I have watched Harold Ramis' 1993 comedy "Groundhog Day" so many times, I feel like Bill Murray's weathercaster reliving the same experience over and over and over again.
But in a good way.
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This weekend, free screenings of "Groundhog Day" will be offered as part of an annual celebration of the movie being made in suburban Woodstock. There will be tours, symposiums, pancake breakfasts and chili cook-offs. Access the complete schedule at woodstockgroundhog.org.
The best news: Screenwriter Danny Rubin will pop into Woodstock to talk about creating this comedy classic, one that I found to be so profoundly spiritual, I used it as the basis for a guest sermon.
I made the case that "Groundhog Day" is a modern biblical parable, with God cast as the unidentified entity that forces Murray's character to relive the same day -- Groundhog Day -- for what seems like eternity.
"I won't say you're wrong," Rubin told me earlier this week. "It's a lovely interpretation, and lots of people have had that. Keep in mind that a lot of people from a variety of religions, including Buddhism, which isn't God-centered anyway, have also embraced the lessons of the film."
So why has the movie become such an enduring work?
"Many people draw different conclusions from the movie," Rubin said. "That's one of the reasons that it's become so personal to so many people."
Rubin said he spent about seven weeks brainstorming the plot and characters. He spent one week cranking out the initial screenplay. Then came time for him to market the script, for Columbia Pictures to option it, for Chicago's own Harold Ramis to be hired as director, and for changes to be made all along the way.
"So, depending on how you look at it, it either took me a week to write it, or three years," Rubin said.
The writer now lives in Boston, but he lived in Evanston while picking up his master's degree at Northwestern University, then moved to Uptown.
"I love the people of Chicago," he said. "I love the Midwest. People are kind and no-nonsense. And real. There's something unpretentious and, uh, normal, about Chicagoans that I really like."