Groundhog Day

I watched this movie twice in one day in the fall of 2006, the second time with the director's comments turned on. When I mentioned doing so in class, a student said, “That's redundant!” :-O

Some notes from that afternoon (no guarantee that my day count matches anyone else's):

Stuck in samsara

  • Rita to Phil (?): “Where would you like to be?”
  • Prologue: weather show, Feb 1.
  • In the van en route, Phil says it's his fourth year doing Groundhog Day. “This will be the last time.”
  • Phil: “People are morons.”

Day 1:

  • Phil: “They're hicks, Rita!”
  • Rita: “Try it again without the sarcasm.”

Day 2:

  • First slap in the face.
  • Phil: “What if there is no tomorrow? There wasn't one today!”

Day 3:

  • Psychologist to Phil: “How's tomorrow for you?”
  • In the bowling alley:
    • Phil (after telling a story about a day on a beach with a girlfriend): “Why couldn't I get that day over?”
    • Phil: “What would you do if there's no tomorrow?” Bowler: “We could do whatever we wanted.” They go out and break a lot of taboos. Phil: “I'm not going to live by their rules any more. I'm going to make choices and live with them.”

Path of Desire


Day 4:

  • Hits Ned.
  • Pigs out at the diner: coffee, cigarette, junk food. “I don't worry about anything.” Sir Walter Scott poem. “You're egocentric. It's your defining characteristic.” Starts to court Nancy Taylor.

Day 5:

  • Seduces Nancy. “Oh, Rita! … Will you be my wife?”

Day 6:

  • Steals money. Rolls Royce. Heidi II playing at the theater. Phil in Clint Eastwood costume, girl in French maid's uniform. “Call me Bronco.” [Does Phil feel lucky?]

Day 7: (?)

  • “If you only had one day, what would you do?”
  • Starts talking to Rita. “What do you want out of life? … What I really want is some one like you.” Attributes Rita seeks: humble, intelligent, funny, romantic, good body, kind, sensitive, gentle, plays an instrument, loves his mother.


Days 8-10:

  • Drinks. “World peace.” “Go with the flow.”
  • 19th century French poetry. “I love you.” “You don't know me! You'll never love anyone but yourself.” Slap #2.

Days 11-18: eight slaps.

Day 19: Groundhog scene.

Day 20: Jeopardy with folks at B&B. PJs, popcorn, scotch.

Day 21: Phil rages at his fate during the festitivities: “It's going to be cold and gray and it will last for the rest of your life.”

Days 22-24: Breaks alarm clock.

Day 25: “Blah, blah, blah.” Decides to kill the groundhog. Takes him driving. Commits suicide in the quarry.

Day 26: Toaster.

Day 27: Truck.

Day 28: High jump. In the morgue, Larry pretends to care about Phil: “He was a great guy.” (He will be by the end of the movie.)

Path of Renunciation


Day 29: “I'm a god–not the God. I've been stabbed, shot, poisoned, hung, electrocuted, burned. I am an immortal.” Rita: “I've had twelve years of Catholic school and I know you're not God.” Phil demonstrates that he is virtually omniscient. Debbie and Fred (engaged couple). Rita spends the whole day with him. Card throwing. “Be the hat.” Six months, 4-5 hours a day, to acquire the skill. Rita: “Is this what you do with eternity?” “Maybe it's not a curse.” “Really nice day.” Midnight: “You're still here!” 3:02 AM. No sex. Poems for Every Mood. “Only God can make a tree.”

“You're the kindest, sweetest person.” Kisses her. “I don't deserve someone like you–if I did, I would love you … Good night.”

Day 30: Gives money to the beggar. Brings coffee and donuts for Rita and Larry and helps with the setup. While reading a book in a coffee shop, he smiles at the piano music on the radio. Starts taking lessons.

Day 31: Kisses the fellow on the staircase outside his bedroom door. “A dream of spring.” Ice sculpture.

Day 32: Piano lesson.

Day 33: Hugs Ned. Terrifies him. With the beggar in the hospital at night. “It was just his time … Sometimes people just die.” “Not today.”

Day 34: Phil feeds the old man but he dies in the alley anyway.


Day 35: Checkov (sp?): “There is no better fate than a long and lustrous winter.” Errands to run. Catches kid falling out of a tree, takes care of a flat tire for some elderly women, saves Buster with the Heimlich maneuver in a restaurant, lights a cigarette for a nearby woman. Larry hits on Nancy. Takes $1 back from tip after her back is turned. Phil at the piano. “Welcome to our party.” Long list of thanks for all the things he's done that day. “Dr. Connors” (back surgery?), tire, Heimlich. Bachelor auction. Rita bids $339.88. Phil bought insurance from Ned. “Best day of my life.” Ice sculpture of Rita. “No matter what happens tomorrow and for the rest of my life, I'm happy now because I love you.”

February 3rd: “Today is tomorrow. You're here!” “Last night, you just fell asleep.” “Is there anything I can do for you today?”

Outdoors: “Let's live here!” “We'll rent to start.” Last song: “Almost like being in love.”

Notes from other commentators on the DVD:

Danny Rubin–script writer, Zen Buddhist. The movies about existential issues. It is meant to represent thousands of years of development. “He can live forever.”

“Do what you can do in the moment to make things better.”

Steve Tobolowksy, the actor who plays Ned:

The movie is about happiness.

She is excellence. He is suffering.

In the end, he comes back from immortality to mortality.

The progression is from a pointless life to a life filled with meaning.

school/groundhog.txt · Last modified: 2017/07/14 04:33 (external edit)
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