Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day, www.EFLsuccess.com

Story: What would you do if you could live the same day over and over? A selfish TV weatherman is trapped, reliving a cold February day—will he use this “extra time” to achieve personal goals, to improve himself, or to help others? Once he takes the focus off himself, his eyes become open to the richness of life and love. This humorous, romantic film challenges us to think about what is really important, and shows that the road to fulfilling our dreams can be full of surprises. (1993; Bill Murray; Columbia Pictures; comedy, romance, drama; PG; 101 minutes) Setting: mostly in a small town in the eastern USA, famous for its festival every February 2; 1990s Note: This film has a lot of unfamiliar terms and important dialogs, so I HIGHLY encourage you to carefully study this guide before you watch the film.

People and proper nouns:

  • Phil Conners: a TV weatherman (who is very self-centered at the beginning of the story)
  • Rita: his TV producer, with many of the “typical” traits of an American career woman (professional, educated, caring…)
  • Larry: the driver and camera operator
  • Groundhog Day: Feb 2; if the animal does not see its shadow, there will be an early spring
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: the big city Phil/Rita/Larry work in
  • Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania: a small town, famous for its Groundhog Day celebration

Vocabulary: 

(underlined words are vocabulary terms; *key terms)
  • *a bid: an offer to buy or rent something (normally sth that many people want, so the highest “bidder” gets it)
  • blown up: exploded, perhaps by a bomb
  • booties: warm socks made for babies (“keep your booties on” is the radio announcer’s way of saying “wear warm clothes”)
  • *bucks: slang for dollars; ten bucks=$10
  • to bundle up (see “Weather terms”)
  • *charity: money used to help other people, or an organization that uses that money (such as the Red Cross)
  • chart: (see Phrases/sayings)
  • chapped lips: lips that have become dry and cracked when it is cold/dry for a long time
  • chipmunk: a very small mammal that lives in trees (“She makes chipmunk sounds when she gets excited.”)
  • *cholesterol: a substance in the blood, esp. coming from fried food (“Too much cholesterol can be harmful to one’s health.”)
  • *courageous=brave
  • *cute: attractive in a childlike or simple way
  • *déjà vu: (from French) a mysterious sense that you have been somewhere or done something before (in the late 20th century it also began to describe boring or repetitive action)
  • egocentric: (literally “I” in the “center”) refers to someone who thinks only of himself or herself
  • electrocuted: killed or injured by electricity
  • *fiancé: (from French) a person who is engaged to be married
  • to floss: to use a type of string (also called “floss”) to clean between teeth
  • footage (see “TV terms”)
  • front (see “Weather terms”)
  • galoshes: winter boots (often made of rubber) that are worn over shoes
  • *gonna: oral English, meaning “going to” (you should never write the word “gonna” because it is not really a word)
  • groundhog: a small North American mammal, related to beavers and rats; sometimes called a “woodchuck”
  • *hicks: negative term describing someone from a rural town who is uneducated or unsophisticated (“They are hicks, Rita.”)
  • *humble: positive term that describes someone who does not brag about his or her good qualities
  • immortal: adj describing someone who cannot die
  • *to injure (an injury): to hurt yourself or someone else (often passive: “He was injured when something fell on him.”)
  • *leech: a blood-sucking worm that lives in rivers—if it attaches itself to your skin by suction, it is very difficult to pull off; by analogy, people called leeches are harmful and difficult to get rid of
  • *legend: an old, well-known story (or person), often presented as “true/historical” even though this may not be completely accurate
  • love handles: refers to a roll of fat around someone’s waist (i.e., it means someone is overweight)
  • *moron: a negative term, used to say someone is stupid (an idiot)
  • omnipotent: all-powerful
  • “pop”: father or (informally) any older man. Phil calls an old man “Pop” or “Pops” because he doesn’t know his name.
  • *prima donna: (from Italian) a person, usually a performer, that is difficult to deal with because he/she is overly proud
  • prognosticator: someone who can see the future (also called a seer or prophet)
  • *prominent: easy to see, such as something that sticks out in front of a building, animal, etc. (“Beavers and groundhogs have prominent teeth.”)
  • *punch line: the last part of a joke, usually the funny part (Rita says “I’m waiting for the punch line” to tell Phil she doesn’t believe his story is true.)
  • to rap on: to knock (as on a door); “He raps on the door.”
  • reliving: literally “living again”; living the same thing over and over
  • rhinestones: imitation diamonds
  • *sarcastic (sarcasm): saying things that are the opposite of what you mean, in order to make an unkind joke or to show that you are annoyed (Sarcasm is a common form of American humor.)
  • seer (see prognosticator)
  • shtick: (from the Yiddish language) a comical or trite performance
  • *stabbed: to have been cut with a knife (or sth equally sharp)
  • *sucker: someone who is easily fooled or emotionally affected by something. (“You’re a sucker for French poetry.”)
  • supportive: someone who is often emotionally or morally helpful
  • sweet vermouth: a type of fortified wine (flavored with herbs)
  • to swerve: to quickly turn your car/vehicle, such as when you are going around a hole that you see suddenly or when you suddenly turn to miss a bicycle
  • tray: a large flat plate or pan, used to carry dishes (“Next, the waiter will drop a tray.”)
  • van (see TV terms)
  • wreck: a car accident (to “survive a wreck” means that the accident didn’t kill you)
  • wretch: a very unlikable person

Phrases/sayings:

