18 Groundhog Day Type Movies – the ultimate list

“There is no way that this winter is ever going to end as long as this groundhog keeps seeing his shadow. I don’t see any other way out. He’s got to be stopped. And I have to stop him.”

Groundhog Day is February 2nd in the US, and it’s a truly bizarre national holiday. The premise: a large rodent might/might not see its shadow, predicting when spring will or won’t come. How does one celebrate this, unless they live in Punxatawny, PA?

Punxatawny relates to the classic Bill Murray vehicle Groundhog Day, wherein his character (named Phil, just like the Groundhog) has to repeat Feb 2nd every day. EVERYDAY, for what might be thousands of years (pay attention to the film and ask yourself how long it would take to master his many skills).

Phil escapes the time loop only when certain conditions are met. We assume this, because it’s never stated why he finally moves on to the next day. However, the repeating day motif is not new to this movie, and in each instance, time repeats indefinitely until the protagonist finds a way out. The movie in question isn’t even the first film or TV show to feature this theme.

That makes it really fun each year. We at RunPee get to pick a rewatch of something with a distinct “Groundhog Day theme” every year in Feb. There’s an interesting lineage here. The theme actually starts with Star Trek: The Next Generation!

Let’s take a look at who has used this theme, in order by year. Links added go to our reviews. We hope to get them all reviewed eventually. One of these Groundhog’s Days we will. 

  1. Cause and Effect (TV ep, Star Trek, the Next Generation) 1992 — NOTE: Air date before Groundhog Day. Was this the first to do it? Here’s how it starts…right before the teaser ends we get this indelible image: Picard yelling for all hands to abandon the Enterprise. Then it explodes. And keeps on exploding. From there, the mystery never lets up on this superb storytelling.
  2. Groundhog Day — Feature Film — 1993 : When I Iived that year in the UK, this  first-run movie saved my sanity. For real. Long story.
  3. Been There, Done That (TV ep, Xena: Warrior Princess) 1997 : This show could do no wrong in my eyes during it’s 7-year run. It’s only natural that Xena’s version is funnier than EVERYTHING else on this list. Plus, we’ve got Romeo and Juliette being dorks,  a laundry list of reasons why Xena didn’t bite Gabrielle (lol), a name drop of Hercules (and Sinbad), and an adorable cameo by Karl Urban as Cupid. A top ten Xena ep anyone can enjoy.
  4. Run, Lola, Run — Feature Film —  1998
  5. Back and Back and Back to the Future (TV ep, Farscape) 1999: set in the mostly benighted season one of an otherwise stellar Sci-Fi show, Back and Back is notable for Crichton’s trying to change the timeline in small ways (breaking Zhan’s sacred mask on purpose, instead of letting time inevitably play out).
  6. Monday (TV ep, The X-Files) 1999: You don’t think there’s a mystery trope left examined in the X-Files 9 year run? Look again. Notable: a guest actor is at the center of the plot, with Mulder and Scully mostly in reaction mode…and it STILL works. A standout during a mostly experimental season.
  7. Life Serial (TV ep, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) 2001 : In Buffy’s sixth season, “real life” was the scary big bad. Shudders! This episode was a needed dash of fun. The “Trio” are nerdy doofuses with too much power and no real direction. I love everything in this season, and this is a highlight.
  8. Deja vu All Over Again (TV ep, Charmed) 2008
  9. Mystery Spot (TV ep, Supernatural) — 2008
  10.  Source Code  <– Our review –Feature Film– 2011: A soldier wakes up in someone else’s body and discovers he’s part of an experimental government program to find the bomber of a commuter train. A mission he has only 8 minutes to complete.
  11. Edge of Tomorrow <— Our review –Feature Film — (Tom Cruise/Emily Blunt film) 2014 : Exciting, well-acted, and with a gripping jeopardy premise, Cruise and Blunt take what could have been a two-hour slog of repeating action into something believably exciting in a fresh take on an alien takeover plot. Highly Recommended! Every time they ‘”level up” you want to cheer!
  12. Looper <— Our review — Feature Film — 2012:- In a future where time travel is a thing, not everyone has the best intentions!
  13. Hell is Other People  (The Vampire Diaries) — 2016
  14. Before I Fall  <— Our review — Feature Film — 2017: Another mystery that must be solved before time moves on. Well written, well acted, well directed. It surprised us.
  15. Happy Death Day <— Our review — Feature Film — 2017: Imagine relieving your death, over and over? Want to try? Neither do we. (Awesome movie, though!)
  16. Hot Mess Time Machine (TV ep, The Mindy Project) — 2017
  17. Naked — (Netflix show) — 2017 – YAY! A new one to check out!
  18. Dr. Strange  <— Our review — Feature Film — 2017: I don’t know if this should be included, so I’ll toss it up and let you decide. At the end of the film, Strange wears down his enemy using an infinite time loop of destruction. He could stop it at any point, so it’s not like the other plots. Does this count?

