Stage Five: The “Gesture” Days
So, to those soul-saving gestures: the real things that get Phil out of his perpetual loop, rather than the things he learns in order to get into Rita’s underwear. Here’s how I see it…
- Saving a falling child - a day to hear about the accident, and find out where it happens, a couple more days to investigate, and maybe two more to get the timing perfectly off to a tee = 5 days
- Changing the old ladies’ tire - being in the right place, finding a tire and a jack = 1 day
- Saving Buster - discovering when and where Buster chokes, learning the Heimlich Manoeuvre = 2 days
- Getting a couple WWF tickets (entirely improbable but – one day to find out they enjoy WWF, one day to find out you can’t get WWF tickets within the same day – with a blizzard no less – and two full days to somehow source some tickets within the town itself = 4 days)
Total for those selfless acts: 12 days of hard work
Which brings us to the final count of 12,395 days.
Or in other words…
33 years and 350 days
So if my math is right (it probably isn”t) that means something like…
297, 480 hours
17, 848, 800 minutes
So next time you are asked… “Hey, just how many days does Bill Murray spend locked in Groundhog Day?” – The answer my friends, is, 12,395 days!!
That’s a far shout from that 8 years figure bandied about in that article mentioned above – and even further away from the 10,000 years that were supposedly mentioned in the initial drafts of the film. I can only thank my lucky stars I didn’t have to go to those lengths!
All that effort to find out that Harold Ramis was pretty much right in the first sodding place. It’s alright though, man’s a goddamn genius.
For anyone who wants to check all of this, I really don’t suggest watching Groundhog Day in this manner. It’s not the best way to enjoy what is essentially a light-hearted comedy whose metaphysical concerns are supposed to be enjoyed in fun, and not worked out mathematically. Normal people should be happy to just watch, and accept that Phil Connors is stuck repeating his one day endlessly over and over until he finds himself- but then, I don’t think I’m normal.
HAPPY GROUNDHOG DAY
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This article was first posted on February 2, 2011