  • *“A close call.” Can mean that something bad almost happened or that you don’t know which of two choices would be the best
  • *“Are you seeing anyone?” Are you dating someone romantically (though, in other contexts, it could mean that you are seeing a doctor or counselor)
  • “Good save.” A sports phrase, related to the ability or inability (if said sarcastically, like it is used in the restaurant) to catch a ball or stop a goal; also used to mean that you did/didn’t “save face” after saying or doing something embarrassing.
  • *“I’m not making it up.” The story I am telling you is not fictitious, it is true.
  • “I’m racking my brain…” I am trying very hard to figure sth out or think of an answer.
  • “It’s a doozy.” It is something remarkable (one’s tone of voice shows whether it was “remarkably good” or “remarkably bad”).
  • *“It’s beginning to grow on me.” I am starting to like it more and more.
  • *“Keep your fingers crossed.” Let’s hope for the best outcome or for good luck.
  • “Let me see his chart.” In a hospital, “chart” refers to a patient’s medical record; this is something a doctor would say to find out more about the patient.
  • “Lovely ring” or “That’s a lovely ring.” Rita is saying that the woman’s engagement ring (the part of a woman’s wedding band with a diamond) is beautiful. Traditionally, women accept an “engagement ring” when they say “yes” to a man’s request to become married.
  • “Not a dent in the fender.” Phil means that there is no physical harm done. Literally, the phrase refers to an indentation/mark in the part of a car around the wheels, esp. a mark that is found after an accident.
  • *“Nuts.” This describes someone or something that is crazy.
  • “On the rocks with a twist.” This describes a drink, usually alcohol, served over ice cubes (“rocks”) with a squirt (“twist”) of lemon juice.
  • *“passed away.” He died.
  • “plays an instrument.” This refers to a musical instrument, like a piano (it implies patience and determination because those are needed to play an instrument well).
  • “poopy diapers.” Refers to diapers (a baby’s undergarment) that are dirty because a child has had a bowel movement; “My future husband will be willing to change poopy diapers.”
  • “Campers, rise and shine!” Attention kids at this camp: it’s time to get up! (The radio announcer is imitating a “wake up” announcement used at camp. “Summer camp” is a time & place away from parents to have fun with kids your own age.)
  • “Rough night?” You didn’t sleep well, did you? (perhaps because something was keeping you awake, such as too much alcohol or your worries)
  • “same-old same-old.” The same things I’ve always done/seen/heard/etc.
  • *“So long.” See you later; goodbye.
  • “Thanks for watching” (see TV terms)
  • “The big question on everyone’s lips…” If a topic is “on everyone’s lips,” it means that lots of people are talking about it. “We’re clear” (see “TV terms”)
  • *“You can’t let him.” i.e., please don’t allow him to do it
  • “We’ve got to stay ahead of the weather.” Larry means that they should leave Punxsutawney soon because a bad storm is coming; he hopes their van can go faster than the storm.

Weather terms:

  • *blizzard: a big winter storm with lots of snow
  • to bundle up: to wear lots of clothing in order to stay warm
  • frigid: very, very cold
  • a front: a large mass of air that may cause storms as it moves
  • *The Gulf: refers to the Gulf of Mexico, a sea south of the US, which often affects the US weather
  • lustrous: “A long and lustrous winter.” From the noun luster, the adjective means radiant or bright
  • *moisture: wetness or humidity (can refer to many things, such as snow and rain)
  • sleet: freezing rain

TV terms:

  • clear; “We are clear.” i.e., they have stopped filming
  • footage; “We got some incredible footage.” i.e., a length of film or “several minutes of video pictures”
  • “Hairdo.” a negative term Phil uses to make fun of his coworker’s fancy hair style
  • “On me in three.” i.e., focus your camera on me, and I’ll start talking in three seconds
  • “Thanks for watching.” A TV personality may say this to thank viewers for watching his show (instead of the competition).
  • van: refers to a vehicle like the one Larry drives (which carries the TV filming equipment)

More information:

(to help you understand what you will see)

Plot summary: Phil Connors is a self-centered TV weatherman, who is sent to cover the annual Groundhog Day (February 2) celebration in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. He feels superior to the co-workers who come along: Rita (a news producer) and Larry (cameraman/driver)—and they are unhappy about his Prima Donna attitude. After Phil gives his on-camera coverage of the celebration, heavy snowfall traps them in this “boring” little town. Worse yet, the next morning Phil awakes to find that he has to live this “terrible day” over and over again. At first, he uses this situation in a typically selfish way (deceiving a woman so she will sleep with him, stealing money from distracted guards, doing crazy things, etc.); later he tries to “improve himself” to impress Rita (learning to speak French and to play the piano, etc.); but all of this seems empty and useless to him. Then he discovers the key to happiness in an unexpected place. Maybe Phil’s mistakes and discoveries can help you reach your goals too!

