Harold Ramis

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7.0 Groundhog Day (1993) Links:

Harold Ramis co-wrote Ivan Reitman's Ghostbusters (1989).

Groundhog Day (1993) is fairytale about a man imprisoned in a time loop from which he can free himself only by becoming a better man, and the litmus test of whether he has become a good man is the love of a simple romantic woman.

Phil is a weatherman at a tv station in the big city. He is sent on assignment to cover the yearly "Groundhog Festival" in a rural town, accompanied by producer Rita, a pretty girl, and cameraman Larry. He is not excited at all. He is arrogant and obnoxious. He sleeps in a bed and breakfast. When he wakes up at 6am, he hears a song (Sonny & Cher's "I Got you Babe") and the forecast of a blizzard. On the way to the fairgrounds he is stopped by a business man who introduces himself as his old high-school mate Ned, and then proceeds to offer him a life insurance. Phil, Larry and Rita attend the event that consists in asking a groundhog for a forecast about spring, and then leave on their van. However, the police have closed the highway and they have to return to the town. The phones don't work and there is no hot water. Phil sleeps in the same hotel room and in the morning he wakes up again at 6am: the radio is playing the same song and forecasting the same blizzard. He walks outside and meets the same people. Outside the crowd is walking towards the fairgrounds. On the way, he meets the same people: a homeless man and Ned. When he arrives, Rita and Larry are ready to film. The event takes place exactly like the day before. He goes to sleep puzzled. He wakes up again at 6am: the radio plays the same song and then forecasts the same blizzard. This time he avoids everybody and tries to talk to Rita about the fact that he has dejavu. He visits a doctor who have a scan of his brain, and then visits a psychologist. While drinking with two locals at a bowling alley, he realizes that, if there is no tomorrow, there are also no consequences to actions. And so he drives their car into a mailbox and then let the cops chase him all over town. He is locked up in the local prison, but sure enough at 6am the following morning he wakes up in the usual hotel room at the same music and the same blizzard news. Having realized that there are no consequences to his actions, he eats like a pig and smokes cigarettes, indifferent to what Rita and everybody else may think. He also realizes that people won't remember him tomorrow, because it will another today, and so he asks a pretty woman, Nancy, questions about her. The following day, which is still today, he pretends to know her from middle school and convinces her by telling her what she told him the day before. They have sex and he even proposes to her, knowing that tomorrow will be today again. Sure enough, he wakes up at 6am at the same music etc. His dream, however, is to seduce Rita, but Rita has no interest in him. Tired of the same charade of the festival, he kidnaps the groundhog and, at the end of a long car chase, he heads for the edge of a cliff and drives into it: the car crashes at the bottom and explodes, the whole events filmed by Larry for what would be a great tv show. But, sure enough, Phil wakes up alive and well at 6am in the same hotel room with the radio playing the same song. He tries to kill himself, day after day, in different ways, even jumping from the belltower. Eventually he dines with Rita at the usual diner (where he knows everybody and everything that is going to happen because he has witnessed it every single day) and tells Rita that he is a god. He proves to her that he knows everybody and predicts what is going to happen, even the words that Larry is going to utter. Rita is shocked. Phil even tells her everything that he has learned about her during all those repetitions of today, which Rita doesn't remember because she is only living this today. That attracts her enough that she accepts to spend the evening in his hotel room. She falls asleep and he doesn't touch her. He wakes up again at 6am alone in that room. Same song, same blizzard news. He meets the same people in the hotel, the homeless man in the street and Ned. But this time he is nice to everybody. He starts taking piano lessons. He sculpts ice sculptures with a chainsaw. He sees the homeless man die and so the next day (which is always today) he feeds him at the diner but the homeless man still dies. He saves a child falling from a tree because he knows exactly at what time the child falls. He fixes the flat tire of the car of three old ladies because he knows exactly where and when it will happen. After many repetitions of the same day during which he takes piano lessons, he becomes a good pianist. There's a party and he plays on stage. Everybody knows him and thanks him for the good deeds that he has done today. Rita is amazed that Phil has become such a good man. During the party a tradition is to auction out the bachelors. Several women bid for Phil but Rita wins but bidding all the money she has. She sleeps in his room. Phil wakes up as usual at 6am and is prepared for a repetition of the same routine, but things are different: no song, no blizzard news and she is still in his bed. Tomorrow came. They kiss and make love. Then they walk outside in the snow and he tells her that he would like to live in that town forever.

