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Headscratchers: Groundhog Day
  • What would've happened if he pulled an all-nighter?
    • I think it's implied on the day he gets arrested that, when 6am comes around, he just appears in bed regardless of whether he's conscious or not.
      • Yes, the slamming of the jail cell could have been at 6am and coincided with the switchover to the next scene.
      • When Rita is with him at midnight, he points out that he's only reset at 6 AM.
    • He probably would be able to progress to February 3rd, and probably did a few times, but as soon as he falls asleep, he'd be back in his bed on Groundhog Day morning. I can imagine at one point he tried to see how many days he could go without sleeping, probably making it to February 5th or something, but had to return after dozing off.
  • Why does Phil become trapped in a "Groundhog Day" Loop scenario in the first place, and why does it end when it does?
    • According to earlier drafts of the script, it was a gypsy curse. The filmmakers thought that sounded stupid, so they cut it out. As for why it ended? The whole point of the movie was that he had to turn himself from self-absorbed jerk to selfless humanitarian: by the time he had one entirely selfless and perfect day, he was allowed to move on.
      • In the second draft, it was a curse from an ex-girlfriend (page 2).
      • Which sadly makes more sense than "the groundhog did it."
      • "The groundhog did it" is never advanced as an explanation by anyone other than Phil. Phil when he's gone insane. In the final draft of the movie it's basically just this weird thing that happens because it happens.
    • My father always said it was because he was a jerk...and that he couldn't get out until he started to believe in God. Proof for this theory: he's already STOPPED being a jerk for a while before he actually gets out (he's shown having a schedule for saving people, and has gone through med school to save the old man...). Also, when the old man dies for the final time, he looks up to heaven... I don't know if it's true or not, but it would fit the God references earlier on in the movie.
      • There are tons of comparisons between this movie and Buddhism, and I do think they're a little pretentious so I won't try to press the analogy too hard, but basically Buddhists teach that just deciding to "not be a jerk" is not enough to escape the cycle of Samsara and achieve Moksha (i.e. stop living life over and over again and finally "move on"). Those scenes show him *trying* to not be a jerk, but not having fully yet grokked the real point of not being a jerk for not being a jerk's sake. The important part is when he's learned to be wholly unselfish and giving with his entire life for its own sake, for the sake of just trying to be as good a person as he can be — not trying to fill himself with pleasures, not trying to *appear* like a good person to impress Rita, not even to try to help the one homeless guy he's taken a shine to and decided to care about. Freedom from all attachments and lovingkindness toward all.
    • I don't think it has anything to do with religion. Just being a good person, which obviously isn't specific to religious people.
    • Alternatively, it's a glitch in the Matrix.
    • My theory is that all the actions of his life added together to form what I will tenatively call a "Jerkass Singularity", brought to Critical Mass by his manner towards his new coworker. To escape, he had to act in a manner that was explicitly opposite to the way he used to be, effectively canceling the singularity.
    • It was a purgatory? Uh... and he was Jesus? No, not really.
    • That actually is a plausible theory, except for the Jesus part. Purgatory is the cleansing process of souls that are sinful, but not outright evil. Phil was not able to leave his Purgatory until he truly became a better person.
    • Perhaps it was All Just a Dream. He doesn't seem to have the psychological effect of going through time that many times, he just learned a lesson. Maybe he just had a really freaky dream and decided to change his ways.
      • This movie acts as a metaphor for what life is. Let's take for example a character named John. John was born on May 1st in the year 1979 at 11:04 in the morning. As John goes through life he has free will to make any choice he wants. However there are a few things he can't change. These things are who his family is, where he grows up, and what he looks like. As he progresses through his life he will make choices that will alter his day to day events. Example, John chooses to rob a gas station and kills the clerk. Now his days consist of waking up inside a prison, etc. When John dies, God or whatever you would like to call it, will judge John's decisions and decide if he can move on to a higher plane of existence or repeat the birth of his soul as John, born May 1st in the year 1979 at 11:04 in the morning. Born in the same hospital to the same parents. However with free will John will be able to make any decisions he wants therefore changing what will make up this life. Again he will die and again his life will be assessed. As a side note to explain the theory of deja vu, if John experiences deja vu, he has made the same decision as he did in one of his previous attempts at his life. If he realizes that he has had deja vu then he should probably be thinking of what he can do to be better in his life. I believe this is the gift of Groundhog Day. The reoccurring 24 hours of Phil's life is a digested representation of all our lives from birth to death. Sounds Like A Not To Far Off Theory.
