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It's groundhog day... again!
February 2, 2011 4:01 PM   Subscribe


 
Not enough.
posted by kbanas at 4:03 PM on February 2, 2011


I swear I've read this before.
posted by 2bucksplus at 4:05 PM on February 2, 2011 [16 favorites]


I think I heard that actually Punxsutawney Phil is just in Cameron's head and none of it really happened.
posted by Babblesort at 4:05 PM on February 2, 2011 [11 favorites]


Now before I start, a small disclaimer – this article doesn’t take into account days in which Phil does nothing (like those days when all you want to do is lie in bed and play with yourself – which he inevitably will have done)
posted by Mister Fabulous at 4:05 PM on February 2, 2011


A rare instance where a double post would be apt.
posted by kersplunk at 4:09 PM on February 2, 2011 [18 favorites]


I think this article fails to account for the accelerative effect on learning occasioned by true love. Also, you can study piano and french on the same day. I'd say you could combine about half the days, and he probably spends three or four years in there.

Now I wonder whether he wouldn't go insane when he actually woke up on a different day.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 4:09 PM on February 2, 2011


he must have been putting in two or three hours of practice a day at least (any more and he would be in severe danger of carpal tunnel syndrome or tendinitis)

If he can come back from the dead each day, I doubt he's going to get an RSI. Which leads us to the real question - STDs contracted on Groundhog Day... gone?
posted by Paragon at 4:10 PM on February 2, 2011 [7 favorites]


Fabulous!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:10 PM on February 2, 2011


12 years to become fluent in French? Really?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 4:11 PM on February 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


> Second, and far more difficult stage is to take things Phil says as indicators for other days we do not see.

I have been stabbed, shot, poisoned, frozen, hung, electrocuted, and burned.


And then there are the other days and things we do not see, where he stabs, shoots, poisons, freezes, hangs, electrocutes and burns other people. Seriously, if you went through that kind of experience for that long, you'd probably cease to think of the people surrounding you as human in any meaningful way at some point. And go fucking crazy.

Anyway, this morbid line of thinking is in keeping with my long-held belief that someone should remake Groundhog Day as a Roman Polanski-esque psychological horror movie (also Freaky Friday or one of the other body-switch comedies).
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:13 PM on February 2, 2011 [21 favorites]


It'd probably take a while to become fluent in French living in Punxsutawney - it's not exactly an immersive environment for French speakers.
posted by kersplunk at 4:14 PM on February 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


You laugh about Ferris, but there is the Ferris Bueller timeline problem.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:15 PM on February 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


I still wish someone would make a film from the original script of Groundhog Day, which supposedly had the character repeating the time loop for ten thousand years.
posted by gerryblog at 4:15 PM on February 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


I can't figure out why someone doesn't sell an alarm clock that plays this audio every Feb 2 at 6am so we can all live the dream.
posted by peeedro at 4:16 PM on February 2, 2011 [9 favorites]


Ned! RYERSON!
posted by Rhaomi at 4:18 PM on February 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


I obviously need to see the film again, as I am completely unable to remember anything involving someone in a French Maid outfit. And speaking solely for myself, if I was caught in a Groundhog Day style loop and found someone who would wear a French Maid outfit, that would probably add 25 years to the process.
posted by never used baby shoes at 4:18 PM on February 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


One thing I've always said about the time spent in Groundhog Day ... once you're certain you're stuck, and suicide isn't a ticket out, you could save yourself some time by acquiring a pistol and just carrying it around, committing suicide whenever you want to be done for the day.

Done with a piano lesson. BLAM.
Caught by the cops when trying to rob the armored car. BLAM.
Screwed up the ice sculpture, have to start over. BLAM.
Punched Ned Ryerson. Damn, I want to do that again. BLAM.
Fuck, I left my wallet in my hotel room. BLAM.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:18 PM on February 2, 2011 [81 favorites]


I am completely unable to remember anything involving someone in a French Maid outfit

It's a kind of a one-off skit moment, with Bill Murray showing up to a movie in a giant convertable wearing a spaghetti western poncho and outfit, and the woman he's with is in a french maid outfit. At the window he says "one adult and..." and the woman chimes in with "two... two adults."
posted by hippybear at 4:23 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Except you'd have to dedicate the beginning of each day to acquiring a pistol. I'm pretty sure your inventory resets every day too.
posted by flaterik at 4:25 PM on February 2, 2011 [13 favorites]


you could save yourself some time by acquiring a pistol

Remember, you can't cache anything (other than memories) from previous days. So unless you started the loop with a pistol, you'd have to spend time EVERY DAY getting one. Maybe you'd get lucky and discover there's on in a drawer in the house you're staying in. Otherwise, you'd have to steal one. Buying one wouldn't work, because you'd have to wait more than a day to be cleared. So you'd have to steal one every day.

This might not be too hard. Because, via trial and error, you could find out when that guy who keeps a gun in his car walks away and leaves his car door open. It would still be a pain the ass to have to go through this every day.
posted by grumblebee at 4:26 PM on February 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


(car door unlocked)
posted by grumblebee at 4:27 PM on February 2, 2011


You laugh about Ferris, but there is the Ferris Bueller timeline problem.

