.

The success of this film, as it nears its 20th anniversary, is likely due both to the charm of Murray being funny combined with a sweet tale that doesn’t become saccharine or even preachy, and in the end is far more thoughtful and full of ideas to ponder than I would have expected from the team who did Stripes and Ghostbusters. Both of which are good, but Groundhog Day, in my estimation, is a classic.

Earlier this year, Moviefone had a new evaluation of how long Bill Murray was stuck in the Groundhog Day loop.

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