Friday, November 15, 2013

Five on Friday: A Christmas Carol Favorites

I absolutely love the Holiday season. I love Christmas lights, decorations, music, wrapping presents badly. I love baking cookies and spending time with people I care about. I believe in spreading love and joy all year round, but particularly at Christmas am I moved by the spirit. This year I'm undertaking a pretty ambitious (and secret) Christmas project, but I'm pretty excited.

I'm also the type of person who starts listening to Christmas music well before Thanksgiving. I listened to both Star 93.3 out of Cincinnati and 94.5 MixMas from Lexington on November 1, but as my Spotify playlist will attest, I'd been working on my playlist since last Halloween. As we settle in to the Holiday season, I'll be sharing Christmas-themed posts like holiday shopping guides, favorite Christmas TV episodes, movie moments, etc. This week, for a new feature Five on Friday, I'm looking at five of my favorite adaptations of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol.

Now don't get me wrong, I love the original story, but I'm a fan of a good pastiche, so you'll see a few of those on this list. I also love several animated versions and most especially The Muppet Christmas Carol; they will be honored on the blog, but I wanted to focus on live-action versions in this post. I'm also only doing movie adaptations, which is why you won't find the Christmas Carol episode of Doctor Who on the list. Feel free to agree or disagree with my choices and share your favorites in the comments!

Scrooged (1988)
I admit it, this is a holiday classic. I watch it every year and have since I was a kid. Some people have A Christmas Story and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation and I have Scrooged. Bill Murray stars as Frank Cross, a television producer who has lost the Christmas spirit. He's very good at his job, but it's come at the expense of everyone around him. Karen Allen, Bobcat Goldthwait, and Carol Kane also star in the film. Scrooged had one of the scariest Ghost of Christmas Future scenes I've ever seen. It seriously freaked me out when I was a kid. It also has a freaking awesome version of "Put a Little Love in Your Heart" on the soundtrack, Annie Lennox is love.

A Diva's Christmas Carol (2000)
This Vh1 original movie used the tagline "Tis the season to be nasty!" and boy was the main character Ebony Scrooge, played by Vanessa Williams. Ebony, the leader of a girl group a la The Supremes, Destiny's Child, or TLC, found great success on her own, leaving the other group members in the dust. But she became a Diva and it was up to Three Spirits of Christmas and her former partner Marli Jacobs (played by TLC's Chili) to knock her down of her high horse. Also, I was addicted to Vh1 for a long time and constantly watched Behind the Music specials so this movie was especially neat to me.

 A Christmas Carol (1999)
Sir Patrick Stewart gives a commanding performance as Ebenezer Scrooge in this adaptation of Charles Dickens' work with Richard E. Grant (Dr. Simeon from Doctor Who) as Bob Cratchit. I love that it retains the Victorian feel and has a bit of a darker tinge to it. Sir Patrick, as to be expected, is just fantastic. I think it it really holds up even at 14 years old.

 Christmas Cupid (2010)
ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas is something that I look forward to every year along with Lifetime and Hallmark Channel's offerings. The is a pretty loose adaptation, but apparently was filmed with the title Ex-Mas Carol, which makes much more sense when you know the story. Christian Milian plays Sloan Spencer, publicist to the stars. When her A-List client Chloe dies, her ghost comes back to haunt Sloane, typical Christmas Story. Sloane has some serious issues when it comes to her ex-boyfriends and the way she treats people in her life.

 Ebbie (1995)
In keeping with the traditional story, Ebbie is a businesswoman with no visible appreciation for Christmas. In this movie, Elizabeth "Ebbie" Scrooge is played by Susan Lucci. I mean, it's Susan Lucci, she built her career out of being an actress on a daytime soap opera. The acting is all that great, but it's an entertaining film and can usually be found on TV during the season. Definitely worth a watch.

What are your favorite adaptations of A Christmas Carol?

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