I meant to post this in February. By some estimates Phil Connor spent 33 years living the same day over and over. So picture yourself back in 1993 and doing the same ever since. And not getting out of the loop until 2026. Have a pleasant tomorrow.
I like the movie and all, but…
Why was the universe* so mean to Phil? He was in no means a bad guy. Slightly jerkish. He did nothing to deserve that (or if so, then “we all got it coming”).
*We know it was Ned doing it.
Ugh, some random-ass day in Junior high. Guess I would have been playing hooky a lot.
Hang on, Phil was able to do lots of different things each day.
He became an accomplished pianist and snow sculptor, a better person generally and learnt a lot about the woman he wanted to be with.
Y’know, February of 1993 wouldn’t be so bad, for me. That would have been the middle of my sophomore year of high school, and I’ve long suspected that my mental acuity was at the sharpest it’s ever been at around that age. Now, my total mental capability has increased since then, but as a result of more learning and experience… but maintain that acuity for decades, while still learning everything my school and local library had to offer? Yeah, that’d probably be pretty good.
I would have learned much less than I actually did in that time span, because I wouldn’t be able to set up anything like advanced college courses, and the Internet was basically nonexistent (what little existed I didn’t have any way to access), but once I broke the loop, I’d still be able to add all that learning on top of what I had.
Just as long as it wasn’t 1992. My freshman year was at a different school, where I was pretty thoroughly miserable.
The first time I saw Groundhog Day, it was on the hospital’s closed circuit movie channel. I was in CICU, waiting for a blood transplant because my hematocrit was below 17 and there was a blood shortage. I couldn’t finish watching the movie because I was envisioning being stuck in that day. It’s one of my favorite movies now, and the following 28 years have turned out pretty well, all things considered.
Phil got exactly what he deserved, both at the beginning and end of the film. He started with a day that was miserable because he was a miserable human being. If he had not found the ability to grow into a better person, his day would have continued to be an endlessly miserable torment. Evolving into a person that could learn from his experience and improve himself transformed exactly the same miserable day into the best day ever.
There are what 6B people in the world, and easily 5.99 billion of them are just as “miserable” a person as Phil. Seriously, he’s not even the most obnoxious or unlikable person in the film. He’s a bit of a self absorbed jerk, and he doesn’t think doing the groundhog story is something a “talent” like him should be doing. So what. I wouldn’t want to do it either, and so far I haven’t been forced to repeat a day to learn my lesson. And of course, if the universe wants to make people learn, when did genuinely actually BAD people repeat their day? There still are bad people out there,
For worse people, there’s Ned of course, and Chris Elliot’s Larry is more annoying than Phil, and Andy McDowell’s Rita is no great shakes. Half the town are full of themselves because of a rodent.
In the alternate reality, everybody is Phil, cursed to repeat life until we get it right. Phil was blessed with the ability to remember his repetitions.
Why was Phil so blessed? He surely wasn’t the best guy in town?
I wouldn’t think the universe would give to genuinely bad people. It’s like Scrooge—these types of lessons have to be done on people who are redeemable and worthy of redemption.
Granted, with Scrooge, we know his friend Marley had a hand in it. We don’t know what caused Groundhog Day. But, then again, we don’t know what caused Groundhog Day—so maybe someone was looking out for Phil, too.
It’s Ned. He still wants to date Phil’s sister.
You note that Phil only excaped the repeating day when he bought insurance. He’d obviously been a better person for several repeats by then, but he couldn’t excape until he “repaid” Neddy…
The universe wasn’t exactly kind to Larry, either. After experiencing the same day thousands of times over, he’s left with the memory of exactly one version of that day…the one where an old woman “buys” him at a date auction for twenty-five cents.
I’d actually love to be in Phil’s shoes. Can you imagine the freedom of knowing that anything you do won’t effect you past midnight?
The Debauchery and Mayhem would be off the charts!
This post made me realize something. Everybody was living the same day over and over. Apparently the whole universe was stuck in a loop. But for some reason Phil was the only one who was aware of it and able to change his actions accordingly.
At least he was the only one in his immediate area. Maybe there were others elsewhere.
I have a theory. A scary theory.
Each “day” is the end of that loop. And in that universe, the world continues on. So if, in context of the movie, Phil repeated the day, say, 10,000 times, EACH one of those days continues on as if nothing was wrong. So Phil is dead, and remembered as committing suicide out of the blue, in a huge chunk of the universes.
Phil Prime repeats the day once, thinks it was weird, maybe he dreamed it, and moves on with his life, virtually unchanged.
Phil 1 reperatd it twice, thinks hey that was weird, and moves on, virtually unchanged.
Phil 2 repeats it three times, almost sees pattern, but then moves on.
Phil 3 repeats it four times, begins to wonder what’s going on, but then it ends.
and so on
Phil 55 thinks he’s beginning to see that it will never end, but then it does.
Phil 56-59 contemplate suicide, but they don’t, and the day ends
Phil 60-250 commit suicide in various ways, and stay dead. It makes the state news.
Phil 545-630 get arrested for attempting to rob the bank, spend 10 years in federal prison, and wonder why the day stopped repeating THAT day.
Phil 3599-3722 get arrested for murdering Ned, earning life in prison. Phil is upset that the cycle broke THAT day, but Phils 3700-3722 think it was worth it.
Phil 7123 begins the pattern of change. Each one from Phill 7123-9999 think that it was the decision to become a good person that broke the cycle.
Phil 10000 is the movie.
Phil 10001 wonders if the cycle will ever end!
Yes, of course, people stuck in time loops are creating multiple branching universes. Everybody knows that, duh
well, pardon me all to hell. Sir.
I hadn’t realized the matter of repeating days for single people was a fully understood phenomenon.I missed that issue of Physics Today.
I apologize if I offended-- I was trying for a silly, facetious tone (think Napolean Dynamite) and looks like I failed miserably. Hopefully I haven’t earned myself 33 years of being stuck in this day until I learn my lesson about not being a dick (though today would not be a bad day to be stuck in).
No, in all seriousness, I don’t think the phenomenon of multiverses and time loops have been extensively studied or is at all well understood by leading physicists, and your theory is as fine as any, I’d say.
Apology accepted…Admiral solost.
I wasn’t sure. All is good!
In an interview in the Extras section of the DVD, I remember hearing that originally it was to be a female co-worker whom Phil had dumped after a brief fling putting a curse on him. Some sort of witch or something. But they decided to leave it unexplained, which was exactly the right move.
Myself, I like to think he was stuck for 10,000 years.