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Scrooged

            Bill Murray gets the Ebenezer Scrooge treatment in this 1988 Christmas Comedy. Scrooged tells the tale of Frank Cross, a power-obsessed TV executive who has chosen work over friends and family. He’s in charge of a live Christmas Eve broadcast of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, the classic story of a grumpy guy who gets visited by ghosts and learns the true meaning of Christmas. Life begins to imitate art, and Frank gets visited by the ghost of his old mentor who warns him that he will be visited by three other ghosts.

Over the course of the evening and throughout his live broadcast, Frank gets visited by the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present, and the Ghost of Christmas Future. He becomes increasingly jumpy and disturbed, but comes to realize the error of his ways by the end of his final visit. He celebrates by rekindling his relationship with the love of his life and leading the cast and crew in a rousing rendition of “Put a Little Love in Your Heart” as the credits roll.

This is a darker version of A Christmas Carol. The humor is edgy and more cynical than other Bill Murray comedies. The Christmas Ghosts are kind of scary, especially for kids. It’s distinctly ‘80s and doesn’t hold up very well. It’s kind of dated. They have product placements for prehistoric products like VCRs. There are a lot of cameos from people who used to be famous. You probably wouldn’t like it if you saw it today for the first time. But it’s necessary holiday viewing if you grew up watching it like I did. It makes you nostalgic. It makes you remember happy memories. And isn’t that what holiday films are all about?

Critically Rated at 13/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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The Goonies

Richard Donner (Superman, Radio Flyer) directs, Chris Columbus (Home Alone) writes, and Stevie Spielberg (it’s Spielberg, c’mon) produces this classic movie about a group of friends called the Goonies who go on an amazing adventure in search of the fabled fortune of One-Eyed Willie to save their foreclosed homes. A dangerous family of fugitives (the Fratellis) is hot in pursuit of the Goonies. It is a fun adventure movie. It doesn’t try to take itself seriously, which makes it more appealing. This is one of those rare movies that you can watch with your mom or your best friend, and if you have a little baby you’d watch it with him too. You can watch it multiple times, you want to quote it, and you want to share it with other people.

This is one of the few movies with a great cast of child actors. Casting a kid heavy film can make or break a film. This cast is on par with other great kid casts like in The Sandlot and Stand By Me. Sean Astin, Josh Brolin and a few others made the transition to become working adult actors. And Corey Feldman outlived Corey Haim, which is pretty amazing. Jonathan Ke Quan plays Data. A lot of Asians depicted in movies around this time are blatantly racist and are only there for comic relief. This movie came out a year after Pretty in Pink with the super racist caricature Long Duk Dong. In this flick, Data is just one of the Goonies. He has a few lines in Vietnamese and uses broken English occasionally, but they don’t call attention to it, and they don’t make fun of him. There are no stupid stereotypes. Data is Harold wayyyy before he met Kumar.

It is kind of weird how much Mikey grows and changes throughout the movie. He grows so much that he no longer has asthma. I don’t think it works like that. Another weird thing is calling the pirate One-Eyed Willie. It is clearly a penis reference in a movie for kids. Why not call him something more subtle like Mushroom-Tip Johnson or Pocket-Snake Dick? And how come Chunk doesn’t ask his parents if this giant deformed man-baby can live with them? He just tells Sloth he’s going to live with him now.

Weird stuff aside, if you haven’t seen this movie, then you didn’t have a childhood.

Critically Rated at 15/17

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