Listen to our Scrooged episode on:
- Google Play
- Player FM
- Pocket Casts
Look, we know. Christmas is over, the cup of goodwill runneth empty, but we didn’t think about the dates when we planned out this mini-season, so we’re foisting one more Holiday movie on you… and to be fair, the dark, occasionally disturbing and decidedly 80s cynicism of Richard Donner’s Scrooged is as fitting a choice as any to soundtrack the dying gasps of your post-festive fatigue.
Starring Bill Murray as a heartless, self-centred TV executive planning an outrageously tacky live action production of A Christmas Carol, Scrooged has all the elements of a slyly subversive update of the Charles Dickens classic. The almost cultish appeal of its star and a handful of highly memorable scenes have helped Scrooged to linger as a minor seasonal classic despite the middling box office and divisive reviews it attracted on release back in 1988.
The production of Scrooged was notoriously troubled, with Murray and Donner clashing so badly that Murray subsequently all but disowned the movie, labelling it a missed opportunity and complaining that Donner’s approach to direction mostly amounted to instructing him to constantly be louder.
Watching the movie back, the conflict between what it wants to be and what it turned out to be is fairly obvious. It’s almost impossible for Murray to not be funny, but his performance in the film is fairly one-note and abrasive, and the tone veers awkwardly between black comedy and sentimentality throughout, culminating in a decidedly unconvincing redemptive speech that leaves you under no illusions that Murray’s character will likely go straight back to being an asshole by January.
Still, even if the film doesn’t hang together, there are plenty of individually memorable moments that stand out – from Carol Kane’s demented turn as the sugar plum fairy from hell to the inventively terrifying visuals employed in the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come segment. These are probably the scenes you remember most fondly, and they do a decent job of tricking you into thinking the entire movie is as good.
Joining us this week for a special crossover episode is Ross Burton, Harry’s co-host on his other podcast, 2 Geeks 2 Movies. They record this episode having just watched three adaptations of A Christmas Carol back to back, so if you think you’re suffering a severe case of festive burnout, spare a thought for them…
Tune in now using the links at the top of this blog post or by searching ‘Beyond The Box Set’ on your preferred podcatcher for a thorough dissection of Scrooged, the usual batch of drinking games and wig observations, plus not one but two alleged sequels set primarily in space. Bloody nerds…
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Tune in next week for our very special annual round-up of the many, many movies we saw in the cinema in 2018 – after which we’re just two shows shy of our live Episode 100 extravaganza. Until then, happy listening and remember to beware of ghosts wielding toasters…