Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Originally uploaded by Uncinefilo
In this modern day interpretation of A Christmas Carol Frank Cross is the youngest television president in history and it has gone to his head. As he plans the worlds largest live broadcast on Christmas Eve he is visited by the ghost of his old boss and warned he is being given a chance to change his ways and will be visited on Christmas Eve by three ghosts. Cross spends the next day being ferried through his past, present and future by ghosts and leading everyone in his life to start thinking the Christmas Eve broadcast has finally made him lose it.

Scrooged is hands down one of my favorite Christmas films, and a movie so funny that like Elf I can watch it any time of year. What makes this film so memorable is that it takes a story we all know so well and manages to combine that with what Bill Murray does best – bizarre comedy.

Frank Cross is a horrible man. He sends the people on his Christmas gift list either a towel or a VCR depending on if he likes them or not. He refuses to give his secretary a bonus. He fires an executive the day before Christmas Eve for disagreeing with him. He’s excited when an old woman has a heart attack from watching his Scrooged promo and it gets published by the media. Cross doesn’t care about anyone and everyone knows it. The slogan posted around his office is “Cross: a thing you nail people to”. Bill Murray is the perfect person to play Frank Cross because he can take all of the self-involved horribleness of Frank Cross and make them almost endearing. You still think Frank Cross is awful, but you laugh at him and get excited when he changes. And there is nothing like watching Murray do his thing on screen, he’s amazing.

You also have to love the ghosts in this film, the most memorable one for most people I talk to is the ghost of Christmas present played by Carol Kane. Kane is a SNL alum like Murray, and their comedy styles mesh very well, but that’s not what makes her character memorable. What makes Kane’s ghost memorable is that she is a hyper fairy in a tutu that beats the crud out of Frank. I don’t mean metaphorically, or emotionally, I mean that at one point she literally hits him with a toaster – and that’s just one thing she hits him with. Kane’s character and Cross spend most of their segment arguing like an old divorced couple and each argument culminates in violence to get Frank magically transported to the next scene he needs to see.

I know the holiday season is wrapping to a close and you may not feel like watching a Dicken’s tale during the march to Valentine’s Day, but I do hope that at some point before Christmas Day rolls around again you will find this film and watch it if you haven’t seen it before.

Director: Richard Donner
Writers: Mitch Glazer & Michael O’Donoghue
Frank Cross: Bill Murray
Claire Phillips: Karen Allen
Lew Hayward: John Forsythe
Brice Cummings: John Golver
Eliot Loudermilk: Bobcat Goldwait
Ghost of Christmas Past: David Johansen
Ghost of Christmas Present: Carol Kane
Preston Rhinelander: Robert Mitchum
Grace: Alfre Woodard
Scrooge: Buddy Hackett

Frank Cross: Do you think I'm way off-base here?
Elliot: Yes. You're, well, you're a tad off-base, sir. That thing looked like The Manson Family Christmas Special.

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