Okay, so this one is kind of a classic. In 1988’s Scrooged, Richard Donner directs Bill Murray at the height of his ‘first’ film career in comedy (The post-SNL, pre-Rushmore years). A modern (in the 80s) take on the Dickensian classic “A Christmas Carol”, Scrooged is about a television executive, Frank Cross (Murray) forcing all of his employees to work late on Christmas Eve to air a ludicrously ostentatious live television feature of the aforementioned classic. Filled with dancing girls, acrobats, and nudity, Cross’ take on Dickens’ story is anything but honourable. Throughout the evening, as does happen for all Ebenezer-esque anti-heroes, Cross is visited by the three spirits of Christmas (Past, Present, and Christmas yet to come). And man are these spirits different. We have a loud-mouth cab driver, a fairy princess with a mean left hook, and a version of the Ghost of Christmas Future that gave me nightmares as a child. There is one moment when Future reaches out of the television that had me cowering in fear. And then there is Cratchit, or in this film, Eliot Loudermilk, played fantastically by Bobcat Goldthwait. Treated like garbage for the first half of the film, when he comes in for his revenge toting a shotgun, it is comedy gold!
This is a slightly more traditional Christmas film than yesterday’s The Ice Harvest in that it follows a pathway of redemption. In many ways it is a very honest take on the original subject matter. Truth be told, this is one of the finer examples in cinema of a modernization of a Victorian classic. It is fresh and funny, but with a deep understanding of the principle piece of literature. This is a Christmas movie that must be watched by all!
On the first day of Christmas, my true love made me see: The Ice Harvest
On the second day of Christmas, my true love made me see: Scrooged