Groundhog Day – A Journey Into the Self

Today, February 24th, we say goodbye to a beloved figure: Harold Ramis and we celebrate the movie “Groundhog Day”.

Harold Ramis

If you are still trying to place him, you will probably remember him as “Egon” from the movie he co- wrote “Ghostbusters”

Egon

Recently, Paul wrote a post about “Ghostbusters” which you can find here: http://musicvideosdeconstructed.com/2014/01/31/how-about-a-little-music-songs-for-busting-ghosts-to/ 

Ramis was renown for acting or writing famous comedy classics like “Ghostbusters”, “Caddyshack”, “Analyze this”,

“National Lampoons Vacation” (oh! I will do a post about that movie!) and the movie I am going to focus on now:

“Groundhog Day”,  Directed by Ramis (who also wrote the screenplay). We are saddened by his death and want to thank him for making us laugh.

Sonny & Cher – I Got you Babe

STORY

I am not exaggerating when I say that this is one of the top 5 cleverest movies I have seen (maybe I´m not that clever) but I have always talked about it as such. The plot simply amazes me. It is perhaps the only movie where I think the actors are secondary and I think the script takes over as lead star.

A cranky weatherman is sent to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, where he is to do a broadcast the next day about the annual ritual of the coming out of the groundhog. Little did he know that he would end up waking every morning to relive the same day over and over again for all eternity. *****Although I personally love this song, if I have to wake up to it every day at 6:00 it would drive me insane).

Alarm clock

This time loop is used to show us one of the best works of “moral fiction”. If the character does nothing different, events repeat same as they happened the first day, but if he changes his attitude the rest of the characters in the movie respond to this, but at the end of the day, when he wakes up again at 6:00 am, only he can remember the events of the previous day.

This leads to a multitude of possibilities and basically good comedy, but there is a deeper message. We witness the character´s transformation, hes inner journey. He stops being self centered and starts empathizing with the other people in the town, he starts to learn things (like playing the piano and ice sculpturing) and as he becomes more compassionate, authentic and kind-hearted, he finds love.

BILL MURRAY

The man is a genius and I won´t say all I could say about him because I am sure he will constantly pop up in our posts. In any case, his role as Phil is one of his best roles ever.

groundhog-day-ftr1

The range of mental states the character goes through allow Murray to display all his histrionic talents as well as his comedy timing and that unique way of delivering a hilarious line with a totally serious look on his face. He is sarcastic, nasty, selfish, grumpy and at the same time he is lovable, kind, empathetic and yes, I have to say, sexy. During the shooting of the movie, Murray was bitten twice by the groundhog and had to be vaccinated for rabies.

His character participates in witty moments like this one.

“Phil: What would you do if you were stuck in one place and every day was exactly the same, and nothing that you did mattered?

Ralph: That about sums it up for me.”

ANDIE MACDOWELL

Groundhog Day, Andie MacDowell

I´ll start by saying I think she is GORGEOUS. She plays the Producer of the show where Phil delivers the weather. Her character is nice, happy, optimistic, resourceful and I think is key to three significant changes in the film. One, she is the reason (after he has an authentic moment and finds out someone might like him just as he is) for him to start his transformation process. Secondly, she is the person Phil talks to about being a God (her character Rita has been educated by nuns). Finally witnesses the moment when “tomorrow” arrives.

STEPHEN TOBOLOWSKY

Every once in a while a secondary character has as much weight as the lead stars. this is a perfect example. Tobolosky´s character (Ned Ryerson) is probably the biggest nerd the movies have ever seen. All of them, I mean not even “Revenge of the Nerds” have anything to offer against this guy. Funny trivia info: Tobolowsky wrote the scene where he rattles off a number of insurance policies. He based his character on his own insurance agent. After the movie’s release, the agent called Tobolowsky to thank him for portraying agents so accurately rather than making fun of them as most movies do. Years later, Tobolowsky was the honorary grand marshal in Punxsutawney, PA on Feb. 2nd, 2010. During his speech on stage he performed the “whistling belly button” act he refers to in the film.

groundhog_day_4

The soundtrack includes great songs but I chose this one because it is a secondary character on the film. Sonny Bono wrote it on his basement for his wife at the moment (Cher). The song was released in 1965 and made number 1 in the UK charts and also number 1 on the U.S hot 100 billboard charts.

The idea is unique and fun and explored with taste and digging a bit of a dark side without going into heavy subject matters and at the same time it is also entertaining and a great fluid story and one of those movies you get something new out of every time you watch it. I truly recommend it. I think it does a good job of discussing profound issues without being pretentious. Just my kind of thing.

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6 thoughts on “Groundhog Day – A Journey Into the Self

  1. `I guess for me time just stood still. I was so saddened to hear of Harold Ramis passing, and blown away he was 69. My first thought was “Oh my gosh, how? He was so young” Then I found out his age, my second thought was ” How is he that age…(not that 69 is old, its is getting younger all the time) and when did we get this old?
    Love Groundhog Day, great post about a fun movie that never grows old..

  2. Hello!
    Yes, I know what you mean both about 69 getting younger and younger and also about us getting old!
    Thanks for your comment, glad you liked the post and of course, the movie! 🙂

  3. A great read.

    I always thought Groundhog Day was a vastly underrated film. The plot is brilliantly imaginative and philosophical, for me it’s an absolute masterpiece of comedy .

    Loved reading the bits of trivia, didn’t know any of these facts before now.

    1. Thanks James!
      I agree, it is a comedy masterpiece!
      So glad you took the time to read it and than you for your comment! 🙂

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