By Brandon Matzke
Well, this week has the year’s first and only Groundhog Day. That special day when a particular rodent climbs out of the ground, and tries to avoid his shadow. But it’s also a special day to watch a classic Bill Murray movie: Groundhog Day. And to celebrate that, here’s my review of it.
Meet an egotistical weatherman, Phil (Bill Murray), covering the famous tradition of Groundhog Day: go to Puxatawny, record the groundhog, and get back home. But there is one catch. Somehow, Phil has become stuck in a time loop. No matter what he does he cannot stop reliving February 2nd due to mysterious circumstances. And he can’t even go wherever he wants due to a freak snowstorm. So, Phil is forced to do whatever he can to live the day right, and to hopefully get out of this time loop.
Usually, the problem with these “time loop” movies is that it becomes very annoying to deal with the same events over and over again. But this film never got dull, mostly because of it’s brilliant decision to have Phil’s actions change the events of the day. Also, Bill Murray in this movie is great; despite apparently having minimal direction for this film, he manages to give a hysterical yet heartfelt performance, convincingly playing a jerk who eventually turns into a decent guy. The supporting cast does great too, like Rita MacDowell as Phil’s co-worker Rita, and the rest of the townspeople come off as convincing and entertaining, despite the constant repetition of the film. And the direction from Harold Ramis (a comedian gone way too soon) is absolutely great as he works comedy, dread, drama, and basically everything into the story seamlessly.
I guess I would’ve liked a different song to come from Phil’s radio… but it is supposed to get annoying, so…. Uh… I don’t have any negatives…
Groundhog Day is a classic film, and one of the best the 90s had to offer. It deserves all the acclaim it’s received, from that 96% approval rating from Rotten Tomatoes to that 4/4 from Roger Ebert. It’s one of my favorites, and deserves an 11/10.