Scrooged (1988)

One of many adaptations of A Christmas Carol that made it onto our list this year, Scrooged is possibly one of the best. A very modern take on the story and one made all the better by having Bill Murray in the lead.

If you want something a little more grown up (but not too much hey?) then the usual this is the movie for you this Christmas.

If you ever want a laugh it is a good idea to put a Bill Murray film on. Scrooged is one of the really good ones. He has this way of just making you laugh before he’s even made the joke. I’ve got to that point in my life where I just realize that everything seems much better when you have a little bit of Bill Murray to keep you company.

The unique modernization of the story really lets Murray run rings around the script. The small little twitches and mannerisms when he’s waiting for the ghosts is comedy gold. The Ghost of Christmas Past (David Johansen) being a taxi driver with such a good sense of humor, the Ghost of Christmas Present (Carol Kane) being a very violent, childish fairy and the Ghost of Christmas Future….

Murray’s character, Frank Cross has a wonderfully strange relationship with everyone he meets. He doesn’t seem to be too worried about the fact that he comes into contact with a violent fairy, his obvious love for Claire is sweet even if he can’t figure out what he’s doing wrong and his indifference with everyone else is nothing but funny.

Every actor in this is on top of their game though. Johansen and Kane leave their own mark as their respective ghosts but also Bobcat Goldthwait as Eliot Loudermilk the disgruntled ex-employee, Karen Allen as Claire Philips the love of Cross’s life and Alfre Woodard as the ever suffering assistant Grace all add to the show, each and every one of them has a perfect reaction to anything Cross throws at them and the amount of smart assed comments and underhand vocal stabbing going on is great.

At the heart of it though the story is pretty much the same. All three ghosts visits and shows him the same as what they do in the original, Cross remembers how he used to be before the Greed took over and in the end he becomes a better person.

Why I love this version so much though is the visuals. I get tired of the Dicken setting and loved seeing it set in a city not too far removed from my own. It isn’t just the city though the ghosts themselves look fantastic and they can honestly boast in having the scariest Ghost of Christmas Future ever. The television head without seeing it sounds goofy but is actually quite brilliant. Also instead of just seeing his grave we get the quite brilliant scene of him watching himself being cremated just to be in the coffin to him waking up (and kissing Bobcat.)

It is a very grown up version but easily enjoyable for all the family. There are jokes, tears and even some singing nearer the end.

One of the best Christmas movies.

It’s Christmas Eve! It’s… it’s the one night of the year when we all act a little nicer, we… we… we smile a little easier, we… w-w-we… we… we cheer a little more. For a couple of hours out of the whole year, we are the people that we always hoped we would be!


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