He fudged all his time estimates and messed up facts. There's no problem. (Why, for example, do they need to find a parking space at Wrigley Field if they have not yet picked up the Ferrari from the valet parking guys and could not, therefore, have driven to Wrigley Field?)
posted by The World Famous at 4:30 PM on February 2, 2011


So does his brain age?
posted by Artw at 4:30 PM on February 2, 2011


It strikes me that the author may have had too much time on his hands.
posted by Revvy at 4:32 PM on February 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


Maybe you'd get lucky and discover there's on in a drawer in the house you're staying in.

Yes, that's along the lines of what I was thinking of. You know where it's stored, so one of your early tasks each day is to go get it.

And, remember, you still start with a wallet, with valid credit cards and a bank account with whatever money you had at the beginning of the day. You could just walk into a gun shop and buy one (or buy a shotgun, if PA has a waiting period for handguns).

In my world, the groundhog comes out of his hole and sees a plate of beans.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:32 PM on February 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


They should make a Groundhog Day 2.

And have it be the same movie except for the number 2 CGI'ed onto the title.
posted by Cog at 4:32 PM on February 2, 2011 [75 favorites]


What happens if he eats before midnight, but something sticks in his teeth? Like a carraway or a sesame seed.
posted by Paragon at 4:32 PM on February 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


One thing I've always said about the time spent in Groundhog Day ... once you're certain you're stuck, and suicide isn't a ticket out, you could save yourself some time by acquiring a pistol and just carrying it around, committing suicide whenever you want to be done for the day.

ok. but there's a temporal and emotional overhead to the Sonny and Cher B&B restart. shower, breakfast, the misery of infinite repetition.

certainly if I screwed up the ice sculpture I'd just ask for another block of ice.
posted by rog at 4:33 PM on February 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


If he can magically reconstitute himself after a fiery car wreck, I'm thinking the carraway seed just kinda disappears.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:33 PM on February 2, 2011


Sorry, Gremlins 2 joke about gaming the rules of fantasy films.
posted by Paragon at 4:35 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am pretty convinced that the piano teacher is God (or what-have-you), orchestrating this whole time loop for Phil.
On his last "iteration", she says "That's my student", which means he had to have taken a lesson with her earlier that day. Wouldn't it seem strange for a guy with the skill he shows later that night on the piano to just wander in for a single piano lesson with some random smalltown lady? And for her to be proud enough of his accomplishments in that single lesson, to take all the credit for his skill?

It just seems so out-of-place, unless you take into consideration that she was talking about teaching him a different sort of Lesson.
posted by jozxyqk at 4:39 PM on February 2, 2011 [68 favorites]


>: "
Now I wonder whether he wouldn't go insane when he actually woke up on a different day.
"

I figured he was fine the first time he woke up on 2/3.

After he woke up on the third again, that's when he well and truly snapped.
posted by Drastic at 4:39 PM on February 2, 2011 [8 favorites]


I can't figure out why someone doesn't sell an alarm clock that plays this audio yt every Feb 2 at 6am so we can all live the dream.

It would need to play it Feb 3rd too. Or better yet, it could record your local radio station Feb 2nd and play that the morning of the 3rd.
posted by maryr at 4:41 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


He would have been much better off being with Scarlett Johansson day after day after day on that bed in the Japanese hotel (Lost In Translation), drinking and cuddling ...
posted by Postroad at 4:45 PM on February 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


>What happens if he eats before midnight, but something sticks in his teeth? Like a carraway or a sesame seed.
For that matter, what happens if he stays up past midnight? I guess I'd assume the reset actually happens when he falls asleep, but the movie doesn't explore what happens if he stays up all night -- or for several days! It must have crossed his mind at some point.
posted by aganders3 at 4:47 PM on February 2, 2011


I am pretty convinced that the piano teacher is God (or what-have-you), orchestrating this whole time loop for Phil.
On his last "iteration", she says "That's my student", which means he had to have taken a lesson with her earlier that day. Wouldn't it seem strange for a guy with the skill he shows later that night on the piano to just wander in for a single piano lesson with some random smalltown lady? And for her to be proud enough of his accomplishments in that single lesson, to take all the credit for his skill?

It just seems so out-of-place, unless you take into consideration that she was talking about teaching him a different sort of Lesson.


OMG! You blew my mind. Her saying, "That's my student." Has always bugged the shit out of me, too. It's this HUGE error in the movie. The only thing (in my humble opinion) that keeps it from being a perfect movie. Now, you have resolved my torment. Piano teacher is God. Yes!
posted by ColdChef at 4:49 PM on February 2, 2011 [19 favorites]


Apparently in one version of the screenplay they show him keeping track of time by going to the town library, reading one page of a book, putting it back and moving on; over the movie they show him gradually changing books, then shelves, then rows, until he reads the last page of the last book and breaks down.

It's a goddamn shame they didn't shoot that scene.
posted by mhoye at 4:51 PM on February 2, 2011 [58 favorites]


Harold Ramis once told somebody somewhere that he figured the day lasted 14 years. Then he came back later and said that he was probably wrong, it was more like between 30 and 40 years.

