Bill Murray plays Frank Cross, a TV exec who cares more about viewers and making money than he does about his employees or morality in general. Then, a dead friend of his tells him he’s going to be visited by three ghosts on Christmas Day, around noon. I mean, the title says it all: This Christmas, Bill Murray is getting Scrooged.
This movie pulls off a feet that’s probably harder to do than you think, it makes a Christmas film not feel like a Christmas film. Here we have a lot of laughs and it’s going through a familiar formula of redoing A Christmas Carol that plasters it right on the cover and then hang a lampshade on it by also doing it as a live performance for the made up IBC, the television station that Frank works for. They take the beats of the original story and throw the rest away as we travel through this fun journey of a film with Frank’s three ghosts guiding us. Though it’s a rehash of an old tale, it feels wholly original.
The ghosts themselves are great, even the ghost of Christmas Future, who we all know is a very silent person so not much to rate their “performance,” but the art design is amazing. Especially when Frank opens his cloak to see what’s underneath. Along with the performances/design of the ghosts, all the side characters are especially well acted as well. I have to applaud Bobcat Goldthwait as well for his performance. He’s a side character for most of the film, but he really comes back and almost steals the end of the film. You can really tell the director, Richard Donner, went through this project with a lot of heart, first and foremost.
My only real complaint is the first act is just a tad long and parts are a bit too serious, though maybe that helps build the hilarity later on. It’s all great after the ghost visits him in his office.
Why you should watch it before you die: It’s a great Christmas film and a great 80s flick. I think if you’re looking for something that’s not your typical Christmas movie, there’s not much better than this entry into the sub-genre.
+7: Pretty darn good all around
-1: First act is a bit too serious
+1: Great comedy
+1: Great overall performances
+1: Bonus point due to Christmas Magic