Harold Ramis passed away yesterday. Besides making Ghostbusters and Vacation and virtually every other seminal 80s film, he co-wrote and directed Groundhog Day, one of my all-time favorite movies. I first saw it with my dad at the old Nickelodeon Theater in Portland, ME during it’s original theatrical release when I was ten years-old.
When I used to teach ESL, I did a lesson each semester on Groundhog Day because it tied in with one of the units in my book on personal values and because I knew that every single student I had would 1.) not have previously seen the movie, and, 2.) love it. Because of this I have watched Groundhog Day sixteen times, leading to a meta-Groundhog Day situation: being trapped watching a movie over and over about a guy who’s trapped living the same day over and over. In fact, teaching itself is a Groundhog Day situation: you teach the same lesson in the same curriculum in the same semester over and over. It doesn’t matter if you’re a teacher or an instructor or a professor: you’re Phil Connors.
The theme of Groundhog Day is to—despite all the monotony, negativity, and other bullshit of the daily grind—embrace and enjoy each and every day. I like to think that’s what Ramis did.