Last week, I – along with 18 million other people – watched the live edition of The Sound of Music. I watched because I liked the Julie Andrews movie as a child, and I knew it was different from the stage show, and since this was the stage show, I really watched it out of curiosity, rather than hate-watching or love. And let’s be real for a second: bless Carrie Underwood. She did the best she could considering she is a self-admitted non-actress. She belted the songs out very well, and while she struggled with some of the emotional scenes, it’s not like she had someone amazing playing Captain Von Trapp, either.
But let’s also bless NBC (which is not something I would have thought I’d ever do) for showing live theatre on television again. And that led to this exchange of tweets between me and My Friend Sarah:
(PS – Hey Sarah I’m sorry I never asked your permission to post your tweets on my blog but I figured I had tacit permission because you’re on the internet and I’m on the internet and we talk to each other on the internet and you must’ve figured this would happen at some point but if you want me to take it down just let me know and I’ll be a better person)
So no, I’ve never seen Scrooged. Growing up, my Christmas movie of choice was The Muppet Christmas Carol. Then it was A Christmas Story, and there are only nine more days until that marathon – prepare yourself, Mom! And of COURSE there’s the best Christmas movie in the history of ever, Die Hard. (I am also partial to Elf.) And I almost thought my dad would have it on DVD, but the only Scrooge he truly loves is Albert Finney from Scrooge.
Anyway, My Friend Sarah told me that I had to watch Scrooged, and since we were having this conversation during December and not, y’know, June, you’d think I’d be able to find a copy of it somewhere for free to get it off my list quickly so I could move on to the likes of Rubber and Dead Poets Society.
You’d think wrong.
Netflix has it – but only on DVD. I don’t have Amazon Prime, because I’m po’. When I tried out Hulu, their search engine asked me – and this is true – if I meant to type “crooked.” No, I did not, but I have a feeling that may be a Chekhov’s Query?
When I checked if I could get it through OnDemand on the DVR, the result is that I would have to pay for it. To which I give a resounding FUCK THAT SHIT!
So this leaves me with two options: One, I could watch the first disc of Deadwood and then immediately get Scrooged on DVD, or … I could watch it on the only channel that is showing Scrooged in the near future, apparently.
That channel is ABC Family.
Dear God, why? Why, of all channels, does it have to be ABC Family? It takes four hours to watch one Harry Potter film – and the Harry Potter films are already three hours long! And it’s Bill Murray – while some of ABC Family’s biggest hits deal with teen pregnancy and little liars that are apparently also very pretty, they don’t deal with a lot of swearing.
So here’s the deal: as much as I hate doing this, in the interest of time and the season, I taped it off of ABC Family, and will use that version to do this edition of the blog.
HOWEVER. If the movie starts by saying that it has been edited to run in the time allotted, FUCK THAT SHIT. The whole point of doing this blog is to watch movies I’ve never seen, not 94% of movies I’ve never seen. I can deal with being edited for content – I can imagine they’re saying things that are even worse! – but the possibility that there might be minute scenes that I would miss? Well, that’s why I still don’t consider myself to have seen the Goddamned Shawshank Redemption, because while I’ve seen the last two-thirds of it, it was on AMC. You KNOW AMC edits shit.
So … let’s give this a shot, shall we? Fingers crossed!
AHHH IT’S BEEN EDITED TO RUN IN THE TIME ALLOTTED
I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO RIGHT NOW
I – I –
Okay, I just took something to calm me down. (Thanks, Mom’s Peanut Butter Balls! It’s not a Patterson Family Christmas until Alaina and Missy have fought over Mom’s Peanut Butter Balls!) Also, I checked IMDB: the official running time of Scrooged is 101 minutes. That’s barely an hour and a half. This edition runs for 2 hours on ABC Fam – oh shit, they cut out like, what, ten minutes for commercials?
