Sometimes, it’s the little things that grab your attention—especially when the big things are repeated day after day after day. You start to notice things, like how Rita and Nancy harmonize when they say “hi” to each other, or how there are three volunteers for the bachelor auction before Doris volunteers Phil—so, what happened to them? Were they even worse picks than Larry, considering he’s able to get up on stage after Phil? Or maybe those three guys weren’t volunteering, they were heading out some back exit because they didn’t want to be auctioned off like chattel.
You can see them, here:
But, let’s backtrack to earlier in the film…
For example, Rita is amused by Phil making fun of her in the newsvan, or at least Andie MacDowell’s grinning like she’s amused. She should be offended, but she isn’t. Even when he says the line about the pelvic tilt outside the Pennsylvanian Hotel, she is still amused. She’s totally into him already; I’m not sure why hooking up with her is so difficult. Or she’s really good at handling her “talent.” Her laugh when Larry questions Phil’s calling himself the talent would support the latter.
The set decoration in the bed and breakfast draws my attention sometimes—like the Scottie lamp in Phil’s half bath (or whatever you’d call that nook with a sink)—but I don’t figure any of it really means anything. Still I will admit I spent some time trying to figure out what certain paintings are, like the one framed between Phil and Mrs. Lancaster. But, finding a painting that isn’t particularly famous with just a blurry shot in the background is not easy.
Ned waiting while Phil talks—when Phil says he’s doing “something else” for dinner in particular—is amusing. He’s got a nod that seems out of place—I think this time he doesn’t “get” what Phil’s telling him, unlike later when he “gets” Rita’s “let’s not spoil it.”
Why is there a chain on the groundhog’s stump? I can’t imagine they stick him in there more than an hour before the ceremony and they’ve got military guys around (which I assume is some security thing) in addition to the cops, so is it that the groundhog doesn’t like being in that stump and he just pushes his way out?
Rita is amused by the exchange between Phil and Larry as they drive into the blizzard. She really is an “upbeat lady” so easily amused by just about anything.
This isn’t new, but ever since I listened to Ramis’ commentary, I try not to look at the policeman’s mouth out there on the highway, because the voice and mouth don’t match in my head anymore.
As amused as she seems so many other times, Rita is not at all amused by Phil’s suggestion that he’s going to go back to his room and read Hustler. Even before he gets to the Hustler reference, she seems angry on the wider shot, and her “suit yourself” is cold.
Speaking of decoration, one of the framed images—looks like more of a line drawing than a painting—in Phil’s room seems to be of a seal/sea lion with a lighthouse in the background. Don’t hotels and bed and breakfasteses… bed and breakfast places generally decorate with more local-style visuals?
I’ve mentioned before and I’ll mention again, Chubby Man’s scream/squeal when Phil shoves him into the wall is great.
Not a newly noticed thing, but Ned not blinking is awesome.
Another woman entering Gobbler’s Knob ahead of Phil on Day 2 has the same red bag as Mary—I assume it’s some Groundhog Day souvenir bag, but I’m not sure there’s a clear shot of it anywhere.
Rita’s tongue at the corner of her mouth when Phil’s being difficult before his Day 2 report stands out, mostly because I don’t think she ever does it again. I guess Andie MacDowell doesn’t rely exclusively on one or two facial expressions like some actresses (*coughKirstenStewartcough*).
(That was a cheap shot.)
First time in the Tip Top, Phil flinches at the dropping tray. I read it like he’s flinching because he heard it before, but there’s no reason to believe he was there on Day 1 or 2.
Another note on the Tip Top, Day 3: The table by the one with the old guy in the red hat, has a couple sitting at it—this will be important later.
Gus is holding a lit cigarette (at the bowling alley) but we never see him smoke.
I don’t think I ever noticed, when Rita is staring at Phil eating from his table full of food, he offers her a sausage. Not a pastry like he offers Larry, but a sausage. I won’t proclaim that means anything.
Why is there a t-shirt hanging in the Tip Top, and not hanging like decoration, but like someone stuck it there and forgot it?
