The Genius of ‘Groundhog Day’ Will Teach You the Mastery of Life on This Worthless Holiday
Photo: Columbia Pictures
Your only memories of Groundhog Day, the 1993 Bill Murray sub-classic, are likely a faint, false picture of a guy who keeps hilariously reliving February 2 over and over again. Though it’s probably been some time since you’ve seen the film, you may have missed the point of the movie and overlooked the genius of a romantic comedy sought to teach us the mastery of life. And since we have our own Groundhog Day, may this serve as a reminder of the importance of making the most of every day, and not just another overlooked, worthless American tradition. It also reminds us how much winter blows.
Join us as we recap some of the best forgotten moments, characters and bits of genius from 1993’s Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray and directed by his late co-Ghostbusters buddy, Harold Ramis.
The Overlooked Genius of ‘Groundhog Day‘ Will Make You Appreciate This Worthless Holiday
Classic Bill Murray
If it’s a classic comedy with Bill, you can be sure there will be a reference to a stiff drink. He’s no stranger to having a cocktail in hand, be it here or other Murray classics like Rushmore and Kingpin.
Bill Murray’s character completely transforms.
In the beginning of the film, Murray’s character, Phil Connors, is a conceited and entitled weatherman who hasn’t got the time of day for anyone but himself. By the middle of the film, he becomes reckless and cold while he continues to repeat the same day over and over. But by the end, has taught us an invaluable lesson: Make the best of every day as well as your own life. Instead of using the repetition as a way to get what he wants, he uses each to further improve himself, be mastering the piano or his relationships, saving lives and being of service to the town of Punxsutawney.
Stephen Tobolowsky is such a classic dork.
Ned Ryerson is a staple moment of the film, providing some comic relief in a film we don’t quite remember as a romance or drama, but it is less and less of a comedy after the initial haul. Enjoy Stephen Tobolowsky as a skinny young man.
Harold Ramis is sorely missed.
Harold Ramis not only wrote and directed but also briefly starred in the film, if you recall, as Murray’s doctor. This calls into mind a few things we might have learned with the passing of Ramis in February of 2014: Life is short, don’t let it pass you by, you never know how young you could go, watch more Ghostbusters and appreciate more the genius of Harold Ramis (director of Caddyshack, National Lampoon’s Vacation, writer of Meatball, Stripes and Animal House). We miss ya, Harold.
Andie MacDowell (Rita) is such a classic ’90s gal.
Andie MacDowell, who plays Rita and Murray’s love interest, is something we don’t see in actresses (or even normal women) much these days. She has a simple, yet refined presence about her. Maybe it’s the passing times or how hip the Internet has made us, but it seems rare to find such a normal, believable and natural-looking woman in film nowadays. Might be why this was the last big movie she was in, although she’s been in a lot.
Chris Elliott continues to play the perfect creep.
Whether it’s Groundhog Day or There’s Something About Mary, Chris Elliott has always played sort of a goofier, creepy version of Daniel Stern in the roles we know. Bless his heart, for he brings an unexpected awkwardness to the movie that is hugely appreciated. We’re just glad we didn’t have to look at him covered in hives this time.
Rick DuCommun is also sorely missed.
Rick Ducommun knows how to fill a scene. It’s probably not by some strange coincidence that we also saw The Burbs this week, too, his other popular film. In seeing both films, we realize he had such a warmth about him, something you only see in the Chris Farleys and John Candys of the world, that losing him in 2015 at the early age of 62 meant we lost another good actor too soon. We highly recommend you watch both movies, especially if you haven’t yet.
Did you recognize Ken Hudson Campbell?
He played Santa in Home Alone. Took us a second. Love a little nostalgia poke in our movies.
Bill’s brother is in most Murray movies.
Brian Doyle-Murray is the older (5 years his brother’s senior), raspier Murray, but he tends to follow Bill around in his movies, including The Razor’s Edge, Caddyshack, Scrooged and Ghostbusters 2, as well as Groundhog Day, all in about the same decade. The two brothers don’t seem to follow the same projects these days, though they did do a couple of the first Saturday Night Live episodes together, but clearly, Bill helped in getting his brother’s career rolling.
Michael Shannon is just a little kid.
Iceman! You may not have noticed it unless you watched Groundhog Day recently, or if you were doing some seriously hilarious Netflix and Chilling, but a very young Michael Shannon plays a goofy young man in the movie. In this picture, he’s thanking Murray for helping him get married (his wife was getting cold feet) at the end of the movie. It’s worth it just to watch a now hard-ass Michael Shannon jumping around like a giddy, little girl. His recent performance as Elvis Presley in Elvis & Nixon is pretty awesome, too, if we’re being fair.
Now, enjoy a few more of our favorite Groundhog Day moments, then sit your butt down and watch the damn thing!
Bill eating an entire piece of cake.
Bill calmly chugging whiskey while answering all the questions to Jeopardy correctly.
Bill making toast in the bathtub.
Bill Murray being classic Bill Murray and not playing by anyone’s rules. Thanks for watching.