Personally, it was about an hour and a half.
posted by disclaimer at 4:52 PM on February 2, 2011


> I am pretty convinced that the piano teacher is God

I like this idea; never thought of it that way as it didn't seem out of place to me. I always figured he had gone in earlier that day, and possibly feigned being a beginner and making tremendous progress in order to convince her that she was an amazing teacher. I guess she'd have to be pretty thick to buy that act, though.
posted by aganders3 at 4:52 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


For that matter, what happens if he stays up past midnight?

You rat! You knew I was waiting for midnight!
posted by doublehappy at 4:53 PM on February 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


When I used to work in a video store I made it a rule that on Groundhog Day the store TV must have Groundhog Day playing over and over all day long. It drove everybody else a bit nuts I think, but I felt it was only fitting.
posted by wabbittwax at 4:54 PM on February 2, 2011 [10 favorites]


Using suicide to restart the day is a risky proposition, even if you're talking about shooting yourself in the face. Tons of people shoot themselves in the head and don't die. That would be a helluva way to be stuck for a day.
posted by nightchrome at 4:55 PM on February 2, 2011 [6 favorites]


Re: Gremlins, surely there must be some kind of metabolic limit for how much food they can ingest before a change, otherwise, say, boogers would trigger it? Said amount could be handwaved for plot reasons, of course.
posted by Artw at 4:58 PM on February 2, 2011


I am pretty convinced that the piano teacher is God

And Phil saving Buster's life at the end is the ultimate illustration of the lesson being taught: Phil is learning to be his brother's keeper, and his learning culminates in his saving the life of a character played by Bill Murray's actual brother.

But actually I think Phil went to the teacher earlier that day and did something to convince her that she had somehow taught him a valuable piano lesson.
posted by The World Famous at 4:58 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Apparently in one version of the screenplay they show him keeping track of time by going to the town library, reading one page of a book, putting it back and moving on; over the movie they show him gradually changing books, then shelves, then rows, until he reads the last page of the last book and breaks down.

Logical fallacy. Who can only read one page of a book?
posted by jenlovesponies at 5:02 PM on February 2, 2011


the piano teacher is God
So, like the ending of Quantum Leap? "You're not being leaped by God or Time or Fate but by a bartender?"
posted by Paragon at 5:05 PM on February 2, 2011


OK yeah, Ramis answered this. Not a question for the ages. But still fun to chat about.
posted by Brocktoon at 5:06 PM on February 2, 2011


Piano teacher is God. Yes!

So the movie is based on some sort of Tiger Mom theme? But goes out for Halloween, so the evidence is mixed.
posted by GuyZero at 5:15 PM on February 2, 2011


My ideal Groundhog Day 2 depicts February 3rd being relived ad infinitum by Rita, whose ultimate accomplishment - after forty years of reliving the same day, while Phil this time forgets each morning just like everyone else - is learning that Phil is an unbearable asshole and completely getting over his infatuation. An anti-love story, if you will.
posted by kaibutsu at 5:17 PM on February 2, 2011


For that matter, what happens if he stays up past midnight? I guess I'd assume the reset actually happens when he falls asleep, but the movie doesn't explore what happens if he stays up all night -- or for several days! It must have crossed his mind at some point.

Yes it does! The change-over doesn't happen at midnight- he stays up with with Rita past midnight, and that's when she's expecting it to occur. However, the switch happens at the moment the alarm clock goes off, regardless of whether he's asleep or not.
posted by spaltavian at 5:18 PM on February 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


See also the short film 12:01 P.M. for a much darker take on the Groundhog Day premise.
posted by Rhaomi at 5:18 PM on February 2, 2011 [13 favorites]


I can't tell if everybody is being sarcastic or they really don't get that the joke is that the piano teacher is foolishly proud for something for which she doesn't deserve credit, yet in fact she does deserve the credit.

I just can't tell anymore.
posted by Bookhouse at 5:20 PM on February 2, 2011 [21 favorites]


Finally, an excuse to type up the list I made last time I watched Groundhog Day. It differs slightly from the linked article, but overall is pretty close. There are bunch of times where it's really open to interpretation, particularly when he's trying to date Rita.
  1. Original day
  2. Initial realization
  3. First time in diner, bowling alley
  4. Joy of no consequences -- punch Ned, avoid puddle, gorge at diner
  5. Nancy Taylor
  6. Bank heist
  7. Start figuring out Rita -- "Who is your perfect guy?"
  8. Sweet vermouth, rocks with a twist
  9. Sweet vermouth, rocks with a twist, to world peace
  10. Building a snowman, Rita catches on -- "This whole day has been one long set-up!"
  11. Building a snowman again but comes off too eager, maybe first time Rita slaps
  12. Rita slaps
  13. Rita slaps
  14. Rita slaps
  15. Rita slaps
  16. Rita slaps
  17. Rita slaps
  18. Rita slaps
  19. Depression sets in
  20. More depression, cheating at Jeopardy
  21. More depression -- "It's going to be cold, it's going to be gray, it's going to last you the rest of your life."
  22. Drop the alarm clock
  23. Smash the alarm clock
  24. Another smash the alarm clock
  25. Steal the groundhog
  26. Toaster in tub
  27. Walk into traffic
  28. Jump off building
  29. "I'm a god", Rita sleeps over
  30. Gives bum money, first piano lesson
  31. Piano lesson, chainsaw ice sculpting
  32. Piano lesson
  33. "Ned Ryerson, I have missed you so much", helps bum but bum dies
  34. Brings bum to diner, bum dies in alley
  35. Great TV appearance, runs errands: catches falling kid, fixes flat, heimlich, plays piano at party
  36. The next day
posted by mhum at 5:20 PM on February 2, 2011


30 or 40 years? Man, is that fellow dense?