I neglected to include Nancy’s little dance when Phil meets her by the gazebo in my blog entry about dancing. So, here it is:
Did Phil take Nancy back to his room at the bed and breakfast? I always assumed that set didn’t have the wall to the left of the couch, but I just realized the curtains are similar… and that would make Phil’s entire room one whole side of the third floor of the bed and breakfast.
The TV monitors in the van are SONY… nowadays, it would be safe to assume product placement, but in 1993, I’m not sure how common that was… Of course, this bit from Wayne’s World was in 1992:
Gobbler’s Knob empties of people very quickly. Phil and Rita at the van can’t be too long after the ceremony and the place is virtually empty. And, somehow, it gets covered in snow before their snowman building time, even though evidence suggests it doesn’t snow in Punxsutawney until after that.
Tip Top Café again, and there’s a couple sitting at the table by the one with the old guy in the red hat, though you can’t see them too well with all the close-ups on Rita.
Phil’s quiet laugh to himself after pulling the distributor cap out of the engine is great. He’s very proud of himself.
I will get to the bartender eventually—you know, when I get to an in depth exploration of the representation of race in Groundhog Day—but I must say the shot of his amusement makes me smile. He’s seen all of this shit before, a thousand times. He is not impressed.
I want some white chocolate. That isn’t an observation about the film. I’m just saying.
Do real people sit at adjacent sides of a table when on a date? Or is that just a movie thing… hell, I think the table is circular, so sitting that close together is kinda awkward.
Weird thing now, paying attention for new things (not just the odd details I’ve already noticed), the foley work on date night stands out as maybe a little too loud. I mean, right before Phil get’s Rita into his room. Their steps in the snow—probably cornflakes, from what I know about foley—are quite distinct.
See, if Nancy was on that same couch as Rita—and the same music is playing—then that paints Phil’s “date” with Rita in a very different light to me. I tend to think he’s actually trying to get together with Rita properly, he just doesn’t know how. I don’t think he’s necessarily trying to trick her like he did Nancy… and, despite my realizing I shouldn’t do it yesterday, I just jumped back 15 minutes or so to check and sure enough that is Phil’s fake fire and Phil’s couch—so, the same music track—“called “Phil Gets the Girl” on the soundtrack—is appropriate.
(I remembered to jump back to where I was, by the way.)
The last slap happens outside the Pennsylvanian. I assume Phil invited himself to Rita’s room.
As the car chase gets going, the other Inner Circle guy has an awesome move:
And, it’s “god” day at the Tip Top. And that couple have their table once again. So, the thing I’m watching for is when do they leave? Phil and Rita do not sit on top of them.
Hm. Don’t see them leaving, but as soon as Phil gets up to show off his knowledge, they’re gone. Ah, but their plates are still there. So, though we don’t see them leave, I can’t really say there’s any mistake in continuity.
By the way, I love that not only does Rita compliment Debbie’s ring after Phil just dropped the bombshell of Debbie having second thoughts about marrying Fred, but Debbie thanks her.
It probably means nothing—I guess I’m not in the mood for meaning today—but one of the two cards in the hat: the Queen of Hearts. Easily taken as symbolic of Rita. Of course, if that card means something, so should the other one. So, Phil is the Seven of Hearts… Hearts isn’t a Tarot suit or I could look up what that card means… nevermind, I have the interwebs at my fingertips. Hearts equates with Cups, apparently. The Seven of Cups, by my notes, is about wishful thinking, creating fantasies, having options, and possibly overindulging. The Rider-Waite deck—which is what I’ve got—has a silhouetted guy facing seven cups, each with something coming out of it, not all good necessarily, but all different. There’s the face of, presumably, a beautiful woman; a shrouded figure, glowing, with arms outstretched; a snake; a castle; jewels; a wreath; and a dragon. Like this:
This actually fits Phil, so maybe the two cards in the hat do make symbolic sense. The Queen of Cups is loving and tenderhearted, and she can never turn away someone in need. Yeah, that sounds like Phil’s understanding of Rita, if not who she actually is.
Rita didn’t actually pay for Phil, yet took him from the stage. Sure, there’s time to pay between then and them leaving the party, but I wouldn’t put it past her to just steal him. She’s not as nice as Phil thinks.
And, that’s as good a note as any to end on.
Today’s reason to repeat a day forever: to have some fun, whether it means anything or not.