I know it’s December, and the proper “what if” movie during this time of year is It’s A Wonderful Life, but there’s really never a wrong time to watch Groundhog Day, which airs on SundanceTV tonight at 10 p.m. Eastern. There’s at least a dozen different angles to explore with Groundhog Day: Bill Murray giving his best performance as a cynical weatherman, the wealth of lovable characters populating the small town of Punxsutawney, and so on. But given the season, consider how well the movie works as a “hero trapped in a supernatural phenomenon” story. In It’s A Wonderful Life, Jimmy Stewart’s George Bailey takes forever to catch on to the idea that he’s living at a world where he was never born. By contrast, Groundhog Day doesn’t waste a lot of time showing Murray’s Phil Connors being baffled by being stuck in the same repeating day. He gets the hang of the situation fairly quick, which leaves more time for Phil to master his new domain, and to figure out how to use the glitch his advantage—before realizing he needs more from life than just being a god in Punxsutawney. That’s the best thing about Groundhog Day: that director Harold Ramis and his co-writer Danny Rubin explore nearly every possibility of their premise, before finding just the right one to follow through on.
December 11, 2014 Cable Pick Of The Day