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Video Rewind: Ghosts of Christmas' Past

Updated on December 23, 2014
Dan Ackroyd, Jamie Lee Curtis and Eddie Murphy have big plans in 1983
Dan Ackroyd, Jamie Lee Curtis and Eddie Murphy have big plans in 1983

If you didn't know it, whatever you read or watch is basically the same. Sure we complain when there's a remake but here's some movies that retell A Christmas Carol in a whole new light.

In Trading Places Ralph Bellamy and Don Ameche (Scrooge) are brothers who want to get rich any way they can and they're far from poverty level. As with the three "ghosts" go, you have the ghost of Christmas Past (Dan Ackroyd) Christmas Present (Jamie Lee Curtis) and Christmas Future (Eddie Murphy).

The brothers make a bet for one dollar to see if they can bring a successful man down and bring a poor man up to the ranks of privilege by any means available. Each want to win the bet.

While Ackroyd's trying to figure things out for himself, Murphy on the other hand is reaping the benefits of Ackroyd's lavish lifestyle and the brothers discover he's pretty good at commodities trading. When Ackroyd discovers his life has been switched with Murphy (and Murphy finds out what the brothers have been up to) the two decide to get even with the help of Curtis to bring the brothers down.

In While You Were Sleeping we're not shown the ghost of Christmas Past, but in a poignant scene between Sandra Bullock and Jack Warden, we learn that her father passed away a year ago. This is the ghost she's carrying around with her along with her loneliness.

The ghost(s) of Christmas Present would be the Callaghan family. They accept her into their family while son Peter (Peter Gallagher) lies in a coma over the Christmas holiday.

After a series of miscommunications, the Callaghan's think she's engaged to Peter. Had it not been for her "Scrooge" boss (Jason Bernard) she wouldn't have had to work on Christmas Day. From the moment she first laid eyes on Peter, she's harbored a crush on him but never had the courage to talk to him.

Even though the Callaghan's represent Christmas Present, they also represent Christmas Future when she meets Jack (Bill Pullman). He's leery of the stories about her and Peter and tries to confront her on them. Luck is definitely on her side.

I'd have to say this movie qualifies as a classic with the hope and miracles surrounding it. If it were set at any other time of the year, it would just be a silly romantic comedy, but with this taking place at Christmas it allows the viewer to think of their own possibilities in life.

And a life lesson is what Bill Murray discovers in Scrooged.

As the ruthless president of the IBC Network, his goal is to have high ratings and be number one among the networks. So what does he do? He plans to take over Christmas Eve by doing a live telecast of Scrooge from various parts of the world.

Since everyone knows A Christmas Carol I won't repeat it, but when Murray's visited by the various ghosts the movie showcased his dramatic acting ability. Of course the events leading to the ghost's arrivals are laden with comedy, but when they show him his past, present and future Murray is excellent at downplaying his comedic side.

So whatever you lean toward as far as Christmas classics go, do yourself a favor and take these into consideration for old time's sake.


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