1988 | 101 minutes | Rated PG-13
Richard Donner has a tendency to let the manic energy of his filmmaking slide into shrillness. Films that played as madcap hijinks on release (The Goonies, Lethal Weapon 2) are, on second viewing, just annoying noise. But 1988’s Scrooged—arguably the last great movie Donner made—is different. Rewatches reveal an underlying sweetness and patience it didn’t get credit for at the time—audiences and critics were likely distracted by its on-the-nose parodies of then-crass-but-now-quaint television programming and the evergreen joy of seeing Carol Kane swing a toaster like a mace. But Bill Murray’s expert blend of acid and schmaltz (along with the genius idea of making Bob Goldthwait into Bob Cratchit) turn what could have been a mean-spirited misfire of soured sentimentality into a Christmas gift that is both 100 percent of the decade that spawned it, and better than that decade deserved.