on November 22, 2003
When I first bought my DVD player two years ago. DVDs made by Colombia/TriStar were among my first purchases. Since then I kind of don't have much interest in movies made by the Colombia/Tri-Star studios. In almost thrity years of regularly going to the movies, very few pictures that I have enjoyed have actually come from Colombia Pictures. GroundHog Day was among the very few, and when it was released in 1993, I enjoyed it very much. I liked the fact that it's an honest romance. It made a good screenplay. Harold Ramis directed it with a good professional manner that is rare in many of today's film makers. Bill Murray and Andie McDowall are wonderful in the roles, and it make a fine film to add to any video/DVD library. Regretfully on this disk, the film itself is the only good thing about it. This "Special Edition" is not so special. It just has one making of featurette that runs barely 15 minutes. It's really only a collection of interviews with five people, some outtakes of the production, and some still photos, and that's it. One would have liked to have seen more here, but there isn't. And it's enough for me to say, that I will not be buying anymore Colombia-TriStar DVD disks in the future,(unless I come across a movie that I really enjoyed). but I am not sorry to have bought this one, because there is a good movie on it.
on March 10, 2003
Harold Ramis' "Groundhog Day" is a one-trick pony film. There is only one joke in the film and it repeats itself over and over. Knowing this, you might think that this film just wouldn't work. After all who wants to see the same joke over and over for an hour and a half? Yet, "Groundhog Day" does work and it works admirably. Both Ramis and star Bill Murray have figured out that it's not the joke itself that will make the film work - it is how the joke is delivered.
Murray plays Phil Connors, a weatherman less than enthused with the assignment given him - heading out to Punxsutawney, Pa. to see if groundhog Punxsutawney Phil will see his shadow. Connors couldn't care less if the nation will have six more weeks of winter and his disdain for the whole event is palatable. Like a good soldier, Connors nevertheless wakes up and does the remote broadcast. He goes to bed that night glad to be finished with his task. However, he awakens the next day and discovers it is Groundhog Day again. He shrugs this off as some kind of bad dream until he realizes the same thing happens the next morning . . . and the next morning . . . and the next morning.
Murray is horrified in the early going as tries to escape the hellish time warp he finds himself in. Then when it might seem that there is no way out, Murray starts to accept his situation . . . and then completely takes advantage of it with hilarious results. Amidst the chaos he causes, Conners makes sure to set aside time to woo the local women but finds that he truly longs for his news producer Rita (Andie MacDowell). As the days keep repeating one after another, Connors decides to use his foreknowledge to make himself a better person in order to win her heart.
"Groundhog Day" never bothers to provide an explanation to its events but that actually helps matters as it enhances the fairy tale-like quality of the film. The film plays more like a romantic morality tale than a "Twilight Zone" episode and is all the better for it. It is a story of the heart rather than a story of the mind. Watching Murray perform his role seamlessly is a pleasant reminder of how good he was in "Stripes" all those years ago and is proof that he is still a talented comedian and actor. MacDowell is also charming in her role and Chris Elliott is solid in his supporting part. Yet, it's Murray who makes the film work and "Groundhog Day" is one of those shining cinematic examples of the right actor being cast in the right film.
on November 24, 2002
Bill Murray plays self-centered and sarcastic TV weatherman Phil Connors in "Groundhog Day". Giving everyone contemptuous and snide remarks, it's no wonder that both his TV producer Rita (Andie MacDowell) and cameraman Larry (Chris Elliot) find him completely dislikable. On an assignment, Phil along with his crew is sent to the small town of Punxsutawney, PA to report on the annual celebration of Groundhog Day. Phil of course can't wait to get out of the town but 'disaster' strikes when a blizzard comes in fast and hard, making it impossible for Phil to leave the town of Punxsutawney. Strangely enough, Phil wakes up the next morning, finding out it 'isn't' the next morning, he has again woken up on February 2nd, 1992! Day after day, he must live through the same Groundhog Day! Will he ever be able to break out of the time loop or is he destined to live the same day over and over? Phil desperately wants to go back to his normal life. And more than anything, he wants to be the kind of man Rita would fall in love with, just as he becomes to fall in love with her....
