D: Harold Ramis / 101m
Cast: Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, Chris Elliott, Stephen Tobolowsky, Brian Doyle-Murray, Marita Geraghty, Angela Paton
Although I have an All-Time Top 10 Movies list – one that has been carved in stone for a very long time now – and I’ve never been able to put together a Top 100, or even a Top 50, there are two movies that would sit comfortably at No 11 and No 12 on those lists – if they ever existed. No 11 will be reviewed later this month. This is No 12. It’s a wonderfully written movie, one that screenwriter Danny Rubin spent around three years working on before the movie was made. For me, the only comedy movie more quotable than Groundhog Day is Monty Python’s Life of Brian (1979). In that spirit, this “review” will be in the form of ten quotes that sum up the movie’s sweet-natured yet anarchic spirit. Something of a cheat, I hear you say? Perhaps, but when writing is this good, why not celebrate it? After all, “anything different is good.”
Psychiatrist: That’s an unusual problem, Mr. Connors. Uh, most of my work is with couples, families. I have an alcoholic now.
Phil: Ned, I would love to stay here and talk with you… but I’m not going to.
Rita: I like to see a man of advancing years throwing caution to the wind. It’s inspiring in a way.
Phil: You know, people like blood sausage, too. People are morons.
Phil: (Holding Phil the Groundhog behind the wheel) Don’t drive angry. Don’t drive angry!
Phil: This is one time where television really fails to capture the true excitement of a large squirrel predicting the weather.
Ned: Ned… Ryerson. “Needlenose Ned”? “Ned the Head”? C’mon, buddy. Case Western High. Ned Ryerson: I did the whistling belly-button trick at the high school talent show? Bing! Ned Ryerson: got the shingles real bad senior year, almost didn’t graduate? Bing, again. Ned Ryerson: I dated your sister Mary Pat a couple times until you told me not to anymore? Well?
Phil: (Driving down the railroad tracks toward an approaching train) I’m betting he’s going to swerve first.
Rita: You’re not a god. You can take my word for it; this is twelve years of Catholic school talking.
Phil: Do you ever have déjà vu, Mrs. Lancaster?
Mrs. Lancaster: I don’t think so, but I could check with the kitchen.
Rating: 9/10 – still the best time loop movie ever made, and one of the finest comedies period, Groundhog Day features terrific performances (Murray is superb as the jaundiced weatherman on a very steep learning curve), Ramis’s spirited direction, and again, Rubin’s wonderful screenplay; when a contemporary critic boldly states that “‘Groundhog’ will never be designated a national film treasure by the Library of Congress” – and that’s exactly what happens – then you know that it’s a movie that isn’t just another fluffy, high concept romantic comedy.