For some reason, every Groundhog Day I feel like watching the same Bill Murray holiday movie: Scrooged. When that gets boring and weird because I just watched it six weeks ago and it’s a Christmas movie, I turn on Groundhog Day, because there’s nothing else to do on Groundhog Day after you’ve found out whether or not the groundhog saw his shadow or not. These are the things that popped into my head when I recently re-watched the 1993 classic.
1. As a weatherman, Phil Connors has got the stuff. Charming, funny, a working knowledge of the weather. He really should be working in a market bigger than Pittsburgh.
2. Hey, it’s Chris Elliott as Larry the camera guy. This has got to be the only movie where Chris Elliott plays a good person.
3. His producer, Rita, is enchanted by the blue screen. Seems like that would be old hat to her at this stage in her career, but okay. She has a childlike whimsy?
4. Whatever happened to Andie MacDowell? She was really hot!
5. Larry the camera guy’s story about how he covered the swallows returning to Capistrano would also be a good movie.
6. Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, looks like a charming, old-fashioned and well kept small town. What’s Phil’s problem?
7. The innkeeper doesn’t know how to spell espresso? It’s not that hard.
8. Cappuccino, though? Understandable. Relatable.
9. The modern equivalent of talking to Ned Ryerson is getting Facebook comment notifications for a conversation you desperately want to end.
10. The other modern equivalent of Ned Ryerson is LinkedIn emails.
11. Ned seems to be doing pretty well for himself, though. He’s got leather gloves. Life insurance seems like a good hustle.
12. It’s supposed to be the ’90s, but Ned wears an old-fashioned Don Draper mat hat. It’s possible Ned is also stuck in a time loop, but he’s a time traveler from the ’60s sent into the future to sell life insurance.
13. That could also be a movie.
14. So Ned used to date Phil’s sister, Mary Pat. With that kind of name, we can assume Phil’s family is Catholic.
15. This supports that fan theory that Phil is stuck in some kind of Purgatory, a Catholic concept of the afterlife, a “medium place” in which the not-quite-good-enough-for-Heaven go for a spell to atone for their sins.
16. Polka has got to be the only kind of music that hasn’t made a comeback.
17. Okay, so did Phil really need to go to Punxsutawney? Couldn’t his TV station just patch into a local feed or something? I’m sure Good Morning, America or Today would be there. This kind of bread and circuses is their bread and butter.
18. Also, the entire news crew consists of a producer, a camera guy, and on-air talent. There is no audio guy, or satellite linkup? Bullshit.
19. So they’re just taping the Groundhog Day story, which is newsworthy for all of five minutes on the morning of Groundhog Day, and then driving the tape back to Pittsburgh to show on the news the next day? Things were different before the Internet.
20. Are there other film crews there? I don’t see any. Is Phil the only member of the media there?
21. “Gobbler’s Knob.” Hahahahahaha…
22. Groundhogs are ugly.
23. Groundhogs are disgusting.
24. The fancy top hat guy who reads the decree about Punxsutawney Phil seeing his shadow is Brian Doyle-Murray, Bill Murray’s half brother.
25. But are their characters related too? Does Phil Connors hate going to Punxsutawney because his family is there, and he’s estranged from them or embarrassed by them? Perhaps because they’re super into Groundhog Day?
26. Punxsutawney Phil, the groundhog, sees his shadow, predicting six more weeks of winter. The crowd boos. Either they’re booing a rodent who has no idea what’s going on…or they’re booing the concept of weather.
27. Phil is right: they are hicks.
28. I can never remember the whole groundhog thing, like, it he sees his shadow it’s more winter, or if he doesn’t it’s spring, or whatever.
29. Bill Murray and the groundhog are both named Phil and both are kind of okay at predicting the weather. Weird!
30. Bill Murray’s hair is still kind of bushy at this point, so he kind of looks like a groundhog.
31. How is Phil surprised by the snowstorm? He’s a weatherman.
32. A big-city weatherman. Maybe he isn’t a good weatherman at all. All flash, no substance. If only there was someway he could learn a lesson about how he’s living his life the wrong way.
33. Larry the camera guy suggests hitting the road to get ahead of the blizzard. So he knows about it. Phil isn’t a good weatherman. Or at least not as good as the actual groundhog.
34. Also, the groundhog totally said there was going to be six more weeks of winter. Duh, Phil.
35. Is Phil actually stuck in Hell? The consistent re-occurrence of “I Got You, Babe” would suggest as much.
36. On only his second day of the time loop, Phil throws the guy on the stairs at the B&B against the wall and calls him “Pork Chop.” Today we call that “fat shaming.”
37. The guy on the stairs is one of the personality traits from Herman’s Head. Hey, remember Herman’s Head? Herman’s Head was great.
38. What does Phil see in Rita, exactly? She’s dead-eyed, and doesn’t seem to be offering much, personality=-wise. She’s pretty, sure, and it would seem she’s the only woman in Puxsutawney that’s under the age of 90, but come on, if you’re living in an infinite time loop, you’ve gotta have something more.
39. Okay, another few times through and it’s clear that Phil definitely knows the Brian Doyle-Murray character and just tries not to make eye contact.
40. Phil’s family had to have done something really bad. He doesn’t talk to them anymore, won’t acknowledge their presence in public, and he’s clearly a sour and broken guy because of it. Poor Phil.
42. The Tip Top Cafe has free refills and sticky buns. Another check in the “pro” column for Punxsutawney.
43. It’s amazing they even got a table in the Tip Top Cafe on Groundhog Day.
44. If time is repeating, that means his actions have no consequences, so he could eat as many sticky buns as he wants and never worry about tooth decay or diabetes.
45. He got in to see a neurologist right away. And a pretty good one. Again,Punxsutawney is a pretty fantastic place to live.
46. Hey, that neurologist is fellow ghostbuster Harold Ramis. He’s almost impossible to recognize without his Spangler glasses.
47. Oh, a psychiatrist. And psychiatrist jokes. Boy, if you liked psychiatrist jokes, the ’80s and ’90s were a heady time.
48. Phil’s great day he wants to relive involved “making love like sea otters.” That doesn’t sound particularly sexy.
49. [Pauses movie to go down Wikipedia wormhole about mating habits of marine creatures.]
50. Phil’s at a bowling alley. Is Kingpin as funny as it was in high school?
51. Phil’s testing the limits of his time loop, trying to get arrested, or skip town, or die, but I think a lot of us would’ve reached our breaking point the first time Pork Chop wants to chit-chat about the weather.
52. When Phil socks Needlenose Ned right in his dumb face, it’s the greatest moment in cinematic history.
53. If this were real life, he’d have done this right when Ned tried to sell him insurance the first time.
54. However, it’s a little sad to think that the Internet has probably symbolically punched Ned Ryerson in the face, by putting him out of his business.
55. Rita is so easily swayed by Phil. Yesterday he was a big-time asshole and today he’s the sweetest, gentlest, erudite, and sensitive man in the world? She should be able to see right through this.
56. Not even with an infinite amount of time would I have the patience to learn how to do ice sculptures.
57. Not even with an infinite amount of time would I have the patience to learn French.
58. Wait, what if I’m in a time loop right now?
59. No, I’m not in a time loop.
60. So Phil wants to stay in Punxsutawney then? What’s he going to do for work? There is no TV presence in this tiny, charming town.
61. I guess he’ll commute to Pittsburgh?
62. All of this is really going to mess him up for a long time. The psychological scars of this run deep.
63. So the boundaries of time and space are manipulated so that a guy played by Bill Murray can learn lessons and become a decent human being? Hey, this is just a non-Christmas Scrooged!