Shiny Shelf


By Stephen Lavington on 04 December 2006

In the ‘Simpsons’ tribute to ‘A Christmas Carol’, it was pointed out that pretty much every American TV show of the last fifty years has referenced the Dickens classic, and that’s not to mention the number of film versions. People have their own preferences as to which is the best, and it’s likely that one or more of these will make an appearance in this advent calender in the next few weeks. For my money, however, the pick of the bunch is Bill Murray’s ‘Scrooged’.

The plot shouldn’t need recapping, save to say that Murray’s TV Executive Frank Cross is a latter day Scrooge, abusing his employees and shunning his family while putting on an elaborate period production of ‘A Christmas Carol’. The whole thing gives an eighties gloss on the well-known story with yuppies and the evils of modern capitalism on the end of a gentle berating – the irony being that most of the forces behind this film would probably subscribe more to the anti-sentimental cynicism of Cross than the rather saccharine morals that are pushed as the movie’s main message.

That said the real joy here is Murray, playing Scrooge as an embittered Peter Venkman, and rampaging through the rest of the cast with gleeful abandon and making humbug-ish misanthropy look like the best thing in the world.

This is A Christmas Carol in the eighties style, following in the vein of such classics as ‘Big’, ‘Splash’, ‘Arthur’, ‘Short Circuit’, ‘Turner and Hooch’, ‘Stakeout’, ‘Adventures in Babysitting’ and so on. For the people who can’t get enough of that sort of thing, this is Dickens done properly.

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By Stephen Lavington

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