Seven Cinematic Rodents, in Honor of Groundhog Day

Where have you gone, Punxsutawney Phil? A nation turns its lonely eyes to you. Woo woo woo. Or if you’re like me, you turn your eyes to Sun Prairie, Wisconsin’s Jimmy the Groundhog, who’s twice the groundhog than that punkass Phil could ever be. And we all turn our eyes towards some groundhog because Groundhog Day is upon us. In honor of these titans of weather prediction, here are my seven favorite cinematic rodents.

Scooter the Groundhog, Groundhog Day
I would be a complete and utter moron if the first rodent listed wasn’t the groundhog from Groundhog Day. And apparently, his name was “Scooter”. Thank you, IMDB. Here’s Scooter showing off his acting chops. This film did for acting groundhogs what Billy Madison did for guys in penguin suits.


Mr. Jingles, The Green Mile

This is the second film on the list that deals with rodents and a Christ-like ability to avoid death. Alas, that’s where the similarities end. All the same, Mr. Jingles’ presence played a pivotal role in the third act of The Green Mile, leaving us to ponder just how long Paul (Tom Hanks) would live.


The Gopher, Caddyshack

Martin and Lewis. Hope and Crosby. Astaire and Rogers. Fine acting duos, all. But none match the two-film firepower of Murray and Rodent. Granted, he was paired with a gopher in one film, and with a groundhog in the other. But I think we can all see that nobody serves as a rodent straight man better than Bill Murray. Had this duo worked together more, perhaps they would’ve re-written cinema history.


The dalmatian mice, The Royal Tenenbaums

Our list turns back to dramatic rodents, this time with the dalmatian mice that Chas Tenenbaum bred and sold to a pet shop in Little Tokyo in the 6th grade. These same mice metaphorically grow up into an actual dalmatian (the dog kind, not the rodent kind) when Royal has won his family back. Astoundingly, that’s three of the best cinematic rodents that have starred next to Bill Murray. He’s the Tiger Woods of making movies next to small furry disease-bearers.


The gopher village, O Brother, Where Art Thou

The Coens might be the only filmmakers that could make a gopher-consumption scene in a parable to Homer’s Odyssey work to the effect that it did in O Brother, Where Art Thou. I can’t even keep a straight face while thinking about the dialogue.

Delmar O’Donnell: Care for some gopher?
Ulysses Everett McGill: No thank you, Delmar. One third of a gopher would only arouse my appetite without bedding it down.
Delmar O’Donnell: Oh, you can have the whole thing. Me and Pete already had one apiece. We ran across a whole gopher village.


The squirrel, Christmas Vacation

We’ve seen mice, gophers, and groundhogs thus far, but no squirrels. And the other squirrel option for this list was the poor little bastard that got shot, skinned, and cleaned in Winter’s Bone. I opted for lighter fare- the squirrel that ultimately wrecked Clark Griswold’s Christmas tree, thereby keeping their family Christmas out of the realm of “the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny fucking Kaye”.


Nice Marmot, The Big Lebowski

If Bill Murray is the King of working with rodents, then the Coens must be the Duke. The look on The Dude’s face there is exactly the appropriate reaction to having a marmot that close to your “chonson”. 


Filed under Humor, Movies

12 responses to “Seven Cinematic Rodents, in Honor of Groundhog Day

  1. I love this. This is a completely absurd list!!!!!!!

    • I would’ve done an all groundhog list. Unfortunately, there are only a few movie groundhogs.

    • rtm

      I second that. I knew you’re gonna have something special for Groundhog Day. Well, looks like you put your snow day to good use, eh John? 🙂

      • Indeed! I banged out three movies (Monsters; Hitchcock’s “Foreign Correspondent”; and Requiem for a Dream) and waxed poetic about groundhogs. There are worse ways to spend a day.

        • rtm

          Amazing! I’ve got to check out Monsters, I heard lots of good things about it.

          • I liked it a lot. It was obviously sci-fi/horror, but it had a much slower, much more delicate pace, with an immigration subtext. Kind of like District 9 meets Cloverfield (no shaky camera, though).

            Also, you get to see two gigantic octopus monsters making out on top of a gas station.

  2. Kelly

    I was sure the R.O.U.S. from The Princess Bride would be included.

  3. Don

    What about Ratatouille? Or do we not count Animated Mice? And then there was the mouse from Mousehunt with perhaps the best supporting cast in Nathan Lane and Vicki Lewis!

    • I got about halfway through the list and realized I didn’t have any animated rodents, and figured I’d run with it. Plus, it gives me an easy out for not including Mickey.

  4. Who gives a shit about the fucking marmot!

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