Cine-Men: Groundhog Day on repeat

Ben Staub & Jessep Caravella, Contributing Writers

     Ever feel like you’re living the same day over and over again?  “Groundhog Day” plays with the idea of being stuck in a time loop when Bill Murray wakes up on the same day, Feb. 2, on repeat.  

      Bill Murray plays Phil Connors, a snarky cynical Pittsburgh weatherman who is forced to travel out to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania to cover their annual Groundhog Day festival. After mechanically going through the usual routine, Phil wakes up the next day to find out its Groundhog Day all over again.  

      Throughout the movie, Phil seems to go through several of the stages of grief while he’s stuck in this loop. For the first few days, he’s in denial of the events taking place, treating the days prior as nothing but dreams. He soon realizes he can do whatever he wants without consequence and begins to use this repeating cycle to do things such as joy ride and hooking up. After a failed attempt to hook up with his producer, Rita, he begins to move into the depression stage and commits suicide only to wake up the next day. Many attempts later, Phil moves onto the acceptance stage. He uses the cycle to read book, learn new skills like ice sculpting and playing the piano and learn about the residents. He even scouts through all the different types of accidents that happen throughout the day and figures out how to save several people through the time loop. Phil makes such a transformation that he impresses Rita, who had seen a different man the day before and the two spend the evening together with Phil expecting to wake up on Groundhog Day.  

      When movies attempt to develop characters, it’s not always the easiest thing to do with only about two hours to work with. This movie substantially develops Phil throughout his loop, because he has years to change and develop and not all of the loops he goes through have to be shown on-screen. It’s cheating but it works.


      Ben: I’d never seen the movie until the week we watched it in club. All I had ever known about it was that it featured Bill Murray stuck in a time loop. I’d heard it referenced in other media like in the “Supernatural” episode, “Mystery Spot.” I really enjoyed seeing the concept as it was originally popularized. Bill Murray did a great job playing a cynical jerk who transforms into a much more caring person in the end. I think the most ridiculous thing is that in an episode of Stockholm Syndrome worse than “Beauty and the Beast,” Phil decides to move into the town he had been stuck in for so many years. I definitely see this as a movie that’s more of a family movie as opposed to other genres. Along the lines of science fiction, it’s no “Primer,” a much more convoluted and complicated time travel movie.

      Jessep: What makes this movie so special is how they take the concept of the cynical jerk transforming into a decent guy that’s usually found in family films, and add a supernatural element to it that allows for a more memorable execution. So memorable, in fact, that it has been the inspiration for many other stories within a plethora of different genres. With that said, however, I cannot say it was the most entertaining take on the concept due to how much it plays it safe with the comedy. It definitely has its share of laughs, and without a doubt it’s a great movie, but it’s definitely no “As Good as It Gets.” I think it’s best to be watched as family film for when the kids are in their teens.

Ben and Jessep are members of the Sci-Fi Club.