Most critics couldn't get behind Bill Murray's modern retelling of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol, finding it too unfocused at times and not nearly wicked enough. Still, if you're a Murray fan, you have to enjoy his d... more »eliciously nasty portrayal of the world's meanest TV executive, who has his cathartic moment one cold Christmas night in New York City. The various ghosts lead him on a ghost-town tour of Manhattan, with stops at holidays past, present, and future and a Kumbaya moment when Al Green and Annie Lennox sing "Put a Little Love in Your Heart." The effects are otherworldly, but one wishes the writing were as sharp as Murray's edgy portrayal. --Marshall Fine« less
"Bill Murray is the new Scrooge in the classic tale done yet again. I remember a reviewer giving it a low rating because he said it seemed as though Murray's character really didn't like people. Helllooo, isn't that what actors are supposed to do? This version of the old Chrsitmas tale is a good retelling of the story. Murray is mean to everyone including his only brother (played by his real younger brother). The 3 spirits that visit Frank Cross (Murray's role) are wacky to say the least. Carol Kane plays the ghost of Christmas present and is probably the funniest of the spirits. Murray has this act down pat. He's a big t.v. exec and fires Elliot Laudermilk (Bobcat Goldthwait) just for disagreeing with him. By the way, his fires Laudermilk on Christmas eve.
Alfre Woodard plays his longsuffering assistant and tries to be Cross' conscience since he doesn't have one of his own. In the visit to Christmas past we learn that television played the biggest role in raising him since his parents weren't the greatest in the world. Christmas doesn't mean much because his parents didn't put up Christmas lights, buy a tree or get him presents. His father does come home one night and drop a package of veal in front of him as a Christmas gift but the young Frank Cross tells his dad that he wanted a choo-choo train. His dad, a butcher, (played by Brain Doyle Murray, Bill Murray's real life brother) is totally unsympathetic and suggests that his son get a job even though he's only four.
There are lots of laughs here as the cast pokes fun at the t.v. industry from behind this comedy. The end of the film might be a little mushy bit it's fine here since Cross is so mean during the rest of the film. He even steals a cab from a little old lady carrying a load of packages. This movie would fit nicely in your holiday collection.
Parents Advisory: There is no nudity or sex. However, there is a small bit of foul language. It may frighten very young children. I suggest a viewing age of at least thirteen.
Do you really NEED to read a review?
Mark Reid | Scotland | 11/25/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Since the first time I ever saw this movie, I have watched it a few times a year, never tiring of the modern take on the Dickens classic. Bill Murray is excellently cast as cold hearted TV exec Frank Cross and with each scene, the movie draws you ever-closer to the Christmas feeling.I watch this EVERY Christmas Eve and no matter how bad a year you've had, by the time this movie finishes and it's time to go to bed before Father Christmas comes, you'll be in the true Spirit of the Season.I've yet to meet someone who doesn't lean towards this as their movie of choice for the festive period. And now... I finally get to see it on DVD!"
Kelly | Littleton, Colorado | 04/05/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a great Christmas movie! It is a new take on an old favorite that stars Bill Murray. He plays the sharp tongued Frank Cross, and he is really good at being mean. David Johansen was scary as the ghost of Christmas past, Carol Kane was the ghost of Christmas present, and Chaz Conner was the ghost of Christmas future. Carol Kane was a scream, and I am sure Bill Murray had a bruise or two when they finished filming. "
Bill Murray Does "Scrooge"
Reviewer | 12/06/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Bill Murray lends his comedic talents to this contemporary version of the Dickens' classic "A Christmas Carol," with somewhat skewered results in "Scrooged," directed by Richard Donner from a screenplay by Mitch Glazer and Michael O' Donoghue. This time around, Ebenezer is one Frank Cross (Murray), programming executive for a major television network with an office in New York. Above all else, Cross covets the "ratings" he can add to his coffers, and this year he's going all out with a "live" broadcast of "A Christmas Carol" planned for Christmas Eve, starring Buddy Hackett as Scrooge and Mary Lou Retton as Tiny Tim. And that's just a taste of the kind of humor this film has to offer. There's more, much more, and it's all handled with aplomb by Donner, Murray and a great supporting cast. Whatever genre he's working in, Donner knows his stuff and knows how to deliver the goods. Here he wisely lets Murray lead the way, but keeps his star on task and the film moving along with a tempered pace and great timing. The story remains the same, but placing Scrooge-- Cross-- in the entertainment industry was a stroke of genius, and it all works exceedingly well, as it gives the audience a medium with which it can readily identify. Let's face it, television is a part of our culture, like it or not, and it's here to stay; and in this instance, using it as a setting for this story offers a "tableau vivant" rich with possibilities that are tapped to the fullest. There's a promo for the