Discussion: 

(see “Some Answers” below)
  • 1. Describe Phil’s personality at the beginning of the movie.
  • 2. Did Phil want to go to the Groundhog festival? Why or why not?
  • 3. Before you saw this film, what would you have said is “the path to a happy life”? If this story has changed your mind, explain.
  • 4. What would you do if you could live today over and over again?
  • 5. Phil thought about “living the same day over and over” several ways. Work with your partner to put these opinions in the right order (write 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, to show which way Phil thought 1st, 2nd, etc.). Then give an example to show that he had this opinion.
  • ___A. This means I can fool Rita into liking me
  • ___B. I’m sick and need a doctor’s help
  • ___C. This means I won’t suffer the consequences of bad choices
  • ___D. This means I have time to help others
  • ___E. This means I have time to learn difficult skills
  • 6. What are some of the things Phil did (in his repeated days) to try to make himself happy?
  • 7. What were some things Phil did to improve himself or to serve others?
  • 8. Many people see many different “lessons” in this film; some even say it has a “spiritual” quality. What is one of the lessons you see illustrated?
(This movie guide has extra features like a vocabulary quiz and a section called: “There’s nothing new” isn’t a new idea. Scroll down past the dialogs to find these features.)

Additional discussion questions:

  • 9. What happened the same every morning to convince Phil (and the movie viewers) that he was living the same day over and over?
  • 10. At first, Phil tried to impress Rita by pretending to have the same interests—but it didn’t work. She had a nice day, but always decided that he was being dishonest. Why do you think Rita fell in love with Phil at the end of the story? What changed?
  • 11. In the end, Phil discovered that he would get what he wanted for himself by genuinely caring about others. Do you think this is true in real life? Why or why not?
  • 12. How should people live; what should we do with our time? Explain your answer.

Sentences/dialogs from the movie:

(*these conversations are particularly abbreviated; dialogs in part from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0107048/quotes; blue indicates a key dialog or sentence; imdb’s website is a great place to find movie facts and more)

Say these dialogs out loud with your friends; it will help you prepare to watch the movie. The underlined words are defined in the vocabulary section above.

