Dave’s 3-Word Review:
A Timeless Classic
There is a tradition that I try to keep every year, and that is to watch “Groundhog Day”. Sure, I miss it some years, and get back to it on a later day, but it is always best to watch the movie on Groundhog Day itself. Today, if you haven’t checked your calendar yet, is in fact Groundhog Day, and I got around to fulfilling this year’s tradition. Only this time, I actually decided to review it. I am astonished that I haven’t done that yet. Now remember, it has been twenty years since this film came out, how well does it measure up in today’s world?
Bill Murray plays Phil Collins, a local weatherman for WPBH-TV9 in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. It is his fourth time covering the Groundhog Day festival in Punxsutawney, and he swears it is his last, growing tired of the tradition that he deems annoying and a waste of time. Alonside him is Rita (Andie MacDowell) producing, and Larry (Chris Elliot) filming. So Phil covers the groundhog festival in Gobblers Knob as quick as he possibly can, and heads back home. When a blizzard strikes, he and his crew are forced to stay in Punxsutawney one more night. That’s where things start to get creepy. As soon as Phil wakes up the next morning, he realizes he is reliving the same day over and over again. No matter what he does he cannot escape, even suicide does not bail him out. He must find another means to escape his prison.
What is interesting to note is that this movie is very much a coming-of-age tale, but it also has the character actually having a goal where other coming-of-age tales don’t. You watch as Phil learns things about himself before maturing enough to realize how to escape. It really is coming-of-age, but it is centered on such a clever plot and lovable characters that it is really hard to even notice this.
The one major negative about this film is that people nowadays won’t be able to appreciate it as much as when it first came out. “Groundhog Day” defined the movie business when it came to time loops. Endless TV shows and Movies have used this exact idea and flipped it around to fit their story. Many people may put the movie on to see what all the fuss is about and realize this is the same type of thing they’ve seen in different interpretations on several different programs. They just may not be able to understand that this is the thing that really started that fad. In that regards, I could see where many people would rate it lower.
Bill Murray was also perfect for this role, Phil Collins had Billy Murray’s name written all over it. The same can be said for Andie Macdowell and Chris Elliot, and well…every single actor and actress in the movie. It was casted brilliantly…however…there is just something about Bill Murray where I just couldn’t sense the romantic chemistry between Murray and Macdowell. I couldn’t bring myself to believe it. They do in fact have great chemistry, but romantic? Maybe it was just me, but I couldn’t see it no matter how hard I kept an open mind.
It ends up being this motion picture that is hard to rate. On one hand, the movie was absolutely brilliant when it came out, it was hilarious, it had a good message and moral…everything was in place. Nowadays, people who haven’t seen it yet won’t get what the original message was. They have simply seen it before. For me though, this movie will always be a timeless classic that I will traditionally watch every year on February 2nd.