Film Nerd Solves Bad Movie, World Rejoices, Ctd

by Zoe Pollock

Ok, ok. You guys got me. I know Groundhog Day isn't a bad movie, and for the historical record, I love film nerds (see: father; boyfriend). All apologies for going for the easier (funnier) title. Or as one of many, many readers wrote:

You may not like it, but the broad consensus on this film puts you very much in the minority. The movie runs 96% on Rotten Tomatoes (meaning that 96% of critics who reviewed the film did so positively). Among film geeks the it is revered, and frequently sited as one of the great Bill Murray performances. In college film programs and throughout the film industry the screenplay for Groundhog Day is held up as a model of economy and structure, one of the greats.  In short, it is treated in most discussions of film (by people who frequently have those discussions) as a modern classic.


It’s an ingenious, meticulously crafted narrative of fitful, incremental betterment. And, amazingly, for a film that is so centered on repetition, it rewards, not punishes, you for future viewings: it gets funnier. Buddhists love Groundhog Day, but the movie also has some great resonance with Emerson: “Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” Of course, the beauty of Groundhog Day is that until Phil truly figures out what a high spirit might be, and just how steeped in old nonsense he is, tomorrow is never a new day.

In pre-DVR days (when you had to take what the networks would give you) I would always stop to watch a repeat of GHD - yeah, I just called it that.

Me too. A Dish reader happily adds to the logistical side:

One flaw in Mr. Gallagher's logic...  He states Phil can only play the piano 2-3 hours/day or be at risk of carpal tunnel syndrome or tendinitis.  That would be true - if his body did not effectively regenerate each day.  Phil's body gets smushed by a train at night - then next (same) day it is whole again.  Ditto for electrocution, etc.  So Phil has no worry of repetitive motion injuries as his body is repaired with each singing of "I Got You Babe."

As further evidence, I present "(S)ix months. Four to five hours a day" in card throwing.  Have you ever tried to throw cards?  After 5 minutes my wrist was feeling the burn, so to speak.  Six months @ 4-5 hrs/day would have brought on a repetitive stress injury of some sort if Phil did not recover each night.