HEY WAIT IMMA PLAY A GAME: How much screen time do I actually see? Fair warning, though: the minute I start getting pissed, all bets are off, I’ll watch Deadwood and then get the real thing on DVD, and tonight I’ll watch the winter finale of Once Upon a Time because REASONS. (Namely, Hook & Emma.)
PS I’m also using my phone as a stopwatch because I can. For science!
We open at the North Pole, apparently. There are children and midgets dressed up as elves, and then there’s a meteor headed straight for the workshop, and everyone runs for the – for the gun cabinet?? And then Lee Majors shows up?? WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS?
The Night the Reindeer Died?? WHERE CAN I WATCH THIS SO I CAN MAKE FUN OF IT
Also, Bob Goulet’s Old-Fashioned Cajun Christmas? I – as long as he sings “Down Mexico Way” I am IN.
Oh, right, Bill Murray’s supposed to be a TV producer. (Oh, and I totally stopped timing because I had to pause the TV to laugh at Bob Goulet getting chased by a crocodile covered in tinsel.)
“We spent $40 million on a live TV show – you guys have got an ad with America’s favorite old fart, reading a book, in front of a fireplace! And now, I have to kill all of you!” Now I know why Sarah was comparing The Sound of Music to this movie. I get it now.
Is it just me, or is the guy in glasses telling Bill Murray that they’ve been showing the ads for a month a 1988 version of Charlie Day?
Christ, I would not watch Bill Murray’s version of Scrooge. I don’t want nuclear wars mixed in with my Dickens.
Okay, seriously, who is this glasses guy? I’m seriously getting a Charlie Day vibe.
THAT’S FUCKING BOBCAT GOLDTHWAITE??? I thought he was fatter …
Hmm, I’m pretty sure Grace didn’t say “Aw Jeez” when Bill Murray said her bonus was a towel. I’m guessing it was an “Aw shit.”
Programming for cats? That guy has got to be the guy who told Mitch Hurwitz to have Michael teach George Michael “a nice lesson.”
Ooh, popcorn on a tree. I have caramel corn. Be right back.
This is convenient, because we are 15 minutes in and we have our first commercial break. Let’s take a moment and figure out who everyone’s lining up to be:
Bill Murray = Ebeneezer Scrooge. Duh. Not sure if he’s the Michael Caine Scrooge, or the Scrooge McDuck Scrooge. But we’ll figure it out as we go.
Bobcat Goldthwaite = The Guys From the Orphanage (Dr. Benson Honeydew and Beaker)
Grace the Secretary = Bob Cratchit. Interesting adaptation, as in this version, she is female and black. Yay acceptance!
Grace’s Mute Son = Tiny Tim. In 1988 it is apparently better to be mute than crippled. (GUYS SERIOUSLY READ A BOOK, TINY TIM WAS A CRIPPLE IT’S OKAY FOR ME TO USE THAT WORD)
Bill Murray’s brother = “Nephew Fred.” We see him for all of two seconds, and he asks Bill Murray to cook Christmas dinner and then he disappears again.
Because now the commercial break is over and Bill Murray’s pouring a straight vodka in his office, screaming for Grace, and SERIOUSLY THIS WAS MADE IN THE EIGHTIES, DUDE HAS A BOTTLE OF VODKA AND A .38 SPECIAL IN HIS DESK DRAWER
Anyway, the creature rapping on Bill Murray’s chamber door is Bill Murray’s dead business partner who APPARENTLY HAS A MOUSE RUNNING AROUND IN HIS HEAD. EW. EWWWWWWWWWW!!!! WHAT THE FUCK, PEOPLE?
(Damn, the Cryptkeeper sounds familiar. Who is this dude? HOLY SHIT THAT’S CHARLIE. OF CHARLIE’S ANGELS. WHAT THE FUCK, DUDE)
Please say something about angels, please say something about angels, please say something about angels
So what, in this version the ghosts come during the day? That doesn’t seem very ghost-like.
