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Friday, October 10, 2014

Groundhog Day (1993)

 I loved this movie the moment that I saw it, and now, re-watching it two decades late, it still resonates. 
--> Maybe this is my preamble to Columbus Day weekend, when he rediscovered America, long after the Vikings from Iceland had been there.  The difference was that when Columbus discovered it, he brought Europe to the New World, which changed everything forever.

This movie is not quite so momentous as all that.  The movie, as almost everyone knows, is about a TV weatherman man, Phil, who finds himself living the same day over and over and over again in a small town where he is unknown to everyone but the camera man and the producer who accompanied him there.  The is a singularly unlikable self-centered man who had been cursed with the task of finding a better character underneath his unappealing exterior.

Phil, who shares his name with the groundhog in the movie, is the only person in his world who knows this is happening.  Every morning the bedside alarm clock flips from 5:59 to 6:00 and the radio plays Sonny and Cher's 'I Got You Babe' day after day.  After going through periods of dismay and bitterness, revolt and despair, suicidal self-destruction and cynical recklessness, he begins to do something that is alien to his nature.  He decides to take the time to do things to better himself, things he never slowed down long enough to learn.  And finally the audience, who are the only ones who know how this change came about, starts to like him.  They side with him in his quest to get the girl.  The movie is so effortless that I suspended belief in the fantastical and fell into the framework of the endless loop of a day joyfully.  There is a lot to be learned in this, and it is all taught through comedy rather than drama.  Remarkable.

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