John McClane, officer of the NYPD, tries to save his wife Holly Gennaro and several others that were taken hostage by German terrorist Hans Gruber during a Christmas party at the Nakatomi Plaza in Los Angeles.
A young man is accidentally sent thirty years into the past in a time-traveling DeLorean invented by his friend, Dr. Emmett Brown, and must make sure his high-school-age parents unite in order to save his own existence.
Michael J. Fox,
A weather man is reluctantly sent to cover a story about a weather forecasting "rat" (as he calls it). This is his fourth year on the story, and he makes no effort to hide his frustration. On awaking the 'following' day he discovers that it's Groundhog Day again, and again, and again. First he uses this to his advantage, then comes the realisation that he is doomed to spend the rest of eternity in the same place, seeing the same people do the same thing EVERY day. Written by
Early drafts of the script explained the cause of Phil Connors' weird experience: a disaffected ex-lover named Stephanie cast a spell on him to teach him a lesson. See more »
When Phil is driving his car down the quarry ravine in a suicidal attempt, there is clearly no driver visible. See more »
Somebody asked me today, "Phil, if you could be anywhere in the world, where would you like to be?" And I said to him, "Prob'ly right here - Elko, Nevada, our nation's high at 79 today." Out in California, they're gonna have some warm weather tomorrow, gang wars, and some *very* overpriced real estate. Up in the Pacific Northwest, as you can see, they're gonna have some very, very tall trees.
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I thought the film was terrific when I saw it in theaters twelve years ago. Recently in watching it again on cable, I was amazed at the quality of the screenplay. I didn't notice the first time. But on repeated viewings (like reliving Groundhog Day), I was impressed at the story created by the writers. This film is so much more than witty jokes and comic riffs arranged around a gimmick. It has an internal logic and consistency that is very rarely found in screenplays. No joke seemed disposable, and as you laugh your way along, the philosophy underlying the film takes over your imagination.
Check the IMDb listings for this film's awards: look at the numerous British awards for writing. And yet this film was not even nominated for an Oscar. It is so rare that a film's jokes seem just as fresh more than a decade later, but I believe that is because the theme underlying the humor will never go out of fashion.
The acting was terrific, and I now think this is Bill Murray's best work (though I didn't take it seriously when I first saw the film.) But the screenplay is the one of the finest ever written. I don't know if it's studied in film schools, but it ought to be.
* * * * *
ON HAROLD RAMIS' DEATH: Ramis told The Associated Press in a 2009 story about the 50th anniversary of Second City. "When you hit it right, those things last."
I found that quote in a story on Ramis' death. The story curiously did not mention "Groundhog Day." If there is any film to serve as a fitting memorial for Harold Ramis, it must be "Groundhog Day." A totally perfect script, perfectly executed. He hit it right, and when will he get the recognition he deserved decades ago?
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