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I just finished watching this film (on TNT) for the countless time. What a
fine seasonal offering. It's so much better than a lot of the pulp and
smarmy c*** that passes for Christmas classics.
Bill Murray exclaims at the end of the movie, "I get it now!" Apparently, some folks watched this flick and didn't get it. The movie is essentially a star turn for Murray, who's in almost every frame - and that's fine with me because he can carry a film. Trivial quibbles over the movie's name and reference to the original work, the lack of faithfulness to the book and other complaints miss the point of the project. While staging a production of 'A Christmas Carol,' a TV executive experiences the very same circumstances as one of the characters in the novel. That alone makes it work. A few reviews question the overall harsh tone of the movie, or more specifically, Murray's role. Frankly, I would not have minded had it been even a little darker. There's a lot of water to carry in that bucket of trying to measure the callous and thoughtless manner in which some folks act on all but the most treasured of holidays. Murray's demeanour boils it down into one strong mean spirit and evaporates it with a truly positive and well-wishing finale.
Scrooged is, along with Groundhog Day, among his best work.
Well, Christmas is almost upon us again. So I'm going to comment on a view
Festive films. Starting with Scrooged:
I personally enjoyed this film, but after reading other user's comments on here for the movie, I guess you either Love it or Hate it.
Why do people get so serious about a movie ? Its just a comedy that pokes a little fun at the Dickens classic.
They mention that Murray's character of Frank Cross was hateful, spiteful, nasty, horrible etc. etc. ... That was the whole idea!! (You wouldn't have had a movie if he wasn't those things). Scrooge in the novel was horrible, spiteful, nasty, etc. etc.
Scrooged is funny, but it does hit on a few serious notes also. Especially when Frank is visited by Carol Kane's Ghost of Christmas Present.
Scrooged is the type of movie that no-one will ever agree on. They have their opinions, and I have mine.
I love it. The bit at the end where Bill Murray finally realizes what Christmas is really all about, is quite moving as he talks directly to the viewers about it. Then when the cast break into song, Murray urges the Cinema audience to join in with them. The cinema we went to, did! It was a great atmosphere with the cinema singing along with the cast. And it was near Christmas too, which made it all that little bit more special :o)
This is my favorite "adaptation" of A Christmas Carol. It's also my favorite Christmas movie. A lot of people say that Bill Murray's character of Frank Cross is unlikeable. Would you prefer a warm and fuzzy Scrooge for the first half? Then there are those who say that the end is sappy. The ending is what I like the most. And Murray's acting is much better than other Scrooges, who usually overact. Murray manages to be over-the-top with his cruelty while still making his acting believable. Cross is truly Scrooge-like, reveling in the death of an old woman caused by his commercial because it's free publicity. Another common comment is that Carol Kane steals the scene as the Ghost of Christmas Present. Not true. The chemistry between Murray and Kane ensures that they share the screen perfectly. This is a wonderful movie. I can't understand why anyone would say otherwise. Bobcat Goldthwait puts in a great performance as a disgruntled employee fired on Christmas Eve. The best part is the end. This movie has what has to be the happiest ending in the history of movies. He understands the meaning of Christmas, gets a new lease on life, gets the girl, the little boy talks, and everybody sings a song. Danny Elfman provides the score, doing a brilliant job as always. A beautiful movie all around. A+
SCROOGED (1988) ****
Starring: Bill Murray, Karen Allen, John Glover, John Forsythe, Bobcat Goldthwait, Carol Kane, David Johansen, and Alfre Woodard Director: Richard Donner Running time: 101 minutes Rated PG-13 (for violence, language, and sexual references)
By Blake French:
"Scrooged" is one of the top ten holiday comedies ever produced on the big screen. It enables a viewer to experience the true meaning of cinema: to jump out of our lives and experience another. Once in a long, long while we get a movie with as much magically irrelevant context as Richard Donnar's 1988 adaptation of Charles Dickens classic fable. "Scrooged" holds a place on my list of the top 100 American movies ever made.
The film takes place a few days before Christmas. Bill Murray stars as the heartless Frank Cross, a corporate tightwad in charge of a highly profitable television company. This man seldom gives raises, airs stomach churning TV ads, and fires desperate employees at the drop of a hat, regardless of what time of year it is. Currently, Frank's company is producing the first live Christmas program on network television, on Christmas eve. It is a Charles Dickens fable. Frank is at the prime of his life, living a wealthy, glamorous, but unhappy life.
His greed soon catches up with him, however, when one night his old boss visits him, who has now been dead for years. Frank is at first astonished; he thinks he is hallucinating. The talking corpse tells him that very soon he will be introduced to three ghosts involuntarily. Franks then calls his old girlfriend, and continues on with his deprived life.
