Groundhog Day (1993)
Classic Bill Murray. Grumpy, irritated, off-the-wall-bonkers, yet still charming and funny. Is there a version of the seven stages of grief for someone stuck in an endless time loop of Groundhog Day? If so, that’s what our intrepid and sour-faced weatherman Phil Connors must experience as he relives February the 2nd over and over again. “Have fun in Punxsutawney, Phil!”
He starts out confused and irritated, then scared and seeking help. He moves quickly to reckless, smashing mailboxes and playing chicken on the train tracks. Thankfully, he begins to learn from his mistakes and starts to take an interest in other people’s lives. But he’s quickly derailed by the abundant opportunies to take advantage of his situation – stealing money, taking strangers to bed, and trying to seduce his producer Rita. Rita, however, is not easily persuaded, and despite his efforts at planning a perfect day for her, he ultimately pushes too hard and is rewarded with multiple slaps in the face.
From there, Phil turns to the dark side and starts drinking, becomes aggravated and violent, and attempts suicide. But he’s still stuck in the loop, and death does not seem to be a valid means of escape. Trying to prove his invincibility and omniscience to convince Rita of his plight, he actually reveals himself to be a generally nice guy, knowing personal details about everyone in the diner. This time, when he manages to get Rita to come back to the B&B with him, he doesn’t even try to make a move, and instead has a moment of vulnerability and self-realization, telling Rita that he doesn’t deserve someone like her. Not yet, perhaps 🙂
Phil then wakes up the next (the same?) morning in a fantastic mood. He starts giving back to the community he previously loathed. He consciously works at bettering himself – playing the piano, learning new languages, caring about others. At the Groundhog Day after-party, Rita is suitably impressed with all his newfound skills and also at how the entire town fawns over him. Once he makes his mission about other people, rather than himself, and also learns to accept himself and be happy in the moment, the spell – or whatever it was (an extremely long bad dream?) – is broken. The alarm clock rings and for once, Rita is there next to him and it’s a brand new day… the day after Groundhog Day.
I like how there’s no need for cheesy special effects to show some witchcraft or dark spell being cast on him, as in Freaky Friday or the like. It’s just an accepted part of the storyline that he was stuck in an endless time loop and needed to work his way out. Now, how he managed to do all of those things in one day is a bit of an open question – surely some of his “errands” happened simultaneously rather than sequentially? I know I can barely get half of the things done that I wanted to on a day off – I’m getting exhausted just thinking about him running all over town saving people left and right! Maybe… a drink will help?
Cocktail #1: Sweet Vermouth on the Rocks with a Twist
Not much of a challenge here. Delightful, though, as I’d never taken the time to enjoy vermouth on its own as one would, say, a whiskey or a digestif. I highly recommend Carpano Antica, if you can get your hands on it.
“It always makes me think of Rome… The way the sun hits the buildings in the afternoon.”
Cocktail #2: Suffering Bastard
How aptly named. You do start to feel sorry for the poor guy. It’s nice to daydream of what one would do with endless amounts of time to do with as one pleases – ice sculpt, brush up on French poetry, perhaps… But at the end of the day, I’d very much prefer NOT to relive the same day over and over. I’ll stick with my variable drudgery and my inevitable mortality, thank you very much! From Serious Eats.
- 1 oz bourbon
- 1 oz gin
- 1 oz fresh lime juice
- 1 dash Angostura bitters
- 4 oz chilled ginger ale (In my neck of the woods, we’re lucky enough to get access to the fantastically delicious concoction that is… Blenheim’s Spicy Ginger Ale. It’s got a fantastic kick that settles in the back of your throat and a seductive stream of bubbles that tickle your nose. It really adds a hell of a zing to this already tasty drink.)
Build in a highball glass with ice.