      • No psychological effect?!? He tries to kill himself in every possible way before giving up only because he realises the futility of it all. His calmness and clarity at the end come from the fact that he's gone right around through selfishness, to fuitility, to depression, to futility again, to acceptance, until he finally winds ups as the Platonic ideal of the altruistic philanthropist.
      • His transition is actually the classic seven stages of grief: denial (the first few days), pain (his frustration at continually running into Ned), anger (his anti-social acts like robbing the armored car and seducing every attractive woman in town), depression (his suicides), the upward turn (starting to do good deeds) and finally acceptance (learning music and sculpture, and eventually becoming a better person). This last stage really happens when the ER nurse says "Sometimes people just die" and he responds "Not today".
      • I'm sorry I'm too much of a corrector nerd to not comment on this: It's five stages of grief, not seven, and furthermore, you're only mentioning six. You've invented "pain" and "the upward turn", forgot "bargaining", and, oh yeah, the example you cite of not wanting to let the old man die, and Phil NOT accepting that fact, isn't really a good example of... acceptance.... but apart from these minor corrections, I agree that he kind of goes through a similar process of the five stages of dealing with the news that you're about to die (which is the original model of Elisabeth Kuebler-Ross's research). I'm being a bit mean, but still, it fits, so overall, you still get a C- or something.
      • He woke up in bed with the leading lady at the end, so it would have had to have been one heck of a dream.
    • It could be a reference to Nietszche's "Eternal Return". If you live a terrible life, repeating it for all eternity would be eternal damnation. But if you live a good life, then reliving it would be like going to heaven. Nietzsche's command was to go out and live the life you wouldn't mind living over again, which Bill Murray's character did. By the end of the movie, he didn't care if he had to repeat the day for all eternity, because he always made it the best day of his life.
    • A Wizard Did It.
      • If we're working from the Lucy Lawless angle, we can notice that both stories reached their resolution once the Official Couple got together and circumstances no longer threatened to tear them apart. (An early attempt to woo her didn't work because she would have stopped being wooed if the next day started. She was intrigued, not in love.) Therefore, we can blame Cupid for Phil's situation as well.
    • My own instinct is that it's only when he became not only a man who deserved Rita's love but a man that he himself could genuinely like and be proud of that the 'curse' ended. He even says it at one point, when Rita accuses him of only loving himself; "I don't even like myself." His whole character before the movie is someone who hates everything, and it's pretty clear that he hates himself most of all. Being a selfish jerkass who exploits the day for personal gain doesn't break the cycle, doing good deeds for selfish motives (seducing Rita) doesn't work, retreating into despair, nilhilism and suicide doesn't work, and even philanthropy for genuinely good reasons doesn't work by itself (as witnessed by the old homeless man who, no matter what he does, he simply can't save). It's notable that the day ends not only after he's become a genuinely nice man willing to help other people, but after he's also improved and enriched himself as a person; he's learned a musical instrument, learned how to ice-sculpt, and developed a fondness for poetry and literature. It's after a mixture of self-improvement, learning humility and helpfulness and yes, becoming a genuinely good and kind man that the day ends for Phil; one of the benefits of this is that he is now a man whom Rita could genuinely find herself falling in love with and who could genuinely love her back in return.
    • It's when he learns to tolerate Ned Ryerson. Even late on in the movie, when he's making himself a nicer person, he does everything he can to either avoid or drive away Ned, but by the final day has even learnt to put up with Ned; after all, we can all make ourselves nice to people we like or want to impress, but it takes real character to do the same with people who drive us up the wall.
      • ^^^ Now *that* is some FUNNY shit!
    • Maybe he needed to live the absolute best possible day that he could, given the circumstances.