  • 1.   Phil (presenting a weather report on TV): Somebody asked me today, “Phil, if you could be anywhere in the world, where would you like to be?” And I said to him, “Probably right here. Elko, Nevada; our nation’s high at 79 today.” Out in California, they’re gonna have some warm weather tomorrow, gang wars, and some very overpriced real estate. Up in the Pacific Northwest, as you can see, they’re gonna have some very, very tall trees…
  • 2.   Phil: For your information, Hairdo, there is a major network interested in me.
  •       Larry (sarcastically): Yeah, that would be the Home Shopping Network.
  • 3.   Rita (after Phil complains about having to do this “groundhog story” again): I think it’s a nice story. [The groundhog] comes out, and he looks around. He wrinkles up his little nose. He sees his shadow or he doesn’t see it. It’s nice. People like it.
  •       Phil: You are new, aren’t you? People like blood sausage too. People are morons.
  •       Rita (sarcastically): [That’s a] Nice attitude.
  •       Phil: I want you to look in the mirror and see what you look like doing that groundhog thing… Would you like some blood sausage?
  •       Rita: I like blood sausage.
  • 4.*  (Phil complains about the hotel in town, and Rita says she booked him a room in a bed-and-breakfast; Phil is pleasantly surprised)
  •       Phil: That’s one of the traits of a really good producer: keep “the talent” happy.
  •       Rita: Would you like to come to dinner with Larry and me?
  •       Phil: No thank you. I’ve seen Larry eat. You get your sleep. I’ll see you in the morning.
  •       Larry [to Rita about Phil, after Phil gets into the van]: Did he actually call himself “the talent”?
  • 5.   (This dialog is on the radio every morning, to show Phil that he is living the same day over and over.)
  •       First D.J.: Okay, campers, rise and shine, and don’t forget your booties ’cause it’s COLD out there today.
  •       Second D.J.: It’s cold out there every day. What is this, Miami Beach?
  •       First D.J.: Not hardly. And you know, you can expect hazardous travel later today with that, you know, that, uh, that “blizzard thing.“
  •       Second D.J. [mockingly]: “That blizzard – thing. That blizzard – thing.” Oh, well, here’s the report! The National Weather Service is calling for a “big blizzard thing!”
  •       First D.J.: Yes, they are. But you know, there’s another reason why today is especially exciting.
  •       Second D.J.: Especially cold!
  •       First D.J.: Especially cold, okay, but the big question on everybody’s lips
  •       Second D.J.: – On their chapped lips
  •       First D.J.: – On their chapped lips, right: Do ya think Phil is gonna come out and see his shadow?
  •       Second D.J.: Punxsutawney Phil!
  •       First D.J.: Thats right, woodchuck-chuckers – it’s
  •       [in unison] GROUNDHOG DAY!
  • 6.   Mrs. Lancaster: Did you sleep well, Mr. Connors?
  •       Phil: I slept alone, Mrs. Lancaster.
  •       Phil: I don’t suppose there’s any chance of a espresso or cappuccino?
  •       Mrs. Lancaster: [confused look] Oh, I don’t know…
  •       Phil: [turns away, talks to self] …don’t know how to spell espresso or cappuccino.
  •       Mrs. Lancaster: [on the first day] Will you be checking out today, Mr. Connors?
  •       Phil: Chance of departure today: one hundred percent!
  •    (on the second day, Phil’s answer changes to:)
  •       Phil: Chance of departure today:… Eighty percent?… seventy-five/eighty?
  • 7.*   Ned: Phil? Hey, Phil? Phil! Phil Connors? Phil Connors, I thought that was you!
  •       Phil: Hi, how you doing? Thanks for watching. [Starts to walk away]
  •       Ned: Hey, hey! Now, don’t you tell me you don’t remember me because I sure as heckfire remember you.
  •       Phil: Not a chance.
  •       Ned: Ned… Ryerson. “Needlenose Ned”? “Ned the Head”? C’mon, buddy. Case Western High. Ned Ryerson: I did the whistling belly-button trick at the high school talent show? Bing! Ned Ryerson: got the shingles [a painful disease] real bad senior year, almost didn’t graduate? Bing, again. Ned Ryerson: I dated your sister Mary Pat a couple times until you told me not to anymore? Well?
  •       Phil: Ned Ryerson?
  •       Ned: Bing! Do you have life insurance, Phil? Because if you do, you could always use a little more, right? Am I right or am I right? Or am I right? Am I right?
  •       Phil: Ned, I would love to stay here and talk with you… but I’m not going to.
  •       Ned: So what are you doing for dinner?
  •       Phil: Umm… something else.
  •       (As Phil walks away, he steps into a big hole filled with muddy water.)
  •       Ned: Watch out for that first step. It’s a doozy.
  • 8.   Rita: Where have you been?
  •       Phil (referring to Ned): It was awful. A giant leech got me.
  •       Rita: You’re missing all the fun! These people are great! Some of them have been partying all night long! They sing songs ’till they get too cold and then they go sit by the fire and they get warm, and then they come back and sing some more!
  •       Phil: Yeah, they’re hicks, Rita! So, did you sleep OK without me? You tossed and turned, didn’t you?
  •       Rita (sarcastically): You’re incredible.
  •       Phil: Who told you?
  •       (The crowd cheers as the Master of Ceremonies goes onto the stage)
  •       Rita: It’s groundhog time.
  • 9.   Phil (after the official Groundhog Ceremony): On me in three… This is one time where television really fails to capture the true excitement of a large squirrel predicting the weather. I, for one, am very grateful to have been here. From Punxsutawney, this is Phil Connors. So long.
  •       Rita (unhappy): OK… Want to try it again without the sarcasm?
  •       Phil: We’ve got it. I’m out of here.
  •       Larry (referring to Phil): Prima donnas.
  • 10.  Phil: Hey Commander, what’s going on?
  •       State Trooper (i.e., police officer): There’s nothing going on. We’re closing the road. Big blizzard moving in.
  •       Phil: What blizzard? It’s a couple of flakes.
  •       State Trooper: Don’t you listen to the weather? We got a major storm here.
  •       Phil: I make the weather! All of this moisture coming up out of the Gulf is gonna push off to the east and hit Altoona.
  •       State Trooper: Pal, you got that moisture on your head. Now you can go back to Punxsutawney, or you can go ahead and freeze to death. It’s your choice. So what’s it gonna be?
  •       Phil (pauses): I’m thinking…
  • 11.  Phil (talking to the phone company): Come on, all the long distance lines are down? What about the satellite? Is it snowing in space? Don’t you have some kind of a line that you keep open for emergencies or for celebrities? I’m both. I’m a celebrity in an emergency….
  •    (on the second day, the conversation ended like this)
  •       Phil: When are the long-distance [phone] lines going to be repaired? Tomorrow? Well, what if there is no tomorrow? There wasn’t one today.
  • 12.  Phil: Do you ever have déjà vu, Mrs. Lancaster?
  •       Mrs. Lancaster: I don’t think so, but I could check with the kitchen.
  • 13.  Phil Connors: Excuse me, where is everybody going?
  •       Piano teacher (on the street): To Gobbler’s Knob. It’s Groundhog Day.
  •       Phil Connors: It’s still just once a year, isn’t it?
  •       (In town, he meets Ned again, but this time Phil knows who Ned is.)
  •       Ned: …Funny you should mention your health because you will never guess what I do now.
  •       Phil: Do you sell insurance?
  •       Ned: Bing again! You are sharp as a tack today. Do you have life insurance, Phil? If you do, you could always use more. Right? Who couldn’t? But do you want to know something? I got the feeling… [whistles]… you ain’t got any. Am I right or am I right? Or am I right? Am I right?
