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YMMV / Groundhog Day

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  • Alternative Character Interpretation: On the final day, when watching Phil's awesome performance, the piano teacher tells the crowd that she taught him, though thank to the loop, from her perspective she at most only taught him a single day. Is she a pretentious woman who convinced herself she created a musician virtuoso after a single lesson? Did Phil use the knowledge he gained about Punxsutawney's inhabitants to plant in her mind fake memories about him being her student before? Or was it an example of Ripple Effect-Proof Memory?
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  • Alternative Joke Interpretation: After Phil catches a boy falling from a tree, the boy doesn't thank him. Phil responds, "See you tomorrow...maybe." Some took it as meaning that Phil might not be there to save the ungrateful kid in the next time loop, while others thought he was referring to the fact that the time loop could break the next day.
  • And You Thought It Would Fail: In his 1993 review of the film, Washington Post film critic Desson Howe recommended it but tempered his praise by stating that it would “never be designated a national film treasure by the Library of Congress”; in 2006 the movie was designated a national film treasure by the Library of Congress. Howe noted the irony himself.
  • Award Snub: Many believe this is one of Bill Murray's all time greatest and most heartfelt performances, causing some to say he should've made that year's Oscar lineup.
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  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: Phil wearing a cowboy costume and taking an unnamed woman dressed as a French maid (whom he insists refer to him as "Bronco Billy") to see the [fictional] movie Heidi II. It's very random, is never properly set up (we never see this woman in any other scenes), nor is it ever brought up again.
  • Critical Dissonance: Averted. Critics and fans alike loved the film. As the years have passed, literary/philosophical anthologies have been published with academics competing to claim the film's message as emblematic of their field. The only group to snub the film has ultimately been the Academy.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: Phil committing suicide... jarring. Repeatedly committing suicide? Depressing. Him casually recounting this and then declaring himself a god to Rita the next day? Strangely hilarious.
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  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Ned Ryerson, chiefly because Stephen Tobolowsky nails the right amount of overbearingly Nice Guy Pollyanna charm that would annoy Phil and amuse the viewer.
  • Epileptic Trees: The filmmakers kept the total amount of time Phil spends in the time loop ambiguous. Harold Ramis made some conflicting statements about how long he thought it would be, ranging from 10 to 40 years. Given all of the skills that Phil has learned by the end of the film, several decades would seem to be reasonable.
  • Esoteric Happy Ending: In the BFI Modern Classics edition of Groundhog Day, the author notes the film ends with "Almost Like Being in Love" and Phil making a half-measure of renting a place in Punxsutawney inside of outright moving there, indicating he still fears commitment. In addition, Phil will be dealing with the consequences of his actions, such as the young couple who might not be a match.
  • Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory: Harold Ramis has pointed out that people tell him this film is an obvious allegory for (insert religion of choice here) where Phil breaks the loop after following that religion's key principles. The nature of the reincarnation loop itself and the fact that his goal is to escape it fits Buddhism pretty perfectly. Numerous professional works have also analyzed from a perspective of nihilism and/or existentialism.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Despite the film's tremendous success, Danny Rubin has never sold another screenplay due to his refusal to allow his work to be altered at all. It took adapting the story into a stage musical almost three decades later for him to have another success.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Gamers familiar with The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, its similar emphasis on the "Groundhog Day" Loop, coupled with altruistic side-quests will get a massive grin as Phil starts actively helping the townsfolk, and often checking his watch, panicking if he thinks he's too late to help someone who needs him on the loop.
    • Two decades after Groundhog Day came Edge of Tomorrow, another "Groundhog Day" Loop movie... where not only the main female supporting character involved in the loop is named "Rita", but she also ends as the protagonist's Love Interest.
  • Ho Yay: Played with to HILARIOUS effect with Phil and Ned at one point.
    Phil: I don't know where you're headed... but can you call in sick?
    • Based on Phil's expressions, it is evident that he was looking for a way to get rid of Ned. And it worked.
  • Memetic Mutation: This film has forever changed people's perception of the phrase "Groundhog Day". Admit it - as soon as you hear the phrase, your immediate first thought is the idea of someone trapped in a repeating time loop, and the actual holiday a distant second.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
    • The assistant weatherman who's taking Phil's slot for the 10 o'clock show? It's Mozzie! Only slightly less bald.
    • The groom who receives the WrestleMania tickets? Michael Shannon.
    • The young bride-to-be/bride Shannon's character marries at the end of the film? Hynden Walch, who would later go on to voice Starfire in Teen Titans a decade after this film's release.
    • Larry, the often addlepated cameraman, is Roland Schitt!
  • Song Association: It’s impossible to hear “I Got You, Babe” without thinking of this movie.
  • Vindicated by History: It did okay at the box office and the critics of the time liked it well enough. Within 10 years it would come to be widely regarded as a classic film comedy. Washington Post's Desson Howe deemed it a good movie but opined that it would "never be designated a national treasure by the Library of Congress." Guess what title was added to the LoC's National Film Registry in 2006? (That's not to say he didn't like it — he said it was the funniest American comedy since Tootsie, which Murray also appeared in. In a later review, he chuckled at his It Will Never Catch On gaffe.)
    • The fact that the film as it finally turned out is truly a masterpiece helps explain Murray's and Ramis's ultimate reconciliation. They fought over their vision of the film, and ultimately both contributed to what made it great.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: The song "Hope" in the musical, which covers Phil's period of repeatedly killing himself. It uses various techniques and a generous helping of visual misdirection to switch Phil's actor out with another so he can keep leaving the stage, and then pop out of his bed a second later.


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