I love the Christmas season. I really do. Presents, good food, presents, the pretty lights, presents, egg nog and presents are some of the reasons I love the period from Thanksgiving to December 25th. But there is one thing that has been sticking in my yule log like an annoying Christmas caroler who doesn’t understand the phrase, “Shut the hell up or I will burn you in your sleep.”
It’s A Christmas Carol. Now, don’t get me wrong, I like a healthy portion of Dickens as much as the next guy, but the story has been rehashed so many times and so pointlessly that if you watched all of them in one sitting, you would die of natural causes twice. Whether your favorite version is the snooze fest starring Alistair Sim or the beloved Muppets version (the only one I can watch without being tempted to jab icicles in my eyes), the versions are countless. A short trip to Wikipedia will reveal there are 21 film versions of this story. 21! To put that in perspective, there are more film versions of the same exact story than there are episodes of the TV series, “Freaks and Geeks.” There has to be some sort of federal law against that happening. And that number isn’t even counting made for TV movies, straight to DVD films, episodes of TV shows that are based on the story or pornographic versions.
I didn’t realize how much this angered me until I saw a scene from the recent Jim Carrey version. You know that one right? The one with that highly detailed computer animation used in the Polar Express, the one that freakily captures every aspect of a human being except for the soul? Well, there is a scene where Scrooge spends ten minutes getting chased by a horse and carriage being driven by death as he gradually shrinks to a smaller and smaller size. I could barely make it through typing that sentence without my fingers trying to commit suicide.
This scene made me realize that we have reached a point where there are so many versions of A Christmas Carol that we are now adding pointless scenes to simply pad the story and create opportunities to show off gimmicky 3-D technology. I will give them credit, on one thing. At least adding that retarded chase scene made the story unique.
And that got me thinking. “Hey Kyle,” I thought to myself, “When you aren’t busy being incredibly good looking and universally well liked, how about you have a crack at writing a film version of A Christmas Carol? After all, you studied Creative Writing for four years. Might as well do something with it, mate!” I said ‘mate’ because when I imagine my own voice, it has an Australian accent. Should have mentioned that.
But that made my decision for me. I would craft a script for my very own film version of A Christmas Carol. Now I have taken some liberties with the characters and scenes from the novel, but that’s the point. I will make my own distinctly flavored version of the Dickens classic in a way where there will no other version will have to be made. Hold onto your Christmas baubles because it is going to be a wild ride.
First, let’s start with the cast listing. Here is my cast.
Scrooge will be played by Liam Neeson
Bob Cratchit will be played by Rick Moranis
Jacob Marley will be played by Christopher Walken
The Ghost of Christmas Past will be played by Ke$ha
The Ghost of Christmas Present will be played by John Goodman
The Ghost of Christmas Future will be played by Wilem Defoe
All other roles are minor and can be played by random people taken from homeless shelters for all I care. So without further adieu, here is…
Kyle Hanley’s A Christmas Carol
(Scene opens with a shot of a bustling village street. There is a cobblestone street, laced with freshly fallen snow. It is Christmas Eve and the viewer can see plenty of Christmas decorations on shops such as tinsel, garland and whatever the hell else they used in the 19th century. Some peddlers are selling their wares at shop stands, and there is a newspaper boy standing at the corner shouting, “49ers win the Super Bowl! 49ers win the Super Bowl!”
Suddenly, a bass drum starts pounding and everyone stops what they were doing. They are confused, looking around for the source of the noise. Suddenly, “Running With The Devil” by Van Halen starts playing and Ebenezer Scrooge (Liam Neeson) turns the corner, wearing a top hat, 19th century business clothes (no idea what that is, you think I’m actually going to do research for this???) and holding a cane. He walks down the street in a way that can only be described as “with swagger.” He smirks as everyone shakes in fear and Van Halen continues to play.
He makes it to the end of the street where his place of work and business, “Scrooge and Marley Fireworks and Steak Company.” He opens the door and disappears inside. Everyone on the street breathes a collective sigh of relief and continues their business. The view is held on the street until “Running With The Devil” stops playing because seriously, that song stops for no one.
The camera switches to the inside of Scrooge’s business. Inside there are a shelves filled with bags of fireworks and packaged steak. In the corner is Bob Cratchit’s (Rick Moranis) desk where he is working diligently. He looks up to see Scrooge’s presence, shivers, and turns back to notebook or scroll or whatever the hell he is writing on.)
Scrooge (breathing in a whiff of air): Ah, nothing like the smell of gunpowder and T-bone steak to wake you up in the morning. Good morning, Bob, I hope you are doing shittily.
