Friday, December 2, 2011

31 Days of Xmas: Scrooged

1988, Richard Donner -- download

Yep, one of my favourite Xmas movies of all time.  The Bill Murray take on the age-old Scrooge story is a mixture of fear, farce and holiday message, as well it should be.  We all know the story, about the business mogul who cares less than nothing about the "message of Christmas" and thus is visited by three ghosts (prompted by his dead business partner who knows what has been lost) who show him stories about Christmas past, present and future, hoping to stir his stoney heart.  This time we have Murray as a  TV network executive planning his own Scrooge story, to be aired worldwide on Christmas Eve. His idea is to make it so enthralling that no one would dare be attending family events for they would miss this once in a lifetime TV event.  The Ghosts interrupt this production.

I probably have watched this a half dozen times since it began airing on TV at this time of the year. While a little dated, there are so many things about that stand the test of time. Bill Murray seems to be ad-libbing most of his lines and reactions and carries off the half-mad mogul very well. Watching it this time, as he does his dab of Tab (does anyone remember that particular soda?) on his tumblers filled with ice & alcohol, I kind of wondered whether this whole movie was a massive alcoholic hallucination.  He has to be hammered through 75% of the movie.  But still, as he is able to see things that he would not have seen but for the intervention of a manically, cheerful and violent ball-breaker fairy (she strikes me as possibly being Luna's mom, from Harry Potter), there is some truth to his visions.

Along with the hilarious antics of Murray, there are some appropriately scary or touching scenes. The frickin' Ghost of Christmas Future in the elevator still creeps the bejeebers out of me.  And the final scenes with Grace's son still touch me as well as his speech to the world.  The idea of just calling some old friend or relative out the blue, on Christmas Eve, is a good idea.  And the idea of wanting the feeling we are supposed to have this time of the year, wanting the feeling to happen all year, is a good message. Of course, as I am always wont to say, having the funds to dedicate to being charitable all year is always helpful as Scrooge is in the position to do once he has his revelation.