Ebenezer Scrooge has been the world’s most recognizable grouch since 1843. That year, Charles Dickens presented Scrooge in all his miserable glory in the novel A Christmas Carol. Since then, the grumpy old man has seen the stage, the tube and the big screen in a number of interpretations. But what movies would Scrooge watch if he time-traveled to 2010? We’ve made our best guesses.
One could assume Scrooge’s main goal during a modern Christmas would be to cozy up by a warm fire and watch some movies. He would unplug the phones, shut off his computer and pop in as many DVDs (or Blu-rays) as possible. Scrooge would pump up his surround sound system to drown out any wandering carolers and sink into his lonely little world.
Ebenezer Scrooge’s tastes would be relatively easy to gauge. While some ignore the holiday spirit completely, Scrooge finds it so frustrating that he openly opposes it. Naturally, his favorite holiday movies would have some kind of alternative take on the holiday spirit.
Let’s take a look at Scrooge’s Christmas playlist, entitled Bah, Humbug!
One of the most obvious picks on this list is Bad Santa. Billy Bob Thornton turns Christmas on its back and pours his beer all over it. His character is arguably one of the dirtiest human beings ever depicted on film. The sloppy, oft-drunk and always sleazy Willie embraces the corrupted side of the Christmas spirit.
While the young boy Willie encounters in the film is just as cute and cuddly as he is disgusting, even the most heartfelt moments of the film would put a smile on Scrooge’s face. There is always a dark cloud hovering overhead when something good happens. There is no question Scrooge would be applauding Willie and his partner, Marcus (Tony Cox), for their dirty deeds during the holidays.
While we’ve left out direct adaptations of A Christmas Carol, Bill Murray stars in this modern day twist on the famous tale. As a narcissistic TV executive, Frank Cross (Murray) is only concerned with himself and has no room for Christmas. The three ghosts that antagonize him throughout the movie make things a little stranger.
Of course, the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future coax Cross into a series of events that will change his outlook on life and the holidays. Scrooge may not like the ending to this 1988 film, but (like any other egocentric individual) he will surely appreciate the homage to his snotty attitude.
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Leave it to a Tim Burton story to expose the dark and creepy side of Christmas. The stop-motion animated feature has some truly inspired concepts of the spirit of Christmas. The film’s main character, Jack Skellington, is the pumpkin king of Halloween Town until he stumbles across Christmas Town. Befuddled by the completely different atmosphere, he tries to get his fellow Halloweeners to help him celebrate the late December holiday. Unfortunately, their macabre talents don’t translate the Christmas spirit so easily.
While there is plenty of happiness spread around in this film, it is a dark tale. It’s safe to assume Halloween is one of Scrooge’s favorite holidays, so he would likely get into the movie. The characters are eerie and their actions are disturbing, but the movie sure looks at Christmas from a different angle – one Ebenezer Scrooge might appreciate.
Both the 1974 and 2006 versions of Black Christmas are perfect for Scrooge. Assuming he can handle a few scares, nothing would make him happier than seeing some sorority girls meet grisly fates on the most wonderful night of the year. Nothing would please him more than a re-imagined holiday, where sleigh ride is spelled S-L-A-Y.
Scrooge may be an old man, but every one of his darkest desires will be satisfied by Black Christmas. As Santa Claus tiptoes across rooftops, Scrooge could pop this movie in and lay underneath his camouflage Snuggie with a bag of popcorn whispering “humbug” to himself.
Die Hard isn’t your typical Christmas movie – the holiday takes a backseat to Bruce Willis’ heroics. But Christmas is still a part of the film and Die Hard essentially reminds us that not everybody gets to sit around the fireplace and spend Christmas Eve with their family – some get to spend it with fellow hostages.
While Die Hard does not directly explore Christmas, we can imagine Scrooge needs his action movie fix and what better choice than Die Hard? He could even choose the sequel, which also takes place on Christmas Eve. My only concern is that Scrooge might not be too happy with the carols sung in the film.
