Source Code (2011)

How similar is it to Groundhog Day?

Duncan Jones’ criminally underrated Source Code has Jake Gyllenhaal reliving the same event over and over again – a train crash triggered by a bomb – to try to prevent a future terrorist attack. Like Groundhog Day, the film finds humor in similar events happening again, and again, and again. Source Code also takes the time to introduce us to all the various people the main character repeatedly comes in contact with, revealing more and more of them with each loop, which is something Groundhog Day does as well. The film also features its main character attempting to change those events to finally get things right, so to speak. It’s one hell of an exciting film that more people should’ve seen.

What does it do differently than Groundhog Day?

While Groundhog Day has its protagonist re-living the same full day over and over, Source Code has Gyllenhaal’s character re-living the same eight minutes over and over. Also, again we have a science fiction element in place to explain the time loop – it’s all part of a government experiment that takes Gyllenhaal’s consciousness and places it within another person. It’s complicated and doesn’t make a whole lot of sense; also, the concept of alternate dimensions gets involved. Don’t let any of that scare you away, though. The film is great.

Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

How similar is it to Groundhog Day?

One of the best examples of a film to use the Groundhog time loop scenario is Doug Liman’s fantastic Edge of Tomorrow (or Live.Die.Repeat., which I refuse to call this film, sorry). Set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland following an alien invasion, Edge of Tomorrow features Tom Cruise as a cowardly military public affairs officer who gets stuck in a time loop with Emily Blunt, who’s playing a badass soldier. Like Groundhog Day, the setup involves a lot of moments where the main character knows exactly what’s going to happen, when it’s going to happen, and uses that knowledge to his advantage. It also features the concept of “getting things right” as a way to stop the loop.

What does it do differently than Groundhog Day?

Besides the obvious genre differences, Edge of Tomorrow is unique for having more than one character actually aware of the time loop. While other films on this list feature their main characters trying to explain and convince others of the time loop, Edge of Tomorrow has multiple characters actually aware the loop is happening. Also, once again, the film has an explanation for why the loop is happening: it’s caused by alien blood. Gross.

Triangle (2009)

How similar is it to Groundhog Day?

This creepy 2009 thriller has a pleasure cruise going seriously awry as a woman (Melissa George) and her friends sail into a storm and come out the other side into a series of spooky happenings. To say more would spoil much of the fun of this twisty, eerie film. Suffice to say, there’s a time loop at work here, and the main character uses her knowledge of previous loops to her advantage, or in some cases, disadvantage. In a nice change of pace, this is another time loop film that doesn’t bother to try to explain why the time loop is happening.

What does it do differently than Groundhog Day?

Triangle takes a while to even reveal it’s a time loop story, and unlike most of the films on this list, we don’t get to see the same events over and over and over again. Instead, we have the main character realizing she’s been in this situation before, and trying hard to break out of it. Also, unlike the bulk of the films on this list, Triangle doesn’t have what you’d call a “happy ending.”

Before I Fall (2017)

How similar is it to Groundhog Day?

This weepy teen drama finds main character Samantha (Zoey Deutch) reliving the same day over and over again after she and her friends die in a fatal car accident. Samantha tries to prevent the accident, but even when she manages to do so, people still end up dying, sort of like a Final Destination film. The Groundhog Day effect is in full force here though, with Samantha trying, again and again, to get things right to break that damn loop.

What does it do differently than Groundhog Day?

Before I Fall transports Groundhog Day’s humorous but slightly twisted tale onto a high school melodrama, and it’s not that great. It also doesn’t really seem to understand its own premise, because apparently it’s okay if Samantha dies here, but what really matters is that one of her friends survives, which is why the loop is happening. Why Samantha would be the one aware of the loop and not the friend is beyond me, but hey, this is a silly movie part of a silly list, so let’s not get too bent out of shape about it.

Naked (2017)

How similar is it to Groundhog Day?

In Naked, Marlon Wayans is about to get married, but he’s not quite sure he’s ready to finally settle down. Anxious about his impending wedding, Wayans and his best man go out drinking the night before the big day. The drinking gets out of control, and Wayans wakes up the next day naked in an elevator. Before he has chance to get to the wedding, however, he keeps getting sucked back into the same hour, again and again, waking up naked in the elevator every time. Like Groundhog Day, the best way for the main character to break out of his loop is to learn a valuable lesson and start doing the right things.

What does it do differently than Groundhog Day?

Groundhog Day is a clever, funny, intelligent comedy. This movie, in contrast, stinks.

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