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Twelve Christmas Movie Reviews in Twelve Days 2015: #8. Scrooged (1988)


Directed by: Richard Donner
Starring: Bill Murray, Karen Allen, Bobcat Goldthwait, David Johansen and Carol Kane

When I thought up of the idea of reviewing Christmas movies one of the first films that popped into my head was Scrooged. I had to review it now because it’s such a quality film. In my household, Christmas truly begins when this and Home Alone come on the telly. Both of them films have a strong affiliation with me.

In a modernised version of the Charles Dickenss “A Christmas Carol, Bill Murray is Frank Cross, a wildly successful, narcissistic, egotistical television executive whose cut throat approach to business has put his business endeavours before anything else in life. He hardly sees his brother and his attitude has driven away the love of his life. After firing an employee on Christmas eve, Frank is visited by a series of ghost who give him a second chance at life to re-evaluate his actions and right the wrongs of his self-centred past.

This is the type of film that you’ll either love it or hate me. For me, I love it. Absolutely love it.

I’m amazed by all the negativity for this film as I consider Scrooged to be a real gem of a film, one of the more outstanding films of the 80’s, that’s for sure. Bill Murray is at his best here and plays the role of Frank Castle as the convincing bitter network executive who has lost sight of the finer things in life, in favour of business. Family and friends don’t even come on the radar for Frank.

The sub-plot to the film is regarding a live adaptation of A Christmas Carol which is to air on Christmas Eve. Frank wants to make this a must see show, so he presents his promo to various executives. Frank’s promo for Christmas Carol features a bloody highway shooting, a plane blowing up, and drug addicts taking heroin. This underlines the subtext of this film and it’s also the sort of methods Frank thrives on. It’s later mentioned that someone actually died of shock from watching that ad, but Frank sees it as a victory as it’s drawing attention towards the show. I’m sure Frank Cross and Vince McMahon are related!

I dare to think how different this would have been had Murray not signed on the dotted line. His humour and charisma shines from start to finish. He’s one of the greatest actors ever in my eyes. All other actors and characters are mere sidekicks.

I’m sure we all know the Charles Dickens classic, but Richard Donner breathes new life into the story and gives it some extra meaning for the modern audience.

The “Christmas miracle” speech is one of the greatest things I’ve ever heard. If you haven’t seen it, watch it right now on YouTube. The scene was totally adlibbed by Murray and it was obvious from the tears in his eyes that he was speaking from the heart. That made the scene more genuine.

Please check this film out, it’s sure to “put a little love in your heart” (see what I did there, kids?)

Rating: **** (Champion)


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