Groundhog Day, Again

In honor of its 15th-anniversary DVD, director Harold Ramis explains the far-reaching impact of his rodent opus.

1. It’s part of our language
“The movie is mentioned constantly to describe the déjà vu of boredom. In fact, it’s in the Congressional Record. They were endlessly debating a bill on TV, and I turned around when I heard someone say, ‘It’s like Groundhog Day. We keep talking about the same thing.’ I just heard it in the news the other day—military commanders were using it in reference to Iraq.”

2. Shrinks love it…
“Within the first few weeks of the movie’s opening, I started hearing from psychologists and psychiatrists. As time passed, people would send me published works on the film. I got invi­tations to speak from the American Psychiatric Association, the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis…It was amazing. I heard from psychologists who use it with all their patients.”

3. …and so does Hollywood
“It became a template for a new kind of screenwriting—a script that breaks all the rules but succeeds nonetheless. Steven Spielberg told me, ‘I wish I’d made it.’ Bill Murray was on Larry King a few years ago and said, ‘It’s probably the best work I’ll ever do. And probably the best work Harold will ever do.’ I was like, Gee, Bill, thanks for putting the cap on my career!”

4. It leads to enlightenment
“Rabbis, Christian clergymen…I think everyone in the spiritual community believes that human beings are perfectible, and the movie—to some extent—shows how we can get to that place. I’ve heard people call it the greatest Buddhist movie ever made. The Dalai Lama hasn’t seen it, though. His Holiness prefers nature films. He really liked March of the Penguins.”