  •       Phil: I gotta go.
  • 14.*  Phil: Something’s going on and I don’t know what to do about it.
  •       Rita: Are you drunk or something?
  •       Phil: Drunk is more fun. Can I be serious with you with you for a minute?
  •       Rita: I don’t know. Can you? … It’s groundhog time. Let’s just do this, then we’ll talk.
  •       Phil: On me in three… Well, it’s Groundhog Day… again…. And that must mean that we’re up here at Gobbler’s Knob waiting for the forecast from the world’s most famous groundhog weatherman, Punxsutawney Phil, who’s just about to tell us how much more winter we can expect.
  • 15.  (on the third morning)
  •       Phil: Can I talk to you about a matter that is not work-related?
  •       Rita: You never talk about work…
  •       (Phil explains that he’s reliving the same day over and over.)
  •       Rita: I am racking my brain, but I can’t imagine why you’d make this up.
  •       Phil: I am not making it up. I am asking you for help.
  •       Rita: Okay, what do you want me to do?
  •       Phil: I don’t know. You’re a producer. Come up with something.
  •       Rita: You want my advice? I think you should get your head examined if you expect me to believe a stupid story like that, Phil.
  •       Gus (at the next table in this restaurant): Phil? Like the groundhog Phil?
  •       Phil: Yeah, like the groundhog Phil.
  •       Gus: Look out for your shadow there, pal.
  •       Phil: Morons, your bus is leaving.
  •       (Phil goes to see a doctor, and then a psychologist, but neither knows how to help.)
  • 16.  Phil (with some guys in a bowling alley): I was in the Virgin Islands once. I met a girl. We ate lobster, drank piña coladas. At sunset, we made love like sea otters. [Ralph and Gus laugh.] That was a pretty good day. Why couldn’t I get that day over, and over, and over…
  •       Gus: You know, some guys would look at this glass and they would say, “That glass is half empty.” Other guys would say, “That glass is half full.” I peg you as a “glass is half empty” kind of guy. Am I right?
  •       Phil: What would you do if you were stuck in one place and every day was exactly the same, and nothing that you did mattered?
  •       Ralph: That about sums it up for me.
  •       (They leave, and all of them are drunk.)
  •       Phil (after Ralph falls a few times): You wanna throw up here, or you wanna throw up in the car?
  •       Ralph: I think… both.
  •       Phil (driving, because he is the least drunk of the three): Let me ask you guys a question. What if there were no tomorrow?
  •       Gus: No tomorrow. That would mean there are no consequences. There would be no hangovers. We could do whatever we wanted.
  •       Phil: That’s true. We could do whatever we want. (So he drives into a mail box, right in front of a police officer.)
  •       Gus: Hey Phil, if we wanted to hit mailboxes we could let Ralph drive! (The police start to follow, with lights and siren on.) Hey, I think they want you to stop.
  •       Phil: Hang on. (He continues to drive crazy.) It’s the same thing your whole life: “Clean up your room. Stand up straight. Pick up your feet. Take it like a man. Be nice to your sister. Don’t mix beer and wine, ever.” Oh yeah: “Don’t drive on the railroad track.” (Then Phil starts to drive down the railroad track.)
  •       Gus: Well, Phil, that’s one I happen to agree with.
  •       Phil: I don’t know, Gus. Sometimes I think you just have to take the big chances.
  •       Gus (alarmed because a train is coming!): Phil!
  •       Phil: I’m betting he’s going to swerve first. (He gets out of the train’s way just in time.) I’m not gonna live by their rules anymore.
  •       Ralph: I noticed that.
  •       Phil: You make choices and live with them. (The police catch up to him, and he crashes into a parked car. When the officer comes to the window, Phil says…)
  •       Phil: Yeah, three cheeseburgers, two large fries, two chocolate shakes and one large coke.
  •       Ralph: And some flapjacks.
  •       Phil (to the officer): Too early for flapjacks?
  • 17.  Rita: I like to see a man of advancing years throwing caution to the wind. It’s inspiring in a way.
  •       Phil: My years are not advancing as fast as you might think.
  •       [a waiter drops a tray of dishes in the restaurant]
  •       Gus: Just put that anywhere, pal!
  •       Ralph: Yeah! Good save!
  •       Rita: Don’t you worry about cholesterol, lung cancer, love handles?
  •       Phil: I don’t worry about anything anymore.
  •       (Rita quotes a poem to Phil, then when Larry comes Phil says he is not leaving.)
  •       Rita: I thought you hated this town.
  •       Phil: It’s beginning to grow on me.
  • 18.  (Phil tells a series of things before they happen, as if he has seen it many times. His goal is to take money from distracted guards.)
  •       Phil: A gust of wind. A dog barks. Cue the truck.
  •       [an armored truck drives up]
  •       Phil: Exit Herman; walk out into the bank. Exit Felix, and stand there with a not-so-bright look on your face. All right, Doris, come on. Hey, fix your bra, honey… That’s better….
  •       Phil: [impersonating Doris] Can I have a roll of quarters?
  •       [Phil stands up and begins to walk towards the armored car, counting to himself]
  •       Phil: 10, 9, 8, car… 6, 5, quarters… [roll of quarters breaks open, hitting the ground] …3, 2…
  •       [Phil reaches over Felix and takes a bag of money out of the back of the armored truck]
  •       Herman: Felix, did I bring out two bags or one?
  •       Felix: I don’t know.
  • 19.*  Phil: So, what do you want out of life?
  •       Rita: I guess I want what everybody wants: career, love, marriage, children.
  •       Phil: Are you seeing anyone? … Who is your perfect guy?
  •       Rita: First of all, he’s too humble to know he’s perfect. He’s intelligent, supportive, funny. He’s romantic and courageous. He’s got a good body, but doesn’t have to look in the mirror every two minutes. He’s kind, sensitive and gentle. He’s not afraid to cry in front of me. He likes animals and children, and he’ll change poopy diapers. And he plays an instrument, and he loves his mother.
  •       Phil: I am really close on this one!
  • 20.  Rita: What should we drink to?
  •       Phil: To the groundhog.
  •       Rita: I always drink to world peace.
  •    (the next day)
  •       Rita: What should we drink to?
  •       Phil: I like to say a prayer and drink to world peace.
  •       Rita: To world peace.
  •       (Later, they walk together, to a chocolate shop.)
  •       Rita: There is something so familiar about this. Do you ever have déjà vu?
  •       Phil: Didn’t you just ask me that?
  •       (Eventually, they are sitting together in a restaurant.)
  •       Phil: I think people place too much emphasis on their careers. I wish we could all live in the mountains at high altitude. That’s where I see myself in five years. How about you?
  •       Rita: Oh, I agree. I just like to go with the flow. See where it leads me.
  •       Phil: Well, it’s led you here.
  •       Rita: Mm hmm. It’s about a million miles from where I started out in college.
  •       Phil: You weren’t in broadcasting or journalism?
  •       Rita: Believe it or not, I studied 19th-century French poetry.
  •       Phil: [laughs] What a waste of time! [Then he realizes he shouldn’t have laughed.] I mean, for someone else that would be an incredible waste of time. It’s so bold of you to choose that. It’s incredible; you must be a very very strong person.
  •    (the “next” day–after Phil has spent a few “days” studying French)
  •       Rita: Believe it or not, I studied nineteenth-century French poetry.
