The timeless tale of Ebeneezer Scrooge finding his humanity again in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol has been done to death so much at this point that Hollywood no longer is beating a dead horse, but beating the reminds of a once majestic creature until it turns to dust and joins the Earth. After looking at what version to cover (lord, help me), I decided to go for one that takes the story, applies it to someone else and makes it fresh once again. Thank Santa Christ that Scrooged was made.
Adapted from the classic tale, this modernized (for it’s time) version takes a look at Frank Cross (Bill Murray), a greedy television executive more focused on television ratings and himself than those around him. This includes his long lost love Claire Philips (Karen Allen), his assistant Grace Cooley (Alfre Woodard), his brother James (John Murray, his real life brother) and the weird Bob Crachett for this evening Elliot Loudermilk (Bobcat Goldthwait). As the story goes, he gets a visit from his old mentor Lew Hayward (John Forsythe) and is visited by three ghosts:
- The Ghost of Christmas Past (David Johansen) as a New York City cabbie taking him back to his childhood and his old relationship with Claire.
- The Ghost of Christmas Present (Carol King) as a magic pixie who shows Frank’s present version of Christmas
- The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come that shows Frank his terrifying future.
If you know the story by now, you’ve practically seen the movie, but that’s where it would be a tremendous loss to lump this with the others.
Scrooged is, pardon my language, fuckin’ incredible. The humor is quick-witted and smart with moments of dark humor. From the opening with an amped-up action set piece sets the tone of the madcap comedy to come. It leads to great moments of slapstick from Goldthwait making a fool of himself and Carol King smacking the crap out of Murray. Murray is as dry in his humor as ever and it’s beautiful. He delivers sarcastic wit and lines with ease. Murray also gives this movie heart alongside Woodard and Allen. Woodard subplot with her not getting a raise from Frank is quite disheartening as you fell for her. In Murray and Allen’s case, the way they sell their current state and past relationship is touching. The chemistry between the two is sweet and remarkable. Allen is also just plain adorable as hell. The film succeeds in everything a great comedy should. It breathes life into a tired story and makes it fun again.
Scrooged is fantastic all around that is a classic that will put a little love into your heart.