As to the piano teacher, seems like at some point he would have stopped going and just practiced on his own... At some point he'd be good enough that just demonstrating his talent so she knows what to teach next would take too long.
posted by edgeways at 5:22 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


surely there must be some kind of metabolic limit for how much food they can ingest before a change, otherwise, say, boogers would trigger it?

Third grade, Catholic School, catechism class, and the nun is talking about not eating before taking Communion (still the case back then.) I asked if swallowing boogers by snorting them into the back of your mouth counted, and she said no. I asked how many boogers I'd have to save up on the table, and how long they'd have to be sitting outside of me until it counted.

She sent me to the principles office. I think a rabbi would have had better answers.
posted by StickyCarpet at 5:51 PM on February 2, 2011 [14 favorites]


yeah, yeah. In the end she did become my principal
posted by StickyCarpet at 5:53 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Come on! Finish the story!

And when you arrived at the Principal's office, she had on her desk the biggest pile of stale boogers you'd ever seen. And a spoon. To teach you a lesson.
posted by The World Famous at 5:55 PM on February 2, 2011 [8 favorites]


The piano teacher is a piano teacher, and she thinks she taught him to be great in a single day, like Bookhouse says. All the other ideas above might "fix" the movie but it doesn't need fixing. It's funny, and you suspend disbelief and laugh at her instead. Just like you suspend disbelief when you pretend the guy from Ghostbusters is in a time loop.
posted by monkeymadness at 6:13 PM on February 2, 2011


But actually I think Phil went to the teacher earlier that day and did something to convince her that she had somehow taught him a valuable piano lesson.

I'm positive Phil went to the teacher, but I think the teacher is egotistical and deceptive, and knows full well that she (from her frame of reference) had nothing to do with Phil's piano skills.
posted by LionIndex at 6:13 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


So, Gremlins can't eat after midnight, but when can they start eating again? Is it noon or morning?
posted by monkeymadness at 6:15 PM on February 2, 2011


Bing!
posted by EmGeeJay at 6:17 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


He needs access to a piano, no matter how good he eventually gets. I think that, after a while, he just shows up at the piano teacher's house and says he'd pay her a grand to use her piano. And by that point in the movie, he's always nice to everyone, so he probably makes her feel like she's helping in some way; she later exaggerates about her role. She's not God.

The bartender is God.
posted by Flunkie at 7:14 PM on February 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


Thanks Rhaomi for that link!
posted by localhuman at 7:16 PM on February 2, 2011


Also, I think the answer is far longer.

I think it's probably unreasonable to believe that the only skills he has perfected are the few that are explicitly shown to us. Especially given that one of those that are explicitly shown to us is essentially a triviality - tossing cards into a hat. I strongly believe that he has perfected a whole hell of a lot more than we are shown.

Furthermore, at one point (I believe in the card tossing scene), Rita says to him something like, "I don't know, Phil, sometimes I wish I had a thousand lifetimes." The tone of her voice, to me, sounds like "a thousand lifetimes" isn't a description that she just made up; it's one that she's echoing back to him, based on a part of the conversation from before the scene begins.
posted by Flunkie at 7:23 PM on February 2, 2011 [8 favorites]


I have no opinion on the piano teacher thing, but we do see her kick a kid out of a lesson for a bit of cash earlier in the film. I also agree with Flunkie - both paragraphs.

Fuck - even thinking about that last bit simultaneously fascinates and terrifies me.
posted by doublehappy at 7:44 PM on February 2, 2011


Cat-Scan.com is one of the strangest sites I've seen in some time. I have no idea how these people got their cats wedged into their scanners, or why.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 7:50 PM on February 2, 2011 [13 favorites]


Does anyone read the posts down here?
posted by ob at 8:12 PM on February 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


The joke is that the piano teacher takes credit for the skill of the virtuoso student to whom she has only given one lesson. She is not God.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:12 PM on February 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


Also, there is no Cabal.
posted by localhuman at 8:16 PM on February 2, 2011


Perhaps the piano teacher recognises her style, so she's saying "Wow - that guy must have been my student!"
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:20 PM on February 2, 2011


They should make a Groundhog Day 2.

And have it be the same movie except for the number 2 CGI'ed onto the title.


Y'know a Groundhog Day 2 that follows completely different characters and reveals a hidden side to some of the things that Murray experiences and completely changes our understanding of them could be absolutely brilliant.

