Every year on February 2nd, TBS shows the movie 'Groundhog Day' umpteen million times. You know you watch it every year. I usually see it on TV a couple of times a year. Inevitably, the question pops up in my mind, at least once, "I wonder how long Bill Murray kept repeating that same day over and over again".
Well, wonder no more. Years ago, when director Harold Ramis recorded the commentary for the 'Groundhog Day' DVD, he estimated that Phil Connors "spent about 10 years trapped in his own little corner of Hell". Later, in June of 2009, a blogger took the time to dissect the film, and came up with the estimate that Bill Murray relived that single day in Punxsatawney 3176 times. That breaks down to 8 years, 8 months, and 16 days.
Ramis read the blog post, and responded in an interview, disagreeing with both the blogger and his own earlier estimate:
"I think the 10-year estimate is too short. It takes at least 10 years to get good at anything, and allotting for the down time and misguided years he spent, it had to be more like 30 or 40 years… People [like the blogger] have way too much time on their hands. They could be learning to play the piano or speak French or sculpt."The issue seemed to have been settled. Then came an article in February 2011, by Simon Gallagher of the blog obsessedwithfilm.com. He poured over the film time and time again. It turned a light-hearted movie into an arduous task:
"For anyone who wants to check all of this, I really don’t suggest watching Groundhog Day in this manner. It’s not the best way to enjoy what is essentially a light-hearted comedy whose metaphysical concerns are supposed to be enjoyed in fun, and not worked out mathematically. Normal people should be happy to just watch, and accept that Phil Connors is stuck repeating his one day endlessly over and over until he finds himself- but then, I don’t think I’m normal."After taking into consideration scene changes, lines of dialogue, and skills that Phil had taught himself over the course of the movie, Simon had determined that Phil Connors had actually been stuck in a perpetual day of repetition for 12,403 days. Taking into consideration for leap years, and you have 33 years, 358 days.
In a way, knowing that doesn't make the movie funny anymore.
What I'm Listening To:
Every Day is Exactly the Same by Nine Inch Nails, from the album 'With Teeth'