Writer/actor/director Harold Ramis died yesterday. When I heard the news, the first thing that came to mind was GROUNDHOG DAY, his 1993 romantic comedy-fantasy (come to think of it, what romantic comedy isn’t a fantasy?) that is one of my favorite movies of all time. I immediately felt the urge to write a retrospective review of the film, but I’m finding that professional critics have already beaten me to the punch and said what I might have said, better than I.
The Daily Beast’s Malcolm Jones, for example, writes today under the headline Harold Ramis’s ‘Groundhog Day’ Is About as Perfect as a Movie Gets that “Ramis made a lot of funny movies, but Groundhog Day is in a class by itself. For my money, you have to go back to Preston Sturges’s ’40s comedies to find its equal. No matter how often you hit repeat, this story of a man living the same day over and over just keeps getting better.” Peter Canavese of GROUCHO REVIEWS (who knew?) calls it “A memorable comedy for the ages.”
Malcolm Jones says GROUNDHOG is one of two movies he knows almost by heart (the other being Sturges’s The Lady Eve). He quotes some of his (and my) favorite GROUNDHOG dialogue, including this exchange between TV weatherman Phil Connors (played, of course, by Bill Murray) and waitress Mrs. Lancaster:
Phil: “Do you ever have deja vu, Mrs. Lancaster?”
Mrs. Lancaster: “I don’t think so, but I could check with the kitchen.”
Jones concludes his piece thus: “Thank you, Harold Ramis, wherever you are. Thank you again, and again, and again.” Amen.
I will conclude my piece with this GROUNDHOG DAY trailer, followed by a clip which asks, “How many days does Bill Murray spend stuck in Groundhog Day?”: