Movie Review – “Groundhog Day”

This was one of the reviews I wrote yesterday and sat
on to prevent a flood. Tomorrow I’ll be posting a
review of The Last Starfighter, and I might
have time to get another review prepared tonight. If
I do, it’ll be something on this
list
. If you have any preferences, send them here.

Cast, Crew, and Other Info

Bill Murray as Phil Connors

Andie MacDowell as Rita

Chris Elliott as Larry

Stephen Tobolowsky as Ned Ryerson

Brian Doyle-Murray as Buster

Written by Harold Ramis and Danny Rubin.

Directed by Harold Ramis.

Full cast and crew information available at this IMDB
page
.

Premise

A man relives the same day over and over again.

High Point

“If we wanted to hit mailboxes, we could let Ralph
drive.”

Low Point

“I don’t think so, but I could check with the
kitchen.” Isn’t deja vu
just a little too well known for anyone bright enough
to run a B&B
not to know?

The Scores

The idea of someone living the same day over and over
again isn’t
particularly original, although this may be
the most
mainstream example of the idea. It’s also got the
classic Christmas
feel-good attitude to it from the outset, making it
unlikely that
people wouldn’t be able to predict the ending. Some
of the comedic
moments are still very well done, though, including
the entire scene
that contains the High Point. When done well enough,
just about
anything can seem new. I give it 4 out of 6.

The effects here were, well, a truck going
over a cliff and
blowing up, and a boy falling out of a tree. Yes,
they’re physical
effects that stunt people figured out a couple of
decades before this
was made, but those are the only ones this story
needs. They were very
well done, but not challenging. I give it 5 out of
6.

The story is very well told, with a careful
attention to
detail. We’ve seen a lot of movies that have people
change over the
holidays, but this is probably the only case where
the character was
given both the motivation and the time needed to
really make a lasting
change. I give it 6 out of 6.

The acting is well done. Bill Murray was an
excellent choice
for Phil, since he can play both detachment and
caring very well. The
supporting cast is filled with talented comedic
actors, including
Stephen Tobolowsky, Chris Elliott, and Brian
Doyle-Murray. I give it
5 out of 6.

The emotional response was pretty strong.
There are some
absolutely hilarious scenes in here, as well as some
effective
emotional scenes as well. It’s easy to believe that
Phil made his
emotional journey in this situation, which makes it
easier for us to
go along with him. I give it 5 out of 6.

The production is extremely well done. This
would not be an
easy movie to make; characters are constantly
interacting with sets
that have to be reset exactly, changing only when
Phil influences
them. The editing, costuming and lighting have to be
perfect. As a
technical challenge, this is a very difficult movie,
but Harold Ramis
and his team pulled it off. I give it 6 out of 6.

Overall, it’s worthwhile as entertainment
and as a film
study. This is one of the few movies that makes me
glad that DVD
commentaries are becoming so common; I’m going to
have to watch this
commentary some day soon. I give it 5 out of 6.

In total, Groundhog Day receives 36 out of
42.

11 replies on “Movie Review – “Groundhog Day””

  1. Abednigo says:

    One of Bill Murray’s best
    Groundhog Day, along with What About Bob, is one of Bill Murray’s greatest comedies. I never saw Caddieshack, which he’s supposedly great in too. But these two I’ve watched over and over and never get tired of them. There are so many quotable one liners in each movie. That’s my judge of a good comedy. If you’re quoting lines for years since you saw it, it’s a classic. “Is it too early for flapjacks?” LOL

    • y42 says:

      Re: One of Bill Murray’s best

      Groundhog Day, along with What About Bob, is one of Bill Murray’s
      greatest comedies. I never saw Caddieshack, which he’s supposedly
      great in too.

      To me that’s more of a Chevy Chase movie than a Bill Murray movie
      (they’re both in it, along with this old guy I never found funny).

    • GrimSean says:

      Re: One of Bill Murray’s best

      Groundhog Day, along with What About Bob, is one of Bill Murray’s greatest comedies. I never saw Caddieshack, which he’s supposedly great in too.

      I highly recommend Lost in Translation if you would like to see Bill Murray in a dramatic role (with some pretty hilarious bits) – I honestly think that it’s deserving of an Oscar nod

  2. hitch says:

    Others in the same vein
    other iterations of this general “plot” that were done particularly well:

    Stargate SG-1 did an episode like this that was both well interesting (in the sense that they had to work out, with only two people who were re-living the day, how to learn enough over time to break the loop) and had me rolling on the floor on occasion…

    There was a made for TV movie called…12:01, I think it was… it was bad sci-fi, but the character interactions made it all worth it. very cool.

    • y42 says:

      Re: Others in the same vein

      other iterations of this general “plot” that were done particularly
      well:

      Don’t forget the ST:TNG ep where the Enterprise keeps exploding before
      every commercial break. Not very comedic, but another good variant on
      the subject.

      • hitch says:

        Re: Others in the same vein

        other iterations of this general “plot” that were done particularly
        well:

        Don’t forget the ST:TNG ep where the Enterprise keeps exploding before
        every commercial break. Not very comedic, but another good variant on
        the subject.

        yah, good point…weirdly, i only seem to remember humorous takes…

      • Cerberus7 says:

        Re: Others in the same vein
        Whatcha mean “not very comedic?” I was laughing after about the 3rd explosion. ;) One of my fav eps, btw.

        • Mr. Vapor says:

          Re: Others in the same vein

          Whatcha mean “not very comedic?” I was laughing after about the 3rd explosion. ;) One of my fav eps, btw.

          Probably because you where playing the startrek drinking game? One of the rules says that you have to down the whole beer when the enterprise explodes, IIRC. I can see how that episode could be hi-larious by the end of the hour :)

  3. chuckeye says:

    Double Feature
    I have a friend who ran films at her college. One week they showed
    “Groundhog Day” as a double feature with itself, just to see if anyone got
    it.

  4. jbrecken says:

    my problem with the movie
    I didn’t buy into Rita falling for Phil after a day.
    Sure, he’s had this life-altering experience and gone through years of growth, but for her he was an obnoxious jerk yesterday, a decent guy today, who knows what he’ll be tomorrow?

    • Jhon says:

      Re: my problem with the movie

      I didn’t buy into Rita falling for Phil after a day.

      Likewise, she didn’t have weeks/months/years of working with Phil — she just met him the day before. It’s much more likely that he could be a “Wow, my first impression was wrong” than a “What’s the creep up to?”

      In other words, I can buy it. However, I might have thought Larry (Chris Elliot) would have been more suspicous. But, Larry was just a “clown”…

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