  •       Phil: [talks in French]
  •       Rita: You speak French?
  •       Phil: Oui.
  • 21.  Phil (depressed after countless “Groundhog Days”; here is what he says to the TV viewers): This is pitiful. A thousand people freezing their butts off waiting to worship a rat. What a hype. Groundhog Day used to mean something in this town. They used to pull the hog out, and they used to eat it. You’re hypocrites, all of you! [Then he turns and talks to Larry] Have you got a problem with what I’m saying, Larry? Untie your tongue, and you come out here and talk. [to Rita, who is very unhappy with this behavior] Am I upsetting you, Princess? You know, if you want a prediction about the weather, you’re asking the wrong Phil. I’ll give you a winter prediction: It’s gonna be cold, it’s gonna be grey, and it’s gonna last you for the rest of your life.
  • 22.*  Phil: There is no way that this winter is ever going to end as long as this groundhog keeps seeing his shadow. I don’t see any other way out. He’s got to be stopped. And I have to stop him.
  •       Larry (to Rita, about Phil): He’s out of his gourd. [i.e., he is crazy]
  •       (In desperation, Phil decides to steal the groundhog, steal a truck, and then crash—killing himself with the animal; there are several humorous things in this scene)
  •       Phil (Holding the groundhog behind the wheel): Don’t drive angry. Don’t drive angry!
  •       Rita: Why would anybody steal a groundhog?
  •       Larry: I can probably think of a couple of reasons…
  •       The groundhog keeper (to a police officer): If you’ve got to shoot, aim high. I don’t wanna hit the groundhog.
  •       (After a chase, Phil has driven off a cliff, crashing at the bottom)
  •       Larry (to a worried Rita, talking about Phil): He… might be okay. [Then the truck explodes in a fireball] Well, no. Probably not now.
  •    (The “next” morning, Phil wakes up to find that his plan failed. He can’t end the curse by killing the groundhog or himself).
  •       Phil: Ah, nuts.
  • 23.*   Phil: I’m a god.
  •       Rita: You’re God?
  •       Phil: I’m a god. I’m not the God… I don’t think.
  •       Phil: I have been stabbed, shot, poisoned, frozen, hung, electrocuted, and burned.
  •       Rita: Oh, really?
  •       Phil: …and every morning I wake up without a scratch on me, not a dent in the fender… I am an immortal.
  •       Rita: Why are you telling me this?
  •       Phil: Because I want you to believe in me.
  •       Rita: You’re not a god. You can take my word for it; this is twelve years of Catholic school talking.
  •       Phil: How do you know I’m not a god?
  •       Rita: Because it is not possible!
  •       Phil (grabs the waitress): This is Doris. Her brother-in-law, Carl, owns this diner. She’s worked here since she was 17. She wants to see Paris before she dies.
  •       (Doris agrees, and then Phil introduces Rita to everyone else in the diner in the same way. She is amazed.)
  •       Rita: Is this some kind of trick?
  •       Phil: Well maybe the real God uses tricks. Maybe he’s not omnipotent. He’s just been around so long he knows everything.
  •       (Phil continues to introduce people and say what will happen before it happens.)
  •       Phil: This is Nancy: she works in the dress shop and makes noises like a chipmunk when she gets real excited.
  •       Nancy: Hey!
  •       Phil: It’s true.
  •       Rita: What about me, Phil? Do you know me too?
  •       Phil: I know all about you. You like producing, but you hope for more than Channel 9 Pittsburgh.
  •       Rita: Well, everyone knows that!
  •       Phil: You like boats, but not the ocean. You go to a lake in the summer with your family up in the mountains. There’s a long wooden dock and a boathouse with boards missing from the roof, and a place you used to crawl underneath to be alone. You’re a sucker for French poetry and rhinestones. You’re very generous. You’re kind to strangers and children, and when you stand in the snow you look like an angel.
  •       Rita: [in wonder] How are you doing this?
  •       Phil: I told you. I wake up every day, right here, right in Punxsutawney, and it’s always February 2nd, and there’s nothing I can do about it.
  • 24.  (After a long day, Rita is asleep. Phil speaks softly, knowing she can’t hear him.)
  •       Phil: What I wanted to say was, I think you’re the kindest, sweetest, prettiest person I’ve ever met in my life. I’ve never seen anyone that’s nicer to people than you are. The first time I saw you, something happened to me. I never told you, but I knew that I wanted to hold you as hard as I could. I don’t deserve someone like you. But If I ever could, I swear I would love you for the rest of my life.
  • 25.  (The next morning, after he sees that the curse continues, he decides to try something new: being kind to people, and learning “versatile” skills like playing the piano and making ice sculptures.)
  •       Phil (to the local piano teacher): I’d like to take piano lessons. I’m kinda in a hurry. I can give you a thousand dollars.
  • 26.  Man in Hallway: [Do] You think it will be an early spring?
  •       Phil: Winter, slumbering in the open air, wears on its smiling face a dream of spring. Ciao!
  •       Man in Hallway: Ciao!
  • 27.  Piano Teacher (after many “first lessons”): Not bad… Mr. Connors, you say this is your first lesson?
  •       Phil: Yes, but my father was a piano mover, so…
  • 28.  [Phil befriends an old man (a “bum”); later that day Phil finds the man dying, and he wants to know why.]
  •       Nurse: He just passed away. He was old. It was just his time.
  •       Phil: I want to see his chart.
  •       Nurse: Sometimes, people just die.
  •       Phil: Not today.
  • 29.  Phil (speaking on TV about the ceremony): When Chekhov 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.
  • 30.  Larry [to Nancy, about being a photojournalist] People just don’t understand what is involved in this. This is an art-form! You know, I think that most people just think that I hold a camera and point at stuff, but there is a heck of a lot more to it than just that.
  • 31.*  (At the party, lots of people thank Phil for various acts of kindness.)
  •       Rita: What did you do today?
  •       Phil: Oh, same-old same-old. [i.e., the same things I’ve always done]
  •       Rita: I don’t understand. How does everyone know you? You only come here once a year. You seem like the most popular person in town.
  •       Felix’s Wife: Excuse me, Dr. Connors. I want to thank you for fixing Felix’s back. He can even help around the house again.
  •       Phil: I’m sorry to hear that, Felix.
  •       Rita: “Doctor” Connors?
  •       Phil: It’s kind of an honorary title.
  •       (The city holds an annual “bachelor” auction to raise money for charity. Women “buy” single men “for the day.” Phil is chosen as the first bachelor.)
  •       Master of Ceremonies: What am I bid for this fine specimen?
  •       (Various ladies call out dollar amounts.)
  •       Mayor: I’m bid $60. Do I hear more?
  •       Rita: Three hundred and thirty-nine dollars and eighty-eight cents!
  •       Mayor: Sold to the little lady for $339.88!
  • 32.  Ned: Phil, this is the best day of my life.
  •       Phil: Mine too.
  •       Rita: Mine too.
  •       Ned: Where are we going?
  •       Rita: Oh, let’s not spoil it!
  •       Ned: Oh! I got that!
  • 33.  (Phil creates an ice sculpture of Rita)
  •       Rita: It’s beautiful. How did you do that?
  •       Phil: I know your face so well, I could have done it with my eyes closed.
  •       Rita: It’s lovely. I don’t know what to say.
  •       Phil: I do. No matter what happens tomorrow, or for the rest of my life, I’m happy now… because I love you.