 At RunPee HQ we’ve been collecting movies and TV episodes with Groundhog Day themes, and make a point to choose at least one each year to rewatch on Groundhog Day. I mean, hey: what else are you going to do to celebrate how vermin might predict the weather?

So, did we miss something? We’re always looking to add new shows to celebrate on this obscure, yet infinitely geeky holiday. I’m sure this fascinating well of plots hasn’t dried out just yet. The recent and finely wrought Edge of Tomorrow indicates there are still ideas to be mined.

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)

Star Trek Movies Lose Both Chrises

He's dead. Jim.
Chris Pine, boldly going.

Paramount’s rebooted Star Trek movie franchise has a Chris Crisis. Or maybe we should call this A Tale of Two Chrises. 

As of this week, the current Trek feature films lost both of their actors named Chris — as in Pine (James T. Kirk) and Hemsworth (James T. Kirk’s late father George).  Both men reportedly walked after a breakdown in salary negotiations.

While the Kelvin Timeline can probably get by without Chris Hemworth’s contribution (Papa Kirk died in the teaser to the first rebooted film), it’s hard to imagine new Trek without Pine as Jim. It seems too early in the series, with only three prior flicks, to recast or totally remove the famous Captain Kirk role.

The upcoming 4th film was supposed to be about the Kirk family father and son dynamic (possibly through flashbacks, multiple universes, or time-travel).

The world also lost Anton Yelchin — the new Pavel Chekov — after the 3rd Trek film, in 2016 when the actor sadly died. This still leaves a robust supporting cast, but no Captain. What to do? Stop the new series entirely? Reimagine the character lineup with Spock as the new Captain? Hire a new actor to play Jim Kirk?

We’re looking at a science fiction universe full of canonized fantastical events, so the universe knows no bounds in explaining away anything unusual, story-wise.

—–

Here are five easy ideas to keep the Enterprise flying:

  1. Shelve the upcoming storyline for Film 4, and find a way to re-hire both actors for the subsequent 5th film, utilizing said father-son plot. Make current 4th movie a small story about something non-Kirky, and explain his absence by saying he’s on a Federation mission, elsewhere in deep space.
  2. Suck it up and hire a new actor for the role. It won’t be any worse than suddenly having a new Dumbledore in the Harry Potter films, or switching out The Oracle in The Matrix Trilogy.
  3. Promote Zachary Quinto’s Spock to Captain and focus on the remaining  ensemble, rather than making these movies the Kirk & Spock Show. They’ve got some good actors in Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, John Cho, and Zoe Saldana: they should use them.
  4. Try jumping in time a bit to tell stories of Captain Sulu on the USS Excelsior, which is known as a definite thing in the Prime Timeline, and could sustain all kinds of narratives. Bring along any of the current cast who are game for a new role on the new ship.
  5. Skip a generation completely by recasting/rebooting one of the “modern Treks” like The Next Generation, Deep Space 9, or Voyager. With the recently  announced CBS television Trek showcase for Patrick Stewart’s Jean-Luc Picard, there might be renewed interest in a fresh young ensemble, set in the 24th century.

It can’t happen, since Pine is a current actor in the DC Extended Universe (attached to Wonder Woman), but I’d love it if Hemsworth told Pine not to stress about pay talks for Star Trek, because he could just leapfrog over to the Marvel world.  It’s not possible because actors apparently can’t be both DCEU and MCU cast members, but it would be just darn cool for Marvel to “own” all four superhero Chrises:  Hemsworth, Evans, Pratt, and now Pine.

Sir Patrick Stewart Back as the Beloved Jean-Luc Picard in New Star Trek

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)

Star Trek Characters We Will Probably See Again

Engage!

Sir Patrick Stewart, in an emotional surprise speech this month at the  2018 Las Vegas Star Trek Convention, announced that Jean-Luc Picard is back. CBS, on their All-Access subscription streaming channel, will be gifting us a new Star Trek show centered around the beloved Picard character. It’s set to premier in the fall of 2019, to appear roughly 20 years after the end of Star Trek IV: Nemesis.

Some actors from previous Trek incarnations are still quite active and energetic about their characters and involvement in Star Trek as a whole, on many forms of media. When we look into the future of the 24th century, I’m positive there will be more than one familiar face as either cameos, regular guest appearances, or even as full-fledged cast members. In fact, CBS will probably have to beat these actors off with Klingon Pain Sticks. There are a lot of characters to choose from who could conceivably be still alive and around.

