Burnt out on all my music I’ve listened to all year, I’ve painted with some familiar movies as background noise. Here’s a log of twelve Christmas movies that I’ve vaguely paid attention to over the past few weeks:
There are two Christmas stories that I’ve always held closer to my heart than any others. The original Grinch Who Stole Christmas cartoon and any variation of A Christmas Carol. Scrooged is perhaps the greatest of the countless versions of this classic story. This SNL skit ranks high and does crack me up, but it’s amazing what Scrooged can do for your soul.
Father Loves Beaver
In the spirit of the great fast paced and zany Zucker/Abrahams/Zucker movies of the 80’s (Airplane!, Naked Gun, Top Secret), Scrooged opens with promos for IBC’s existing programs. These quick jokes feature complete with outlandish premises, ample cameos and quick laughs. While the Santa action movie starring Lee Majors, Bob Goulet’s Cajun Christmas (chased by a gator), the ridiculous ‘Father Loves Beaver’ wins the intro:
Nine o’clock, lBC presents America’s favorite family in a special Christmas episode.
“Hi, Mom, isn’t Dad home yet?” “Well, Wally, I expect he’s out chasing beaver.”– Father Loves Beaver
All the quick jokes and cameos throughout the movie are relentless – from Jamie Farr to Buddy Hackett to Mary Lou Retton and the Solid Gold Dancers fitting their roles to perfection, there isn’t a slow moment in the movie. Even the visuals (subtle and not) make for great re-watches. The Cross definition wallpaper hanging in Frank’s office always cracked me up, but I never noticed the tons of cats that inhabit the network owner’s house. Even after his suggestion cats and dogs could become steady viewers of network TV.
The Baby Boomers in the Eighties
In Scrooged, there’s a constant battle in Cross’ life between his past life with his old flame Claire and his corporate lifestyle he’s bought into. The relationship, and their split, can be summed up in this exchange:
Frank: “Same old Claire. Still trying to save the world?”
Claire: “Still trying to run it?”
All the hopes and idealism of the baby boomers is resting with Claire, all the realities of the Baby Boomer’s coke binge and money fueled Reagan Revolution are embodied by Frank Cross.
I’ve ranted and raged against baby boomers for ages on this site, at one point being the number one result for ‘Baby Boomers Suck’. I’ve said all I need to about the decisions they’ve made.
When America Wasn’t a Bunch of Thin Skinned Crybabies
This shot takes place in the control room during the TV broadcast of IBC’s live Scrooge production. Remember when Apartheid existed and Nelson Mandela was sure to die in prison in South Africa? Social powers that be created boycotts of South African products and movies started to flash images pleading for the end of Apartheid and promoted social justice in South Africa. Scrooged was no different, and I don’t really recall the amount of complaints, tears and threats about ending Apartheid as I have heard about football players kneeling during the National Anthem. See? Social awareness can be pretty painless if you just let it be. This bumper sticker in the control room isn’t going to ruin this movie or Christmas or anything. Go suck on a lump of coal you conservative snowflakes. Or better yet, stick it somewhere and see if you can make a diamond. For kicks, I also threw in the Nike logo that appeared in the next frame , just so everybody can get upset about their (pick one) advertising campaign/political donations.
Cameo of the Movie:
The scene in question – a quick pan from a scene in Bill Cross’ office to the lavish set, with a two second scene of TV Scrooge (Buddy Hackett) in bed visited by a ghost. There is no credit for this ghost in IMDB, and a pretty exhaustive google search dredged up nothing.
But who is this ghost and why does he look so familiar? IMDB lists two Ghosts from the TV production. Below, the top picture shows Christmas Present (Pat McCormick) and the bottom image shows Christmas Future (Chaz Conner)
Is this seemingly uncredited role actually Chris Elliott? The nose is the same, along with the angle of the forehead, and we all know Chris Elliott loves roles when he’s dressed as a dandy fop. Elliott had been on Letterman for three years at this point in his career, and Bill Murray was the first guest on Late Night…
Of course, five years later, Bill Murray and a credited Chris Elliott would share the screen in Groundhog Day:
Trump Joke of the Movie, because he’s always been a joke
After the Ghost of Christmas Present knocks him in the face with a toaster, Frank Cross wakes up in a sewer:
“Weeeelllll. This is nice!
Where are we, Trump Tower?”
So here’s some random stuff from the movie that stuck with me while I was working on my paintings:
- Best line about Chernobyl: “…you’re a hallucination brought on by alcohol, Russian vodka poisoned by Chernobyl”
- Danny Elfman’s soundtrack is just great
- Frank’s line after dousing a waiter he thought was one fire, “I’m sorry. I thought you were Richard Pryor.”
- The cartoonish violence against the censor was funny. She gets hit in the head with a lamppost, door, and barrel, and somehow still keeps her stuck up disposition.
- One last word, from Frank: “The Jews taught me this great word: schmuck. I was a schmuck.”
Do we even have to dig for this one?