‘1 Man 365 Films 365 Days’ – Day 176

#135 / 365 – ‘Groundhog Day’ (1993) – 101 mins
IMDb Challenge #82 / 250 – Ranked #162 – Via DVD Collection

Phil (Bill Murray), a TV weatherman working for a local station in Pennsylvania but convinced that national news stardom is in his grasp. Phil displays a charm and wit on camera that evaporates the moment the red light goes off; he is bitter, appallingly self-centered, and treats his co-workers with contempt, especially his producer Rita (Andie MacDowell) and cameraman Larry (Chris Elliot). On February 2, 1992, Phil, Rita, and Larry are sent on an assignment that Phil especially loathes: the annual Groundhog Day festivities in Punxsutawney, PA, where the citizens await the appearance of Punxsutawney Phil, the groundhog who will supposedly determine the length of winter by his ability to see his own shadow.

Boasting a very fine performance from Bill Murray, if not the finest of his career, it is the premise that is so simple you do question why no-one had thought of it before the nineties. Saying that though in parts Groundhog Day is the flip side to Frank Capra’s – ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ – a man forced to learn from his life’s mistakes in order to become a better person.

Yet its not all fun laughter in this quirky comedy, as Murray’s fellow ghostbuster Harold Ramis crafts some brilliant direction with a perfect sprinkling of heart and emotion – this is one movie you won’t mind reliving over and over again.

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