  • Why couldn't he have used his situation to his advantage? Like buying stock. Or selling all of his stuff and spending it on the greatest night of his life, every night. Or setting cats on fire. Or pretending to be a psychic.
    • Setting cats on fire?? What the fuck is wrong with you???!!!
      • It was a common form of entertainment at one time. One suspects more people would do it if there were no consequences (including permanent damage to the cat because, lo and behold, they come back for the next cycle unscratched).
      • Emphasis on one time.
    • Uh, he did, weren't you watching? He stole money from an armored car, used information he got from previous days to seduce women, and lived it up, eating and drinking anything he wanted. However, it all became boring as time wore on, and eventually he got tired of doing the same thing over and over again.
      • There's only so much fun you can have with one day in small town Pennsylvania.
      • Sure, and this was lampshaded too, when he's in a bar drinking and complaining that it had to be *this* day — in this crappy town, far away from all the greatest pleasures his life has had to offer, rather than that day he had glorious sex on the beach — that he has to live over and over. If we're going to take the Buddhist interpretation, this is the equivalent of people who complain about the problem of the human condition being specific human ills — disease, poverty, racism, etc. — rather than the problem of being a mortal, limited being in and of itself, just like Phil doesn't recognize that being trapped in *any* day over and over again would eventually become hell and that, in fact, the inconveniences and annoyances of being trapped in Punxatawney are in a way a blessing. They enable him to get over his hedonistic pleasure-seeking and begin to see opportunities to use his power to help people sooner, rather than later.
    • I'm pretty sure that the movie would have had to work a lot harder to redeem him if he started setting cats on fire, or killing people, or any of that other bad stuff. In fact, as a fan of Groundhog Day type episodes, I can't ever remember a protagonist, even a Jerk Ass one, doing anything violent/cruel. It usually stops at theft/seduction. And while it's fun to think of all the things you would do if you could live a day being omnipotent and without consequences, that can't actually carry a movie for very long.
      • He does kidnap and kill the groundhog at least once.
      • The italian remake elaborates on this a bit more: he does in fact actively hurt people, both physically (he hits a girl with a metal utensil just for the hell of it) and not (he phones an acquaintance and insults him, then phones another and cheerfully tells him he's had sex with his wife). He shoots at the birds he's supposed to be documenting with a submachinegun, and threatens his coworker with the same. Also, in his craze for responsibility-free sex, it is heavily hinted he goes bisexual as well. Which has nothing to do with being more evil, of course, but it does make for a less politically-correct film.
      • Don't forget as well, that it's implied that he's living the same day for a very long time (Word of God says ten years). The first thirty or forty or even the first one hundred times, sure, you have fun and screw with everything. What do you do after that? What do you do on the five hundredth time? What do you do when you reach cycle two thousand and everyone is still saying the same thing? Insanity ensues, people. Insanity ensues.
      • In the DVD commentary, someone (the writer?) states that per formula the weatherman should have spent some time in a 'killing & destruction' phase but that would have changed the tone of the movie too much (to paraphrase the commentary: Did I really want John Woo directing the movie?)
      • when he describes all the ways he died, he listed "shot" and "stabbed" among them. This implies maybe he did get incredibly violent for a few cycles, and the film just didn't show that part.
      • There is the scene where he kills his three friends (as well as himself) by driving them all into a train.
      • Uh. No. No there's not. He dodges the train at the last second, only to crash the car and be arrested. After asking for some burgers and a shake. Oh, and some pancakes.
      • I thought it was flapjacks.
      • Too early for flapjacks?
      • Right, the butchered version I'd seen repeatedly before finally getting to watch the hopefully uncut version skips from the train coming toward them to waking up the next day, and never shows the cop car getting onto the tracks (it also moves the piano practice to much earlier in the film and leaves out the entire "killing the groundhog" sequence). Apparently, it's far more acceptable to kill yourself and two other people than it is to move out of the way of a train and allow a pursuant police car (and its occupant[s]) to be flattened.
      • I highly doubt the police car was hit. I'm pretty sure they got out of the way when the train shows up.
      • The police car is both behind Phil's car and is presumably not being driven by a man taking a wild and reckless gamble on the likelihood that he's going to wake up with the day reset to an earlier point where he's fine and dandy. It's likely that once the driver realised a train was heading towards him s/he either swerved off the tracks, hit reverse as quickly as he could until s/he reached a point where that was possible or just hit the breaks and leapt out of the car as quickly as possible. Either way, the inhabitants of the police car are likely to be okay.
    • Furthermore, as much as repeating the day gives him countless options of things he can do, he's still limited by elements that are out of his power to change; he can't, for example, change the snowstorm that ultimately traps him in the town. This limits what he can practically do even in this repeating day, since as noted above there's a limit on how much you can do over one day in a small town. Even if he buys stock over the phone, it's worthless; he'll just lose it the next day and have to start from scratch (and in any case, it's established that communications with the outside world are down because of the snowstorm). His stuff is in his home in Pittsburgh; how's he going to reach it to sell it?

