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YMMV / Groundhog Day

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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.
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  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
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  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: Getting the girl will solve your problems. Or "solving your problems will get you the girl." Neither one's all that family-friendly, but the core concept — that you can't move forward without solving your problems — is quite sound.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Hynden Walch.
  • Values Dissonance: As a part of his perfect run towards the end of the film, Phil walks into a restaurant, performs the Heimlich Maneuver on the mayor, saving his life, then turns around and lights a woman's cigarette for her. Public opinion of smoking has come a long way in 20 years.
  • 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. One Washington Post critic 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?
  • 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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