Or more likely, utterly horrible, to an "I wish I could un-watch that" degree, depending entirely on the screenwriter.
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:21 PM on February 2, 2011


Ned! RYERSON!

I actually just sent this link to Ned Ryerson. I'll post if he responds.
posted by dobbs at 9:09 PM on February 2, 2011


I obviously need to see the film again, as I am completely unable to remember anything involving someone in a French Maid outfit.

I've seen the movie several times & I have absolutely no memory of this scene. Very odd.
posted by scalefree at 9:30 PM on February 2, 2011


If the time span was indeed tens or hundreds of years, wouldn't the outcome be either a nirvana-like state or stark-raving lunacy?
posted by maxwelton at 9:35 PM on February 2, 2011


I have to throw monkey wrench into anybody's calculations & point out that several of the tasks could be performed on parallel tracks. What if he took a piano lesson in the morning, went to an afternoon showing of the movie & spent his evening practicing flipping cards? You cannot know with certainty how many days Phil spent in the time loop because you don't know how many things he did on any given day. I'll call it Scalefree's Uncertainty Principle. That or Scalefree's Incompleteness Theorem.
posted by scalefree at 9:39 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am completely unable to remember anything involving someone in a French Maid outfit.

Here you go.
posted by The World Famous at 10:03 PM on February 2, 2011


It's like the writer is this obsessed fan who's just looking for any excuse he can find to further immerse himself in the Groundhogverse.
posted by jeremy b at 10:04 PM on February 2, 2011


If the time span was indeed tens or hundreds of years, wouldn't the outcome be either a nirvana-like state or stark-raving lunacy?

This is part of the point of the movie. Phil goes both places.
posted by weston at 10:17 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Does anyone read the posts down here?

It took me 14 years, but I made it

Bestest

-Phil Conners
posted by Sparx at 10:19 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh my gosh guys, stop arguing. The piano teacher is a figurative viking, sheesh.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 10:25 PM on February 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm horrified* that people want to read God into what could be the perfect cinematic distillation of existentialism. Camus ends the Myth of Sisyphus explaining that "One must imagine Sisyphus happy" and that's what happens here. For Phil, Groundhog day is torture, and he's saddled with this torture for (as far as he can tell) eternity, and instead of being driven mad (since we know he keeps maintains any changes to his brain, if not any other physical ones), he takes his burden and makes it into his joy, making his life and the lives of others around him happier. Phil takes what he knows to be an empty life with no God, in a universe that is indifferent to him, and lives an incredibly fulfilling life nonetheless. It's a display of existentialism at its finest, without the baggage of intimidating French philosophers or emo teenagers.

*not really
posted by shen1138 at 10:29 PM on February 2, 2011 [39 favorites]


I must agree with Card Cheat that the most likely result of what happened would at first be Phil becoming a pure sociopathic solipsist convinced he is in a neverending hell. It's quite clear that no one else in the Universe is real except him, that what appear to be other people are in fact shades which exist solely for the purpose of Phil's torment, and that absolutely nothing he does or does not do can be seen as either moral or immoral in any real sense. I'm not even sure he can be said to do anything.

Oh, they give some nods to heading in that direction with the killing himself stuff. He'd no doubt kill himself many, many times. But I expect he'd do far more (supposedly) horrible things to everyone else at one time or another. Over time he'd become a monster (if he did the things he was doinig to actual people rather than simulacra) and over deep time would slide into insanity until eventually he would spend his eternal day gibbering mindlessly. Forever.

So basically fun for the whole family.
posted by Justinian at 11:02 PM on February 2, 2011


See also the short film 12:01 P.M. for a much darker take on the Groundhog Day premise.
posted by Rhaomi at 5:18 PM


Hey, that was pretty good. Kind of reminded me of that episode of Lost where Desmond's mind is unstuck in time, but with the style of old Twilight Zone. I also spent the first scene wondering if the main actor was Clarence Boddicker and later half expecting Robocop to come out of nowhere and throw him through a random pane of glass, which was awesome in it's own way too.
posted by mannequito at 11:32 PM on February 2, 2011


He should have tried to win the affections of the groundhog.
posted by spinifex23 at 11:32 PM on February 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's a display of existentialism at its finest, without the baggage of intimidating French philosophers or emo teenagers.

Bah. It's clearly about Nietzsche's eternal recurrence:

What, if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: 'This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more' ... Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him: 'You are a god and never have I heard anything more divine.'
posted by mr_roboto at 11:37 PM on February 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


Holy shit; I just bullshitted that bit about Nietzsche, but it turns out that this is actually a thing. A quick web search reveals people have written a lot about Groundhog Day and eternal recurrence. I suppose that makes sense.

Here's a nice little paper.
posted by mr_roboto at 11:42 PM on February 2, 2011


A friend of mine wrote an essay on the movie in university. Apparently, according to an early draft of the story/script, he was stuck in the loop for almost 10,000 years.
posted by slimepuppy at 1:32 AM on February 3, 2011


A previous calculation of Groundhog Day's duration here.
Harold Ramis responds that his personal estimate was 30-40 years.
posted by SyntacticSugar at 2:47 AM on February 3, 2011


Bill Murray got nothing compared to Endless Eight (Warning: anime)
posted by ymgve at 4:08 AM on February 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


There's some very unclear thinking going on wrt the piano teacher. Here's the key:

At some point he'd be good enough that just demonstrating his talent so she knows what to teach next would take too long.

