Thursday, December 25, 2014

Movie Review: Scrooged

Starring: Bill Murray, Karen Allen, John Forsythe, John Glover, Bobcat Goldthwait, David Johansen, Carol Kane, Robert Mitchum, Nicholas Phillips, Michael J. Pollard, Alfre Woodard, Mabel King, John Murray, Jamie Farr, Robert Goulet, Buddy Hackett, John Houseman, Lee Majors 
Director: Richard Donner
Paramount Pictures, Mirage Productions, USA, 1988.
scrooged title
IBC TV station boss Frank Cross (Bill Murray) is not a nice guy.  Frank wants to produce a live-TV version of Dickens' "Christmas Carol" to be shown on Christmas TV. He plans to advertise it using shock-horror adverts. Eliot Loudermilk (Bobcat Goldthwait) criticizes Frank's plan so Frank fires him. Frank is selfish, arrogant and cruel to his underlings. His assistant Grace Cooley (Alfre Woodard) has to work overtime for him. Her son Calvin (Nicholas Phillips) is the "Scrooged" version of Tiny Tim. Frank's brother James (John Murray, Bill's real-life brother) invites him to spend family Christmas, but Frank cold not care less. Frank is going to get more than lumps of coal in his Christmas stocking.
Bill Murray
Frank Cross
Bobcat Goldthwait
Eliot Loudermilk
John and Bill Murray
James and Frank
Frank gets visited by his dead ex-boss Lew Hayward (John Forsythe) who tells Frank to change his evil ways. Frank will get visited by three Christmas ghosts. Panicked he calls his old girlfriend Claire Phillips (Karen Allen) who is a charity worker. However he fails to console with her.
Karen Allen
Claire Phillips
Frank's day gets worse when his boss Preston Rhinelander (Robert Mitchum) hires an assistant Brice Cummings (John Glover) who is trying to get Frank's job. The Ghosts of Christmas Past (David Johansen), Christmas Present (Carol Kane) and Christmas Future appear and show why Frank is what he is today and what will happen if he does not change.
Robert Mitchum
Preston Rhinelander
David Johansen
Ghost of Christmas Past
Carol Kane
Ghost of the Christmas Present
Scrooged is a good modern version of "Christmas Carol" with added black comedy elements and Twilight Zone style light horror. Frank is really nasty guy first, but he begins to gradually get more likable after the ghosts show him his faults. There are some satiric pokes at TV-industry, for example Preston wants to attract more viewers from cat and dog audiences.
Don't mess with Santa!
John Glover and Alfre Woodard and Bill Murray
Brice Cummings, Frank and Grace Cooley
Bill Murray is great as cynical TV-boss and Karen Allen as his nice ex-girlfriend. Also Bobcat Goldthwait is good as a tragicomically unlucky guy. One of the memorable supporting characters is the Censor controlling the lewdness of Frank's programs (Kate McGregor-Stewart) who gets injured at every scene. She goes a bit naughty at the final scenes under the mistletoe! 

In the early parts there are adverts for programs on Frank's channel, those are a bit different kind of Christmas specials! There are some appearances of celebrities, such as Lee Majors, John Houseman and Mary Lou Retton. In one of the promo videos a singer Robert Goulet is seen, he looked a lot like Yello singer Dieter Meier (giving me an excuse to insert a "Like Two Peas in the Pod" image here).
Like Two Peas in the Pod Robert Goulet and Dieter Meier
Rating: Very good

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