Bill Murray as Phil Connors

Groundhog Day Bill Murray Drawing
This is one time where television really fails to capture the true excitement of a large squirrel predicting the weather

So, it's been exactly two years since I started this blog and I'm celebrating in the only way that makes sense, and the only way I would ever want - my annual (not obsessive at all) Bill Murray illustration.

Yes, believe it or not it really has been an entire year since I've drawn, painted or digitally-coloured his Billness. And I'm not going to lie, it hasn't been easy holding back... But I made it.

I've resolved to make no more than one annual Bill Murray illustration from now on, which made deciding exactly which Bill Murray incarnation to paint this time pretty difficult. Steve Zissou came close, but the internet is already awash with artwork depicting the hapless mariner. I drew a version of Big Ern McCracken for the blog a while back that I've never been entirely happy with, and I very nearly had another roll at it. There are also hundreds of photos and videoclips of Mr. Murray living his life attired in multicoloured blazers, carrying golf clubs in cammo gear and crashing karaoke parties in a sweatshirt that would all have been appropriately suited for a blog entry in his honour...

But ultimately, this year it's all about Phil Connors. Groundhog Day has a perfectly crafted script that is incredibly clever, brilliantly funny, existentially moving and somehow (and this is the kicker) both hilariously cynical and gloriously optimistically uplifting. If you haven't seen it in a while then it's worth another look. 

It's unclear exactly how long Phil Connors was stuck in Punxatawney - screenwriter Danny Rubin and director Harold Ramis have thrown out answers ranging from around ten years to ten thousand. But, a few years ago, Danny Rubin posted this on his blog and it may be my favourite thing ever: 

In my original draft I had created a device to help audiences feel the massiveness of time on Phil’s shoulders. It was my version of five-bundled hatch marks on a prison wall, which of course would not work for Phil as each morning the marks would be gone.   My solution was a wall-length bookcase in the Bed and Breakfast.  Every day Phil would read a single page from a single book.  Every now and then we would see him finish the first chapter, then the whole book, then the last book in the row.  On one sad day we see him finish the last page of the last book in the bookcase – only to then have to walk back to the very first book and begin again.

It's a film about the potential within us, what we could be if we had more than one life to live. How we could change if we had an extra lifetime without consequence in which to do it. And how that change is available to us anyway if we want it. 

So yeah, what a great movie. And seeing as it's about a man enduring monstrous monotonous repetition and trying to find some kind of existential meaning in it, I can't think of a better film to celebrate two years of me posting a new illustration blog entry every week. Every single week.

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