Bob: Yes sir, quite shittily, thank you for asking.
(Scrooge makes his way to his office which is located in the back of the store. His office is full of bags of money, a 70 inch plasma TV and there is one of those stupid talking fish things hanging up on the wall. Behind his desk is a throne made entirely of skulls. He sits down on it. The desk is made of pure platinum and signed by Jimi Hendrix.)
Scrooge: Business is booming, Mr. Cratchit. In spite of you working here, might I add.
Cratchit: Yes sir, thank you for the compliment.
(Scrooge then pulls out a Playboy and starts to read it until he is interrupted by a knock on the door. Scrooge sighs.)
Scrooge: Cratchit! Since you’re not doing anything productive besides stealing my precious air, go answer that door. I haven’t even had a chance to take my pants off.
Cratchit: Yes sir, of course sir.
(Cratchit gets up and answers the door. Standing outside are two men, one tall and thin, the other short and pudgy. They have gigantic grins plastered on their faces.)
Tall Dude: Greeting my good man! Is your boss available?
(Cratchit looks uneasily from the two men to Scrooge who is starting to unbuckle his belt.)
Cratchit: Hold on…
(Cratchit closes the door enough to hide the two men from Scrooge’s view.)
Cratchit: Sir! I believe these two gentlemen are here to see you!
(Scrooge stops, mid unbuckling. He pounds on his desk in anger.)
Scrooge: Dammit Cratchit, what did I tell you about visitors!
Cratchit: To spit on them and punch them in their dicks?
Scrooge: Yes, dammit, yes!
Cratchit: Well, I, um…am not comfortable doing that.
(Scrooge buckles his belt back up, tosses the Playboy aside and gets up. Cratchit opens the door back up and scurries back to his desk. Scrooge gets to the door.)
Tall Dude: Greetings, Mr. Scrooge! I hope you are having a wonderful morning?
Scrooge: I was.
Tall Dude: Excellent, excellent!
Pudgy Dude: Indeed, most excellent!
Scrooge: What can I help you two morons with?
(The two dudes look slightly taken aback, their grins faltering a bit. But they swiftly recover.)
Tall Dude: Um, well, it’s a matter of charity.
Scrooge: Oh for fuck’s sake, I told her it was a one night stand. What, are you guys her pimps or something?
Tall Dude: What? No, no. I don’t mean charity as a person, I mean charity as in donating to charity.
Pudgy Dude: Yes, we must help the poor! It being the holiday season and all…
(Scrooge suddenly smiles, looking as if he understands.)
Scrooge: Ah! Pardon my misinterpretation! Of course I would love to donate!
Tall Dude: Capital, simply capital! How much can we put you down for?
Scrooge: I would like to donate my fist to your throat.
(The dudes stop smiling and look at each other, confused.)
Tall Dude: Uh, wh-
(Scrooge then punches the tall dude in the throat, causing him to fly back onto the street. The pudgy dude yelps in horror, which is cut off by Scrooge drop kicking his windpipe. Both men are on the ground, coughing up blood in the street.)
Scrooge: Ah, I must admit, donating to charity is very satisfying! Perhaps I should make a second donation?
(The two dudes quickly scamper up and bolt down the street, leaving a trail of blood and tears. Scrooge slams the door and glares at Cratchit, who witnessed the whole thing in wide eyed horror.)
Scrooge: You know what they say…Christmas is the season of giving. Now get back to work before I shove a candle in your ear.
(Cratchit gulps and goes back to work. Scrooge goes back to his office and closes the door. The camera cuts to outside the store and fast forwards the time. People zip by the street, some of them slipping on the blood of the solicitors. It becomes dusk in a few seconds and time slows back to normal. A man comes up to Scrooge’s establishment and knocks on the door. The camera cuts to the inside where Cratchit looks towards the source of the knock. He looks to Scrooge’s office and sees the door is closed. He is hesitant, but gets up and goes to open the door. Outside is Fred, Scrooge’s nephew.)
Fred: Mr. Bob Cratchit, how are you this fine evening!
(Cratchit and Fred shake hands, laughing.)
Cratchit: Fine, fine. Except for the fact I work for your violent, sociopathic, psychotic uncle, of course.
Fred: Speaking of the nut job, is he available?
Cratchit: Well, his office door is closed so that means he is either masturbating, watching Die Hard or both. Let me check.
(Cratchit goes to Scrooge’s office door and knocks.)
Cratchit: May I come in?
Scrooge: Yes, yes, make it quick, Alan Rickman is about to die!
