What Ground Hog Day taught me

Have you ever watched the movie Ground Hog Day? In June 2008, AFI revealed its “Ten top Ten”—the best ten films in ten “classic” American film genres—after polling over 1,500 people from the creative community. Groundhog Day was acknowledged as the eighth best film in the fantasy genre.– Wikipedia.  Culture and society now reference bad situations that keep repeating themselves as “Groundhog day.”  So this movie has had a major impact on our society.

A quick overview of the movie: It’s about a meteorologist named Phil Connors (Bill Murray).  He is kind of a Scrooge, mizer, ego-maniac kind of guy.  He is really self-centered and focused on himself.  Phil (Bill Murray’s character) a meteorologist is sent to cover the story and festivities of Ground Hog day located in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.  Phil wakes up the morning of Groundhog Day in a bed and breakfast and meets his colleagues at the park where the festivities take place.

The movies centers around Phil repeating this same day over and over for most of the movie.  But what happens during the movie is pretty neat.  He starts out as the person I described above.  Once he repeats the day a few times he then selfishly tries to capitalize on it by taking advantage of the situation. One example is that he asks a lady he meets a series of questions and uses the data to create a connection that he uses to his advantage.  He also does that with his co-worker who much of the movie later centers around.  He then has a hopelessness about him and tries killing himself, of which he does by running off a cliff in a truck and dropping a toaster in the bathtub.  Again, each time he wakes up the on the same day at the same time with the same music on the alarm clock.

What happens though is he eventually realizes that he is stuck in this day and decides to do something good with this opportunity.  So he starts to take piano lessons, he learns ice carving, he learns foreign languages.  A child falls out of the tree and he makes sure he is there each day at that time to catch him.  Phil actually makes a reference to the kid, that he has never once thanked him for saving him.  He helps some elderly women fix a flat tire. He then decides to help a homeless man with feeding him.  What happens is the man dies everyday at the same time, and Phil tries to save him everyday, going as far as having him at the hospital at the exact time he dies each day.

This movie has some very dry humor throughout.  If you haven’t watched the movie I would encourage you to do so.  It is hilarious and it was during Bill Murray’s prime.  You just never know which way the movie will go, so it will keep you engaged.

The movie was such a hit because it illustrates life in so many ways for some of us.  We wake up each day expecting something different to happen and it never does, unless we decide to make it happen.

Three major takeaways for me from this movie:

Ground Hog day is now used a reference in our culture as a bad situation that keeps repeating itself over and over.  Lets be intentional about our life.  Lets set goals and take control over what happens to us and not wait for life to happen.

My mentor said if you want to be an attractive person (not in the physical or visual sense of the word) but the characteristics, the personality, the qualities of an attractive person do things to become more attractive   Once Phil started working hard on making himself better, he became a more attractive person to the woman in the movie he wanted to be with. The assumption at the end of the movie is that they get together. 

Although Phil doesn’t use it appropriately in the movie, he does illustrate a point on multiple occasions in the film.  When he takes a genuine interest in learning and listening to others he creates an engagement and connection that develops a stronger relationship between him and the other person. 

Don’t keep repeating each day and expecting something to change if you aren’t willing to change and become interested in learning and talking about something someone else is interested in before telling them about you.

Watch the movie and enjoy.  If you have any suggestions on other movies please share.

Brian Willett




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