  • As much as I love this movie, did anyone else feel Squick when they get together at the end? From what I can tell, Phil spent several decades going through Groundhog Day and retained all his memories. By the end of the movie, he's probably the oldest person in the town.
    • I thought Word of God said that he only spent ten years in Groundhog Day. Well, "only". But it's nowhere as squicky as the original estimate, ten thousand years.
      • Just curious, what's the source on those times? For all the times I've seen the movie, I just assumed he spent no more than a few months in the time loop.
      • The commentary on the Special Edition DVD says that they bounced around some idea for how long Phil was stuck and settled on "About ten years".
      • I always figured about 5-10 years. I mean, once you account for all the "repeat" days (days where he basically did the same things as others), that sounds about right.
      • I always figured he was stuck in the time loop for... you know, six weeks. Because of the whole "six more weeks of Winter" thing.
      • If you count the number of days you actually see represented in the film, there are exactly 42, which aligns with the forecasted "six more weeks of winter". This might imply that Phil's curse had a set expiration date all along, and that personal growth had nothing to do with it. But who knows?
      • He mentions he was shot, stabbed, poisoned, blown up, electructed, hanged, yet we never see any of this, plus Word of God says it's "about ten years" (though originally, and depending on which writer you ask today, it's 10,000 years) and was only broken after he became a better person.
      • This troper is here to tell you that accumulating that quantity of piano proficiency in that period of time is IMPOSSIBLE. Not just hard, not even "you would have to be Franz Liszt" hard, but rather it simply can't be done. You can't build that much muscle memory so fast, let alone do it while spending as much time as he does doing all that other stuff. It has to be longer.
      • How would he build up muscle memory anyway? His muscles, along with the rest of his body, would be reset to the condition they were in that morning.
      • Muscle memory happens in the brain (specifically the hippocampus), not actually in the muscles themselves. And his brain can't be resetting, since he remembers the previous days of the loop.
      • And he says that it took six months to learn to flip cards into a hat, so that would seem to be a minimum time-frame...
      • He doesn't say that he picked it up while stuck in the time loop; it's something that he learned over a "normal" six months of his life. I personally believe he was only caught in the cycle for the number of days shown plus the minimum number of days needed to account for everything he references doing off camera (so probably two months total); if he was doing this any longer then that, there's no way he would have been in such good spirits towards the end. The Word of God stated below doesn't count anyway, since they didn't use the idea in production.
      • From what I saw, it's pretty much outright stated that he learnt it during the time loop; the exact words are:
        Rita: It'd take me a year to get good at this.
        Phil: Nah, six months, four-to-five hours a day and you'd be an expert.
        Rita: Is this what you do with eternity?
        Phil: Now you know.
      • I'm surprised he didn't lose count. Since any kind of record would be reset by 6 AM, he'd have to remember for how many days he had been practising. For six months.
      • Actually, that's not quite true. Keeping track of anything would simply require keeping track of the last iteration, in which he kept track of the last iteration, etc. For example - on morning of Day 1, write a big '1' on the wall in magic marker. On Day 2, you know yesterday was Day 1, so write a big '2' on the now-blank wall... and so on. You only need to remember what was written on the wall 'yesterday' to keep track.
      • That's easy at day two. At day two thousand four hundred and ninetyseven, not that easy. Or, if we're going for the millennium run, day one hundred and fortyseven thousand, six hundred and fiftythree.
      • Alternatively, he doesn't record precisely every day he's in the loop — like said above, he'd soon lose count — but he keeps it to track of how long it takes him to complete certain tasks, as part of his whole 'finding stuff to do to stop me from going insane' phase. For example, he uses the method above or something similar to keep rough track of how long it takes him to learn how to flip cards into a hat just as a way of keeping focus.
      • The original idea had Phil reading through the public library one page per day and going through the entire library before the end of his ordeal.
      • This troper recalls the other Wiki mentioning that along with the Word of God stating Phil was cursed, they also intended to have Phil relive that day not just for months or years, but for a MILLENNIUM. Fate Worse than Death indeed. When I read that, the movie suddenly became a LOT more nightmarish for me.
      • Hence the Buddhism analogy. It hits home exactly why the Buddhists believe that being able to remember your past lives seems cool at first but becomes a horrible curse unless you can use that knowledge to free yourself from reincarnation permanently.
      • It would still have been a different movie if it had been thousands of years he'd been trapped — it would've necessitated the different ending they had in mind, where Phil eventually truly becomes a sort of godlike being.
      • I thought that the comments made by Phil at various parts of the movie were small hints as to how long he had been in the loop up to that point, in order to give the impression of each day we are shown NOT happening one right after the other. He tells one of the women he dates that he's seen the movie he's taking her to "a hundred times". Later he mentions the six-month card trick thing. Another smaller example is his list of suicides. One assumes each was successful in killing Phil, and he really can't kill himself more than once a day.
      • Just a nipick, but 10,000 years is ten millenia, not a millenium.
    • Why Squick? What's wrong with him dating her, she's old enough to make her own choices. Right, is he supposed to spend the rest of his life alone, now that he's far older than anyone who looks his age?
    • In any case, he's aged emotionally and mentally, but not physically; as far as the other characters in the movie are aware, he's more mature, nicer and wiser than he was the day before, but he's only physically aged one day. From their perspective, it's a matter of "Hey, Phil used to be a jerk, but now he's pretty cool for some reason!" However long he's been in the loop — ten years, ten thousand years, a millennium, whatever — he's still physically the same age he was when he entered it, as is Rita. And she's a consenting adult, as is he.
    • In fairness, while he has lived a lot more days than she has, he isn't older than her in the same way that, say, a 90-year-old is older than her, because the extra days he lived were all variations of the same day, whereas a 90 year-old would have experienced all sorts of changes that Phil never did.
    • I think the amount of time he spends in the loop can be calculated from how much better he gets at the piano. There's a lot of marvelling going on that he becomes 'fluent in French', but memorising a few lines from a Jacques Brel song is not fluency in French, as suggested by his smirk when Rita says "You speak French?!" and he smugly murmurs "Oui" - he's faking. (He's still a Jerkass at this point, remember.) On the other hand, he goes from barely being able to play a scale to being a really good jazz pianist who can flawlessly quote Rachmaninov in mid-solo. Learning to be that good at an instrument would take him about ten to fifteen years if he started as a kid, and kids soak up education better than adults. Considering all the other things Phil does around town during the day when he's being a Nice Guy so that he can't just spend all day practising, I reckon it would take him more than twenty years of practising a few hours a day for a middle-aged man to get that amount of theory into his brain and to train up his fingers to that point. So, add that to his Jerkass period and account for his time spent trying to be a better person and I think about 40-50 years sounds about right.
      • Word of God originally said he was stuck for 10,000 years, but they've since settled at "about ten years".