Bill Murray plays his role straight, with intensity and imagination--just like everyone else in the cast. He acts like he is yelling at his workers, and they act like they are being yelled at. This is what generates the film all of its laughs. It takes the characters seriously, and the comical situations in which they are placed are what makes the film funny.
Each of the three ghosts visit Frank. They include The Ghost of Christmas past, a rough cigar smoking taxi driver, an angelic but brutal pink fairy, the Ghost of Christmas Present, and the most feared ghost, Christmas Future, the death-resembling, dark capped figure. They each contribute a heartfelt, terrifying message to Frank, explaining to him how that he either needs to clean up his act and become a giving, generous man, or dastardly things will happen to him.
The three ghosts are some of the most memorable characters ever seen in the movies. The human characters are also very interesting and entertaining. The filmmakers write each with distributive characteristics, provoking empathy and captivation. They are wonderfully portrayed as well.
The interlocking stories each related to each other in Richard Donnar's comedy classic as well. Each scene relates to the next with a strong, supportive narrative through line through Frank Cross.
''Scrooged'' definitely fits into the comedy genre, and offers copious amounts of laugh out loud material. There's even dialogue and sight gags that provoke laughter. On the other hand, the film doesn't lose track of its message by being all over the wall slapstick silliness. It leaves room for the emotions and feelings present. For this type of comedy to work, the humor needs to be played accurately. Some scenes involving the past of Frank are quite emotional, and the filmmakers use this to their advantage to develop the Frank character even further. ''Scrooged'' may be a spoof, but if still holds true to the classic story it is based on.
I also enjoyed the illustrious style this film uses: a mesmerizing blend of perfect set direction and colorful atmosphere. The sound track is very effective as well, with memorable tunes and voiceless medleys. The closing scene of ''Scrooged'' may feel a bit contrived and fake, but it also allows us to leave the theater with joyful happiness inside. If this film doesn't put you in the Christmas spirit, nothing will.
Brought to you by Paramount Pictures.
I'm amazed by all the negative and mean-spirited comments for this movie.
"Scrooged" is a cinematic gem, one of the most outstanding films of the '80s
or any time for that matter. Bill Murray is at his comedic best, and he is
entirely convincing as a bitter network exec who has lost sight of the
important things in his life, like family and friends. You know the Dickens
story, but Richard Donner's film version breathes life into the story and
gives it extra meaning for modern audiences. Supporting actors all do
wonders with their roles, from Robert Mitchum to Carol Kane to Michael J.
Pollard. This film will make you laugh, and will certainly bring a little
warmth into your Christmas season.
For those who sight this film as mean-spirited or dark, they surely must be missing something. This film is funny, charming, and sweet. Frightening and warm at the same time, "Scrooged" is a modern masterpiece that has been unjustly overlooked and unappreciated. While there are other enjoyable Christmas films of the '80s ("A Christmas Story" and "Christmas Vacation" seem to get more than enough praise), none can hold a light towards "Scrooged", an excellent Christmas movie for modern audiences.
This is a Christmas movie that also is very enjoyable to watch outside
of the holiday's.
Another name for the movie could be "The Bill Murray Show", he simply makes this movie and I can't even imaging how the movie would have been without him in it. He's amazingly funny and on top of that he also is a wonderful actor. You can see that in some of the scene's he improvised a lot and he did that brilliantly! All the other actors and characters are merely sidekicks.
The story is basically a modern version of the classic Dickens novel "A Christmas Carol" and it's done wonderfully. It's great to see how the the classic story is translated into the 20th century. Everything works very well: The settings, the characters and the events, everything.
From the hilarious opening involving Santa Claus and Lee Mayors (I say no more) till the wonderful ending the movie delivers non stop fun and pure entertainment with a nice love story, brilliant dialog and a great and important message in it. Only thing is that I feel that the movie could have done without the whole Loudermilk thing, but oh well...
Very recommendable and close of being perfect.
"Scrooged" opens in the clouds, and then suddenly descends on a
snowbound cottage. Signs inform us that it's Santa's workshop and we're
at the North Pole. Inside, elves work hastily as Santa prepares himself
for his impending duty on Christmas Eve night. But then, terrorists,
packing some serious heat with them, lay siege to the workshop.
Panicking, Santa, Mrs. Claus, and the elves run towards the back of the shop, open a tool cabinet, which reveals an arsenal of M-16s, and soon everybody's armed to the hilt with automatic weaponry. But then Lee Majors appears on a snowmobile and reassures Santa that Christmas will be coming on time this year. Then Lee goes to work killing the terrorists with a large Gatling gun.
Then we're treated to a promo spot for a television production of "Scrooge," which features a bloody highway shooting, a plane blowing up, and drug addicts taking heroin. It is this sort of cynicism that's underlying in much of the subtext of this film, and it's also something that Frank Cross (Bill Murray), "the youngest television president in network history," thrives on.