By reading the summary on "Groundhog Day", those who have never watched this movie are probably thinking 'what a strange movie this sounds like.' But I assure you, I myself was very surprised how good the plot was and how every actor and actress was perfect in their parts.
The most notable acting done in the movie was by Bill Murray. I have always liked Bill Murray, he has a sense of timing, giving off jokes at the perfect moment. He is just sooo funny! And he is not only a great comedian, he also gets to show off some of his serious and romantic side in "Groundhog Day". As he continued to live the same day again and again, you can't help but get attached to his character and even begin to like him, especially as he begins to change. The supporting actors Andie MacDowell and Chris Elliot do a good job in their roles, too, but Bill Murray certainly steals the whole movie.
I must also acknowledge the superb screenwriting job done by Danny Rubin and Harold Ramis (Ramis is also the Director and Producer of "Groundhog Day"). The plot is actually very 'smart', creating a very interesting perspective. The movie is a bit repetitive at times (of course it is, that's the whole point!) and feels a bit bogged down, but the story always picks up. The ending was so nice I couldn't help but want to jump up and down and shout hurray! A truly triumphant ending!
I highly recommend this movie for those who like incredible acting with plenty of drama, humor, and romance in the plot. The movie is rated PG because of some innuendo, crude humor, and adult themes. Not for younger kids to watch since they might find the story a bit hard to follow and a bit dull. Great for teens and adults. Another movie I highly recommend is "The Truman Show" starring Jim Carrey. An incredible movie, the PG-rated film is similar to "Groundhog Day" in that the movie centers on the life of Carrey's character whose life is stuck an interesting perspective.
Some bits of interesting trivia on "Groundhog Day":
*Murray was bitten by the groundhog twice during the filming of this movie.*
*Murray and Ramis have both been Honorary Grand Marshals for the Groundhog Day celebrations in Punxsatawney, PA.*
*The movie was not filmed in Punxsutawney, but actually in Woodstock, Illinois. There is a small plaque that reads "Bill Murray stepped here" on the curb where Murray continually steps into a puddle.*
*In one of the early scenes of Phil at the piano teacher's house, when he is fumblingly playing Rachmaninoff's "Rhapsody on a Theme by Paginini", is actually Bill Murray playing. He does not read music, but he learned that much of the song by ear.*
on October 30, 2002
Life could be MUCH worse. Embittered weatherman Murray takes on small town Pennsylvania, covering groundhog day with his new boss MacDowell and creepy camera-guy Chris Elliot (in one of his few understated and enjoyable roles). This comedy came in under the radar-it was not a big hit, but it has the stars and script that should have made it one. Bill Murray is PERFECT for this part, and any collection of his classic film lines, from GHOSTBUSTERS and CADDYSHACK thru the present would have to include at least a couple of the following from this film:
"I'm guessing March 22nd."
"I'd love to stay and talk...but I'm not going to."
"I'm BOTH! I'm a celebrity in an emergency!"
"Yeah, they're hicks Rita."
"Morons! Your bus is leaving."
"Well what if there IS NO TOMORROW!? THERE WASN'T TODAY! Hello?"
I can't say much for the special edition treatment-there isn't really anything here to speak of. Commentary is nice, but it's obvious that not too much time or effort was put into this. The film looks good and sounds good and that's all I really care about. If you have passed over this film year after year in the video store-try it. It takes a hardened man and redeems him by the end! Very uplifting and funny.
on June 4, 2002
I'm going to forego a review of the movie. Let others do that. Here's my input on the bonus stuff:
"The weight of time" documentary - What makes this documentary somewhat unique, is that it allows the screenwriter some screen time to convey what his vision of the movie would have been. It's a gutsy move that Ramis allowed this on his film, since the original concept of Groundhog Day was far darker than the final product. It's an interesting watch, although it would have been nicer if Bill Murray made an appearance in the documentary.
