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Frank Cross: I get it. You're here to show me my past, and I'm supposed to get all dully-eyed and mushy. Well, forget it, pal, you got the wrong guy!
Scrooged is a 1988 loose modern retelling of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, with the twist of taking place In a World where everyone's already familiar with Dickens' tale. Bill Murray stars as Frank Cross, a cynical, selfish TV executive who is planning a live adaptation of A Christmas Carol for a holiday special. Cross' own childhood memories of Christmas were less than fond, leaving him initially unable to appreciate the spirit of the season.
However things start to go downhill when his dead former boss smashes his way into his office to inform him that he is doomed unless he changes his ways. True to the source material he is visited by the three very strange Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future.
Intended to ride on Murray's earlier success in Ghostbusters, Scrooged contains many references to the earlier (if largely unrelated) film; one of the taglines was, "Bill Murray is back amongst the ghosts, only this time it's three on one."
It's also pretty damn funny, but we shouldn't need to tell you that, right?
This movie contains examples of:
- An Asskicking Christmas / Badass Santa: Featured in The Night The Reindeer Died, one of the Films Within A Film during the movie. Apparently Santa is a very Jolly Burt Gummer.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Bryce Cummings (played by John Glover) seems really nice but is really gunning for Frank's job.
- Bland-Name Product: IBC, the network Frank runs, is directly poking fun at ABC. The promo for IBC's Scrooge says "Yule Love It"; ABC's promotional tagline for their shows in the 1985-1986 season (while the movie was being produced) was "You'll Love It".
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Frank at the end of the movie. On the one hand, he is in a TV studio, he is speaking into an In-Universe camera, and the closest thing to a physical fourth wall is far behind said camera, but on the other hand, he's talking to the Real Life movie audience as opposed to the In-Universe TV audience.
- Butt Monkey: Elliot Loudermilk. Fired on Christmas Eve, sells blood for booze money (and the booze gets stolen by the Ghost of Christmas Past), and ends up assaulting Frank with a shotgun in the finale. Also The Woobie.
- The Standards and Practices lady gets hit by a lamppost, run over by a barrel and crushed by a set.
- Cheek Copy
- Chewing the Scenery: Frank Cross.
Frank: (thinks he sees a ghost) AH-HAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaa!
- Closing Credits Cast Party
- Completely Different Title: In order to play up the Ghostbusters angle, the Mexican title for this movie was "The Ghosts Strike Back."
- Some dubs change the title to "The Ghosts Attack the Boss."
- The German dub is titled a bit more creatively: "The Ghosts I Called."
- Corrupt Corporate Executive
- Cute Bruiser: The second ghost.
Ghost of Christmas Present: Oh! What's this...it's a TOASTER! *SMACK*
- Cute Mute: Calvin (see Dumb Struck, below), who finds his voice near the end to remind the reformed Cross to say, "God bless us, everyone."
- Darker and Edgier: Frank wants to replace the Christmas Carol ad campaign with one that features drug addiction, terrorist attacks, and the threat of nuclear war.
- Defrosting The Ice King
- Double Standard Abuse (Female on Male): The Ghost of Christmas Present. Yikes.
- The Driver / Drives Like Crazy: The first Ghost.
Claire Phillips: Taxi! Can you get me to the IBC building in three minutes?
- Drowning My Sorrows: Elliot tries to do this after losing his job, but a Roadside Wave wets the paper bag holding his booze and causes it to fall out. He tries again later, only for the Ghost of Christmas Past to drive by and steal his booze.
- Dumb Struck: Calvin hadn't spoken since he saw his father murdered five years earlier.
- Dying For His Art: All the abuse Bill Murray takes from Carol Kane? It's all real.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Cross is driven to tears when he sees his mother in a vision of one of his first Christmases. The Ghost of Christmas Past had earlier mentioned even "Attila the Hun cried" when he saw his own mother.
Ghost of Christmas Past: Niagara Falls, "Frankie Angel."