On the final 2/2, he must have gone for a lesson. If he hadn't, she couldn't remember him. On that day, he was already good. We know, because he plays well. Therefore the student she remembers could only have needed some practice time on her piano or a little pep talk or a brushup or whatever. Or, and this is the way I always imagine it, he just stopped in pretending to need one of those things so that later she'd feel proud that she helped this great piano player in some small way.
posted by DU at 6:21 AM on February 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, in re alternate scripts, be careful what you wish for:
There was also a second draft script, which gave an explicit reason for the time loop—a voodoo spell cast by a woman who worked at the television station and was involved with Phil before he rejected her—that did not appear in the final film.
Good lord would that have sucked.
posted by DU at 6:26 AM on February 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Good lord would that have sucked.

Oh, indeed. Part of the reason it is such a watchable movie is that it is not burdened with angels or curses or spells or mad inventors of time machines. It is rare an American movie feels no need to explain everything remotely out of the ordinary to its audience.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:13 AM on February 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


He walks into a piano teacher's studio and says "Remember me? You taught me how to play 20 years ago. Your sister Dora was my babysitter! Can I have a brush-up lesson? I'm having problems with the double trills in this Beethoven sonata."
posted by free hugs at 7:16 AM on February 3, 2011 [8 favorites]


A little additional commentary on my assertion that the answer is far longer -- lifetimes, perhaps many of them:

The article just assigns a silly amount of time to many things. Fixing the guy's back by watching a chiropractic video for an hour and a half, and then reading for a few weeks? Please.

He went in to the hospital every day for years on end, striking up a conversation with a doctor on his lunch break, gaining a little more information from that doctor every single day. And probably many other doctors. He additionally read as much as he could - far more than a few weeks - on the subject of medicine in general. He read these things many times each. He found people with back problems of varying degrees, starting with people who just wanted a back rub, and worked tirelessly on being able to quickly convince each one, individually, to allow a total stranger to work on their back.

There are lots of things like this; the article drastically underestimates even the skills that we see on screen (which, I maintain, are a small fraction of his skills).

Additionally, it underestimates the time involved in being perfect at all of them simultaneously, which is significantly more difficult than the sum of the times involved in being perfect at each one. People forget things as they learn new things. He didn't spend six months throwing cards into a hat once; he spent six months throwing cards into a hat dozens and dozens of times.
posted by Flunkie at 8:25 AM on February 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


kaibutsu: "My ideal Groundhog Day 2 depicts February 3rd being relived ad infinitum by Rita, whose ultimate accomplishment - after forty years of reliving the same day, while Phil this time forgets each morning just like everyone else - is learning that Phil is an unbearable asshole and completely getting over his infatuation. An anti-love story, if you will."

Mine is all of Hollywood reliving the day that Andy McDowell was cast for her first role until it learns that she is a terrible, terrible actress and should never appear in a film of any kind.
posted by that's candlepin at 8:38 AM on February 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


I wonder how many people, like me, watched Groundhog Day last night because of this thread.
posted by The Lurkers Support Me in Email at 8:48 AM on February 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


First!
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 9:00 AM on February 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Why is he adding 8 days for leap years when he relives Feb 2nd every day?
posted by IanMorr at 9:19 AM on February 3, 2011


Why is he adding 8 days for leap years when he relives Feb 2nd every day?
He's attempting to calculate the total length of time that Phil spent on February 2nd. After calculating a number of days, he converts that to a number of years. A year is about 365 and a quarter days.
posted by Flunkie at 9:22 AM on February 3, 2011


He walks into a piano teacher's studio and says "Remember me?

Then later that day he walks into the bar and says "Ouch."

I'll show myself out.
posted by inigo2 at 9:26 AM on February 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


> Second, and far more difficult stage is to take things Phil says as indicators for other days we do not see.

The Card Cheat : I have been stabbed, shot, poisoned, frozen, hung, electrocuted, and burned.

And then there are the other days and things we do not see, where he stabs, shoots, poisons, freezes, hangs, electrocutes and burns other people. Seriously, if you went through that kind of experience for that long, you'd probably cease to think of the people surrounding you as human in any meaningful way at some point. And go fucking crazy.


Oh yeah, I've had this conversation with friends: "It's probably a good thing that they don't show any of these scenes where Murray's character goes all Reaver and just butchers and eats the entire town..."

To me it fits with the kindness that the movie ends on; he's done both and realized that it's easier and more fulfilling to help everyone than feast on their bones.

But in my head there exists a really dark and twisted slasher flick that is "Groundhog Day, the extended uncut edition the director didn't want you to see!"
posted by quin at 9:26 AM on February 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


lifetimes, perhaps many of them

BERNIE CAPAX: "But I did okay, didn't I? I mean I got, what fifteen thousand years. That's pretty good isn't it? I lived a pretty long time."
DEATH: "You lived what anybody gets, Bernie. You got a lifetime. No more. No less. You got a lifetime. "
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:32 AM on February 3, 2011


Oh my gosh guys, stop arguing. The piano teacher is a figurative viking, sheesh.