  • In the time-traveling television show Seven Days, the hero occasionally makes a romantic move that causes the love interest's feelings to deepen. But then he has to go back. And he realizes he cannot use this newfound knowledge to romance her, it is not fair. But Bill has no problem with this. He can anticipate her every feeling. SQUICK.
    • Yeah, which is why he stops doing it, and only gets the girl — and gets his freedom — when he *stops trying* to romance her and she genuinely falls in love with the man he's become.
    • When Phil does this in the movie with the other ladies he seduces, it's depicted as being sleazy and unethical. Furthermore, Rita saw through his every attempt to try and seduce her this way anyway, even if she doesn't actually know how he came by this knowledge (she simply accuses him of calling her friends and prying).

  • The amount of time between the events early in the day seems fuzzy. For most of the movie, no matter how quickly or slowly Phil moves (most notably on the third day), he always runs into "pork chop" at the top of the stairs, Ned always spots him at the same place, Rita always asks "where have you been?" and he's always just in time for the groundhog to come out. But on the last day, he shows up early while Larry and Rita are setting up, and he's brought coffee and pastries. And we find out later that he's bought insurance from Ned. Where did the extra time come from? It's not like he can wake up earlier. Maybe he found a shortcut at some point and maybe he went looking for Ned later, but it's a stretch.
    • Not really. He'd literally memorized every single detail of the day. By avoiding the unnecessary conversations and moving fairly quickly he could have done everything portrayed in that day fairly quickly. The point is he knows exactly what would happen in most conversations and he's had a lot of practice.
      • Doesn't make sense for his 3rd round through. He literally runs out of his room as fast as possible. Earlier loops, he stops for a chat and breakfast. He doesn't have anything memorized yet, but still runs into Ned outside, in the same place, despite probably being a full minute or two ahead of schedule. Ned wasn't waiting for him in the middle of the street for two full minutes.
    • Not to mention that he's been in this town for, from his point of view, years — he's no doubt intimately familiar with all of the shortcuts and quick routes in town, knows exactly what's going to happen when it's going to happen, and has adjusted his routine accordingly. He can't get up any earlier but he can, say, not bother looking out the window to see if it's still Groundhog Day, shower a bit faster, go a route to the park which gets him there quicker and avoids Ned (maybe even, with his new nice-guy persona, ask someone to give him a ride), etc. Furthermore, a lot of the things he does don't seem to require a great deal of time; it's a matter of, say, catching the kid, boom, move on to something else. No need to hang around unnecessarily.
      • Actually, this kind of thing has slightly bothered me too and I think you all are missing the point. Even at first, when his timing is different because he's spent more or less time doing something in his room before leaving it he still encounters Pork Chop and etc. The differences in timing aren't minute enough not to be noticeable and yet the screenplay still pretends that the timing is still exactly the same for each meeting.
      • Fridge Brilliance: the first few times, while his movements might be slightly out of whack, Phil is intentionally attempting to time things so that he meets Pork Chop, talks to the hotel manageress, encounters Ned, etc as an experiment to try and see whether he's just suffering deja-vu / going crazy or whether the day is repeating itself.
    • One of the later scenes where Phil meets Ned clearly occurs in a slightly different location and under slightly different circumstances than the initial meeting; presumably Phil avoided him towards the beginning of the day but either sought him out or made sure to be in a place where they'd 'coincidentally' meet up later on.
      • No, the dialogue makes it clear that they did meet up earlier on. It's just that Ned says the same thing at first when they meet up again.
      • Just to clarify, this isn't the bar scene being referred to just above; this is a "Phil?! Phil Connors?!" scene that takes place in a slightly different location than the standard one. It's subtle but there.
      • The scene in question (where Phil comes on to Ned to scare him off) looks like it's just across the street, and Phil walked over to Ned. Every time Ned saw Phil, they're on opposite sides of the street, and Ned walks over to Phil.