How The Grinch Stole Christmas
There have been quite a few adaptations of How The Grinch Stole Christmas, both animated and live-action. Originally a Dr. Seuss book, the tale explores a Scrooge-like Grinch whose only goal is to sabotage the merry Whoville Christmas celebration. If only Scrooge had the physical wherewithal to actually prevent Christmas from coming, he would be dancing the night away.
But the Christmas spirit triumphs yet again in this story of an evil man turned good. Maybe Scrooge will switch it off before the Grinch turns his frown into a huge smile. Is it possible the film’s uplifting message would even turn Scrooge into a smiling elder by the end of the night?
Jingle All The Way
You may be surprised to find this movie on the list, but it exposes a side of Christmas few movies tackle. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sinbad battle it out in a store-to-store adventure to fulfill the last-minute wishes of their children. As many procrastinating parents will tell you, Christmas is a frustrating time of the year. Of course, all this movie needs is a character with an Internet connection and it would be a lot shorter.
Scrooge would be on the edge of his seat as the two main characters stumble around town, destroying everything in sight. Nothing seems to go right for the two and their misery would be a pleasure to watch. Scrooge would sit back and laugh hysterically as Sinbad and Schwarzenegger become increasingly frustrated by the holiday; he might even revel in the fact that he has no gift obligations to worry about.
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
Lethal Weapon Writer Shane Black must love Christmas, because he penned this twisted Film Noir. In the first few minutes of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Harry Lockhart (Robert Downey, Jr.) steals a Christmas present for his child. The Christmas atmosphere is put on full display, but only within the context of some troubled and morally questionable characters.
This is definitely a “Scroogetastic” movie. But Michelle Monaghan in a sexy Mrs. Clause outfit trumps every other movie on this list. At least we’ll know that Scrooge still has some blood pumping through his veins. He might get a kick out of one line – “Merry Christmas, sorry I f—– you over.”
The quaint little town of Kingston Falls experienced a Christmas Eve like no other when a pet Mogwai named Gizmo found himself cloned into a number of violent duplicates. The terror is unlike any other movie, let alone Christmas movies. Needless to say, a Mogwai in a Santa hat is an image seared into my mind forever.
The 1984 horror/comedy was a massive hit and has since become a classic beyond cult status. If the slasher screams of Black Christmas weren’t enough for Scrooge, the hilarious horror of Gremlins should put a great cap on the movie marathon. One can only imagine what he would have done if got his hands on a Mogwai in the late 19th century.
Many forget Batman Returns is a pure Christmas movie through and through. It’s got everything a Christmas movie needs – snow, Christmas trees, babies, explosive presents and bats! Tim Burton’s cold take on Christmas time is something Ebenezer Scrooge would surely enjoy.
But Scrooge would enjoy the loneliness in the film. Both Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle find themselves lonelier than ever on the holiday eve, prompting a fascinating relationship throughout the film. But the biblical side of Christmas even gets a shout out with Oswald Cobblepot’s intriguing backstory, which is both tragic and sinister. The overall tone of the movie just seems like one of which Scrooge could relate.
The latest edition to crazy Christmas movies comes from the twisted mind of Jalmari Helander. The tagline says enough – “This Christmas, everyone will believe in Santa Claus.” The Finnish movie is all kinds of strange. Not only is Santa Clause dug up in an archaeological expedition, but he and his angry, naked, elves go on a violent rampage. It’s just how Scrooge imagined jolly old St. Nick.
Santa even looks like Scrooge to some extent. In fact, Scrooge is probably responsible for putting Santa in an ancient underground prison. But Santa’s insane thirst for dead children is something only Rare Exports has had the audacity to explore. This movie should give Scrooge a belly full of laughs on an otherwise frustrating Christmas.
Christmas is a beautiful time of year where families gather and the streets fill with music. But as Ebenezer Scrooge sees it, the misguided joy is simply naive. The 11 movies we’ve listed are just right to keep the grouch distracted.
There are plenty of other Christmas movies for Scrooge to watch on December 25th – 0f course, most of them are cheery family films. A few capture the other side of the holiday spirit, where lonely people are frustrated and others just can’t seem to catch on to the holiday joy.
If you are a humbug, what would you say to a full day of movies like the ones above? Are there any we missed? Discuss in the comments section below.
Christmas will arrive in homes on December 25th, 2010.