In 1993 Groundhog Day (not "Groundhog's") was release, not on February 2nd but ten days later in fact on the 12th. For many it was a unique and brilliant story, myself included, but for Richard A. Lupoff it was a blatant rip off. Lupoff is the author of the 1973 short story 12:01PM and his story contains the same time-loop plot device where in a person keeps repeating the same hour of their life until they can resolve the issue. That story is far more bleak leaving the protagonist dead at the end only to have the hour start over again. The fun fact about 12:01PM is that less than a half year after the release of the beloved Bill Murray flick, Jonathan Silverman appeared in a Showtime Channel film version of the aforementioned short story.
So displeased was Lupoff that he considered suing Columbia Picture but eventually decided against it, thanks to the advise of his legal team. So with that mess all behind us, Groundhog Day was cemented as a landmark film that inspired so many others.
Below I've featured just a small sampling of the films inspired by the Groundhog Day plot devise, if I was to mention the episodes of television, this list would be endless. I would be remiss if I did not mention the amazing wonderful sixth season episode of X-Files entitled Monday. You can find it wherever X-Files is streaming. *Cue Sonny and Cher*
From teenage sex comedy to horror to murder mysteries to multiple dramas, the Groundhog Day treatment has been covered by all genres and, with the exception of Happy Death Day, it is always treated like an original idea. Listen, I'm not going to pretend I saw all these movies, I'm not sure anyone would pretend to have seen Premature, but I have seen my fair share. I'm a sucker for time travel. Source Code is amazing with a wonderful cameo by Scott Bakula who actually says his Quantum Leap catchphrase. Live.Die.Repea... or is it Edge of Tomorrow? It's a solid action film AND Happy Death Day is way better than it was perceived to be. If you get a chance, check it out. It even mentions Groundhog Day by name. I am sad to admit that I did see some of Naked, a remake of the Swedish film Naken and it was terrible.
Groundhog Day isn't just a great time travel movie, it's a great movie. Though it is the same short span of time repeated over and over, Murray's Phil growth as a human is among the finest ever told on the screen and the finest development any character has ever gone through in a 24 hour period. Obviously, I'm kidding about the 24 hours as Phil's journey takes, according to director Harold Ramis, 10 years (and according to some film nerds, upwards of 34 years).
The film never falters and though deep and saddening at times, it never makes light of the desperate life Phil is burdened with. It's not only well written, directed and acted but it's beautiful to look at. Harold Ramis was at the top of his game with Groundhog Day and he made it all seem so effortless.
Even though it is now a quarter of a century old, Groundhog Day still holds up. All the jokes still land, the story still has relevance and it still feels unique and special despite all the copies. Groundhog Day will be enjoyed by your children, their children and their children. It's just that good.
Happy 25th Groundhog Day!