YOU DIDN’T TELL ME MARION RAVENWOOD WAS IN THIS MOVIE
YOU NEED TO ALWAYS TELL ME WHEN MARION RAVENWOOD IS IN THINGS
This is how this conversation is going to go:
Me: YOU DID NOT TELL ME MARION RAVENWOOD WAS IN THAT
Sarah: Oh yeah
Sarah: She was in that.
Sarah: Much like Anne Baxter was in The Ten Commandments.
Sarah: But you never asked
Sarah: And it never came up
Sarah: But yeah, she’s in that.
No, you guys, we need to talk about Marion Ravenwood. She is – well, I guess I’m not allowed to say ‘spirit animal’ anymore, but she’d definitely be my Patronus. When I grow up, I want to be Marion Ravenwood. Sure, she gets kidnapped, but she hits a couple of guys with frying pans first. She is able to drink at least three different men under three different tables, and is canny enough to do so and try and maneuver an escape. She gives great bicker, she knows her shit, and she doesn’t take shit, either. I did a drunk!tweet of Raiders of the Lost Ark a few months ago, and #ProTipForDudes: if I offer to buy you a drink – y’know, a drink? – you had BEST keep both hands in your pockets and stick out your elbow for me to take, or else you are going home alone, buddy.
Also, in the apparently-highly-unlikely-event of me ever getting married, I will be wearing a modern version of the dress Rene Belloq gives to Marion in Tannis. Just so’s you know.
Okay, back to the show.
Uh, no, be right back, I think my teapot is burning.
(No seriously, I have a hole in my teapot. And I forgot to put “new teapot” on my Christmas list. Oh well; guess I’ll see who reads my blog now!)
Okay, so, back to the movie I’m watching. Marion Ravenwood shows up and apparently she is the Belle to Bill Murray’s Scrooge. Before leaving, Charlie the Dead Guy dead-dialed Marion but didn’t let Bill Murray leave a message. So she shows up at the studio the next day as he’s taking care of Scrooge business, and she shows up conveniently at noon. DUH DUN DUNNNNNN
And now we have our second commercial break in about thirty minutes. Well, at least we’re being consistent? FAST-FORWARD
Bill Murray and his boss are ordering highballs when we get back from the break. I would also like a highball, but probably not the same way those guys do. Oh boy, I really hope my mother’s not reading this, the possibility of a new teapot notwithstanding. Also, apparently they’re ordering highballs at noon, because Bill Murray seems to think the LA slimeball we saw earlier is his Ghost of Christmas Past, but he’s not, because there’s an eyeball in his highball, but it turns out it’s just a really big ball of ice. Balls.
Bill Murray’s having hallucinations of busboys catching on fire. Dude, chill, he’s just wearing an on-fire suit. Although if he’s a cosplay enthusiast, then there must be busboys in Azeroth or wherever.
Bill Murray runs out to catch a cab and it just so happens that it’s being driven by the Ghost of Christmas Past. Bazinga! The Ghost also steals Bobcat Goldthwaite’s whiskey, because Bobcat Goldthwaite’s having that kind of a day.
The cab then proceeds to time-travel. IF THE CAB GOES BACK TO 1955, I CALL BULLSHIT. THAT, SIR, IS NO DELOREAN.
— Goes back to 1955 as Alaina predicted – BUUULLLL SHIT
Anyway, the Ghost has driven Bill Murray up to his childhood home, and his house is the only one with no Christmas Lights. Bill Murray tries to pass it off as his father’s lack of doing, to which the Ghost says, “For Satan’s sakes, Frank, it’s Christmas Eve!” For whose sake? Because that totally sounded dubbed.
Frank had a very sad childhood. Instead of a train, four-year-old Francis gets a shit-ton of veal from Brian Doyle-Murray, which is sad for so many reasons. And then we go to another commercial just as Bill Murray chokes back tears.
