Many of you reading this can quote all the lines from this film, but the rest of you? Why you haven’t seen this film is beyond me.
The man responsible for a handful of my favorite films such as Superman, Superman II, The Goonies, The Omen, etc, Richard Donner, directed this modernization of Dicken’s classic A Christmas Carol, and it deserves a rightful spot in your holiday celebrations. At first, its dark humor might surprise you, but if you are familiar with the tone of A Christmas Carol, it’s a borderline horror story. There’s ghosts and unsettling tension. Scrooged does you one better and also makes you want to do what the youngsters call “rotfl.”
According to Wikipedia, reviews on the film were mixed. Who cares? Don’t let that hinder you from this superb holiday enjoyment. It’s just soooo good. 4 o’s for effect. I mean FOUR EFFECT. And I meant it like OHHH, not simply just “O.” It is SOOOO GOOD.
Yes, it’s the same Scrooge story you’ve read and watched a million times, but it’s updated for a late ’80s audience. As TV Exec Frank Cross, Bill Murray will crack you up as he descends into eccentric paranoia. What makes this film even more special is that Murray’s superlative performance comes to life during Christmas time in New York City. With SNL and Ghostbusters, Murray is no stranger to NYC. And you know what place isn’t too far away, right? You got it! New Jersaaay!
Casting of the 3 ghosts in Scrooged was right on the money. Specifically, the Ghost of Christmas Past who was embodied by David Johansen. The N.Y Dolls rocker materialized in the form of a loud mouthed taxi driver. It doesn’t get more New York than that! Looking dirty and sleazy, he drives Cross right back to 1955 to take a look at past moments from his life.
What’s bothersome about that line is that we have drivers in this state from all over the country. I can be on a highway with New Yorkers, Floridians, Pennsylvanians, and folks from Connecticut amongst so many others. Regardless, I do enjoy the NJ reference and get a kick out of the stereotype.
The plot focuses on Cross’ mission to produce the schlockiest of Christmas Carol broadcasts to air on Christmas Eve – because it’s all about the RATINGS. Ratings are still important today, but who really cares about TV anymore? In the late ’70s and ’80s, TV networks and media groups were run like the world depended on them, and the world did. Even though we’ve mostly transitioned to the Internet for nearly everything, Scrooged retains a pertinent message.
Once Cross is reformed toward the end of the film, he completely shoots himself and his station in the foot by encouraging people to spend time with their families during Christmas rather than sit and watch TV.
I’m living proof of this. About a month ago I lost my remote control and I’ve watched exactly ONE show since then and I feel like I haven’t missed out on anything. It’s given me more time to be with friends and family. I don’t feel tied to cable. Screw you Comcast!
A Christmas Story will be on 24 hours in a few days, PLUS you own the DVD so, at the very least, you can do something different and make Scrooged a family event. Don’t blame me if you get a little misty-eyed toward the end! It’s all good. F*ck cable. F*ck satellite. Go play a game with your kids and give your Mrs. Claus a kiss. Merry Christmas!