I would suggest that Scrooged is an underrated Christmas movie, as it’s certainly not one that gets talked about along with other bona fide classics of the season. All right, maybe it shouldn’t be in that conversation anyway, but it is one of my favourites.
Bill Murray has had a number of good roles in his career, but in this modernised version of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, he excels as Frank Cross – a money-hungry television executive, who has no regard for personnel, his employees, or even his own family. His performance as he shifts from selfish bastard to contender for Man of the Year is very funny to watch.
Although Scrooged is a take on the classic Dickens tale, it’s a very loose connection at best, which is something that the writers even make nudging references to at a couple of moments during the script. The ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future all make their appearances to show Frank the error of his ways, but it’s all done with its tongue pressed against its cheek in an almost intentionally hokey way.
Like most Christmas movies, Scrooged has a sugary ending, but it does it with its own sense of style and remains completely within its own crazy universe as it does so.
There aren’t many musicals that I enjoy, as it’s not a genre that usually speaks to me, but this is one of the few that I can always make time for. Unsurprisingly, musicals live or die on the quality of their songs, and one bland number can ruin the whole experience and take you right out of it, but Little Shop of Horrors is filled with great tunes, and there isn’t a damp squib in the whole movie. If I know every word to every song in your musical, you must be doing something right.
Every one of the performers – from wide-eyed leading man Rick Moranis in his romantic pursuit of Ellen Greene; right down to her boyfriend, the abusive and sadistic dentist played by Steve Martin, and the great cameo by Bill Murray as the dental patient who loves getting the drill – plays up to the complete inanity of the plot by playing their parts straight down the middle at all times.
Little Shop of Horrors never takes itself seriously, and let’s be honest, it would be difficult for it to do so: after all, it’s about a talking, man-eating plant, with a penchant for singing sixties soul… speaking of which, here’s one of the best songs from the movie, which not only showcases the great music, but also the fantastic puppeteering skills on display throughout, which in my opinion, looks far more realistic than any CGI that could have been used in its place.