::charges in and clothes-lines Solon::

NNNNNO. NO.

NO.
posted by FatherDagon at 10:46 AM on February 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


>: "But in my head there exists a really dark and twisted slasher flick that is "Groundhog Day, the extended uncut edition the director didn't want you to see!""

In a strained tangential way, that's sort of the way I think of one of Takashi Miike's weirder but (to me) more effective films, Izo. The cycles aren't as literal, but it's a simultaneously violent, goofy, cartoonish, and surreal take on a bad man in a sort of Buddhist cyclical hell. Rage, exhaustion, despair, and madness all intertwining into each other. At one point, he's staggering-running on an literal mobius strip, even.

But I'm a sucker for narratives of cyclical hells, so it's the same reason I enjoyed Triangle, and, of course, Groundhog Day.
posted by Drastic at 12:22 PM on February 3, 2011 [1 favorite]




Previously.
posted by Herodios at 12:25 PM on February 3, 2011 [8 favorites]


He went in to the hospital every day for years on end, striking up a conversation with a doctor on his lunch break, gaining a little more information from that doctor every single day. And probably many other doctors. He additionally read as much as he could - far more than a few weeks - on the subject of medicine in general. He read these things many times each. He found people with back problems of varying degrees, starting with people who just wanted a back rub, and worked tirelessly on being able to quickly convince each one, individually, to allow a total stranger to work on their back.

This is backed up by the sequence where Phil tries to save the dying bum's life. Remember when he goes into the ward and immediately demands to look at the bum's chart? And then obviously and clearly understands it, as if it were second nature to him?

Decades. Right there.
posted by mightygodking at 12:40 PM on February 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Actually, I'm pretty sure that scene never actually shows him seeing the man's chart, let alone obviously and clearly understanding it.

However, your overall point is still sound: Either he was asking for it because he would have understood it, or he was asking for it because he was planning on understanding it.
posted by Flunkie at 1:36 PM on February 3, 2011


You guys are forgetting that he's not trying to be a doctor. He's trying to help this one guy, right now, today. He's asking for the chart, but he's seen it a hundred times before. He wants to see if anything he's done today (e.g. feeding the old man) has made any difference at all. He's not looking to understand it. He's looking to see what's changed, if anything, from the last time he saw it.

"OK, I fed him soup, but that didn't work. What is the doctor prescribing this time? Tomorrow, I'll see if I can get a hold of that drug and get it to the old man earlier in the day. OK, I gave him that drug and he's still here. Now what is the doctor doing?"
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:51 PM on February 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


He's asking for the chart, but he's seen it a hundred times before.
That's simply not true. He was totally taken aback by the death.

I doubt that he was just randomly trying out whatever drug the doctor may (or may not) have given him, earlier than the doctor actually did. Especially given that it seemed like the hospital wasn't all that exacting in their attempts.

It makes more sense that he was looking at the chart to determine what specifically caused the death, and then attempted to learn what could be done to prevent that.
posted by Flunkie at 2:04 PM on February 3, 2011


Good lord would that have sucked.

There's something profound here about the previous versions of masterpieces and how art is a filter and how our experience of something at the end of one branch of development shapes how we perceive something at the end of an unvisited branch - maybe it's an uncanny valley thing, like when you're really good friends with someone who has an "identical" twin but you've never met the twin, and when you eventually do meet the twin they look like mutants, even if the twin you're friends with is spectacularly good looking and for everyone else they look the same.

It might also be a classification issue viz. I'll eat McDonald's but not Burger King while my girlfriend classifies them all as fast food. My Mum would have liked Groundhog Day exactly as much as she does now ("It's okay - I like the girl in it, you know the one from Four Weddings and a Funeral, and the bit where he guesses the gameshow!") if it had been a voodoo spell, but for me, even knowing that they considered that as a potential plot element almost irreparably damages the film's status and prestige in my mind, until I remember that hey, they didn't go with it, they went the other way, and art is a filter of the world and a masterpiece inexorably marches forth and a whole bunch of pithy aphorisms that'd probably make Oscar Wilde turn in his grave.

And come to think of it, would it have sucked? Is a voodoo spell worse a deus ex machina than an unidentified unknown force? Would the existential questions posed by the premise of repeating a day for[potentially]ever be strong enough to carry any story? Would the story, had it gone the voodoo path, eventually have been recommissioned or reworked or remixed into some form resembling Groundhog Day as we know it (possibly many many years from now without Bill Murray)? Is it, in fact, a bad thing that Groundhog Day was so good first time round that nobody will ever try to improve on it despite some imperfections - i.e. is the world missing out on a better masterpiece because this normal masterpiece is untouchable? Is that a bad thing? I think the answers are probably yes; yes; no, no premise is; probably; probably not; and no.