        The other scene, near the end, Ned says he hadn't seen Phil in 25 years when Phil runs into him and buys just about every kind of insurance from him.
    • Whatever the in-universe explanation, ultimately I think this has to go down to Willing Suspension of Disbelief or such. It's simply a shorthand the filmmakers use to let the audience know that the day is in fact repeating itself, since if it was realistically different in the way that the OP complains it isn't here, this would be less clear to the audience and it would just come across as being different days entirely, which would defeat the purpose of the movie. Basically, it's something you just have to suck up and accept in order to follow the premise of the movie.

  • On his Final Day, how come the piano teacher recognizes him? That implies he got a piano lesson, but why would he have done that once he was an accomplished pianist?

  • I always wondered how Phil adjusted to NOT being in groundhog day afterwards. He'd look at his watch and then remember he didn't have to catch the kid, he'd cross the road without looking and nearly get run over etc.
    • The human mind can frequently acclimate to new living conditions more quickly than it thinks it can. It wouldn't take him all that long, I think. And really, how much would it bother him? He's free.
      • Prisoners freed from long periods of incarceration aren't always "free". They can't adapt to the outside world anymore and may commit crimes just so they can be locked up again and return to their cells.
      • This is slightly different from physical incarceration in a literal sense. For one thing, one of the reasons that prisoners struggle when released from jail is usually because they have lost a whole lot of time when behind bars and the world has changed significantly while they've been away; old friends and family have gone or died, old haunts and familiar locations have changed beyond recognition, and so forth. They can't cope because the world's too different — a problem that Phil will not really have, because the world post-time bubble is essentially exactly the same as it was pre-time bubble, except one day has passed. Oh, and he now has a beautiful, kind-hearted girlfriend to help him with things, which probably won't hurt.

        Furthermore, those prisoners who commit a crime just to be sent back to prison are exercising a choice that's available to them, whereas it's presumably not available to Phil; even if he does struggle with reacquainting himself with the world, he can't just 'commit a crime' metaphorically speaking to get himself re-sealed in a time bubble. Since he ultimately has no choice but to get to grips with no longer being in the time bubble, presumably he eventually just knuckles down and gets used to it. He probably has a few of the kind of brain-farts mentioned above (thinking he has to be somewhere, assuming he knows what's going to happen), but a sufficient amount of time faced with changing circumstances will probably help him get over that. And ultimately, considering how elated he was when it eventually ended and that either way he ended up being fairly zen about life by the end of the movie, he presumably won't struggle that much to reacclimatise.

  • Why doesn't Phil ever steal the van and get out of town before the blizzard hits?
    • Exactly. He could have been back in Pittsburgh well before the storm hits and spent the day there.
      • Could be that the storm is part of the curse; remember, it was originally supposed to skip Pittsburgh and the surrounding area entirely. Possibly no matter whenever he tries to leave, the storm shows up to stop him.
      • Alternatively; stealing a news van is the kind of thing that tends to get you noticed by cops; not exactly a subtle choice of getaway vehicle. Not much good making a break for it if you're just going to end up getting arrested anyway.
      • Yeah, but by a different town's police and spending the day in a different jail cell with different people - that probably would have been like heaven after a few hundred repeats.
      • And then you repeat that once or twice, the appeal wears off. Besides, who says there's a different town close enough by?
      • When they do leave as in the original version of the day, it's still fairly early in the day, and the roads were already closed. I think the film pretty clearly gets the point across that the blockade was unavoidable. Even if he had leapt straight into a vehicle at 6:00 and started driving then, he still would have run into it or at least got stuck in the road by the blizzard anyhow. And even if he'd made it to Pittsburgh, he'd still have less than a day to spend there. The important thing is how he's stuck in time, not in space.
      • Anybody ever been to a town where's there's only one way into/out of it? That part (and yes,I know it helps the story) has always bugged me about the movie.
      • Yes, actually. Grew up in one. There was more than one road out of town, but if you were heading in a certain direction (like Phil) you only had one road out of town that direction. If a wreck or something shut it down, you'd have to go pretty far out of the way and sidetrack to get going in the right direction again (assuming you knew the roads well enough to do that.)
      • After an eternity in the town, any direction would have been good enough. Trekking through a blizzard would have been good enough, especially since he's probably associating the groundhogging with the town (I mean he associated it with the Ground Hog)
      • Punxsutawney and Pittsburgh are 64 miles apart - about an hour. Drive until the car can't go forward anymore - or steal an off-roader - I'm sure someone has a snowmobile - then get out and walk. Phil's died many times. I don't see how the fear of frostbite and hypothermia would bother him.
      • Maybe he did go to Pittsburgh? We just never saw it. I imagine stealing a snowmobile, driving through blizzard and walking to a city every day also gets tiresome at some point.
      • Plus, it might be an hour's drive but that's presumably a hour's drive without a bloody great snowstorm assaulting you as you're driving; It's clearly a pretty heavy one since they have to close roads, and even with a snowmobile or a snowplough, you can only go so fast if the storm's still raging. Assuming by the time you've driven as far as you can go before the storm, located and stolen the plough, driven through the snow as far as you can and / or walked back to the city and assuming you don't freeze to death on the way, you have time to do... what, exactly?
    • Who says he didn't? We don't get to see everything he does in the ten years he's stuck in the time loop. For all we know he stole a sports car from some random dude in the street and drove all day and all night just to get away from the place of his damnation - actually, it's fairly likely he did at some point - just to find himself again in it at 6AM.
    • If you look at the first question, it's implied on the day that he goes to jail, he'll end up in his bed at 6am, regardless of where he is. If he went out of town early in the day, he'd most likely still be in that bed at 6am no matter where he is. If he could reappear there after committing suicide, he could certainly do it after leaving the town.
    • This seems to be failing to spot the forest in favour of focussing on the absence between trees just a bit here in that ultimately, whether he could get to Pittsburgh or not, it doesn't matter. Getting to Pittsburgh isn't going to break the time loop, and he's going to get just as sick of the routine of getting there and doing whatever he can or has time to do in Pittsburgh as he does at Punxsutawney. Whether he goes there or not, we don't see it because it really affect the story that's being told or add anything new to it.

