“Groundhog Day“, starring Bill Murray, is one of the those movies that no matter how many times you watch it, its still pretty funny. Of course, it feels like you’ve seen it a zillion times, even if you’ve watched it only three, because of the crux of the story. Phil Connors, a TV Weatherman, is a real jerk. He’s stuck with the job of reporting on the Punxsatawny Phil groundhog for the fourth year in a row and he’s not too happy about it. He does a terrible job and makes the lives of his co-workers Rita and Larry miserable.
Before they can get out of town though, a huge snowstorm comes through, leaving them stuck in Punxsatawny. Phil wakes the next morning to find out they’ll be in town at least another day and spends the day in misery. But when he wakes up the next morning, he finds it is still Groundhog Day. And so is the next day, and the day after that, and so on. As Phil begins to realize he’s never going to wake up into another day, he starts doing all kinds of crazy things, including trying to kill himself in crazy ways (he just wakes up again) and trying to rob an armored car. But when even the antics get old, he starts putting his extra time to good use. He falls in love with Rita (Andie MacDowell), but must figure out a way to convince her in just a day that he’s a changed guy, he learns to play the piano like a pro, saves a kid from breaking his arm, and tries to repeatedly save the life of a homeless man. Phil goes from being an unappreciative jerk to a really nice guy who appreciates life, even if it is the same day over and over again.
If you’ve never seen this movie, I highly recommend it. Bill Murray is a hoot and the concept, at the time anyway, was fairly original. It’s nice to watch his transformation over the movie and see all that he learns to do. My husband and I tried to figure out once how many times he lived the day over, and figured it had to be at least a couple of years. The director, Harold Ramis, said in an interview that originally it was intended for him to live the day over for 10,000 years. Later, he said it was probably about 10 years worth of time (there’s lots of other neat trivia on the Internet Movie Database).
Some parents may be hesitant to watch this with their children because of the suicide attempts (which, given that he’s trying to kill himself, are done with a comic vein). So I’d recommend it for ages 10 and up. Younger children may enjoy it, though should you have any concerns, I’d recommend viewing it first. It is rated PG for thematic elements.