Director: Richard Donner
Stars: Bill Murray, Karen Allen, Bobcat Goldthwait, Alfre Woodard, John Forsythe, Carol Kane, Robert Mitchum
We don't know what the studio marketing folks were thinking when they convinced themselves that in order to properly promote Scrooged (tagline: "Bill Murray is back among the ghosts. Only this time, it's three against one."), they needed to reference the success of Ghostbusters—which had been in theaters four years earlier. Because if you turn the movie off just as Annie Lennox and Al Green start singing "Put a Little Love in Your Heart," there's enough Bill Murray gold in here to let the movie stand completely on its own, even if some of the references are a little dated (like those gratuitous shots of cans of Tab).
Murray plays Frank Cross, a modern-day Ebenezer Scrooge and high-powered television executive who has sacrificed his personal relationships—familial and carnal—for the sake of his job, which is currently in jeopardy. He's got one chance to redeem himself by producing a live Christmas Eve broadcast of A Christmas Carol which needs to be perfect.... Now if only the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future would leave him alone.
There have, of course, been dozens of adaptations of Charles Dickens' novella—films, ridiculous Hallmark made-for-TV movies, Broadway, opera, ballet, orchestral, and even a mimed performance. But most have hearkened back to the original source material, and as such been period in nature. Scrooged modernizes and drives home the evils of greed by doubling up the message as it becomes a television show within the movie, and personalizes it further when Murray breaks the fourth wall to encourage the audience to join in and sing over the end credits (though if you read our first mandate, you will have shut it off by then).