  • Why did the Powers That Be pick Phil for this experience? Basically, he does have godlike influence, in that the entire universe is put on hold to wait for his Character Development (unless each of those February 2's is followed by a distinct February 3 in an Alternate History manner, which would be different). Phil may be somewhat of a jerk, but there are far worse people who could use the self-improvement, and far better people who could use the reward. Huh, maybe I just answered my own question.
    • In the first draft it was a gypsy curse (why is probably explained in it, but probably pissing off a gyspy), the second, a scorned ex-girlfriend put the curse on him, both of which can only be broken by becoming a better person. It's possible one or the other is still the case in the final version. It's never explicitely stated that the entire universe is put on halt; perhaps Phil's loop is in a seperate universe, and his breaking of the loop brings him back to the regular universe.

  • I always assumed each day was an Alternate History. After he jumps off a building, Larry and Rita are shown identifing his body. If this curse was really just Phil-centric, wouldn't time skip from his death to 6AM?
    • Maybe not? Maybe Phil continues "as normal", no matter what happens, before resetting at 6.00am...meaning he gets to spend the rest of the day as a corpse before blammo, back in bed.

  • Why didn't he correct his earlier mistaken forecast say, during the Groundhog Day presentation in front of the camera? Presumably, a number of Pittsburghers and others had gone out of town thinking they would be safe from the blizzard. Giving them all a heads up might save lives (or at least inconveniences), would be a nice addition to his various good deeds, and would match his area of authority well.
    • It wouldn't matter as the snow had already hit hard out of town.
    • He can't really do it in the report he's shooting, since that's just a cute little segment to be shown before that day's weather report, not an actual weather report, and it probably didn't go out live; by the time it airs, they've already gone about their usual daily business and found out about the storm anyway.
    • You are correct about the recording not being live. I believe the first loop has him doing a sarcastic lame report and Rita says "Okay let's do it again without the sarcasm." They have all the time they want to get it right, although getting him talking with everyone cheering is a far better shot.

