[NFBMO] Groundhog Day

Steve Cook stanley7709 at gmail.com
Fri Feb 5 11:48:48 UTC 2021

If you are reading this, then you are invited!


The National Federation of the Blind of SC would like to invite everyone to
join us on 2/5/2021 at 8:00 PM Eastern to enjoy the audio described movie
Groundhog Day! 


On February 1, self-centered and sour TV meteorologist Phil Connors (Bill
Murray), news producer Rita (Andie MacDowell) and cameraman Larry (Chris
Elliott) from fictional Pittsburgh television station WPBH-TV9 travel to
Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, to cover the annual Groundhog Day festivities
with Punxsutawney Phil, the Groundhog. Having grown tired of this
assignment, Phil begrudgingly gives his Groundhog Day report the next day
(February 2) during the festival and parade.


After the celebration concludes, a blizzard develops that Connors had
predicted would miss them, closing the roads and shutting down long-distance
phone services, forcing the team to return to Punxsutawney. Connors awakens
the next morning, however, to find it is February 2 again, and his day
unfolds in almost exactly the same way. Connors can change his behavior, but
other people do and say the same things they did and said the previous day,
unless Connors changes something. He is aware of the repetition, but
everyone else seems to be living February 2 for the first time. This
recursion repeats the following morning and the one after that, and over and
over again. For Connors, Groundhog Day begins each morning at 6:00 A.M.,
when he wakes up in his room in a Victorian bed and breakfast. His clock
radio is always playing the same song, Sonny & Cher's "I Got You Babe." His
memories of the "previous" day are intact, but he's trapped in a seemingly
endless time loop, repeating the same day in the same small town.


After briefly trying to rationalize his situation, and then thinking he is
insane, Connors takes advantage of learning the day's events and the
information he is able to gather about the town's inhabitants, and finds
that his actions have no long-term consequences for himself. He revels in
this situation for a time: seducing beautiful women, stealing money, even
driving drunk and experiencing a police chase. However, his attempts to
seduce his producer, Rita, are met with repeated failures. He begins to tire
of, and then dread, his existence, starting the day by smashing the alarm
clock and professing the inanity of Groundhog Day as a holiday in his
newscast. In a vain attempt to break the cycle, he kidnaps Phil the
Groundhog. After a police pursuit, Connors drives a stolen truck into a
quarry, causing both man and rodent to die in a fiery explosion; but the
loop does not stop. He commits suicide several more times. He electrocutes
himself, lets a truck hit him on the road, and jumps from a tall building
(other attempts are alluded to) but mere death cannot stop the day from
repeating. After he dies, he simply wakes up listening to Sonny & Cher in
the same bed, on the same day, over and over again.


He initially tries to seduce Rita by learning as much as he can on a daily
basis. First he asks what she wants in a man: someone who is humble, kind,
generous, courageous, and sensitive; someone who likes children; someone who
loves his mother and plays a musical instrument. He learns what she likes
(rocky road ice cream, sweet vermouth, French poetry) and what she doesn't
like (white chocolate) and pretends to share her tastes. This also fails
consistently; in scene after scene, Rita slaps him before the night is over.
However, he is able to befriend her in a more sincere fashion. He tells her
of his circumstances -- how he is reliving the day over and over again --
and manages to convince her of the truth with his extensive knowledge of
events to come, the lives of the Punxsutawney townspeople, and Rita herself.


He opens his heart to Rita, and her advice helps him to gradually find a
goal for his trapped life: as a benefactor to others. He cannot, in a single
day, bring others to fulfill his needs but he can achieve self-improvement
by educating himself on a daily basis. After seeing an elderly homeless man
die, Connors vows that no one will die on "his" day and performs many heroic
services each and every repeating day, including performing the Heimlich
maneuver on a choking man and saving a little boy who falls from a tree.
However, he becomes despondent at being unable to save the homeless man,
despite trying to get him medical care. When he demands to see the man's
medical chart, a nurse tells him "sometimes people just die." Connors
replies "Not today," but he never manages to prevent it.


Though the film does not specify the number of repetitions, there is enough
time for Connors to learn many complex skills, such as how to play jazz
piano, speak French, sculpt ice, and memorize the life story of almost
everyone in town. He also masters the art of flipping playing cards into an
upturned hat, which he offhandedly suggests takes six months.


(According to Danny Rubin, who shares screenwriting credit with the
director, the intent in the original script was for the time-frame of
Connors' repeating days to be ambiguous, but longer than a single lifetime.
The studio objected to this, asking that it be reduced to two weeks.
Director Harold Ramis tried to leave the time-frame loop ambiguous as how
many times Connors re-lives February 2, but it is strongly speculated by
Connors (and the viewers) to be at least 10 years.)


Eventually, Phil sees his own shadow, so to speak, and changes from an
inconsiderate, callous egocentric into a thoughtful, kindhearted
philanthropist, refining his understanding of human decency, which, in
return, makes him an appreciated and beloved man in the town. Phil is able
to befriend almost everyone he meets during the day, using his experiences
to save lives and help the townspeople. In the process, he gets closer to
Rita. He crafts a report on the Groundhog Day celebration so eloquent that
all the other stations turn their microphones to him. After the big
Groundhog Day evening dance, Rita and Phil retire together to Phil's room.
They believe that if Rita's there, the cycle may be interrupted. He wakes
the next morning in bed with Rita (they're both still fully clothed) and
finds the time loop is broken; it is now February 3. Phil is a different
person than he was on February 1 and, after going outside, Phil and Rita
talk about living in Punxsutawney together. Connors suggests: "We'll rent to


The closing song is "Almost Like Being in Love" from Brigadoon, a musical
which also dealt with a village trapped in time.



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