Director's commentary: Ramis' approach is to tell small anecdotes about minor characters, how people were cast, how the scenes were filmed, etc. It's interesting and entertaining in its own right. He doesn't just drone on and on like many directors do. I think his acting and comedy background helps make him be more interesting, personable, and accessable for viewers to listen to.
I'm probably alone on this, but the animated menus are annoying, silly, and slow. You have to wait for the animation to get going before you're allowed to make your choice. It'd be forgivable if there were any easter eggs hidden, but I know of none. So, it's just annoying.
on March 9, 2002
If ever there was a movie designed for DVD, it's "Groundhog Day." By repeating scenes, pausing the picture, even comparing portions of the movie to other parts, you get a sense that the movie is put together wonderfully. Unfortunately, the additional features of this "Special Edition" do little to enhance the enjoyment of the movie. The documentary, shot last year, is too little too late. A "making of" PR movie from HBO or E! would have been more enjoyable. The comments from director Harold Ramis fail to educate. If you don't have the movie already, buy this one; however, if you already have the basic DVD that came out in 1997, save your money.
This review is an update to a previous review of this movie that follows:
While most viewers try to catch the number of times the scenes repeat themselves, this modern (within the last ten years) movie contains one of the classic scenes that can actually enrich ones life.
In "Groundhog Day," weatherman Phil Conners, played by actor bill Murry, is locked in a time warp in which he seems destined to relive Groundhog Day, February 2nd, over and over again. The classic scene occurs after midnight, but before the bewitching hour of 6:00 A.M. when the day begins repeating itself, on a day when Phil has succeeded in convincing Rita, his producer, played by Annie MacDowell, that he is truly reliving this one day, again and again. As they lay platonically in bed, with Rita falling asleep, he begins to tell her what he should have told her the first time that he saw her, instead of being so self-absorbed that he couldn't see what she really was like ("I think what I wanted to say was I think you are the kindest, sweetest, prettiest person I've ever met in my life. The first time I saw you, something happened to me that I never told you, but I wanted to hold you as hard as I could. I don't deserve someone like you, but if I ever could, I'm sure I would love you for the rest of my life").
He awakes the next morning, without Rita by his side, but with a a new persona. Perhaps this change is because he was spurred on by Rita who told him the evening before, "Maybe it's not a curse (referring to his reliving this day over and over), it's just how you look at it." Suddenly, forgotten are the days when Phil used his endless life to temp fate by living his life through the seven deadly sins, as he finds the joy of living each day to its fullest, learning to expand his purpose in life through helping others. Finally, he lives a Groundhog Day in which he becomes something of a local hero to many in the community, and Rita, realizing his inner beauty, buys his services at the bachelor charity auction. That night, they platonically fall asleep with the true realization of each other's stellar inner qualities, and instead of waking-up on February 2nd, again, it's February 3rd. Together they begin to plan a life together with the realization that there is something more after today.
Phil's final characterization of life can be depicted in the words he uses to describe the Groundhog Festival near the end of the movie. "When Checkov saw the long winter, he saw a winter bleak and dark and beraf of hope, but we know that winter is just another step in the cycle of life. But, standinghere among the people of Punxsutawney, and basking here in the warmth of their hearts, I couldn't imagine a better fate than a long and lustrous winter."
on February 3, 2002
"Groundhog Day" is a movie that's aged really well in the past nine years, and I think will be looked back on as a classic comedy in a few decades. Using a relatively simple plot device (Bill Murray's arrogant, pesudocosmpolitan character living the same day over and over in a small Midwestern town), Harold Ramis created a silly, sweet, touching romantic comedy that is endlessly rewatchable.
