Thursday, February 2, 2017

Reliving Groundhog Day

By Steve Evans

In the spirit of current events I'm calling out Punxsutawney Phil for delivering Fake News today with his forecast of six more wintry weeks. Damn rodent. Bring on spring.

Groundhog Day is an obvious time to celebrate the great 1993 film by Harold Ramis that afforded Bill Murray one of his best roles as a churlish TV weatherman condemned to relive the same cursed day until his attitude improves. It's a gentle moral lesson folded into a solid comedy, with an impossibly sweet Andie MacDowell as Murray's love interest.

As allegory, the picture is open to all sorts of interpretations. If you went to Synagogue or Sunday School, the film could be seen as an exploration of purgatory. If you commune with Buddha,  the movie's themes of transcendence and rebirth through selflessness would seem to bolster that devotion to Zen.

As a bit of social-media ephemera, Groundhog Day remains in the popular lexicon of shorthand for an endlessly repeating and unpleasant situation. Except...nothing lasts forever. And that is neither Zen nor Judeo-Christian. It is atheism, defined. If you had to awaken to I Got You Babe day after day, you'd lose the faith, too.

This is a great movie and a kindly parable for all times.

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