While the 1993 film “Groundhog Day” received moderate success when released, it wasn’t until later that it attracted critical acclaim and now is often included on lists of the best comedy films. It has received a variety of awards and accolades and has become a true classic.
“Groundhog Day” is the featured film this weekend at the State Theatre’s Center for the Arts’ Classic Film Series.
Directed by Harold Ramis and written by Ramis and Danny Rubin, “Groundhog Day” was well received nationally, but regional attention was even higher due to the film being set locally with easily recognizable filming sites in Pittsburgh and Punxsutawney.
According to the synopsis on Rotten Tomatoes, Bill Murray plays Phil, a TV weatherman working for a local station in Pittsburgh, but is convinced that national news stardom is in his grasp. Phil displays a charm and wit on camera that evaporates the moment the red light goes off; he is bitter, appallingly self-centered, and treats his co-workers with contempt, especially his producer Rita (Andie MacDowell) and cameraman Larry (Chris Elliot).
On Feb. 2, 1992, Phil, Rita, and Larry are sent on an assignment that Phil especially loathes: the annual Groundhog Day festivities in Punxsutawney, where the citizens await the appearance of Punxsutawney Phil, the groundhog who will supposedly determine the length of winter by his ability to see his own shadow.
Phil is eager to blow town, but when a freak snowstorm — one he did not predict — strands him in Punxsutawney, he wakes up the next morning with the strangest sense of déjà vu: he seems to be living the same day over again, and again, and again. Soon, no matter what he does, he’s stuck in Feb. 2, 1992. He tries everything — getting thrown in jail, attempted suicide and even kidnapping the infamous groundhog — but nothing will end the loop.
However, the more Phil relives the same day, the more he’s forced to look at other people’s lives, and something unusual happens: he begins to care about others. He starts to respect people, he tries to save the life of a homeless man, and he discovers that he’s falling in love with Rita and therefore wants to be someone that she could love in return.
The film received an incredible 96% on the site’s Tomatometer, while audience scores gave it an 88%.
The film was rated PG for thematic elements.
The film is slated to hit the State Theatre’s big screen on Feb. 7 and showtimes are 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the theater, 37 E. Main St., Uniontown. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for seniors and students.
Other films to be shown as part of the Classic Film Series include: “The Pride of the Yankees” (March 13), “Jesus Christ Superstar” (March 24), “Laura” (May 15), “Splendor in the Grass” (June 5), “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” (July 31) and “American Graffiti” (Aug. 21).