Here's an interesting title that's often considered a Christmas classic of sorts, but in a much darker way than your average 'Christmas Carol' story. Here, Bill Murray plays TV network President, Frank Cross. He rules with an iron fist, assumes he knows what's best for his audience, and gets ruthless with anyone who contradicts him. He's also very greedy, handing out bath towels to most of his staff as a cheap gift. He fires Eliot Loudermilk (Bobcat Goldthwait) on Christmas Eve for opposing his ideas, and forces his staff, including his assistant, Grace (Alfre Woodard) to work over the holiday.
As one could probably imagine by the title of the film, Frank ends up getting the "Scrooge treatment" where he is warned by the spirit of his old boss to change his ways. Further to the point, he is also visited by the spirits of Christmas past (David Johansen), Present (Carol Kane) and Future (an uncredited Robert Hammond) in an effort to show him the errors of his ways.
The interesting thing about this version of 'A Christmas Carol' is that it's been modernized (at least for 1988); something we don't surprisingly see a lot of when it comes to this story. Even the Muppet version kept it classic Dickens. So what we have here is something that stands on it's own quite nicely, especially with the dark sense of humor it carries through it. It gets that the original story is a dark one, and this was a great opportunity to add a comedic twist to it that isn't even that family friendly. Based on it's PG-13 rating, a lot of the dialogue and imagery, this was clearly made for a more adult audience. Which, to be perfectly frank, wasn't really something that had been done before. The trend would follow later with 'Christmas Vacation', but I'd be hard pressed to find another dark Christmas comedy before this one's time.
While it remains a comedy classic for many, truth be told, I never held this one up high in that regard. It's a perfectly good, perfectly funny movie with a touch of heart, and stands well on it's own as a sort of strange adventure away from the typical Christmas light of other films. But for whatever reason, this has never become an annual do for myself, and I might catch it once every 2 or 3 years as a bit of a refresher. I'm not sure it would even end up on a Top 10 list of favorite Christmas movies, which might be a bit of a surprise considering my general tastes in film. That said, however, I do always enjoy it whenever I do watch it. So there's definitely still something to it, and I can still recommend it as a bit of fun for the more mature audiences out there.