4 Christmas Movies That Are Really Remakes
Some of the best examples of remakes when it comes to Christmas movies include kickass '80s classics like “Scrooged,” as well as sad attempts to capitalize on beloved gems like “The Bishop’s Wife” and the Chuck Jones favorite, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” Oftentimes ghastly and nothing more than jokes to those with any real taste, these remakes have nonetheless come to serve a greater purpose—to introduce new generations to Academy Award winning classics.
A great example of Christmas movies that are really remakes, this black comedy gave “A Christmas Carol” a corporate, '80s spin and starred Bill Murray as Frank Cross, a self-absorbed TV executive who is visited by three spirits on Christmas Eve who attempt to soften his cynical, booze-soaked heart. While “A Christmas Carol” has been remade over 20 times since its first adaptation in the early 1900s, this remake and the 1951 masterpiece “Scrooge” starring Alistair Sim are by far the best. “Scrooged” features Bill Murray at his best, while also starring comic genius Bobcat Goldthwait as the butt of Frank Cross’s insults, Eliot Loudermilk, who ends up taking the control room at Cross’s studio hostage while Murray gives one of the funniest, albeit manic monologues of his insane career.
“Miracle on 34th Street”
If you’re an adult in the 21st century, chances are you felt cheated by the 1994 remake of this beloved classic. Someone, somewhere saw Richard Attenborough in “Jurassic Park” and thought his character, money hungry douche bag John Hammond, would make an excellent Santa Claus while also deciding to completely rewrite one of the best endings in Christmas movie history. A holiday staple, the 1947 original starred the great Edmund Gwenn as a lovable old man who just might be the real Santa Claus. The film is a genuine classic in every sense of the word and even starred a very young Natalie Wood as six-year-old Susan, a girl who doesn’t believe in Santa until Gwenn restores her faith. For some reason, the fact that the film won a number of Academy Awards means jack shit as it’s been remade too many times to count. Actress Maureen O’Hara, who played the lead of Doris Walker in the original, has even laughed about the fact that every remake of this standard has completely bombed.
“The Preacher’s Wife”
One of the best examples of Christmas movies that are really remakes is this 1996 travesty that aimed to further propel Whitney Houston’s acting career after her success in “The Bodyguard.” Like many remakes including “The Honeymooners” and “Death at a Funeral,” “The Preacher’s Wife” took a great idea, replaced the all white cast with African American actors, and moved the action to the inner city to make it relatable to an African American audience, only to produce a wholly terrible film that insults the original material. The film is a remake of the 1947 gem “The Bishop’s Wife,” starring legendary actors Davis Niven and Cary Grant in roles that were taken over, half-heartedly, by Courtney B. Vance and Denzel Washington for the remake. Sappy and melodramatic, the film is full of scenes that only serve to set up another gospel song for Houston, while laden with flat performances so bad they even make Denzel Washington look like a drama school dropout.
“How the Grinch Stole Christmas”
Another painful remake that should never have been, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” was a 2000 live action retooling of the 1966 cartoon special. The film sought to capitalize on the stardom of Jim Carrey by stuffing him into a furry green suit complete with a yellow-toothed scowl so creepy that it gave grown men nightmares. Complete with a sad attempt at a backstory that tried to explain the Grinch’s small heart and an hour or so of pointless scenes that explored the lives of Cindy Lou Who, her family, and the townspeople of Whoville, this sham of a film more than likely made Dr. Suess roll over in his grave, while doing surprisingly (and unfortunately for anyone who appreciates Boris Karloff and the animation of Chuck Jones) very well at the box office to become one of the most financially successful Christmas films of all time.