All-Time Top 10 Films (No 2)

The second film in this very personal list of my All-Time Top 10 Films is the annoyingly brilliant ‘Groundhog Day‘.

The most annoying thing about this film is the casting of Andie MacDowell.

I dislike her.

Her face has magical powers, in that it makes the palm of my right hand itch whenever I see it.

I want to slap her.

Bill Murray, however, is the perfect foil – the most wonderful antibody – to combat Andie MacDowell’s faux goofiness and all-too-real sickliness.

Bill Murray makes this film; the gradual transformation of the character ‘Phil’ from a curmudgeonly, shallow, self-invested individual to a person who engages with every level of society, and who grows to show genuine compassion, where – before the change – he would have walked away, plays out against a series of almost slapstickesque scenes, and against some delightful dialogue.

It’s easy to miss the big picture and just enjoy the spectacle of the film.

I enjoy both aspects of Groundhog Day.

The irony that I could watch this, a film about the repeated hell of one person living the same day over and over again, on almost continuous repeat, is not lost on me.

Groundhog Day is more than a fantasy, it is also a clever commentary on aspects of life as most people live it:

Phil: What would you do if you were stuck in one place and every day was exactly the same, and nothing that you did mattered?
Ralph: That about sums it up for me.

If you want to examine this film deeply, there’s a lot going on beneath the surface.

But you can always just relax and let the story flow over you.

And remember, next February 2nd it’ll be…

Groundhog Day!

ps: Want to know where Harold Ramis got the idea for the script from? Go and read ‘The Gay Science’, by Friedrich Nietzsche.

pps: The original screenplay had Phil living his life on a loop as a result of a ‘This will teach him a lesson’ spell, cast by an ex-girlfriend (Stephanie). These details were dropped from the shooting script.

ppps: The original screenlay had Phil trapped in his Groundhog Day for over 150 years.

pppps: I know far too much about this film.

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