Analyze This (1999) is an old-fashioned gangster comedy, partly Woody Allen and partly Godfather.

Mob boss Paul (Robert DeNiro) narrowly escapes an assassination attempt. Elsewhere, psychiatrist Ben (Billy Crystal) is getting rid of a boring patient and preparing to leave town to get married (he just divorced). Paul's gangsters capture one of the men of the rival gang and let Paul torture him... but Paul doesn't even touch him. As they are taking him away in the trunk of their limo, Ben bumps his car into their limo. The trunk opens and the prisoner, gagged and tied, tries to attract Ben's attention, but the Paul's gangsters are ready to distract Ben and walk him away from the limo. Ben insists on leaving them a card in case there is any damage to the car. As Ben attends a party at the mansion of his wealthy parents, Paul is seized by an anxiety attack and decides it is time to see a psychiatrist. As Ben is interviewing a patient, Paul walks uncerimoniously into his office, ejects the patient and tells Ben what his problem is: he is no longer able to behave like the brutal mafia boss he is supposed to be.
Paul's sworn enemy, Sindone, is worried because Paul is not retaliating after the assassination attempt: he thinks that Paul's silence means the man is planning something big.
Ben and his son fly to Florida for the wedding. As Ben is asleep with his fiance` (a news reporter), he is waken up by Paul's stooge: Paul cannot sleep anymore and needs urgent help. Paul cannot perform in bed anymore and is getting sentimental. And wants Ben to treat him. Ben tries to postpone the problem for a few days, but Paul does not take "no" per an answer. While Ben tries to go on with his wedding and Paul keeps bugging him, somebody is taking pictures of them walking together and Sindone's men are plotting against Paul. The day of the wedding, as the couple are about to be pronounced married, one of Sindone's hitmen try again to kill Paul. Paul's bodyguard stops him not one second too soon and the wedding guests see the man fly down through the window.

The wedding postponed, Ben and his fiance` return home. They find a water fountain in the backyard: a gift from Paul. The police are already investigating the psychiatrist and Ben learns that the two gangs are expected to fight it out in the next few days. Eventually, they convince Ben to cooperate.

Ben is wired and sent to a lunch meeting with Paul. But during the lunch Ben learns that this is the restaurant where Paul's father was killed and suddenly Ben becomes interested in the case: he takes off the recorder in the restrooms and begins asking questions. Unfortunately, Paul's men have found out that Ben has talked to the police: Ben is taken and driven out of town, where Paul is about to kill him. But Ben keeps asking him questions and gets him to confess what happened: Paul was mad at his father and did not alert him that a hitman was about to strike. As Paul is crying his life out on Ben's shoulder, Sindone's hitmen attack them. Paul, overwhelmed by guilt, lies down crying like a child and Ben has to grab his gun and shoot.
Ben is getting married again when Paul has another crisis. The gang needs someone to go to an important meeting and they give Ben no choice: the priest is kindly ask to complete the ceremony in a second and then Ben is hurried away in a limo.
At the meeting with the whole "family", Ben takes on Sindone. As Sindone loses his temper and is about to shoot him, Paul walks in and surprises everybody declaring that he wants out. Paul would like to leave peacefully but Sindone and his men are determined to eliminate him. As the shootout rages, the police storm the building and arrest everybody. And Ben can finally go back to his wife.

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