Groundhog Day is a classic film that Schneider argues is the “best comedy of the 90s” as a result of its “terrific conceit (one that is never explained, which makes it even better).” It is a clever movie that I hadn’t seen since the 90s. It’s a fun, reflective 90s movie that seemed to be the origin of the cliche-formula that followed so many times for the next thirty years.
I loved this movie when it came out… and then I watched it over and over and over, and then it was syndicated on television over and over and over. It was a seemingly endless run that one could pick up at any point and enjoy, until it got too old because you knew exactly came next… Of course… You’d still watch it. Even though it was broadcast and you had the VHS in the closet ten feet from where you were sitting with no commercials.
Then a bunch of other screenwriters and Robert McKee students started doing the same thing, and then the device of the perfectly timed, repeated comedic structure was born. Now we can hardly watch a film without it, and those that don’t follow the formula seem to stand out.
This time watching it, however, I got a lot out of it. It was a lot of fun to watch as an adult without the washed-out rehashing again and again of seeing it for the hundredth time. I have to say, still a pleasing and brilliant little film. It was truly like reliving a little slice of my adolescent awe at the film after not seeing it for many years. Murray was literally perfect (and it was interesting to learn that he hated it and fought with Ramis the whole time, only patching their broken relationship just before his death), and his ability to play the same role again, and again, with such ferocity, fresh humor, and excellent timing is a testament to his talent. Toblowski and Eliott were similarly difficult to match in this film.