At this time of year, when it seems rampant consumerism has usurped the spirit of Christmas, it helps take the edge off to watch a movie whose message is, “put a little love in your heart.” An updated take on the Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol, Scrooged, is a campy tale of redemption and holiday cheer with a dark sense of humor.
Bill Murray is in his element as cold-blooded television executive, Frank Cross. Cross views Christmas as a marketing gimmick to be exploited for ratings and profit. When a soft-spoken employee suggests that the network’s promo for a live Christmas Eve special might scare people, Cross fires him and cancels his Christmas bonus. He gifts the majority of his friends and employees hand towels, including his younger brother. Cross brings selfishness to new heights of absurdity in his black high-rise office and he seems to enjoy it.
Visited by the ghost of his former boss, Cross is warned that he’ll meet a fiery end if he doesn’t change his ways. Forced to relive the pain and joy of Christmas’ past with a foulmouthed cabbie, and knocked senseless by a fairy in the present, the film is a wild ride of highs and lows. The guiding light of Cross’ redemption is his old flame Claire, a humanitarian sweetheart who calls him “Lumpy.”
Part of what makes Scrooged so enjoyable is nostalgia – a time when VCR’s were an expensive novelty, and offices had both stocked bars and full-time secretaries. Murray is by turns charming and frightening as Cross, but always a delightful miscreant. At its heart, the story of Christmas is one of salvation. Cross finds his own through his love for others and isn’t that just what Christmas should be about?
Liz has a background in film & television production and has worked with NBC, Comedy Central, VH1, and Spotify. Her interests include diversity/representation in media, gender & sexuality politics, social justice and the impact of pop culture in shaping popular opinion. She also slays at drunken karaoke. You can follow her on Twitter @telitlikeitliz