Mali Journal
End of Feb. 14 Column

Groundhog Day (Movie) and Buddhism

Welcome to another perennial item. I run this one every year in conjunction with Groundhog Day. The Bill Murray movie of the same name is the 34th funniest American film of all time, according to the American Film Institute. It is also my favorite movie of all times. This is the eighth time I've run this item!

I changed the title this year when I discovered that I am on the first page of Google results if you ask for "Groundhog Day Buddhism" or "Groundhog Day The Movie." But if you Google "Groundhog Day Movie," I'm not in the first 20 pages, and I should be.

I went to a showing of Groundhog Day sponsored by the San Francisco Zen Center on Friday, Aug. 10, 2001, held in the Trustees' Auditorium of the Asian Art Museum in Golden Gate Park (relocated in October 2002 to the old SF Main library in the civic center).

I have so much to say about this exciting, exhilarating, eye-opening experience that it is now a subsite titled Groundhog Day The Movie, Buddhism and Me, which includes a description of that seminal showing, commentary, and links to other sites that deal with the connection. While noticing the connection between this movie and Buddhism is not particularly profound, it was news to me, and the nuances were explored in a particularly exciting fashion during the Zen Center presentation. My site is rapidly gaining ground as the authoritative center for GHD/Buddhism commentary on the web. I brush it up and add new material regularly, so if you haven't been there in a while, take a look.

If you love the work of GHD writer Danny Rubin as much as I do, check out his web site which includes a bio, a list of his works in progress (exciting) and a list of his sold films (also exciting).

I can't wait for his next released film. Go Danny!

In the meantime, note that the University of California has published a Groundhog Day book, by Ryan Gilbey.

I finally bought the book The Magic Of Groundhog Day by Paul Hannam. He is a good friend of Danny Rubin, the screenwriter, who wrote the foreword. You can find out more at Hannam's website (check out his blog!). Hannam wrote me that he "did a book group on my book and several readers said that they could not believe how great the movie was after learning about its profound spiritual and psychological meaning. Even at Oxford 90% of the students thought it was just a Bill Murray comedy!"

The year 2009 slipped by without my reading this self-help book, which is about applying the lessons of Groundhog Day the Movie to your own life. Perhaps in 2010 I will actually read it.

Robert Malchman found a New York Daily News Where Are They Now feature

Bob Nilsson checks in:


I stumbled upon this clip of Stephen Tobolowsky explaining Bill Murray's pain in stepping into the puddle during Groundhog Day. Looks like there are many clips at YouTube about the movie.

Tom Lasusa found this blog post about  how many days Bill Murray was stuck.