Based on a novel by one of my favorite contemporary authors, Richard Russo, this film is a small, unsung gem…just like the book. Telling the story of Sully, an aged laborer rural New York State who, between his quirky friends and bad health, is not having an easy time of it at late. Russo excels in stories like this…about small towns and small heroes who don’t do the big, grandiose things to get noticed…they do the little things that usually do not come with any form of notoriety…or even appreciation. They are the fathers and sons of the Everyman…and Newman is always your perfect Everyman…even here, in the twilight of his years. Quirky and slow in parts, this film, like the novel and Russo’s other novels, unveils itself slowly and cautiously. But, the unveiling process is a great ride!

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In this Harold Ramis film (shot in Woodstock, IL), Bill Murray finds out what it is like to relive one day over and over again, giving himself the time to examine his less-than-personable behavior. The story starts with Murray’s gruff and cruel weatherman character covering the annual “Groundhog Day” festivities in Pennsylvania. He is on assignment with a news producer (Andie MacDowell) and a cameraman (Chris Elliott). As Murray begins to live the same 24-hours again and again, which happens to be Groundhog Day, his hardened character starts to soften.

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Dark, very well-acted film that stays realistic up to the end. An excellent performance by Melissa Leo (who was nominated for an Oscar for her role) only increases the power of this film. And, when I say DARK, I mean it is not the happiest film ever…but it is a strong, powerful film about a subject that really doesn’t get a lot of attention…at least not at the Canadian border. At times a real nail-biter, but a great film right until the very end!
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