(Cratchit opens the door and finds Scrooge watching Die Hard but, luckily, with his pants on. He has a huge bowl of popcorn resting on his lap.)
Scrooge: This is the only Christmas movie I enjoy, Cratchit, so make it quick.
Cratchit: Your nephew is here.
Scrooge: GOD DAMMIT, I HATE FAMILY. BOTH MY FAMILY SPECIFICALLY, AND THE CORE CONCEPT.
(Scrooge pauses the movie, puts aside the popcorn bowl and walks out to the front door where Fred is waiting patiently.)
Fred: Ah, Uncle Ebenezer!
Scrooge: What do you want Fred? No, I am not giving you another free steak.
Fred: Uncle! I am offended! I am merely here to invite you to have dinner with me and my wife and a few of our friends. A Christmas dinner, Uncle!
Scrooge: No. Fuck off.
(Fred walks away and Scrooge slams the door. Scrooge takes a look at his Thundercats pocket watch.)
Scrooge: My how the time flies when you spend all day watching Bruce Willis kill shit! Time to go, Cratchit, see you tomorrow, bright and early.
(Cratchit, who is already in his coat and scarf, sheepishly walks towards Scrooge who is heading back to his office. Scrooge gets his things together, turns off his PS3 and starts to pull on his coat. He notices Cratchit is awkwardly standing in the doorway, staring.)
Scrooge: What in the shitting hell are you staring at?
Cratchit: Um, sir…Mr. Scrooge. I was wondering if perhaps, considering it is the holiday tomorrow…Christmas and all that…if perhaps, and if not, it’s fine…but could I maybe, kind of…have the day off tomorrow?
Scrooge: What? But Christmas is when fireworks and steak sales are at their all time highs! You expect us to just stop business because you want to get smashed on egg nog, you drunken wretch?
Cratchit: What? I never said…uh, nevermind, it’s just that all the other businesses will be closed, you will have no one to do business with.
Scrooge: Hold on, Cratchit.
(Scrooge then begins checking his pockets and then continues to check all the drawers and cabinets in his office.)
Scrooge: I am looking for a ‘fuck’ but apparently I have none to give.
Cratchit: But sir…Christmas…
Scrooge: You know what, Bob. You’re right. Christmas. Take the day off.
(Cratchit’s eyes light up and he smiles.)
Scrooge: No, fuck that, be here by eight.
(Cratchit’s shoulders slump and he slowly walks away.
The scene shifts to Scrooge walking home. At one point, he goes out of his way to punt a puppy down the street. He makes it to his front door and pulls out his keychain. As he starts to unlock the door, Scrooge notices his doorknocker transform. It sickly morphs into the miniature head of Jacob Marley (Christopher Walken).)
Scrooge: Marley? The fuck?
(Scrooge jumps back and slips down onto the street. A passerby snickers at him as he gets up, dusting snow off his clothes. He looks at the doorknocker, notices it is normal.)
Scrooge: Fuck that.
(Scrooge opens the door and slips inside. The scene then jumps to Scrooge getting ready for bed. He slips into some Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles pajamas, swills down a full glass of scotch and gets into bed.)
Scrooge: Ahh, nothing like going to bed on Christmas Eve with no holiday plans whatsoever. This is the life.
(Suddenly, his window curtain splits open and his window flies up. Scrooge bolts upright and stares at the now open window, the wind howling around in his room.)
Scrooge: Gah! What an ill timed wind gust!
(Scrooge gets up out of bed and goes over to the window. He is fighting with every ounce of strength against the hurricane force winds and clamps his hand on the window. He thrusts it down and the room is silent yet again. He pants a few heavy breaths and looks outside the window to see if anyone is outside. He turns and finds a visitor in his bedroom: It is Jacob Marley, his late business partner and lover of steak. However, Marley is transparent, like a ghost (duh) and is covered in chains that are dragging on the ground. He is also holding a tray with a block of cheese on it.)
Scrooge: Marley? Jacob Marley? You…but…you’re…
Marley: Dead? Expired? Much like this cheese, by the way. God, just like you Scrooge, leaving cheese around for weeks after its use by date.
(Marley shakes his head and walks over to a chair by Scrooge’s bedside. His chains rattle with each step, causing Scrooge to close his ears. After Marley sits down on the chair, Scrooge opens his ears up again and shakes his head furiously.)
Scrooge: I must have forgotten about it. Work has been hectic, you know.
Marley: Oh, work. Yeah, I forgot that’s what you called sitting around, stroking a boner while poor Bob Cratchit does all the number crunching.