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Frank genuinely does love his brother James. He's the only person aside from Claire that he isn't a flat-out jerk to.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Though Frank is a self-centered creep, there were some redeeming factors to him prior to the climax. Before he sees the ghost of Christmas past, he dumps water on a waiter, thinking he was on fire. It was merely an illusion by the ghost to get him outside. The thought counts, though. Afterwards he makes some friends with the homeless people, even singing with them before the big "Bah Humbug parody." Lastly after seeing the Ghost of Christmas Present, he was devastated that one of the homeless men he met was found dead in the sewer he landed in. He even berates the guy for not staying at Operation Reachout where his ex-girlfriend Claire works.
Frank Cross: You jerk! You moron! Why didn't you stay at Claire's? Why didn't you stay with Claire!? She would have taken care of you! You would have eaten and been warm! You might be alive! You'd be a prettier color, I'll tell you that!
- At one point he is suprised by the show's Ghost of Christmas Future coming out of the elevator, believing it to be the real one and immediately pushes Grace away in a very rough manner in a misguided attempt to save her from the ghost.
- Family-Unfriendly Death: A lot, though the crowning example has to be Frank's vision of his own funeral by cremation - from inside the coffin.
- Flipping the Bird: Frank does this to the old woman after stealing a ride from her.
- Gatling Good: Lee Majors wields a minigun in The Night the Reindeer Died.
- Genre Savvy: Frank knows the whole Scrooge thing, he has A Christmas Carol In Prose produced for TV right then. Not that his Genre Savviness helps him.
- The Grinch: Frank, at first.
- Groin Attack: "The Ballbreaker Suite", indeed.
- Heel Face Turn
- Hellevator: Frank meets the Ghost of Christmas Future here. At the bottom is the funeral noted up in Family-Unfriendly Death.
- Hey, It's That Voice!: The German dub is an interesting case. For a change, Bill Murray isn't voiced by Arne Elsholtz who is also Tom Hanks' German voice but by Manfred Lehmann who is usually Bruce Willis' German voice and hams it up even beyond his Gérard Depardieu standard. Robert Mitchum sounds as usual, namely like John Wayne (Arnold Marquis), and Gerd Duwner (Ernie) supplies Buddy Hackett's voice. Also, Edgar Ott as the TV Ghost of Christmas Present. If that ain't cool...
- Hollywood Driving: The Ghost of Christmas Past takes it Up to Eleven, panicking Frank. In fact, while in the present, his taxi can hit other objects.
- Improv: Half of Frank's lines; the entire closing sequence.
- Invisible Holes: Frank's old boss, Lew Hayward.
- Meaningful Name: Lampshaded.
Poster in Frank's Office: "Cross: (n) a thing they nail people to."
- Meet Cute: Gave rise to Frank's pet name, "Lumpy."
- Moral Guardians: The Standards and Practices lady. She gets into ahem the spirit a little too much upon seeing Bryce Cummings tied up with garland.
- Murder by Cremation
- Not My Driver: The Ghost of Christmas Past is a borderline psychotic taxi driver.
- One-Scene Wonder: The Waiter; Christmas Future; the Antler guy; Frank's dead boss; the homeless gent.
- Our Ghosts Are Different
- Poke the Poodle: Most of what Frank does outside of canning Elliot, but especially:
Stagehand: We've tried everything to glue these antlers on this little guy, but it just won't stick.
- For some reason, Claire starts bitching out the stagehand even though he's just as horrified by the idea.
- There's also a moment when his boss kicks his own cat.
- Pun-Based Title
- Roadside Wave: Elliot Loudermilk gets an impromptu bath, which simultaneously ruins the liquor he was hoping to drown his sorrows in.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Elliot Loudermilk's M.O. on Frank just before the visit with the Ghost of Christmas Future. One epiphany later, Frank joins him in derailing the live show going on downstairs.
- Setting Update
- Show Within a Show: A TV production of A Christmas Carol is going on while Murray is meeting the ghosts.
- Shout-Out: Murray shouts out "Feed me, Seymour!" in the Closing Credits Cast Party, to encourage the audience to respond to his hilariously over-the-top ad-libbing.
- Smug Snake: Bryce Cummings, the slimy West-Coast producer called in to "assist" (read: take over from) Frank.
- Turn the Other Cheek: Claire.
- Unnecessary Time Precision: When Frank leaves a message for Claire.
Frank Cross: "Listen, I know I haven't talked to you in... *checks watch* ...about 10 or 15 years, but..."