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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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Top Seventeen Christmas Movies

So Christmas 2013 is less than week away and I’ve somehow managed to avoid watching any Christmas movies. I thought I would celebrate that fact by ranking my top seventeen Christmas movies. And I never saw It’s a Wonderful Life or Miracle on 34th Street, so they aren’t included. These are the Christmas movies that I care about.

 

17. Ernest Saves Christmas is not a good movie, but it’s good enough to be on this list. The late and great Jim Varney plays Ernest, and it’s up to him to find a replacement for the aging Santa Claus and save Christmas.

 

16. Jingle All the Way would be a forgettable Arnold Schwarzenegger comedy if it wasn’t set at Christmas time. It kind of glorifies the commercial aspect of the holiday, but I love presents so I’m not complaining.

 

15. Bad Santa is an R-rated black comedy starring Billy Bob Thornton as an alcoholic burglar who robs malls on Christmas Eve. It’s raunchy and hilarious, and not something you can watch with kids in the room.

 

14. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York reunites young Kevin McCallister with the Wet Bandits. But this time, they are in New York and Kevin has a Talkboy. You can do anything with a Talkboy.

 

13. Elf is your typical Will Ferrell man-child comedy, but this time he plays an elf. Or a human that was raised as elf. I don’t know, it doesn’t really matter.

 

12. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is Chevy Chase’s best Christmas movie. There’s no denying it.

 

11. The Santa Clause is responsible for more people misspelling Santa Claus than any other movie. It also was the foundation for the best Christmas trilogy of all time. Name a better Christmas trilogy.

 

10. Batman Returns takes place around Christmas. It has Batman in it. And Michelle Pfeiffer in black leather. Merry Christmas indeed.

 

9. The Nightmare Before Christmas is dark and creepy, but it’s still a family film. It’s easily the most visually interesting film on this list, plus it has great characters and musical numbers.

 

8. Gremlins manages to combine humor and horror into a holiday film. I don’t even know how that’s possible, but they pull it off.

 

7. How the Grinch Stole Christmas! is the original animated Dr. Seuss classic, not the bloated Jim Carrey live action film. You know that Christmas is just around the corner when you’re flipping channels and stumble upon the Grinch.

 

6. The Muppet Christmas Carol is another retelling of the classic story by Charles Dickens, only with Muppets. And Muppets make everything better. Michael Caine plays a good Ebenezer Scrooge.

 

5. Home Alone made Macaulay Culkin a star, and it made child neglect funny again. It was the original family comedy without the family.

 

4. Scrooged is yet another take on the Dickens classic. Bill Murray plays a Scrooge-like television executive who gets visited by three ghosts so he can learn the true meaning of Christmas. Bill Murray is like bacon, he makes everything better.

 

3. A Charlie Brown Christmas is the best animated Christmas movie. Everybody has seen it, everybody loves it, and everybody knows that Charlie Brown sucks at picking out Christmas trees.

 

2. Die Hard is badass. It’s one of the best action films of all time. It made Bruce Willis a superstar, it introduced us to Alan Rickman, and the world can never be thankful enough. It’s also the only Christmas movie that you can watch every day without being judged.

 

1. A Christmas Story is the best Christmas movie of all time. Was there ever any doubt? It’s the perfect blend of nostalgia, consumerism, and family values. It’s funny, it’s heartwarming, it’s quotable, and it’s a shared experience. It’s not Christmas until you catch it on the 24-hour TBS marathon.

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