Catching Up: “Groundhog Day”

IMG_5086As it turns out, some films are better left unseen. There’s a reason one has been missed for so long. Unfortunately common sense isn’t always there to stop you from making a really bad choice, especially when it comes to the movies you decide to watch.

The Columbia Pictures film “Groundhog Day”, is really making me wish it were New Year’s Eve, then I could watch something that’s actually enjoyable. Good and enjoyable aren’t the same thing, nor needed.

This comedy film stars Bill Murray (“St. Vincent”, “Olive Kitteridge”), Andie McDowell (“Cedar Cove”, “Breaking at the Edge”), Chris Elliott (“Schitt’s Creek”, “The Good Wife”), Stephen Tobolowsky (“The Goldbergs”, “Christian Mingle”), Brian Doyle-Murray (“The Middle”, “Sullivan & Son”), Marita Geraghty (“The Ex List”, “Use as Directed (Short 2008)”), Angela Paton (“I didn’t Do It”, “Last Wishes (Short 2014)”), Rick Ducommun (“Funky Monkey”, “Back by Midnight”), and Rick Overton (“Togetherness”, “Muffin Top: A Love Story”).

It was directed by Harold Ramis (“The Office”, “Year”) and written by Danny Rubin (“S.F.W.”) and Ramis (“Year One”, “Analyze That”).

The film originally opened on Feb. 12, 1993.

As this is a pretty popular holiday for many people, not me (certainly not anymore), I figured it was a very appropriate movie to watch. I also hadn’t seen it and thought it would be a fun one to see. I had nothing else major to do. Boy was I wrong! Mind you that sentiment has nothing to do with how bad it actually is, but more with the fact that it wasn’t the type of film I was going in expecting. I’m not sure if it’s sad, but I didn’t know what I was getting into. I knew the plot and that it’s a comedy, but nothing else. I didn’t take the time to look into it or see what people thought 22 years ago. I kind of wish I had. Of course, if I had, I probably would’ve skipped it altogether. Still wish I had.

Anyway, this film was, first and foremost, not all that funny. I think that’s my biggest issue with this film is how it wasn’t all that funny and never knew what kind of comedy film it wanted to be. One moment it’s a dark comedy, the next a romantic comedy, followed by just a comedy, and then it’s back to being a dark comedy. Just pick one! It’s very rough on someone when they’re already expecting something else anyway. Granted, and I think this is a good time to mention it, I’ve never seen anything Ramis has done. I’m now okay having skipped all that he’s done, save for this.

But back to the lack of funny. It could just be me. I believe I have a great sense of humor. I’m all over the humor spectrum! Here, apparently it’s either the lack of funny moments (any kind), or that this film’s just too old and the novelty, that this film once was, is now long gone. It took 33 minutes for me to even utter anything resembling a laugh. Of course the scene was when Murray punches Tobolowsky in the face, as it’s hard to pass up something like that. Then, the guy that steps into the puddle after Murray finally learned not to do so, FUNNY!!! As I later saw, most of the really funny stuff, to me, was when Murray was being an asshole and really dark. I found more joy in the fact that he used the restarting of the same day to do bad things. Even his acts of suicide were hilarious to me. Yes, I realize how twisted that sounds. Blame Ramis. One moment I thought was genuinely funny came after Murray drove off the cliff with the not so cute groundhog. Then Larry says, “He might be okay.” *explosion*! I enjoyed that, even if it was obvious that was going to happen.

Now, I know it seems that I’ve detailed a lot (or enough), funny things that happened, but really, I didn’t. That’s what, 10 minutes of a film that’s over an hour and a half? Pretty sad when you think about it.

The interesting thing about all this, isn’t that Murray’s character decided to be really nice a lot of the days he relived, but that I actually liked his character. I can’t say I enjoyed every bit of behavior he did, but a lot of the feelings he had towards the day and its festivities, as well as people, somehow made for an even more fun character. When he got overly nice and suddenly started to try and date McDowell, I was thrown! It all came out of nowhere! Why? Then he went back to being a dick, and all was right with the world, actually day.

I wish I could say more about the other characters, including McDowell’s, but they’re not interesting. Almost every encounter he had, which you saw detailed a bit when he relived certain encounters, seemed like a rushed and forced decision that only made it in because the writers remembered they needed other things to occur in the film. This probably explains why I didn’t care for anything that happened, but realized it too late, and then only wished the film would end.

Sadly, the film couldn’t end until the happy, romantic love portion was told. Apparently all the good deeds performed weren’t enough (as Murray’s character also learned), there needed to be this late addition in plot. I saw this as the next biggest thing in the film, but was completely unmoved. I don’t think it was the flimsy chemistry Murray and McDowell had that did this in, but more the forced nature of it all. Just one mystery of this film I’ll never get solved.

I’ll admit, I could just be a big surly kill joy. I do like to get invested in some holidays, but not every single one, or to the degree that the town people are shown as having gotten to. Maybe that’s my problem. Or, I just prefer things to be funny and interesting. This, overall, wasn’t. Then again, not everything a well known actor and comedian like Murray or say Robin Williams, does is going to be good or funny. Some stuff just may be too old to really interest someone like me, not unlike other older or newer films can. This film’s concept was fine. Original. I have no problems with that, but then something happened along the way that just didn’t do this film any favors. I’m not sure why this film is so well liked, nor am I going to try and figure it out. I think the time I’ve devoted to it, as of this writing, is sufficient. At least I can say I’ve seen this film, then proceed to keep others away from it.


2 thoughts on “Catching Up: “Groundhog Day”

  1. I liked the movie well enough, that is, apart from McDowell’s cardboardish contribution – I really never could understand what they saw in her as an actress. Her performances are abysmal and always the same – she is not flexible character-wise. If you put all her movie personas together, they could be the same person. So, what’s with that?

    Apart from her, the idea used for the plot was interesting, not new, but interesting – however it never gets explained. Why does the same day repeat itself over and over again and why does that stop happening?? Sometimes leaving something like that a mystery in a movie is tantalizing and mysterious, in this case its just baffling and incomprihensible.


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