Groundhog Day – Silly but Heartwarming

Groundhog Day – Silly but Heartwarming

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  1. If you’re like me, you know Harold Ramis as Dr. Egon Spengler from the Ghostbusters films.  He has also directed some big time comedy hits, though.  His directorial debut was the 1980 comedy classic Caddyshack.  Later, in 1993, he teamed up with his Ghostbusters co-star Bill Murray for Groundhog Day (which Ramis also co-wrote).  While it wasn’t nominated for any Oscars or Golden Globes, it does rank at number 176 on’s top 250 list and it has an amazing 96% rating on

    What is it about?

    Phil (Bill Murray) is a cocky, selfish weatherman that considers himself to be a celebrity.  He also has a yearly tradition of reporting live from a small, no-name town in Pennsylvania on groundhog day.  Groundhog day in this town, though, is a monumental occasion.  It’s a weekend long event with dancing, parties, games, etc.  Phil hates it.  The only upside is that he gets to work with Rita (Andie MacDowell), his kind, beautiful, upbeat producer.  This particular time reporting on groundhog day has an especially big downside for Phil, though:  he had to relive it over and over… and over and over… and over again.

    It’s not all bad, though.  Once he realizes what this strange reality means for him, he takes full advantage of it.  He is able to learn things about certain people one time through the day, then impress them by magically knowing things about them the next time through the day when they don’t think they have ever met him in their life.  One such instance of this allows Phil to seduce a beautiful young woman.  His ultimate goal becomes, however, to sleep with Rita…  but it soon turns into a goal to just get her to fall in love with him (a considerably more noble goal).  Watch it to see if he succeeds or not!

    Is it any good?

    It’s charming, it’s funny, and it’s heartwarming.  It’s also cheesy at times and ridiculously unbelievable.  That’s fine, though, because it’s a comedy.  While the premise is hard to make total sense of, the writers successfully avoid any real complications by simply not discussing them.  It’s sort of like a time-travel thing that can’t really be explained.  But it doesn’t ultimately matter if it makes sense or not because we are too wrapped up in the comedy and the charm of our two leads, Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell (who are both great).

    While the story is technically about the arrogant weatherman that gets stuck in the same day over and over, the real story is about how he changes.  Phil’s character arc is what makes this film work.  He learns to help others and even to love others… which allows others to love him.  Like I said:  it’s heartwarming.  It’s also fun for the whole family.

    Nolan’s Grade:  B+

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