Scrooge: Ha! You make it seem as if you didn’t do the same thing in your life, you hypocritical, cheese stealing piece of turd.
Marley: You’re right, I did do that too. And see how it worked out for me?
(Marley takes the cheese off the tray and takes a bite. The piece of cheese plops harmlessly down on the seat and Marley looks at it disappointed.)
Marley: I keep forgetting about that. It takes a while to get used to no digestive system.
Scrooge: I can imagine.
Marley: But, listen, Ebby, it isn’t about just being dead. Did you happen to notice that I am lugging 20 pounds of iron chain around?
Scrooge: I was going to bring it up, but I didn’t know if it was a sore subject.
Marley: Well when you’re dead, you tend to lose the ability to be offended. That’s not the point, the reason I have to go around, clanking this way and that is because these chains are metaphors for my sins in life. Or some shit like that.
Scrooge: Your sins? What sins did you commit?
Marley: Oh, don’t play stupid, Ebby. You know that we were never model citizens. Staying up late, going to the pubs, taking a different girl home every night. Not to mention all those orphans I beat up for fun.
Scrooge: I don’t think there are any commandants about orphan beating, though.
Marley: As you can see, the afterlife doesn’t give a shit about loopholes.
(Marley gestures towards his chains and gets up.)
Marley: Listen, buddy. I know you probably aren’t going to want to hear this, but I need to give you a heads up. Tonight you will be visited by three ghosts: a ghost of Christmas past, a ghost of Christmas present, and a ghost of Christmas yet to be. These ghosts are going to show you that you need to clean up your act. No more late night benders, no more promiscuous love making, and stop shoving fireworks up pigs’ assholes.
Marley: Yeah, it’s not going to be fun, but you’re going to have to deal with it. Believe me, you don’t want to end up like me. You know how long it takes to take a leak when you have to aim between ten different links of chains?
Scrooge: Are you saying our times together weren’t worth it? Remember when we went to O’Malley’s pub and got so drunk we stole the mayor’s horse?
Marley: Ha ha ha, or that time we took a dump on the steps of Buckingham Palace?
Scrooge: Oh yeah, I vaguely remember that! Or that time we smoked weed with the Grateful Dead?
(They both laugh, slapping their knees in joy.)
Marley: Oh man, good stuff. You know what, it totally was worth it. Do you what you want with the ghosts, I could care less. Bye bye.
(Marley then disappears in a wisp of smoke, the faint echo of chains drifting in the air. Suddenly he reappears.)
Marley: By the way, expect the 1st one by midnight. Forgot to mention that.
(He disappears again and leaves Scrooge alone. Scrooge shivers and looks around. He then gives a chortle and gets into bed.
The camera then cuts to the grandfather clock in the bedroom which shows 11:59. The clock hits 12 and the clock starts to ring. Scrooge gets up and looks at the clock.)
Scrooge: Guess the bullshit parade is set to start.
(Suddenly, a cloud of glitter starts to appear in front of Scrooge. At first it is light but then it becomes denser and denser until finally it forms the shape of a human. The glitter bursts outwards, showering Scrooge in the stuff. Where the glitter cloud once was is the Ghost of Christmas Present (Ke$ha). She is holding a bottle of Jack Daniels and is wobbling around.)
Ghost of Christmas Past: What up, bitch.
Scrooge: Are you the first ghost?
Ghost of Christmas Past: You bet your money misering ass I am.
(She takes a swig of whiskey and burps. Scrooge recoils at the sight.)
Scrooge: Huh. I think you are taking the idea of spirit a little too far.
(A snare roll is heard.)
Ghost Christmas Past: Shut up and lets get going, we got a lot of shit to cover.
Scrooge: Of course, of course. Let me get my slippers.
(Scrooge reaches down below the bed to pull out his ‘slippers’ which are in fact two Colt .45s. On the barrel of the one gun the word “Bah” is inscribed and on the other barrel “Humbug” is inscribed. He swiftly pulls the two out from under the bed and unloads two full clips into the spirit. She is rocked back by the bullets, glitter exploding out of the wounds. The Jack Daniels bottle crashes to the floor and breaks and she follows soon after. The corpse of the ghost (however that works) lies motionless on the carpet.)
Scrooge: That was for “Tik Tok.”
(Scrooge looks at the body expectantly, then his shoulder slouch.)
Scrooge: Ah shit, you don’t disappear?