That said, though, I would've expected a great deal more from a 'Special Edition' of such a well-loved movie. The main differences between this release and the original DVD release of a few years ago are the addition of a commentary track by Harold Ramis and a half-hour or so behind-the-scenes documentary. The menus are also now animated and there are a few filmographies and trailers for other movies added, but these hardly help with the "Special Edition" status the disc is given. The commentary track gives some interesting info on the movie, but Ramis spends a lot of time talking about the background actors and eventually wears a bit thin on the anecdotes. If they could have gotten Bill Murray or Chris Elliott (or even Stephen Tobolowsky) to do the commentary track with him, it would've covered over a lot of the silences and helped with the narrative style, which Ramis keeps very light. Nonetheless, Ramis's fondness for the movie comes out quite cleary, and he's still fun to listen to. The documentary falls a bit flat in that in covers much of the same ground as the commentary track. Save the few behind-the-scenes photos and outtakes, there's little there that Ramis doesn't discuss in his commentary. Even more disappointing is that both refer to scenes that were shot and not used that do not appear in a 'Deleted Scenes' section.
If you liked the movie, but haven't picked the DVD up yet, I recommend getting this version over the original release. If you already own the original DVD, though, there's little reason to pick this one up unless you're a huge fan of the movie. I, for one, hope they eventually release a true 'Special Edition' with deleted scenes, press materials, the script (both Danny Rubin's original and with Ramis's revisions) and everything else we've come to expect from truly first-rate 'Special Editions' - which this one sadly isn't.
on August 16, 2000
Bill Murray made one of what I could call my Guru movies with this one: movies that do more than make me feel good by being well written, acted and directed, but also teach me something important I need to know about life (regardless of what I think I know), bettering me as a person. Spike Lee's MO' BETTER BLUES and Bridges and Williams in THE FISHER KING- and of course, IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE- are three others. But Murray performs his way through a magnificent modern day metaphor of Purgatory so incredibly, attempting to rescue his soul from the restraints of his ego and experience true love, that it may for a while surpass your other favorites- even classics, if you are anything like me. Anyone will enjoy this movie for all the obvious reasons- Murray is about as artistically sarcastic and hilarious as I have ever seen him, Andie McDowell plays the perfect straightwoman and his down to earth love interest simultaneously. Guys with an insatiable competitive streak and profound sense of ambition who think happiness will come in getting more of the same of what they already have, however, will absolutely love it. Bill shows us how neurotic we all are and can become, and, if given the chance, would secretly welcome a Groundhog Day of our own: a moment in time in a trivialized place we are trapped in, until we find the true beauty in all things and in ourselves, through mastering humility and real courageous love. In fact, he kinda shows us that we're already in one, if we're wise enough to see it! All this therapy in two hours or less for HOW much money? And you still get entertained too?
I reccommend this one very highly.
on May 1, 2004
Yes, this is an entertaining movie, very well made, and has a lot of funny variables on the recurring events of GROUNDHOG DAY. Murray is good in his role; Andie McDowell even better. But I can't call it a "classic" because there are times when enough is enough. With no explanation for the time warp or its resolution, it's hard to understand just why Bill is reliving each day. Even as the story progresses and Bill finally becomes a decent, caring man, we've had to wade through a lot of redundancy that the screenplay didn't necessitate. But I'd be a Scrooge to say it isn't a happy entertainment. Some of the supporting characters in Puxta..whatever? are fun, and it's unique the way director Harold Ramis alters some of the recurring scenes, especially obnoxious Stephen Tobolowsky's, Hi I'm (I've forgotten his name already).
Admittedly enjoyable, but not the "best comedy ever!"
on October 5, 2003
This is not a cliche Romance. This movie actually turned out to be quite good and had honest acting in it. It certainly remains as one of Bill Murray's best films, as well as Andie McDowell's. They just make a great couple with good chemestry on film. They have both made many films since, but never quite as enjoyable or well thought out as this one.
Regretfully while the movie itself is great and is presented in the widescreen format, Sony went the cheap route again with the lack of DVD extras on this disk. The director's commentery is slow and uninformative, the "Weight of Time" featurette contains short interviews with only a few of the cast members interviewed, and they put two theater trailers on the disk for two other movies made by Tri-Star Pictures that were box office flops. Not very good DVD production I'm sorry to say, only the movie itself is worth it.