Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Groundhog Day (Harold Ramis, 1993) Review
Groundhog Day is a day of the year where the town gathers to watch a groundhog (one of those little mole/beaver things) come out of it's hole and if it sees it's shadow then there will be more weeks of winter (or something like that). Phil (Bill Murray) is a weatherman sent to a town celebrating Groundhog Day in order to report on it (considering the groundhog determines the weather...). Naturally, being a Bill Murray character, he has no problem hiding his frustration (which is the nicest way of saying he's an asshole) but he finally gets punished when he wakes up the next morning. The next morning, he goes about his day as normal but something is up...he has to relive the same day. This leads to some great moments such as him killing himself in many ways or trying to woo Rita (Andie MacDowell). Now he has to find out how to stop the loop and get on with is life.
That's a great set up! That is a very unique idea that can be used for some really good moments. It is somewhat of an iconic film anyway and it's probably as a result of the unique idea. The use of the song 'I Got You Babe' and Sonny & Cher that plays on Phil's alarm clock everytime he wakes up. It has been parodied in the likes of American Dad! in a similar situation. Still, the unique idea + Bill Murray really work well together as it offers more alot of hilarious moments. This is a funny film but considering it's Bill Murray and is directed by Harold Ramis (two of the reasons that Ghostbusters was so good), this doesn't really come as a surprise.
Being British, I have no idea what the point of Groundhog Day is nor do I understand it. How can a beaver thing seeing it's shadow determine the weather? I don't know but this film (somewhat) teaches me. I can see that people get annoyed by it (Phil simply calls the groundhog a 'rat') and that it seems like a pointless holiday. That's sort of the charm of the film. It's a pointless holiday so why should we celebrate it. It only acts as a background event anyway, it's just unfortunate that they day that keeps looping is Groundhog Day (hence the name of the film). It seems you don't have to understand it to get this film.
Groundhog Day is a great film. The unique idea for the narrative is really where it shines as it offers alot of opportunities. Bill Murray is...Bill Murray but it works because he actually has to learn something for this film. It has a good moral but you really watch this film just so they can enjoy the great moments and the whole idea for looping one day over and over again with hilarious consequences. If you haven't seen this film, I would highly recommend it if you like Ghostbusters.
A hilarious film with a great premise. One of Bill Murray's best roles and he makes this film even better.