upcoming live broadcast like you've never seen before; there's the "inside" industry jokes, like Network executive Preston Rhinelander (Robert Mitchum) urging programming for cats; "Marley's ghost" becomes Lew Hayward (John Forsythe) the exec who sold his soul for ratings; the casting of Hackett and Retton; but most of all, it puts Murray right in his element. Murray gets right to the heart of the character, imbuing Cross with a sense of jaded, dubious and sarcastic paranoia that so perfectly fits the psychological make-up of an executive in a business where you're only as good as yesterday's ratings. And Murray plays him to the hilts; he has the tone and the body language, and nobody can look "askance" like he can, a nuance he makes the most of here. it's an original take on a familiar character, and in Murray's skin Cross becomes a memorable and entirely believable figure, from his credible ruthlessness (he fires an underling, Eliot Loudermilk--played by Bob Goldthwait-- just before Christmas for disagreeing with his "vision") to his epiphany on Christmas Eve. The terrific supporting cast includes Karen Allen as Claire, the girl Frank lets slip away as he follows the siren's song of career; John Glover (Bryce Cummings) as Frank's new "assistant," plotting his way to the top; Alfre Woodard (Grace) as Frank's secretary, a single mom with a sick child; Michael J. Pollard (Herman); Nicholas Phillips (Calvin); John Murray (James); Brian Doyle-Murray (Earl Cross); David Johansen, as the cab-driving Ghost of Christmas Past; and Carol Kane, who turns in an unforgettable, hilarious, scene-stealing performance as the Ghost of Christmas Present. There's plenty of laughs and some touching moments in "Scrooged," which is a wonderfully entertaining holiday treat, especially if you want your "Christmas Carol" served up just a little bit differently this year. And the speech Murray gives at the end, once he's had his revelation, is worth the price of admission alone; it's one of those things Murray does best, and he really connects with the audience, especially when he finishes up by leading everyone involved (including the audience) in song. This is a movie that has become an annual event for many since it's arrival on video; give yourself a present this year and put this one under your tree. You'll be glad you did. Like the song at the end (sung by Annie Lennox and Al Green), it'll "Put A Little Love In Your Heart.""
A Modern Comedy Christmas Carol With the Heart of a Classic!
Monty Moonlight | TX | 12/30/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Frank Cross is a TV network president with a heart of coal. He gives towels as presents, facecloths as bonuses, and fires people on Christmas Eve. Frank even takes pleasure in causing sudden deaths with his frightening television ads for his latest debauchery, a live Christmas Eve presentation of Charles Dickens' immortal classic, "Scrooge," starring Buddy Hackett, Mary Lou Retton, and the Solid Gold Dancers! But, this Christmas, things are going to change for Frank Cross. A frightening encounter with his deceased boss (John Forsythe) leaves Frank with a warning of three more spirits to follow, each on a mission to teach Frank about the joy of Christmas and goodwill towards men; each on a mission to inspire change in the seemingly hopeless and uncaring creature that Frank has become. These aren't your ordinary Christmas spirits, though. These are tough, New York personalities just right for the likes of the modern yuppie scrooges of 1988. The Ghost of Christmas Past is David Johansen, a scruffy, smart-alecky cab-driver that shows Frank the tough times and tenderness of his youth and the choices that took him down the wrong roads in life. The Ghost of Christmas Present is deceptively-sweet sadist Carol Kane, who shows Frank the hardships of his fellow man, including his own assistant, and the warm feelings that others have, such as his little brother James, that he could be sharing in if he only made the effort. And, finally, the Ghost of Christmas Future pays Frank a terrifying visit that gives him glimpses of a future he'd more than like to avoid. Of course, this is a Scrooge story, and the ending is no mystery, but that won't prevent the incredibly joyous feeling you'll have inside when the miraculous change comes about!
"Scrooged" truly is a modern classic! A labor of love from one of the most genuinely funny guys around who brought much of his own family along for the ride, "Scrooged" was not a huge success for star Bill Murray. Regardless, it eventually became accepted as a true Christmas classic that is enjoyed at least once a year by Christmas fanatics all over, and, in that respect, is not unlike "It's a Wonderful Life." The smart, witty writing and visual style, along with fantastic Danny Elfman music and an amazing cast, all make "Scrooged" a film that is not to be missed during the holiday season! The star-studded cast also includes "Raiders of the Lost Ark's" Karen Allen as Frank's lost love, Claire, Bob Goldthwait as Eliot, one of Frank's unfortunate employees, and "Smallville's" John Glover as rival Bryce Cummings, just to name a few. The DVD is thankfully widescreen, but only offers the theatrical trailer as an extra. "Scrooged" does have some scary moments and some mild adult humor but is fine for anyone who can handle the likes of "Christmas Vacation." As touching as it is hilarious, "Scrooged" is probably the finest feather in Bill Murray's cap. A hearty thanks goes out to Bill for giving us this magical Christmas gift!