  • All right, so he breaks the "curse" by karmic means, and not only through generosity and lifesaving, but by self-improvement in artistic areas. That's cool, and it makes for satisfying scenes like his playing a mean piano for the townspeople to dance to. Except wait he got that good by bribing the piano teacher into kicking out her pupil, who walks out the door with the saddest expression and given no visual evidence to the contrary, this happened hundreds of times. Isn't his piano skill tainted by that suffering (and the piano teacher's misdeed)? Has Phil really changed? (It's not like it was necessary for the film to have to go that way he could have just bribed a teacher who was planning to take the day off, or they could have had a scene indicating that later lessons don't involve the girl missing her lesson.)
    • He probably doesn't get a lesson on the final day, so all of the times that he "stole" the pupil's lesson technically didn't happen.
      • The piano teacher proudly tells Rita that Phil is her student.
      • Although as noted above, it's entirely possible that Phil made a point of paying her a visit to thank her for the music lessons by pretending to be an old student back in town.
    • It only really happened once, and that's if he chose to get a lesson on the final day (which is unlikely given his skill by that point). It's not like the girl is stuck in a never ending loop of rejection. Missing one lesson isn't going to be devastating, most likely. The teacher is equally at fault here, too; Phill doesn't kick the girl out, the teacher does. Okay he bribed her, but she didn't need to take it. As for finding another teacher, maybe there isn't another teacher in the town. He's pretty limited in his choice, given that he can't leave the town and that he has to time the lessons around the other things he does in the town (such as robbing the bank truck to get the money he needs for the lessons in the first place).
      • Actually, most likely he doesn't need to rob a bank truck for the lessons. In one loop Phil gave the homeless man a wad of cash, an event that happen early in the morning before he had time to rob the truck. Besides, there may be a chance that the banks are still open and that he got the money from the account. Groundhog day isn't exactly a federal holiday.
    • The bribing thing, to be fair, occurs when he's still in that jerk-to-nice guy transitional phase — and furthermore, we only see him resort to bribery that one time. It's quite possible that once he's figured out the little girl and piano teacher's schedules and found some way to work it in to everything else he has to do that day, he could theoretically make sure to turn up for a piano lesson at a point where the teacher is free and the little girl's at school or something. And, as noted above, getting one music lesson abruptly cut off is unlikely to be a life-scarring event, and she probably didn't 'suffer' that much; even in the timelines where Phil did bribe the teacher to kick the girl out, she probably got over her disappointment fairly quickly.

  • Wouldn't he go insane if he spent 10,000 identical days (over 27 years) desperately trying to get out? Has anyone read The Jaunt by Stephen King?
    • He does go insane. He kills himself over and over, and those are just the things we see and hear about from him. There are probably tons of other things he's tried too, like go on a shooting spree or try to blow the town up or just spend a couple of "weeks" sitting in his room doing nothing. Eventually he becomes somewhat tranquil about the whole thing, starts thinking about the bright side (he has literally infinite time to better himself), sets himself goals (like learning how to ice sculpt, how to play the piano) and so on. By the end of the movie he's probably got kind of a zen mindset going on.
    • Word of God was originally 10,000 years, but has since been changed to only ten years, though I think it may still depends on which writer you ask.

  • Did Needle-nose Ned really know Phil or did he just do research on a minor celebrity to sell him insurance?
    • Ned says at one point "I dated your sister until you told me not to", so they probably really did know each other.
    • There is an argument either way since Phil uses the EXACT SAME IDEA to bed that attractive woman, although he had a loop or two to study up on her first.
    • You cannot really accuse Ned for that. There is no evidence that says that Ned researched him other than the fact that Phil didn't recognize him on day one. And that is only because he was too self absorbed to notice an old high school pal. Besides, Phil had several years in which Ned was part of his day. Phil would have several days to either remember him or realize that he was lying.

  • Does it bother anyone else by the end of the film, Phil knows all these details about Rita from spending years doing the same day over, but from her perspective she has only known him about two days?
    • That's kinda the point. When he used those details to get close to her, she was repulsed and didn't fall for him. When he didn't use them and instead focused on making himself better, she did fall for him naturally.
    • Besides, what's the big deal? He could have learned about those things naturally... and, in fact, did, just by asking her in other loops. Clearly it's stuff she would have been willing to divulge to him after knowing him for a single day if he just acted properly. It's not like he learned blackmail material or something. By the end it's shown that knowing about her has actually just made him fall in love with her.
    • Imagine a Groundhog Day Sequel, where he eventually cracks and tries to tell her what happened to him in those 10-50-10000 years or however long, or he slips up and reveals details he knows about her, and it all comes out, and Rita will forever question his mental health... Please God don't let that happen this is one of my favourite movies ever, don't ruin it with a sequel, oh Powers That Be! thank you.
      • Why would that happen? He explicitly told her about what happened during one of the repeats and, once he managed to convince her he was telling the truth, she was perfectly understanding about it.
      • Not only that, but it's implied he told her on the final repeat as well:
        Rita: What is with you? There is something going on with you.
        Phil: Do you want the short version or the long version?
        Rita: Let's start with the short and go from there.

  • A minor nitpicking plot hole. On the first day, Phil loses his room at the bed & breakfast because of the unexpected blizzard and suffers from a cold shower, but wakes up back in the bed & breakfast on the second day. Come the second night, history repeated itself; new hotel, cold shower. But he goes to bed breaking a pencil and it's intact the next day, showing that he spent the night at the bed & breakfast. Did he switch hotels within the same night?
    • He probably didn't lose his room at all; he mentions that he intends to check out, but presumably once it became clear he wasn't going to leave he just went back there and was able to get the same room. He's only at the hotel because that's where the big Groundhog Day party is being held and everyone else is there.

  • What would've happened if he pulled an all-nighter?
    • I think it's implied on the day he gets arrested that... hey. Wait a second...

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