|Phil Connor's best groundhog impression.|
There are a few things I absolutely love about this movie.
#1: Bill Murray is a fantastic actor. I actually haven't seen very many of his movies, but for all of his movies that I have seen, he is fantastic (well, except for "Space Jam", but that's forgivable).
#2: Ned Ryerson is the greatest movie character of all-time. Below is a clip of all of the Ned Ryerson scenes from the movie. Every year on Groundhog Day, my dad sends me a text picture of Ned Ryerson with the message, "I could watch that movie over and over and over again." Silly dad. I sure love him.
#3: Groundhog Day has an extremely powerful message about the nature of life and the significance of what really matters. I found the following excellent explanation of what makes this movie so great from an article titled "Groundhog Day -- Breakthrough to the True Self" (http://www.transparencynow.com/groundhog.htm):
What is so powerful about Groundhog Day is the way it lets us experience what it would be like to make a breakthrough like this in our own lives. The movie shows us a character who is like the worst in ourselves. He is arrogant and sarcastic, absorbed in his own discomforts, without hope, and cut off from other people. Like us, he finds himself in an inexplicable situation, seemingly a plaything of fate. But, unlike us, he gets the luxury of being stuck in the same day until he gets it right. Whereas most of us go semi-automatically through most of our (very similar) days, he is forced to stop and treat each day like a world onto itself, and decide how to use it. In the end, he undergoes a breakthrough to a more authentic self in which intimacy, creativity and compassion come naturally - a self that was trapped inside him and that could only be freed by trapping him. Like many of the heroes of fiction, he can only escape his exile from himself by being exiled in a situation not of his choosing. In telling this story, the movie hits on a message that is commonly found elsewhere and that appears to express an essential truth. When we get beyond denial and resentment over the conditions of life and death, and accept our situation, it tells us, then life ceases to be a problem and we can become authentic and compassionate.
Without being overtly preachy or religious, Groundhog Day always makes me want to be a better person. It makes me want to change my life so that each day I focus on unselfishly serving others. After all, isn't that what life is really all about? Until next year (or for Phil Connors, maybe until tomorrow), Happy Groundhog Day!