I would like also to mention that the first time I saw Groundhog Day was when I was quite young, and I only saw a little bit of it and then when I came back into the room my family were watching It Could Happen To You on another channel (or something similar to It Could Happen To You in look and feel) and for years afterward assumed they were the same movie until I rented Groundhog Day out because Stripes was out.

Would I like it just as much if I had seen it the first time? I don't know, probably.
posted by doublehappy at 3:05 PM on February 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just how many days does Bill Murray really spend stuck reliving Groundhog Day?

None, because Bill Murray is an actor.

Phil Connors, on the other hand, is still there.
posted by ODiV at 3:54 PM on February 3, 2011


Mister Fabulous quotes "Now before I start, a small disclaimer – this article doesn’t take into account days in which Phil does nothing (like those days when all you want to do is lie in bed and play with yourself – which he inevitably will have done)"

And then the author does by only making Phil practice skills 5 on and 2 off.

Paragon writes "If he can come back from the dead each day, I doubt he's going to get an RSI. Which leads us to the real question - STDs contracted on Groundhog Day... gone?"

An even better question is whether a person could learn the piano this way as much of the requirement of practice is to develop finger memory and musculature.
posted by Mitheral at 5:39 PM on February 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Mitheral - I had the same question! Does he get to keep muscle memory?

For that matter, why does he get to keep newly-reinforced neural connections?
posted by Pickman's Next Top Model at 6:00 PM on February 3, 2011


Mitheral, Pickman's Next Top Model: I hear you, but you can't go down this road because then you start wondering why positive brain effects carry over but negative brain effects (caused by e.g. heavy impacts) don't. Then you realise that's incorrect because negative memories and depression do carry over. Then maybe you wonder if he hasn't actually been reliving every day of his life over and over for eternity up until this point but he never learnt how to be conscious of or control it. Then you realise that's stupid so you go back to the fact that without this pretty major plothole, there wouldn't be a story.
posted by doublehappy at 6:21 PM on February 3, 2011


Groundhog Day 2 should be a shot-by-shot remake with the original cast and production crew.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:06 PM on February 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


i've always wondered how many days repeated until he actually Noticed.
posted by th3ph17 at 12:37 AM on February 4, 2011


Wouldn't you pretty well notice day one? It's not like he is waking up all hung over or any other indications that he might think he's hallucinating. Accepting it might take a while but noticing should happen right off the mark.
posted by Mitheral at 9:41 AM on February 4, 2011


Not enough.
posted by starman at 11:58 AM on February 4, 2011


Anybody remember that story (I'm gonna say it was Aasimov because generally if you're trying to think of a sci-fi story you've read it turns out to be him) about a guy in a somewhat groundhog-day-like situation, except after just a few repetitions he finds out that somebody else is experiencing the phenomenon consciously like he is, and it turns out in the end that the earth has been simulated by aliens or something? I'd really like to read it again.
posted by tehloki at 9:33 PM on February 4, 2011


Frederick Pohl, The Tunnel Under the World? It's not aliens.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:29 AM on February 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I feel this thread is a good place to point out the irony that Woodstock, Illinois, where Groundhog Day was filmed, has actually rescheduled Groundhog Day due to this week's blizzard.

Tomorrow it actually will be Groundhog Day... again.
posted by Mr. Anthropomorphism at 6:05 AM on February 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oops, make that today.

Wait, what day is it today?
posted by Mr. Anthropomorphism at 6:10 AM on February 5, 2011


Does he get to keep muscle memory?

Why not? He keeps all his other memories. Muscle memory is still a brain thing. It's like he backs up his mind at the end of the day every day (or whenever he dies) and it gets reloaded from the clock radio in the morning.
posted by monkeymadness at 6:22 AM on February 5, 2011


tehloki, you're thinking of Replay by Ken Grimwood. Excellent book. At the end of his life he gets thrown back into his own body several years in the past to relive his life up to the day he died in his first life. After several repetitions he sees a startling movie that he knows shouldn't exist that prefigures Star Wars, Close Encounters & several other groundbreaking films & discovers a woman trapped like him & teams up with her to make sense of it all. It's one of those stories you wish would be made into a movie except it'd have to be too long & they'd get it wrong anyway somehow by adding something obnoxious like the Gypsy curse mentioned above.
posted by scalefree at 6:24 AM on February 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Another good show that uses this them (repeating a day over and over) was the short-lived Day Break. "The series starred Taye Diggs as Detective Brett Hopper, who is framed for the murder of Assistant District Attorney Alberto Garza. Due to a time loop, Hopper lives the same day over and over. The series revolves around his attempt to solve the mystery of the murder, and find out who is behind the conspiracy to frame him."

I enjoyed it, anyways.
posted by inigo2 at 9:05 AM on February 5, 2011


Thanks, joe and scalefree! Neither of those stories were familiar to me at all but they're both very good! Still don't know what story I was thinking of. Maybe it's PKD.
posted by tehloki at 1:13 PM on February 6, 2011


I am pretty convinced that the piano teacher is God

Did you see the way she danced? If God is that terribly un-funky, then I'm going to worship Satan.
posted by Saxon Kane at 6:54 PM on February 8, 2011


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