And so opens "Scrooged," director Richard Donner's contemporary take on Charles Dickens's classic tale "A Christmas Carol." Dickens's novel has been fodder for countless television, film, and stage productions over the 150+ years it has been an accepted part of American literature, and this 1988 dark comedy is the latest incarnation.
The biggest reason it has is because it describes the need for mankind to not be so selfish, and it takes three ghastly apparitions over the course of a 24-hour period to show an old miser the error of his ways.
But all of this is in the past. Cross is so swept up in himself, that he gives bath towels to everyone (even his only brother) on Christmas. He asks his loyal secretary Grace (Alfre Woodard) to stay late at work, despite the fact that she has to take her mute son to the doctor. ("I care!" Frank says, when she confronts him about it.) He fires an underling named Eliot (Bobcat Goldthwait) for questioning him about his un-Christmas-like promo ads. He shuns Claire (Karen Allen), the only woman who's ever cared about him when she tries to provide comfort for the homeless. Yeah, Cross is every bit as a unsavory as most misers are when it comes to "A Christmas Carol."
But life is about to change for Frank, and that's marked by the sudden and (literally) explosive appearance of the rotting corpse of his late boss. The walking, talking "worm feast" informs Frank that he's going to be visited by three ghosts over the next 24 hours, and this may be his last chance to change his ways. And from there on, it's ghastly, darkly comic hilarity as Frank goes back, forward, and stays in the present as three ghosts (a manic cabbie, a jilted, abusive fairy, and a towering, cloaked skeleton, respectively) take him on a wild ride through his life.
Bill Murray is at his comic best here, getting "Scrooged" the way someone in his position should. Much like the lead character in "A Christmas Carol" realizes the error of his ways, Frank Cross does so too, but with a kind of cynicism that could only be provided by someone as indifferent, uncompromising, and selfish as him. And he's also quite aware from the appearance of the first ghost of what this trip entails.
The makeup and special effects are also worthy of some mention. The ghosts all look fantastic, even though some would argue that the effects that brought them to life are dated; well, this movie was made in 1988 for crying out loud!
I liked "Scrooged," as it is certainly a fantastic Christmas movie to watch, and is quite funny, especially just to see Murray get his comeuppance in a role that seems to suit him perfectly.
Watch Bill Murray get "Scrooged" - 10/10
Francis Cross is a successful TV executive but at Christmas time he is
as miserable a man as you could wish to meet. Forcing people to work
the holidays and unwilling to think of anyone but himself. As Christmas
approaches Francis is visited by his dead boss, warning him to change his
ways; when he doesn't he is visited by three ghosts who show him
in the past, present and future.
Each year there are plenty of versions of the classic Christmas Carol story, but this film is consistently one of the better ones. It starts with a great dark comedy that sees some very imaginative gags (The Night The Reindeer Died) as well as Murray given great material. At some point (roughly ghost 2), sentimentality starts to set in and the film doesn't quite have the edge on it that it did. It still works - in fact, ghost 3 is not so much sentimental as really dramatic!
What holds it all together though is a great performance from Murray. He is funny throughout but also does the work to try and hold off the sentimentality of the piece - although it does come through, as one would expect with a Christmas movie! The support cast is good and includes Woodard, Goldthwait, Goulet, Farr and Mitchum. I didn't feel like Kane's Christmas Present really worked and didn't find her funny in the least. While the support cast add to the film, it is almost totally belonging to Bill Murray and the fact that it is so enjoyable is mostly due to him (although not even he can carry off the audience interaction over the end credits).
Overall this is a good Christmas movie - it does give you a nice little festive glow but also has enough cynical edge to keep the syrup at bay for a certain amount of the time. Regardless of everything else, Bill Murray is great in the lead and holds the movie together better than someone else may have been able to.
This is a perfect vehicle for Bill Murray, his brand of sarcastic and
caustic delivery is nailed on perfect for Frank Cross, the modern day
scrooge in this tale. I have often found him to be an acquired taste, I
mean don't get me wrong here, I'm a big fan and can repeatedly watch
his best offerings, but it's not hard to understand why his style is
not universally loved. Scrooged is pure and simply the modern spin of
the story we all have grown up with, that isn't to say that the film
loses anything as regards Christmas spirit, because it doesn't, the
message is still the same, and in this ever changing world of ours the
core essence of the story is one the world should heed.
This version is a blast, it's loud, it's brash, but boy is it damn funny, and I personally watch it every Christmas without fail. And yes, I watch it alongside the glorious Alistair Sim version, for although they are poles apart in class, they both entertain for very different reasons.
