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Scrooged gets by with Bill Murray and a dash of holiday spirit, although it's hampered by a markedly conflicted tone and an undercurrent of mean-spiritedness.
All Critics (43)
| Top Critics (8)
| Fresh (30)
| Rotten (13)
| DVD (9)
Despite the juicy, on-the-edge craziness, Murray is able to layer his outrageous histrionics with an inner sensibility, making his ultimate transformation not only believable but Christmas-cheer uplifting.
Tacky in the extreme, this self-congratulatory 1988 film is an exercise in hypocrisy, indulging every form of Christmas exploitation that it pretends to attack, and many of the laughs are forced.
An appallingly unfunny comedy, and a vivid illustration of the fact that money can't buy you laughs.
Rowdy stuff for the light in head.
In spite of the jokes at the expense of television-network censors, there's very little in the film, aside from naughty words, that wouldn't be perfectly acceptable on prime-time television.
If Donner and his team had any interest in the story's message, they've picked a puzzling way to show it.
Scrooged is, indeed, phenomenally loud, and also very mean, and somehow also ultimately heartening, in a loopy yuletide sort of way.
Still, Murray is magnificent in the film, the effects are better than you'd expect, and the 1988 version of Hollywood excess is almost quaint by comparison with the CGI purgatory we live in today.
It would be hard to improve upon the classic, after all, and Scrooged not only sticks to the Dickens plot, but makes it believable as a modern fable. But the more difficult part of Scrooged is its modernization, the colorization of Dickens, if you will.
Murray, it's clear today, was the perfect Scrooge of the '80s.
It's got Bill Murray, and that's always a good thing.
A meaningful Christmas Carol this is not, but a perfectly entertaining yuletide comedy this certainly is.
"Scrooged is by far one of my favorite Christmas flicks. Yes I know were in Februrary and Christmas has come and gone, but I couldn't resist watching it when I saw it on Netflix streaming. Plus it was about 4 in the morning and I had nothing better to do. I love Bill Murray. He is one of my favorite comedy actors. He has perfect timing with his lines. Carol Kane is my favorite ghost, that being the ghost of Christmas Present. She made me laugh the most. She and Murray were great together.
The movie is a lot of fun and you can't come away not feeling a bit happy after watching it. It's too much fun. Watch it if you get the chance. Who cares if it's Christmas or not. I can watch this anytime."
I can't believe this was made in 88! my god that's a long time ago and I remember when it came out haha!. We all know the plot here I should think, the classic Dickens tale revamped and 'modified' for the modern era...well the 80's.
Straight of the bat this is a classic film based around a classic tale. Like the 'Muppet Christmas Carol' its one of the best versions of Dickens fable around and really gets you in the Xmas spirit. I always loved the title for a start, such a simple idea yet really original in the way its been slightly tweaked.
I never knew that Danny Elfman did the musical score for this either, as I watched this again recently and the film started you hear this typical Elfman score, 'Batman Returns/Beetlejuice' type of thing. You know what I mean...that kind of spooky, gothic, halloween-ish tune accompanied by a young choir to give that crispy old English Xmas atmosphere. These days that typical Elfman score is a bit samey I'll admit but it always works.
The film is so so dated now but you gotta love that 80's look n feel right?. The old 'Gordon Gecko' style high flying business corporate world with its glossy offices, greasy suits and large plastic looking technology hehe. Murray is the perfect cast for this concept, the film was made for him (probably was) as he uses his dead pan, wry, dry stinging humour to really create a sleazy, immoral, disreputable, executive suit wearing Scrooge.
Of course he's not called Scrooge here, the whole film doesn't really mention or use any wording that refers to the old tale (well if you don't count the in-movie plot). This is merely a clever little recreation using the basic story but setting it in the business world. Whats really great is the effects and general visuals still hold up today, they aren't hugely over done effects but simply utilizing makeup and the odd bluescreen. The three main ghosts really add to the film with their performances. 'The Ghost of Christmas Past' (Johansen) easily being the best for me as a dirty, grumpy, pug ugly NY cab driver who shouts abuse at other road users, smokes, probably drinks and generally acts as if he's just sobering up.
'The Ghost of Christmas Present' (Kane) is close behind with her fantastic performance as a sort of bitchy, spoilt, pixie sized fairy with violent tendencies. Despite her delicate appearance in a kind of little girls halloween pink fairy costume complete with tiny wings and lots of sparkly glitter, she acts like a bully. The swing from softly spoken fairy to a swift kick in the balls is quite amusing if childish.
'The Ghost of Christmas Future' is a nice bit of visualisation and simple effects. A large 'man in a suit' approach with some puppet work and a TV screen for a face, to make him seem more modernised I guess. Didn't really see enough of this guy I reckon and he could of been a bit more creepy really, but the sequence where his large hooded face looms up behind 'Frank' across his multiple TV screens is brilliantly done. There he looked good.
The best ghost visually is probably 'Lew Hayward' who is 'Frank's' old boss who comes back to warn him of his pending situation. A great bit of makeup and prosthetic work which really does look real haha loved his snapping arm moment complete with plumes of dry dusty decomposition.
Alongside many other quirky characters there is Glover as 'Brice Cummings' who epitomises the image of an 80's office type and complete arse kissing suck up, love it!. You know he afters 'Frank's' job and that makes him such a good character.
The end to the film does get a bit too vomit inducing for me, never really liked how it all gets so mushy and almost turns into a 'behind the scenes' piece. 'Frank' breaks the fourth wall in the end and it kinda spoils the film even though its a unique thing to do in a major movie. Up to the very end the film is really enjoyable and chock full of spine tingling atmosphere with great performances, its just a shame the finale goes off track...in my opinion.
'Yule love it!'
Charles Dicken's classic has gotten more than a few treatments over the years. I'm willing to be that there's a statistic out there that in some way shape or form, "A Christmas Carol" is the most adapted to television and film novel of all time. There are an ungodly number of these films. So, why would an obscure Bill Murray comedy adaption of the story earn 5 stars from me? Easy. Because it's one of the best (if not the best) modernization of the tale, with a darkly cynical edge. The story involves a TV exec named Frank Cross who is in charge of a live TV performance of "A Christmas Carol". Cross is a modern day Scrooge, with no compassion of any kind and a hatred for Christmas as a concept. But his dead business associate- I think you know where this is going. But what makes this so much fun is the fact that the events of the film (the ghosts visits) are timed with the performances of "A Christmas Carol" for television. Plus, the humor is usually really funny, with a particular standout being Bobcat Goldthwaith. This tale has been done to death, but I enjoy this version the most, along with "A Muppet's Christmas Carol."
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