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Digesting the lowest rung of pop culture so you don't have to!
There have been many adaptions of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol in the past, and there will be several in the future (I am sure I will be talking about some for this feature). However, at times, it gets to the point where the story just becomes played out. How many times can you keep this tale fresh?
Fortunately, the Richard Donner-directed and Bill Murray-starrer Scrooged does just that. I fully love this movie. Granted, I grew up with it, and it became a holiday tradition of sorts in my house, but even when I watch it today, it completely holds up.
Basically, Scrooged’s story follows the plot of the Dickens classic pretty faithfully, but updates it to present day. In many ways, the movie is very meta because Murray’s Scrooge-type character is producing a TV movie of A Christmas Carol while encountering his own ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future. In that way, it lampoons while honoring the source material.
The cast in this is fantastic. It is amazing if you think about it who Donner was able to gather for this production. You have the likes of John Forsythe, Bobcat Goldthwait, Robert Mitchum, Karen Allen, and Carol Kane all mostly in small supporting roles. Further enhancing the movie experience are cameos by Robert Goulet, Lee Majors, Buddy Hackett, and Mary Lou Retton (as a subtle, yet hilariously miscast Tiny Tim). With all these actors involved and their particular roles, it makes me appreciate the movie more as the years go on.
Bill Murray, obviously, is the glue of this movie. If they got anyone else, I cannot see Scrooged being as good as it is. In his heyday, Murray’s ability to riff and play off other actors really is unmatched, and this is no exception. Something worth noting is that this was Murray’s first big film since 1984’s Ghostbusters. It is a strange thought to consider that he was “gone from movies” for a good portion of the 1980s.
While this movie is a comedy, make no mistake, it does get somewhat dark at times. It almost has to considering the source material. Towards the end (during the Ghost of Christmas Future sequence), it gets a bit bleak. I have read criticisms about this aspect. Personally, I think they miss the point. If the movie did not do this, then it would not have worked and would have lost is effectiveness.
I love this movie. It is a fresh take on A Christmas Carol with an underlining satirical jab towards network television production. I usually try to watch this each holiday season. You should too!