(Scrooge gets out of bed and goes to the window, to make sure no pesky constables are nearby. Seeing no one outside, he goes to the body and drags it out of the room. He goes down to the basement of his home and pulls up the floorboards, revealing a crawlspace. He tosses the body down there and closes the floor back up. He claps his hands to dust them off and sees a trail of glitter has been left by his dragging the body.)
Scrooge: Son of a…oh well, I’ll worry about it tomorrow.
(Scrooge leaves his basement and heads back up to his bedroom. However, when he reaches the bedroom door, he notices it is closed and that there is a bright light shining through. Confused, Scrooge cautiously tip toes to the door and slowly opens it, his eyes wincing at the blinding light that envelopes him. He walks into his room and sees a strange figure in the corner. It is a large man, 8 feet tall, sitting on a pile of presents and wreaths. He has a long, flowing, brown beard. He is the Ghost of Christmas Present (John Goodman).)
Scrooge: Shit, I need to lay off the peyote.
Ghost of Christmas Present: Come in, come in! And know me better, man! Ha ha ha!
Scrooge: I’m judging by the fact that you are 8 feet tall, sitting on a pile of presents that magically appeared and the annoyingly blinding light that you are the next spirit on my guest list tonight.
Ghost of Christmas Present: Indeed! Now, come in, and know me better man! Did I already say that???
Ghost of Christmas Present: Ah, well, I apologize, my mind is not as keen as it was when I was younger. I also drink a lot.
Scrooge: Uh huh.
Ghost of Christmas Present: Like, A LOT.
Ghost of Christmas Present: Like, my wife and kids left me because of it. It’s pretty bad.
Scrooge: Right. So, are we going to get on with this?
Ghost of Christmas Present: But of course! Come! Let’s go outside!
Scrooge: Oh, we’re going outside? I thought you were just going to lecture me, maybe show me a PSA. Uh, if we’re going outside, let me get my…’coat’.
Ghost of Christmas Present: A fine idea! Can’t celebrate Christmas if you’re dead of hypothermia!
(Scrooge leaves the room and heads down his hallway to a walk in closet, if they even had those things in the 1800s. He goes inside, reaches for a coat and takes it off the rack. He then throws the coat down, touches a wooden panel on the wall which causes the wall to slide down, revealing a hidden armory. Guns upon guns are lined up, along with severeal grenades, claymore mines, and a rocket launcher. Scrooge grabs a shotgun off the wall and leaves the armory to head back to his room. He gets to his room and the Ghost of Christmas Present looks mildly surprised.)
Ghost of Christmas Present: What…is that?
Scrooge (aiming shotgun): It’s 12 gauges of holiday joy, bitch.
(Scrooge then pumps several rounds into the Ghost of Christmas Present, who’s body rocks back as holly leaves burst out of his body instead of blood. You know, because this is a family film. The Ghost slumps down and slides off his pile of presents.)
Scrooge: Shit, so you don’t disappear either? You guys are the worst ghosts. Screw it, I’ll find a hiding spot for you tomorrow.
(Scrooge climbs into bed with his shotgun and sits up, looking at the bedroom door, waiting for the next spirit to arrive. He waits for a while when suddenly there are footsteps heard coming from the hallway. The door opens and the Ghost of Christmas Future (Wilem Defoe) is there. He is wearing a Lakers jersey.)
Scrooge: I guess you’re-
Ghost of Christmas Future: Yeah, yeah, Ghost of Christmas Future. Look, I had some good shit planned for us. We were gonna go to your funeral, you were going to see people talking shit about you but my friend just called me and said he had courtside tickets to the Lakers game so you’ll just have to take my word for it.
Scrooge: So in the future I will die and people won’t like me? Barring I don’t change, of course?
Ghost of Christmas Future: Yeah, same as now. Except you’ll be dead, so it’s not like you can hear them bitching about you anyway.
Ghost of Christmas Future: Yeah, so change if you want, change if you don’t want. I don’t care, because in a few hours I’ll be so close to Kobe that his ball sweat will be flinging on me. See ya.
(The Ghost of Christmas Future vanishes in a whisp of smoke.)
Scrooge: Oh sure, so you disappear. Whatever. You know, I learned a lot from this night. I learned that no matter what, I can still be a dick and Wilem Defoe will be cool with it. Can’t wait to be a dick for the rest of my life!
(The camera pans out as Scrooge gets ready to go to sleep. A Narrator’s voice is heard.)
Narrator: And Scrooge was as good as his word and infinitely better. He still made fun of people, he still overworked Bob Cratchit and he never recycled a can in his life. The moral of the story is don’t fuck with Liam Neeson. Merry Christmas.