Scrooged (1988)

Director: Richard Donner

Writer: Mitch Glazer, Michael O’Donoghue (Screenplay) Charles Dickens (Novel)

Starring: Bill Murray, Karen Allen, John Forsythe, John Glover, Bobcat Goldthwait

 

Plot: A selfish, cynical T.V. executive is haunted by three spirits bearing lessons on Christmas Eve.

Tagline – The spirits will move you in odd and hysterical ways.
Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Reimagining of Christmas Carol

 

Story: Scrooged starts as we meet TV executive Frank Cross (Murray) who is preparing the Christmas line up with his own live production of Scrooge. He puts pressure on his assistant Grace, fires staff who go against him in Eliot (Goldthwait) and pushes the boundaries of television.

When Frank gets visited by his former boss Lew Hayward (Forsythe) he gets an encounter from beyond the grave that warns him he will get a visit from three ghosts over the next day to show him his past, present and future.

 

Thoughts on Scrooged

 

Characters – Frank Cross is the ruthless TV executive that sees Christmas as a chance to prove his value by getting the highest ratings, when he pushes people to far he gets a visit from three ghosts that show him the errors of his way, but can he change. Frank is one of the first characters in a Scrooge role that he is going on the same trip, so he doesn’t believe it on the same levels. Claire is the former love that Frank let go for his own career, she was the only person that could get through his selfish ways in the past.

PerformancesThis film is a Bill Murray vehicle, it was designed for his comic timing and quick wit as a stand-alone performer which is something he hasn’t done much previously. It is strange because I am not the biggest fan of his comedy, but in this role, I enjoyed his performance that is filled with arrogance to make us hate his character while also being able to sympathise with him. The rest of the cast work well for the film that show us how Murray can get the best out of many different talents.

StoryThe story is a different take on the classic Christmas Carol, first the film shows characters who know the story, so they know where the ghosts are taking them, which is different and refreshing to see. I can see the traditionalist not enjoying this version, but let’s be honest how many times can you tell the same story? the problems I do have with the film is that we don’t get the full impact of what the supporting characters of the story get enough time see their impact on the story, in the way they were originally designed.

Comedy/Fantasy/RomanceThe comedy comes from Bill Murray, it only comes around him which can give and take from the bigger picture too often, the fantasy and romance both suffer in the same feint.

SettingsThe film is mostly set inside the TV studio showing how Frank sees the characters and the production going on and how he treats them.

Special EffectsWhile the effects are not used very often, but when they do they all work very well for the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Final Speech.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The dramatic moments are lacking the punch needed.

Final ThoughtsIf you want to see a different version of the Christmas Carol, this works because it brings us into a world where the book exists.

 

Overall: Nice little Christmas Film.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – R – Rock the Kasbah (2015)

Director: Barry Levinson

Writer: Mitch Glazer (Screenplay)

Starring: Bill Murray, Bruce Willis, Kate Hudson, Zooey Deschanel, Leem Lubany, Arian Moayed, Scott Caan, Danny McBride

 

Plot: A down-on-his-luck music manager discovers a teenage girl with an extraordinary voice while on a music tour in Afghanistan and takes her to Kabul to compete on the popular television show, Afghan Star.


Tagline – Opportunity rocks when you least expect it.

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Mostly Weak Comedy

 

Story: Rock the Kasbah starts as a former top draw music manager Richie Lanz (Murray) has only one major client who performs cover songs for him, learning the Afghanistan could put her on the map opening for a megastar, he takes Ronnie (Deschanel) to Afghanistan, where the world is different and Ronnie goes on the run.

Richie is joined by two Americans that have made a business in the country as he goes searching for Ronnie only to discovery Salima (Lubany) a brilliant singer living in Afghanistan, who he wants to make the next big star.

 

Thoughts on Rock the Kasbah

 

Characters – Richie Lanz was once a great music manager, now he is forced into conning people out of their money with his acts only being tribute bands, learning he could make money away in Afghanistan he heads over there, where a series of events lead him to meet the next biggest star in the music industry. This character is no different to any of the Bill Murray characters we know, he is mostly sleezy and uses his charm to get out of situations. Bombay Brian is one of the men that helps Ronnie escape, he however expects money from Richie in exchange. He seems to be a loose cannon which makes him unpredictable. Merci is a local prostitute that all the American soldiers go to for their needs. Ronnie is the singer that Richie takes with him, she decides to run away from gig and get back to America.

PerformancesBill Murray is just like every film he is in, he never looks completely involved, while being the centre of the film. Bruce Willis is fine in the support role without being one of his mailed in performances we have see of late. Kate Hudson and Zooey Deschanel are both good enough in their roles without needing to do too much.

StoryThe story follows a sleezy music manager that discovers a new talent in Afghanistan and he must fight for her to get a chance in a nation where women can’t perform. This tries to breakdown walls for equality in a country which doesn’t accept it, which is important to see, but sadly doesn’t work with who and how they approach it, we can’t just throw an American into a country to change their mindsets, we need them to learn themselves. This isn’t the most engaging storyline and will be forgotten quickly.

Comedy/Music/WarThe comedy in the film misses for the most part because we are dealing with too serious a subject for laughs. The music side of the film isn’t as interesting either because we could have had a lot more going on during the wartime situation.

SettingsThe film is set in Afghanistan which is never going to be the best setting for this type of movie because of the subject matter of everything we go on to see in the film.


Scene of the Movie –
First hearing the talent.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It just isn’t that engaging.

Final ThoughtsThis is a disappointing and board line overly controversial idea for a movie that just doesn’t hit the marks it could have.

 

Overall: Not that appealing.

Rating