December 21, 2014


Richard Donner, 1988
On paper, Scrooged seems like a pretty good idea. Create modern version of the classic Christmas Story and add Bill Murray, and infuse it with some meta elements of making a staged classic Christmas Carol television special during the updated retelling. Sprinkle in some campy zombie makeup, give Murray the obligatory 80's mullet, and of course add Bobcat Goldthwait. And although it carves out its own little niche in the Christmas genre, there isn't a lot of warm fuzziness to Scrooged. You won't really come away with it with a good feeling like you will with some of the other versions of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol". Instead there's more of a prolonged icy blackness that mostly just subsides over the latter moments of the film. Perhaps its the gaudy contemporary aesthetic to the corporate atmosphere in much of the film. Murray's character does arch, but it's not a complete moral makeover like you would see in Groundhog Day. But to give him credit, he has only had a few days to gain a different perspective and not hundreds of years. In a sense it's probably because his character is just downright bitter. There's not a lot of nuance to Frank Cross the person. Instead, he's just a nasty man who by the end of the film has you convinced he has had a moment of clarity. But is it really that convincing that it will stick? In a sense it doesn't really matter. Because the journey is still entertaining, witty enough, dark enough when it needs to be, and cheery enough when it needs to be.  (with some good meta elements involved), dark enough when it needs to be, and cheery enough when it needs to be.

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