I have to say right off the bat that I’m sorry I went MIA for a couple of weeks. Life smacked me up the side of the head with a number of unexpected things all at once and there was no time to do things such as write about my love of Dr Who, Marvel characters or Star Trek (all of which I’d planned to do). Not to mention I never got to watch the Dr Who special again after #savetheday childus-interuptus meant I didn’t get the full hit, because my husband was away and really wanted to watch it with me when he got back. Something that will most likely have to wait until after Christmas when things have calmed down a little. So, given I can’t write about any of that yet and today – the first day of the school holidays for my kids – found me sitting in front of the TV for an hour or so over lunch I was struck by the number of Christmas TV movies on again and felt inspired to write about it. I don’t know about you, but I have a soft spot for those Christmas TV movies. It doesn’t matter how terrible some of them are, they are so full of the spirit of Christmas that they always give me a little happy glowy feeling inside. Many have a little romance thrown in, which just makes me feel even more glowy and Christmas cheery.
I watched a lovely one today with an extremely cheery redhead with beautiful glowy skin who was Annie Claus, Santa Claus’ daughter, and she was on sabatical before Christmas in California, bringing Christmas cheer to everyone she met (except the baddie, who just didn’t get her cheery loveliness) and she got to meet her soul mate too. Throw in a lonely child, orphans a down on its luck toy shop and an elf who really needs to learn not to play power games with the red-suited one’s only daughter (banishment and kitchen-duty hell taught him a much needed lesson!) and it was so sweet I almost got a cavity. I hope they play it again – becuase I missed the start and as you know, set up is everything. However, even though I came in part way through, it was just what I needed to watch with 7 weeks of school holidays stretched ahead of me where I have to juggle bored kids, what to do with them while I’m at work (so lucky my parents help out a lot) and edits for my new novel, Dark Moon, not to mention Christmas looming, all the cards I still need to write and the cakes I need to bake for family and close friends (although I do enjoy this) and a bunch of other stuff besides. It put me in a positive mood to face all of them and made me want to search out my favourite Christmas movie of all time to watch and enjoy with my kids… Bill Murray’s Scrooged.
I just love that movie. For me, it is the epitome of Christmas movies – a retelling of Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol, which is THE master story of all Christmas stories from which most other Christmas stories find inspiration – a character study of a bad man made good by the spirits of Christmas and the joy of those around him who can find happiness in the most dire circumstances because they share the love of family and friendship – which is what Christmas is supposed to be about – the spirit of loving and giving and respect for our fellow man. But unlike the traditional Charles Dickens movie versions that are often so dour it’s not hard to see how Ebinezer got to be the sourpuss he is, Scrooged is a funny, crazy, slapsticky version (of course it is, it’s got Bill Murray who happens to be in some of my favourite funny movies of all time…Stripes, Groundhog Day, Ghostbusters anyone?) His version of Ebinezer, TV exec, Frank Cross’ journey from scrooge to generous man full of the spirit of Christmas (and I’m not talking about whisky), is full of an off kilter energy and pathos that shows the pain at the centre of this much maligned character. I know some people wouldn’t like it, but its mix of silliness, comedy, pathos and Christmas message is just perfect for me at this time of the year.
Bill and Carol Kane (the ghost of Christmas Present) on screen together is a piece of casting genius. I just love the way she slaps him around. She’s the toughest fairy-like Ghost of Christmas Present there ever was! With her and the other Ghosts’ help (not to mention them scaring the pants off him numerous times) Frank builds bridges with his brother, realises he can’t live without his ex-girlfriend, stops an ex employee he completely wronged (the ridiculously crazy Bobcat Goldthwaite) from killing him, creates some much needed Christmas magic for his much put-upon secretary (the blissful Alfre Woodard) and her family and all this while a ludicrously eighties version of a Christmas Carol (it has the Solid Gold Dancers in it!) is being shot live in his TV studio. It is non-stop violently zany slapstick from beginning to end – the kind that sarcasm king, Bill Murray, excels at). Then if it wasn’t already as perfect as it could be, right at the end, they finish off with Annie Lennox singing ‘Put a Little Love In Your Heart’ with Al Green – which is enough to have your feet tapping and feeling as far from scroogy as it is possible to feel all by itself. Good triumphs evil with romance and funny – what could be more Christmassy than that? Other than the Dr Who version of this classic – but that is a completely seperate blog.
And just for a treat, here’s the Scrooged trailer just to get you in the mood – enjoy!
I’d love to hear from you about the Christmas movies you love.