 If you don’t want to know the end of the movie, stop reading here.

  • 34.*  Phil: Something is… different.
  •       Rita: Good or bad?
  •       Phil: Anything different is good. (He looks out the window.) Do you know what today is?
  •       Rita: No, what?
  •       Phil: Today is tomorrow. It happened! (He starts to kiss Rita over and over.)
  •       Rita: Phil, why weren’t you like this last night? You just fell asleep.
  •       Phil: It was the end of a VERY long day.
  • 35.  [last lines; as they walk out of the bed-and-breakfast]
  •       Phil: It’s so beautiful!… Let’s live here. [he kisses Rita] We’ll rent, to start.
  Thanks goes to Robin, Peter, Paul and other teachers/colleagues whose files helped me create this resource.  
 

Vocabulary matching exercise:

(match each number with a letter) (see “Some Answers” below)
b   1. blizzard a. wetness or humidity
 2. chart b. bad snow storm
  3. courageous c. brave
   4. frigid d. idiots; stupid people
 5. moisture e. very, very cold
 6. morons f. a medical record
 7. nuts g. knock on the door
 8. omnipotent h. all powerful
 9. pop i. cut with a knife
 10. rap j. freezing rain
 11. sleet k. crazy
 12. stabbed l. father or old man

“There’s nothing new” isn’t a new idea:

When I was in college, a teacher had us read a 3000-year old text that presented many of these same ideas. (I think of this “ancient wisdom” whenever I see this film.) It was written by Israel’s King Solomon, known as “the wisest man who ever lived.” (You’ll find it in the Bible, called “Ecclesiastes” or “传道书”—you can find it on line in many languages at http://www.biblegateway.com/. I’ll include the “little numbers” in case you want to find a particular section in the Bible.) Like Phil in this movie, Solomon looked for satisfaction in sex, money, control, learning, and observing humanity. I think they might even arrive at similar conclusions. Here are a few passages from Solomon’s essay, including one of the most famous poems in the Bible. Like this movie, the beginning is rather depressing, but it is worth reading to the end!

