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Retro Revolution Records

Scrooged (Widescreen) (Bilingual) - 2002 - mint dvd

Scrooged (Widescreen) (Bilingual) - 2002 - mint dvd

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Bill Murray (Actor), Karen Allen (Actor), Richard Donner (Director) 

lot # 1- guaranteed to play

I love this movie. It's one of my top ten Christmas films. Yes, Bill Murray pretty much plays himself. Yes, the ending is too sentimental in a way that only Americans can do. No, it doesn't matter. Dickens's story never fails to engage. The relocation of the action to 1980s New York with a curmudgeonly TV exec' in the lead role works really well. The ghosts are refreshingly different with the exception of Christmas yet-to-be who probably only ever really works as a faceless shrouded figure.

The story should be familiar to all by now and Scrooged follows the premise fairly closely. Frank Cross (Murray) has achieved his current exalted position by sacrificing his personal life, his family and his girlfriend on the altar of ambition. He marks Christmas Eve by authorising a horrific TV trailer for a live showing of A Christmas Carol even though it has caused the death of an elderly viewer. He sacks another exec' played by Bobcat Goldthwaite for disagreeing with him and forces his PA to work late even though she has a doctor's appointment for her son who cannot speak. Goldthwaite's character and his rapid descent into alcoholic decrepitude are interspersed with Murray's adventures with the ghosts. Despite Goldthwaite's weird vocal delivery and his previous form as a crazed baddie in Police Academy, he plays the nerdy exec well and it is difficult to imagine anyone else playing the part.

Murray retires to his office and is visited by the ghost of his old boss (a cue for some gruesome make up and prosthetics) who warns him that he will be visited by three ghosts. After some spooky shenanigans in a restaurant Murray is picked up by the ghost of Christmas Past who takes him back to 1955 a la Back to the Future in a ghostly Checker Cab. Here he sees his childhood, his early career and the love of his life played by Karen Allen. Then to the ghost of Christmas Present played by Carol Kane as a fairy with an irritating high voice and a penchant for violence. She shows Murray how his actions affect his overworked and underpaid PA and his brother whilst finding time to kick him in the 'nads and belt him in the face with a toaster. Finally the ghost of Christmas yet-to-be shows him the future if he doesn't change his ways. This ends with Murray actually finding himself in his coffin as it enters the crematorium before returning to reality to get shot at by Goldthwaite.

In between each ghostly visitation Murray interacts with various people including his brother, his ex-girlfriend, a rival exec from LA and three down-and-outs all of who help shape the change in his personality. Murray's journey also runs parallel to the live showing of A Christmas Carol being played out in the TV studio and Murray causes mayhem on set when he returns there after a ghostly experience. He also returns to the set after his Christmas epiphany and uses the opportunity to spread the word about the spirit of Christmas to the viewing multitudes. This is where the film descends into sentimental schmaltz but it's feelgood Christmas schmaltz so I don't mind.

There are loads of references to classic TV shows and the eighties setting doesn't date the film too much. My favourite scene is the restaurant one where Murray flips out after being served a Highball with an eyeball (by Grouty from Porridge of all people) and thinking one of the waiters has caught fire. Murray's pratfall as he leaves the restaurant is brilliant and never fails to make me laugh. The prelude with Lee Majors is a hoot and could've formed the basis for an actual movie. If you fancy a helping of Scrooge without the Victorian trappings then this film is for you. Top Christmas viewing.

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