The pre-Christmas Day season of Advent is upon us. Here at SeedSing we love the chocolaty goodness of getting a piece of candy once a day until we get to open our presents. As our gift to you we will present a great movie associated with the holiday season. Many will be awesome, some will be extra awesome. Enjoy.
Day 11: “Scrooged”
For day 11 of our Advent Calendar of holiday movies, I want to talk about one of my favorites, "Scrooged". To me, this is the best telling of the famous holiday story.
For those that may not know, "Scrooged" is an "updated" version of Dickens famous "A Christmas Carol". But, in "Scrooged" we get the absolutely wonderful, in one of his best roles, Bill Murray in the main role. He is a TV exec, and all he cares about is money and his show. He could care less if people have to work on the holiday because to him, it is all abut the bottom line. When the lady in his life, the excellent Karen Allen, has had enough, she leaves him. This sends him into a tailspin where, he doesn't care who he hurts, and how badly he hurts them. He is on a mission to make everyone else feel as miserable as he does. And while it sounds like Murray is mean, and he is, he plays the role so funny that is almost hard to root against him. When I watch it, I kind of feel a bit for him. He is a miserable person, and his best way to cope with bad news is to make the people around him just as miserable. He even makes his cheery assistant, the great Alfre Woodard, angry enough to yell at him and be mean to him. By the way, Woodard, at the time, was an unknown to me, and she is so awesome in this movie. In fact, I have compared every role I have seen her in since this movie, and this is her best performance for me.
Anyway, after a night of yelling at everyone, and some heavy drinking, we get the "Christmas Carol" treatment. Murray is met by three ghosts throughout the night that show him what his life would have been like had he picked certain paths. He meets up with David Johansen early in the movie, some of you may know him as the lead singer of New York Dolls, or as Buster Poindexter, and he is the Ghost of Christmas Past. These scenes, while important, are kind of sad. We see why Murray acts the way he does. But, we also see that he could have not been this way had he made some different choices as a kid. We also see how different he could have been if the adults in his life where a bit more present. As I said, it is kind of sad, but Murray and Johansen make it funnier than it should be. They make it good. Johansen is great in this role too. I didn't know he could act until I watched him in "Scrooged". He was awesome.
Besides Murray, Carol Kane, as the Ghost of Christmas Past, is tremendous. She is so perfectly cast in this role. She has that sweet voice, sweet to me, and dresses so Disney-ish and seemingly nice. But she is anything but nice. Anytime Murray mouths off to her, she hits him with her wand, and she hits him hard. This gag is used a bunch and it works every single time. When she is not hitting him, she is showing him how the future will work if he continues to act like he currently is. No one wants to be around him. Allen wants nothing to do with him. His former co workers are much happier when he isn't around anymore. It is a real slap in the face, or whack with a wand if you will, to Murray.
The “Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come is the same old black hooded grim reaper looking thing, but this one is full of tv’s. It is quite surreal.
After seeing all this, just like in every other "Christmas Carol" movie or book, Murray cleans up his act. But the way he does it in "Scrooged" is so much hipper, funnier and cooler than in any other version. Murray continues to act like a jerk, but it is all a façade. He is truly changing his ways. He is messing with people, but he has truly turned a leaf. He gives things to the home that Allen volunteers in. He gives Woodard the day off, but not before giving her a raise and a hug. He convinces Bobcat Goldthwait, who is so good in this movie, to not hurt anyone after all. He even stands up to people who continue to act like he does after he sees these three ghosts.
"Scrooged" is one of the best holiday movies. As I said at the top, I consider it the best version of this famous story. Murray totally drives this movie, but the supporting actors, mainly Carol Kane, do just as much heavy lifting. I watch this movie every year when I wrap presents, and I have grown to like it more and more every year. "Scrooged" is a classic, and it is one of Murray's best. In fact I think I want to go watch it right now. See ya.
Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. For a new take on the Santa Clause tale, check out the incredible “Twilight Zone” Episode “Night of the Meek”.
SeedSing is funded by a group of awesome people. Join them by donating to SeedSing.