Joining Murray in this festive romp is the delightful Karen Allen, while luminaries such as former New York Dolls front man David Johansen and Mr. Laconic himself, Robert Mitchum, add some weight to the cast list. It all works really rather well with the exception of Carol Kane's Ghost Of Christmas Present, where to me she comes off as being more annoying than funny, but that of course is a personal opinion and I know as fact that many others adore her energetic performance. With quips aplenty and of course with a simple heartfelt message at the core, Scrooged is truly a sharp and enjoyable film to be enjoyed at the festive period.
Thanks boys, get the nurse! 8/10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
After Bill Murray struck gold with Ghostbusters in 1984, he dropped off
the radar a little. His personal project The Razor's Edge flopped with
audiences and critics, and I think that must have been a blow to him.
Besides making a cameo in the amusing Little Shop of Horrors, he stayed
away from the Hollywood circuit for four years.
But then in 1988 he resurfaced with Scrooged, an update on the classic Charles Dickens tale. Obviously trying to repeat the success of Ghostbusters, Scrooged was a modest hit with audiences, who considered it Murray's comeback role.
When I was younger, I loved Scrooged. I thought it was funny and delivered on so many levels. But as I've gotten older, Scrooged has gone down considerably in my estimation. Instead of feeling funny, it now feels laboured, and forced. And I never thought I would say this, but the main reason Scrooged doesn't work is because of Bill Murray.
Bill Murray is one of my favourite comedians. In fact I think he's one of the funniest men alive. His dry, laconic outlook on life is nearly always hilarious. Just look at some of the gems he's turned out. Ghostbusters. Groundhog Day. Lost in Translation and the sadly overlooked Broken Flowers.
But then there's Scrooged. A film that should have been a perfect vehicle for Murray's talents, but it never even gets out of the gate. And I blame that on Murray, sadly. He did the theme of a miser seeing the error of his ways to much greater effect in the absolutely wonderful Groundhog Day, which is my personal favourite comedy of the 90s.
In Scrooged, Murray is the borderline power-mad TV exec Frank Cross. A man so consumed by greed and hate he thinks nothing of firing employees if they even look at him the wrong way. Frank is on a dangerous path, and will lose everything if he doesn't change his ways. And so step in the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future to show Frank what he's missed out on in life.
There is some invention during the scenes of ghostly visitations. The Ghost of Christmas Past is a grizzled New York cab driver. The meter is actually a calender that shows the year Murray is in. The Ghost of Christmas Present (a horribly screechy performance by Carol Kane) is like an insane Sugar Plum Fairy with a nasty habit of punching Frank repeatedly. The Ghost of Christmas Future is just as Dickens left it. Except it has a TV for a face.
Usually I like Christmas tales with dark centres, like the excellent Nightmare Before Christmas and the hilarious Gremlins. Two brilliant films that succeed on every level. But sadly, Scrooged doesn't deliver. Whenever Bill Murray is in a film, he's usually the best thing about it. Here he's the worst. He's clearly not having a good time. He approaches each scene with indifference. When he's hands on with material, he can deliver superb performances. But he's strictly hands off with this film. And as a result, it makes his supposed redemption in the final scenes that all the more false.
There are occasions where his trademark sarcasm shines. I liked the scene where he collects an award for Humanitarian of the Year. Its funny because Murray is notorious for shunning the award ceremonies, and his clear distaste for the Oscars is mirrored in that scene. His acceptance speech is a marvellous send-up of the countless celebrities who stand up to the mike and drone on and on about their achievements.
But elsewhere Scrooged falls flat. There is no evidence that Frank is slowly thawing. And because Murray overacts badly in this film (strange considering that he prefers minimalist acting), I couldn't believe for a second what I was seeing. Murray spends a lot of his time shouting his way through the film to the point that it becomes tedious.
In the supporting cast, we do get some occasional rays of sunshine. John Glover is hilarious as the exec brought in to lighten the burden on Frank's shoulders, when really he's after his job. John Forsythe sports an astonishing makeup job as Frank's old boss, who appears as a decaying corpse, the film's version of Marley's Ghost. And the underrated Karen Allen shines as the woman Frank gave up for the sake of his career.
But its in the final scenes where Scrooged comes crashing down. Frank has seen the error of his ways. And to prove it, he barges on to the set of a live retelling of A Christmas Carol the TV studio is putting on. Frank goes on and on (and on) about the true meaning of Christmas. And its a horrible thing to see. Murray doesn't sound like he believes a word of what he's saying. It seems to go on forever. And I felt really embarrassed for him.
What a pity! Scrooged could have been a hip, witty deconstruction of A Christmas Carol. And nobody does nasty and sarcastic better than Bill Murray. Where did it all go wrong then? How did it so completely miss the mark? Shame considering it came from Richard Donner, the man behind classics like Superman and The Omen. And such a waste of Robert Mitchum and John Houseman.
Very poor, and ultimately very depressing too.
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