When we come back, the Ghost brings him to Fezziwig’s Christmas party. He leaves the party for some reason and runs into Marion Ravenwood who opens a door right into his face. They have a meet!cute, which is apparently what people call them nowadays. Aw, the cab company is named the Belle cab company. Literary reference!
Marion Ravenwood gives Bill Murray an inscribed edition of the Kama Sutra, but she inscribed it in Sanskrit. Which she learned when she was drinking people under the table in Nepal!! My head-canon is coming together nicely!
Anyway, the last scene the Ghost gives us is when Bill Murray breaks up with Marion Ravenwood because she won’t break their plans for an evening with friends to have dinner with Charlie the Network President. She leaves him to go back to being Frisbee the Dog (?) and the Ghost then drops him back in the studio, just as the cast of his Scrooge are rehearsing the scene where Belle dumps Ebeneezer for being too greedy. FORESHADOWING.
Okay, took a break for the season finale of Masters of Sex and now we’re back. Only to go right into a commercial break. Goddammit, ABC Family, you’re killing me.
Okay, Bobcat Goldthwaite has just given blood for money and landed in a pile of garbage. Bill Murray is screaming to himself as he walks down a sidewalk in New York. Much like other crazy people in New York. The people at the homeless shelter mistake him for not only a crazy homeless person, but Richard Burton?
OH SPEAKING OF RICHARD BURTON everyone go pour one out for apparently not only the great and illustrious Peter O’Toole (who, if there is a God, is tearing up Heaven with Burton and his other pal, Richard Harris, and please God, when I die, I want to be a part of that crowd), but also the amazing and beautiful Joan Fontaine. Seriously, dudes, apparently today is not a good day to be a favorite actor of Alaina.
EVERYONE I NEED EYES ON BETTY WHITE RIGHT FUCKING NOW
Anyway, they’re asking Bill Murray to recite Hamlet and Night of the Iguana, and man, that’s a weird show. Marion Ravenwood hears Bill Murray reciting Hamlet in Bill Murray’s Impersonation of Richard Burton, which is a lot of mumbling. When some volunteers come up asking about fuses and turkeys, though, Bill Murray goes into some more crazy-town and tells the volunteers to handle it themselves, because he’s busy trying to woo Marion or something. Except Marion (rightly) gets pissed at Bill Murray, especially when he tells her to fire her volunteers.
So he goes storming back to his castle (hahahaha that joke will be HILARIOUS in about two minutes) to have a run-in with the LA slimeball whose name I forgot, and then he goes right into his 2 p.m. conniption fit, right on schedule, where Carol Kane flies down from the rafters wearing an amazing pink fairy ensemble. She’s advertising the Ballcracker Suite, and her “hello” to Bill Murray is a nicely-timed kick to the Benoit Balls. Then she backhands him, saying, “Sometimes you have to slap them in the face just to get their attention!” So true.
I like this Ghost of Christmas Present. I always felt that Christmas Carols needed more violence.
Apparently Grace’s Tiny Tim stopped speaking when she witnessed his father’s murder. But even after that tragedy, the family is still able to be amazingly happy. Carol Kane Ghost gets a few more belts in and makes Bill Murray promise to give Grace a well-deserved raise, and then she kicks him down a flight of stairs and right into a commercial.
When we come back, they’re at a Christmas party at his brother’s apartment. HOLY SHIT THAT’S WENDIE MALICK! Also, HAHAHAHA I SERIOUSLY LOVE CAROL KANE “I know something you don’t know, I don’t know something you don’t know!” And then she belts him with a toaster.
“The bitch hit me with a toaster.” HAHAHAHAHA
Anyway, he’s down in a frozen sewer or something. He finds one of the homeless guys from the shelter, frozen dead in the sewer. Bill Murray starts to feel regret and wants to escape but when he tries to barrel through the door he barrels right back onto the Scrooge set, and manages to kick a barrel right into the censor that he hit a couple of acts ago. Good going, Bill Murray.
