Groundhog Day (1993) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)
|When people assemble their lists of great
film comedies, this rarely appears on the list. It
It has absolutely everything a great comedy should have.
|First, it's funny. Bill Murray is the master of comic insincerity and he plays it to the hilt in this movie. He is a weatherman who is to Ground Hog Day as Ebenezer Scrooge is to Christmas. Fate gets fed up with his attitude and forces him to relive that day until he gets it right.||
it's deep. He doesn't get it right the first time, or
perhaps for years. He does what any human would do in the
situation. Early on, he uses his knowledge of that day to
play God. Then, he uses it to have fun and get women.
Then, he is filled with despair and tries to end it with
his own death. Then, after trying every crass and
immature thing he can think of, he finally realizes that
he can actually enjoy his fate if he is reliving a great
day, so he makes it so. He makes himself a better person,
but the transformation happens only after many missteps. Exactly what would happen to anybody
really caught in the situation.
Third, it has virtually no down time. It starts out funny, stays funny throughout.
And how many screwballs comedies do you know in which the lead character quotes Chekhov and recites French poetry? Both to good effect (One sincere and touching, the other insincere beyond my ability to describe.) The whole effect of the movie is so captivating that it has that very special effect that only great movies have - to transport you inside their world, so that you lose all sense of the place you occupy or the time of day in the "real" world.
A few notes:
I regret to say that I can only score the movie 99, because Andie Macdowell kept her clothes on. With Andie naked, I wouldn't object if you called it the greatest comedy ever made, or even the single greatest achievement in the history of humanity, edging out the Pieta, the discovery of fire, and the Ronco Pocket Fisherman.
It is now rated in the Top 250 by IMDb, you guys rated it the number two comedy of the 90's. (It would have been #3, except we put South Park in a separate category). All honors well deserved. I don't know whether I'd vote for this or South Park for "best comedy of the 90's". Depends on what Brian Boitano would do.
A tip of the derby to our British cousins.
The American film academy has the following symptoms
| BAFTA, the British academy, does not have Oscar
disease. Despite the contrary evidence in their apparent admiration
for Mr Bean, the British do know the value
of humor, and how difficult it is to be funny. They gave
the award for Best Original Screenplay to Groundhog Day
instead of the oh-so-serious The Piano. Predictably, the
American academy didn't even nominate Groundhog Day.
Silly buggers. It's just a terrific comedy. It should
have won a whole bunch of additional awards. Why it did
not is a mystery.
Murray is terrific, not just funny, but consistent in his creation of this character, and even romantic in the right spots. Andie MacDowell is radiant and is cast perfectly. The supporting players are all spot-on.
Three years ago, I wrote one of the first IMDb comments on this film, noting how dramatically underrated it was. Since then, the movie has crept up to the top 250 of all time, thereby making me a liar! I've never been so pleased to be wrong.
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