I’ve got my theories on who we’ll see again. I’m basing this list of who’s been continually active in this (or any closely-related) franchise.To the list!

Characters from Star Trek that will probably appear in the as yet unnamed Jean-Luc Picard series:

  • Jean-Luc Picard. Naturally. It’s his show. But it’s super doubtful he’s still a Captain, or even anywhere near the flagship Enterprise. In The Next Generation (TNG) series finale, Picard went on to be a Federation Ambassador, a role the ever diplomatic, passionate, and suited-for-speechifying Picard seems born to play. While the future events seen in All Good Things never came to pass, I’m going to go on a short limb and say Picard is more likely now an ambassador than an admiral (he doesn’t seem to like very many of the admirals we’ve seen), an archaeologist (one of his lifelong hobbies), or something random, like an underground radical (unlike Spock, in TNG’s Reunification).
  • William Riker. Jonathan Frakes LOVES Star Trek. His TNG character kept on coming, in the TNG feature films, as Tom Riker in Deep Space 9, and as his original role in  Enterprise’s finale (and name-dropped by wife Deanna Troi in Voyager). Frakes also directed a lot of Trek, is STILL directing Trek (for the CBS all-access show ST: Discovery) and even episodes of fan favorite TNG expy The Orville.  No way will Riker not be in this.
  • Deanna Troi. Marina Sirtis, of TNG, appeared in the feature films, was a frequent regular on Voyagerand will probably appear with Riker.
  • Reginald Barclay.  Lt. Barclay, ostensibly a TNG character, was on Voyager enough times to be an honorary member of that crew. Actually, the crew DID nominate him for that role. Last we saw, Reg was working on the Pathfinder Project, although if Voyager series finale Endgame is to be believed (in an alternate timeline), he’s now a teacher at Starfleet.
  • Worf. Michael Dorn played his stoic Klingon as a full cast member on bothTNG and Deep Space 9, and in the trek movies. He’s racked up more episodes in Star Trek than any one actor in the entire franchise. Of course, he’s been off the map since DS9 ended, but one can hope the Klingon Ambassador is still around.
  • Geordi LaForge.  Aside from the films, I’m basing this on TNG engineer Levar Burton’s one captaining guest role he played on Voyager’s fine episode Timeless, and his directorial interests. I bet he turns back up as that captain.
  • Kathryn Janeway. All I have for hope on the Voyager Captain (Kate Mulgrew) showing up is her fun little cameo in the otherwise awful Nemesis, but she was an admiral then, and could still be one.
  • Tuvok. Not only has Tim Russ had multiple roles in Trek, but he’s returned to his Voyager Vulcan roots in several fan spinoffs online.  He’s clearly still interested.
  • Q. John deLancie reprised his awesome TNG regular Q on Deep Space 9 and Voyager, as well as appearing in several online fan Trek shows.
  • The Doctor. The talented Robert Picardo could bring his Voyager hologram back anytime. He had a role on The Orville last fall, which shows he’s still interested in Trek-like work.
  • Wesley Crusher.  Wil Wheaton is still young, and the actor is both an internet celebrity and a regular on the very popular, long-running, geek-oriented show The Big Bang Theory (as a version of himself). The character himself might be still wandering through space and time, as we saw him last in TNG’s Journey’s End, but that even makes things easier: he travels as easily as a thought. Literally. He saw Picard as a father figure, so there could be stories to mine.
  • Data/B4. Brent Spiner made an appearance on Enterprise as his own creator’s ancestor, and played himself on The Big Bang Theory. While Data himself is dead (if you accept Nemesis as canon), early “Data” version B4 could still be traveling with Picard, maybe as his attache or something. B4 might even be just like Data by now, and for all purposes BE Data. Okay, please?

Less Likely:  Characters from The Original Series and Enterprise

Could anyone from The Original Series pop in? The problem here is that 1. said characters would have to be alive and long-lived, and 2. their actors would need to still be alive and in good health. This counts just about everyone out, in one form or another, unless we use flashblacks, time-travel, or other well-worn sci-fi tropes. Sulu is a possibility if we go with one of those (George Takei had a well-received flashback episode on Voyager — named, appropriately, Flashback — and is a very active on the internet celebrity). There is also Chekov (although Walter Koenig has been conspicuous in his acting absence).  William Shatner’s Kirk is long dead, though the actor remains hale and is still acting, so….maybe? Note: I’m going to use the Prime Timeline-verse here. That would  muddy up the spaceways too much.

It’s even less likely we’ll have anyone from Enterprise on the new show, since their timeline is set even earlier than TOS. However, as these actors would be younger than anyone from TOS, TNG, DS9, or VOY, a flashback/time travel appearance could surprise us. One problem is that Enterprise is the least-loved, least watched show of all the old Treks, and producers probably want to sweep the memory of this one under the carpet.