“Break a leg, everybody! I feel real weird about tonight!” I am going to start saying that every day. Why hasn’t that become a thing?
Okay, SHENANIGANS. Charles Dickens’s immortal classic was A Christmas Carol, not Scrooge. Scrooge was a character, but Dickens did not name the novella after his character. I might be nitpicking, but hi, my name is Alaina and I’m a literature nerd.
Scrooge starts, Bill Murray goes upstairs to his office after a run-in with the actor playing the Ghost of Christmas Future in the show, and opens the present from his brother: a picture frame of the two of them sharing a childhood hug. Awwww. Commercial. DAMMIT, ABC FAMILY, WAY TO RUIN THE MOMENT.
Bill Murray’s drinking vodka and Tab – so Eighties, right there – when the Ghost of Christmas Future is about to pick Bill Murray up and take him to the future when Bobcat Goldthwaite comes into the office with a shotgun, and I’m a horrible person, but the first thing I thought of was Jonathan Levinson from that episode of Buffy.
Bill Murray runs into the elevator and right into the Ghost of Christmas Future. He thinks he’s the actor, but it’s not – it’s the real deal. The Ghost brings Bill Murray to an institution where Grace’s Tiny Tim is locked up. He promises to fix it because he knows the head of pediatrics at NYU, and then he finds Marion Ravenwood all dolled up like Joan Collins in Dynasty. She’s ignoring poor children because thirty minutes ago, Bill Murray told her to scrape the poor children off her so she can save herself.
And then he thinks his brother died, but as anyone who’s ever read or watched any version of A Christmas Carol knows that he’s pulling a Tom Sawyer and watching his own funeral. As he’s burned alive, he promises to make everything better.
When he returns to the real world, he almost eats Bobcat Goldthwaite’s shotgun (and there’s a sentence I never thought I’d type), and he rehires him and then they take off because they haven’t missed Christmas yet and hopefully this is the final commercial break.
Two things about commercials:
– Whoa, L.L. Bean: did you really just use your return policy as incentive for gift-giving? Yeah, that won’t blow up in your face later.
– Dear Whoever Thought The J.C. Penney Carolers Were a Good Idea: I will kill you when I learn who you are. You, sir, are the WORST THING about Christmas. (I feel comfortable calling this unknown entity a ‘sir’ – no woman would have thought changing the lyrics “Fa la la la la” to “shop shop shop shop shop” was a good idea.)
Bill Murray has taken over the broadcast of Scrooge to do his own version of Ebeneezer’s moment of understanding. Bobcat Goldthwaite receives a phone call from the president, and he wants to talk to the idiot that put ‘that moron’ on the air. Meanwhile, I just learned what happens when an idiot leaves a 12-pack of Diet Coke on a very cold porch. In other words, I have a 12-pack of exploded Diet Coke, and I’m out three bucks.
Marion Ravenwood races to the studio, and Bill Murray has an amazing speech that is too great for me to transcribe, and then Grace’s Tiny Tim comes up (because he was watching the production from backstage), and he pulls on Bill Murray’s coat and Bill Murray asks, “Did I forget something, Big Man?” And Tiny Tim nods and says, “God bless us, every one,” and when did someone break into my house and start chopping onions? I mean, there are a lot of onions being chopped up in here. Even Bill Murray can smell them.
And in another Christmas miracle, a cab did manage to take Marion Ravenwood all across New York in three minutes. Does anyone have a prettier smile than Marion Ravenwood? Seriously, she has one of the best smiles.
This movie started off a little slow, but I think I’m going to blame ABC Family for any bad feelings I had about it.
Thank you, Sarah, for insisting I watch this. Please don’t be offended at my rant. I was yelling at ABC Family, not this movie.
SERIOUSLY, GHOST OF CHOPPING ONIONS. CUT IT OUT.