  • Ecc 1:2-4 Nothing makes sense! Everything is nonsense. I have seen it all—nothing makes sense! What is there to show for all of our hard work here on this earth? People come, and people go, but still the world never changes.
  • Ecc 1:8-9 All of life is far more boring than words could ever say. Our eyes and our ears are never satisfied with what we see and hear. Everything that happens has happened before; nothing is new, nothing under the sun.
  • Ecc 1:18 The more you know, the more you hurt; the more you understand, the more you suffer.
  • Ecc 2:2-11 Laughing and having fun is crazy. What good does it do? I did some great things. I built houses and planted vineyards. I had flower gardens and orchards full of fruit trees. I owned slaves. I had more sheep and goats than anyone who had ever lived in Jerusalem. Foreign rulers brought me silver, gold, and precious treasures. Men and women sang for me, and I had many wives who gave me great pleasure. I was the most famous person who had ever lived in Jerusalem, and I was very wise. I got whatever I wanted and did whatever made me happy. But most of all, I enjoyed my work. Then I thought about everything I had done, including the hard work, and it was simply chasing the wind. Nothing on earth is worth the trouble.
  • Ecc 2:20-21 I thought about all my hard work, and I felt depressed. When we use our wisdom, knowledge, and skill to get what we own, why do we have to leave it to someone who didn’t work for it? This is senseless and wrong.
  • Ecc 3:1-8 Everything on earth has its own time and its own season.
  •      There is a time for birth and death, planting and reaping,
  •      for killing and healing, destroying and building,
  •      for crying and laughing, weeping and dancing,
  •      for throwing stones and gathering stones, embracing and parting.
  •      There is a time for finding and losing, keeping and giving,
  •      for tearing and sewing, listening and speaking.
  •      There is also a time for love and hate, for war and peace.
  • Ecc 3:12-14 I know the best thing we can do is to always enjoy life, because God’s gift to us is the happiness we get from our food and drink and from the work we do. Everything God has done will last forever; nothing he does can ever be changed. God has done all this, so that we will worship him.
  • Ecc 4:9-12 You are better off to have a friend than to be all alone, because then you will get more enjoyment out of what you earn. If you fall, your friend can help you up. But if you fall without having a friend nearby, you are really in trouble. If you sleep alone, you won’t have anyone to keep you warm on a cold night. Someone might be able to beat up one of you, but not both of you. As the saying goes, “A rope made from three strands of cord is hard to break.”
  • Ecc 5:10-12 If you love money and wealth, you will never be satisfied with what you have. This doesn’t make sense either. The more you have, the more everyone expects from you. Your money won’t do you any good—others will just spend it for you. If you have to work hard for a living, you can rest well at night, even if you don’t have much to eat. But if you are rich, you can’t even sleep.
  • Ecc 7:1 A good reputation at the time of death is better than loving care at the time of birth.
  • Ecc 7:7-12 Corruption makes fools of sensible people, and bribes can ruin you. Something completed is better than something just begun; patience is better than too much pride. Only fools get angry quickly and hold a grudge. It isn’t wise to ask, “Why is everything worse than it used to be?” Having wisdom is better than an inheritance. Wisdom will protect you just like money; knowledge with good sense will lead you to life.
  • Ecc 8:6-9 Life is hard, but there is a time and a place for everything, though no one can tell the future. We cannot control the wind or determine the day of our death. There is no escape in time of war, and no one can hide behind evil. I noticed all this and thought seriously about what goes on in the world. Why does one person have the power to hurt another?
  • Ecc 9:7-10 Be happy and enjoy eating and drinking! God decided long ago that this is what you should do. Dress up, comb your hair, and look your best. Life is short, and you love your wife, so enjoy being with her. This is what you are supposed to do as you struggle through life on this earth. Work hard at whatever you do. You will soon go to the world of the dead, where no one works or thinks or reasons or knows anything.
  • Ecc 11:1-6 Be generous, and someday you will be rewarded. Share what you have with seven or eight others, because you never know when disaster may strike. Rain clouds always bring rain; trees always stay wherever they fall. If you worry about the weather and don’t plant seeds, you won’t harvest a crop. Plant your seeds early in the morning and keep working in the field until dark. Who knows? Your work might pay off, and your seeds might produce.
  • Ecc 11:9-10 Be cheerful and enjoy life while you are young! Do what you want and find pleasure in what you see. But don’t forget that God will judge you for everything you do. Rid yourself of all worry and pain, because the wonderful moments of youth quickly disappear.
  • Ecc 12:1 Keep your Creator in mind while you are young!
  • Ecc 12:13-14 Everything you were taught can be put into a few words: Respect and obey God! This is what life is all about. God will judge everything we do, even what is done in secret, whether good or bad.

 

Some Answers:

  • vocabulary matching answers: 1b, 2f, 3c, 4e, 5a, 6d, 7k, 8h, 9l, 10g, 11j, 12i
  • Question 5: B-1st C-2nd A-3rd E-4th D-5th
  • Question 6: drive crazy, eating sweet/rich food, sex, manipulating people (esp Rita by making himself look like her “perfect man”), taking and spending money, learning all the answers to a TV show (which impressed other viewers)
  • Question 7: learn to play piano, learn ice sculpting, save a falling boy, help ladies with a car problem, help a choking man, heal a man’s back, give food/money to an old “bum,” give a moving speech about the “warmth” of the community, play piano at a dance

 


©2014 Michael Krigline. See our Website Standards and Use Policy.

Monthly English Corner & Weekly Quote

  • April English Corner

    As I always tell my students, the key ingredient in learning English is PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE. In practicing your listening skills, I would suggest that you watch and listen to the evening news, because most American news anchors speak in a standard Midwestern American accent. Watching videos and listening to the radio are also good ways to improve your listening. Of course, many video, news and radio programs are also on line. Concerning your speaking skills, you need to make an effort to get to know native speakers and practice. Reading and vocabulary development can be achieved by reading magazines and novels. I would especially suggest you read articles from the “Reader’s Digest” and work through their Word Power section. Even reading for ten minutes a day is very helpful on a regular basis. Well I hope these suggestions help, and I’ll see you next time at the English Corner. © Mark Peter, M.A. Used with permission.


    Mr. Peter was Michael’s colleague at the Agape English Language Institute of Limestone College (Columbia, SC). Throughout his career, Mark has taught English at many schools and universities, in the US and in China.

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