What about Star Trek: Discovery?

This brings us to the much-derided Star Trek: Discovery. Even a die hard Trek fan like me won’t watch this show. I caught the free first episode on television, and HATED it. Nothing I heard since seems good: it’s still dark, it’s still weird, and it doesn’t feel anything like the Star Trek we know. But since it’s going to be playing concurrently with Picard’s show, CBS showrunners will probably create a cross-over anyway.

Star Trek Movies Lose Both Chrises

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)

Sir Patrick Stewart Back as the Beloved Jean-Luc Picard in New Star Trek

Captain Picard, making it so.

Jean-Luc Picard is back!

I’m so excited that I have to repeat this: He’s BACK! Sir Patrick Stewart announced yesterday at the Las Vegas 2018 Star Trek Convention that he’s ready to take back up the mantle of intrepid Renaissance man Jean-Luc Picard in an upcoming Star Trek series on CBS All Access. Well, frak; looks like I’m going to have to sign up and pay for that platform now.

Will he still be a Captain? An Admiral, or a Starfleet Professor? My guess is he’ll move on to the Ambassador role he played at the end of All Good Things. Picard’s a huge diplomatic asset to the Federation, and I think the beloved Captain, once he’s moved on from Captaining (last seen in that role in 2002’s feature Trek film Nemesis), would head down the road of peace between peoples, using his famous Picard Speeches to pave the way.

We see glimpses of other things that came to pass in that otherwise benighted film – Kathryn Janeway has become an Admiral (with a specialty in Borg Knowledge, if Voyager series finale Endgame is to be believed).

I’m also thrilled to return to the 24th century, where humanity have evolved into a more enlightened state and the future looks hopeful. By the 24th century, humans live mostly at peace with their neighbors (Borg and Dominion Wars aside); poverty, hunger, and most illnesses have been eradicated, and we live in a Post-Scarcity dream world where the greatest mission of an individual is to explore and improve one’s self.

I’ve avoided CBS’s Star Trek Discovery almost completely (I did view the free episode). It’s dark, it’s grim, it’s a big downer. I turned my attention to Seth McFarlane’s The Orville instead: a playful, Next Generation-lite tribute to Trek. Even my mother loves it, and she’s not a science fiction fan as such.

More to relate as 2019 gets closer. But I did want to let Trek fans know that Captain Picard is a thing again!!! SQUEEEEE!

Watch as Stewart excitedly announces his return: 

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)

Universal Builds A Star Trek Land

I recently went to Disney’s Star Wars “May the 4th” overlay of Tomorrowland (it was worth seeing), and from afar spied the rock spires towering above the construction for Galaxy’s Edge – an entire new Disneyland themed park about the world of Star Wars itself. It’s to be an entire immersive city, set on another planet, and I CAN’T wait til it opens next summer 2019 (with Disney World following up their version in the fall of  2019).

My impression is that Galaxy’s Edge will be a lot like Universal’s Wonders of the Wizarding World, which I made a long-overdue first visit to last month. I had my Hogwarts Robes and school clothes on (Proud Gryffindor!) and completely allowed myself to drown in the experience. (I’ll a link here when I’ve reviewed that trip.)

It got me to thinking of other possibilities for immersive fantastical environments and wondering when a land devoted to Star Trek will show up.

A quick search showed me Universal in Florida is indeed planning just that.[

I was able to get a nice Star Trek experience previously in Las Vegas, of all  places, at the Hilton’s Star Trek Experience. It was sort of a cross between being on the set of Deep Space Nine, with an interactive TNG show. (Again, I’ll cover this in detail elsewhere.) It gave me a valid excuse to go with friends to Vegas, at any rate. I went a few times to share Blood Wine with their roving Klingons. Unfortunately, the Hilton shut down the Experience in 2008.

Then a re-booted Trek movie came along in 2009 to fill in the void, experience moderate (if not resounding) success. We at RunPee owe a lot to Trek 2009, as that was the movie propelling the RunPee app to international acclaim.

Now, with  Star Trek: Discovery — a new CBS Trek show on TV — and more Star Trek movies coming up (apparently directed by Quentin Tarantino), the irons are hot enough for somebody strike. Time to follow up on the success of the Wizarding World, and provide a counterpoint to Star War’s Galaxy’s Edge.

Star Trek is still relevant. 

So, to get back to Universal, Screenrant reports that a Star Trek Land is in the works already! And they’re fast-tracking it to compete directly compete with Star Wars Land. I’m fine with that. The more opportunities I get to dress up and play at being something futuristic or fantastical, the better. I’ll do it all.

Related Articles: 

Star Wars at Disneyland

How to See Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland Right Now

 

 

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)