“Groundhog Day” opened in theaters 20 years ago, and was greeted by much head-scratching, even among Bill Murray fans. This was not a movie about Murray and his rodent nemesis from “Caddyshack.”
The Nietzschean story, which forced a weatherman and the audience to relive the same day in Punxsutawney, Pa., over and over, was challenging and a little disorienting. The script was alternating layers of Murray’s dark, mean-spirited mugging and the ache of existential emptiness. As Murray’s character, weatherman Phil Connors, says to a drunk on the next bar stool: “What would you do if you were stuck in one place and every day was exactly the same, and nothing that you did mattered?” Drunk: "That about sums it up for me."
This was Bill Murray making it even more clear that he would not be the man we expected him to be anymore, setting the stage for “The Royal Tenenbaums,” “Lost in Translation” and “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.” Two decades later, “Groundhog Day” is not lacking in bloggy appreciation and debate over its philosophical and religious undercurrents.
But “Groundhog Day” was also a love story, with a radiant Andie MacDowell playing Murray’s elusive TV producer, and it was filled with witty writing and hilarious physical comedy. So it can be enjoyed strictly for that thing we seek in many movies: It’s just fun. Maybe you’ll find this quiz fun, but you only have to do it once.
1. OPENING DAY
Where is weatherman Phil Connors reporting from in the opening scene?
c) Buffalo, N.Y.
d) Elko, Nev.
2. FILL IN THE BLANK
“When ____________ saw the long winter, he saw a winter bleak and dark and bereft of hope. Yet we know that winter is just another step in the cycle of life. But standing here among the people of Punxsutawney and basking in the warmth of their hearths and hearts, I couldn't imagine a better fate than a long and lustrous winter.” – Phil Connors
c) Robert Frost
d) Ken Kaye
3. COMPLETE THE QUOTE
Phil Connors: “I’m a God …
a) … so I don’t really need insurance, Ned.”
b) … and he is a mere rodent.”
c) … and that oncoming train will swerve.”
d) … but I'm not THE God... I don't think.”
4. WHO DAT?
The Groundhog Day ceremonies are led by an official played by what former “Saturday Night Live” writer?
a) Harold Ramis
b) Brian Doyle Murray
c) Buck Henry
d) Al Franken
5. LOVELY RITA
TV producer Rita, played by Andie MacDowell, talks to Phil about her college major, which would have made her well versed in the work of this person:
a) Tex Antoine
b) Walter Cronkite
c) Winston Churchill
d) Charles Baudelaire
6. DRIVING FORCE
When Phil Connors is fleeing with Phil the groundhog in his lap, he tells the rodent:
a) “Does this make you Thelma or Louise?”
b) “C’mon, Phil, make my day!”
c) “Don’t drive angry!”
d) “You can drive a stick, right?”
Which music is heard in “Groundhog Day”?
a) "Pennsylvania Polka" by Frankie Yankovic
b) "I Got You, Babe” by Sonny & Cher
c) "Piano Sonata in C" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
d) "Eighteenth Variation from Rapsodie on a Theme of Paganini" by Sergei Rachmaninoff
8. CHECKERED PAST
Brian Doyle Murray also played which of these roles?
a) Chevy Chase’s boss in “Christmas Vacation”
b) The Bubble Boy’s dad on “Seinfeld”
c) The Flying Dutchman on “SpongeBob SquarePants”
d) Jack Ruby in “JFK”
9. BING! IT’S NED!
In 2010, Stephen Tobolowsky, who played Phil’s old high school annoyance, Ned Ryerson, went to Punxsutawney for Groundhog Day and performed the thing that made Ned famous at Case Western High. The actor …
a) Sang “I Got You, Babe”
b) Pushed a needle into his nose
c) Did the whistling belly-button trick
d) Did the polka
10. CHRIS CROSSED
Comic actor and writer Chris Elliott played Phil’s nebbishy cameraman, Larry. Chris Elliott did not perform on which show:
a) “Miami Vice”
b) “The Nanny”
d) “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch”
You'll find the answers below this scene from "Groundhog Day."
1: d 2: a 3: d 4: b 5: d 6: c 7: all of them 8: all of them 9: c 10: c