I don’t watch as much TV as I used to. And that’s not because people are watching more things on computers. It’s simply because I have found better things to do with my time. There are a few things I pre-record like Jeopardy and an occasional show like the current Sleepy Hollow. But as a kid, TV was everything for me. I would throw my backpack on the floor, go into my dad’s office, and pop on whatever was on Nickelodeon. I’m not going to lie when I admit that I was a lazy kid. It was TV, dinner, homework, and then more TV before bed.
Our television intake will go up by another twenty-fiver percent around the holidays. Everyone either has a special that they watch every year, or they’ll see a Christmas concert or lighting completion that will keep them glued for the evening. Even if the people watching the boob tube are not having a merry day, we all know that the people running the television networks are going to have a big bonus over the increase in viewers. I’m not going to complain that their money-hungry monsters. They’re just doing their job. One guy who takes his job too seriously gets what’s coming for him in Scrooged.
We’ve seen a couple of A Christmas Carol stories that are set in modern times. This is the first one that I saw. Our Scrooge here is a television executive named Frank Cross (played by Bill Murray) He’s not really a miser, but more of an eccentric businessman who demands as many buyers then possible. His philosophy is that all viewers are brainless cattle that always consume the same story again and again. Cruelly enough, he’s right. A lot of the famous television specials we’re accustomed to have been told countless times. I’m in the middle of a marathon of Christmas Carol story!
We’ve seen Bill Murray fight ghosts before. He’s finally getting it the other way. He’s paid a visit by his old mentor, a media mogul Lew Hayward. He reminds Frank that the man’s become ruthless and cares not for his assistant Grace (played by Alfre Woodlard). He’s visited by other modernized spirits of past, present, and future. In the middle of all of this, he’s in the middle of a production on a live version of the original Christmas Carol. And he’s even paid a visit from his old girlfriend Claire (played by Karen Allen).
What makes this version unique is not the modern day setting, but the fact that there are two Bob Cratchits in the story, Frank’s assistant Alfre and a fired yes man Eliot Loudermilk (played by Bobcat Goldthwait). Both of them are the victims to Frank’s decisions and have different resolutions. But what’s also interesting is that neither are the memorable. They are the stereotypical, overworked people that want better lives. You know that once Frank makes a change, that their gonna get a raise. Their not that interesting, or at least as funny as Frank is.
Bill Murray plays the same guy he’s played before, the cynic everyman, but he’s just as enjoyable as anywhere else. What makes’ his Scrooge work is that he’s a tad more unpredictable then the others. You don’t know how’s he’s going to react when he hears about an old lady having a heart attack after watching a commercial of his. Scrooged was directed by Richard Donner, so you would expect some great jokes. A lot of them are said by Bill Murray. He’s the real show, along with the other spirits represented here. While I didn’t care for the fairy-like ghost of Christmas present, the past and future are actually pretty likable alongside their special effects.
I’ll give this three and a half Christmas televisions out of five. Scrooged is something you not going to get if you’re expecting a perfect, modern day version of A Christmas Carol. Bill Murray fans and eighties fans will probably get in to it. I did when I was younger, though the novelty is starting to wear off. It’s certainly worth a look at if your looking for a little commentary about television networks and their capitalism