Tuesday, February 2, 2010
I love Bill Murray in the 1993 movie Groundhog Day--who doesn't? But did you know that there are three, yes three other movies that adapt this same story structure for made-for-TV Christmas movies? Yes, three.
In 1996, there was Christmas Every Day, starring Robert Hays, Bess Armstrong and young hunk-of-the-month Erik von Detter. Here, 13 year-old Billy (von Detter) is having a miserable holiday--he’s not very good at basketball, he’s bullied in front of the girl he likes and his father is made unhappy by a business-minded uncle that wants to make drastic changes to their small community. But when Billy wakes up the next morning, he finds himself re-living Christmas day over and over again--just like the story in the movie Groundhog Day. At first Billy tries to stop his bullying by being an even bigger bully. On another Christmas day, he tries to make Christmas perfect--learning how impossible that project really is. What can Billy do to improve his Christmas except try his best to make it the most special day for everyone else around him.
In 2004, there was 12 days of Christmas Eve, starring Steven Weber, Molly Shannon and Stefanie von Pfetten. This movie is directed by Martha Coolidge. She has a previous significant Christmas TV connection: she directed the 1985 re-make of the classic episode "Night of the Meek" on the New Twilight Zone with actor Richard Mulligan playing the same role Art Carney made popular. Coolidge also directed one of my all time favorite movies, 1983's Valley Girl.
Businessman Calvin Carter is killed in an accident at midnight on Christmas Eve only to awaken in an otherworldly hospital room and told he has eleven more chances to re-live Christmas Eve and to get it right. This is a more clever interpretation of the film Groundhog Day. Though distracted by his business goals, Calvin is able on his last opportunity at Christmas Eve to live it as if it is his last day on Earth--and finds his priorities are finally straight. Wacky Molly Shannon plays Calvin’s angelic medical caretaker, Angie.
And, 2006 there was Christmas Do Over, starring Jay Mohr, Daphne Zuniga
Adrienne Barbeau and Ruta Lee. Lee is fantastic to watch as a non-traditional grandmother.
Spending a horrible holiday with his ex-wife, her new fiance and his former in-laws, Kevin (Mohr) finds himself more miserable than usual when his son makes a wish that every day were Christmas. Kevin re-lives each day as if it were his miserable Christmas all over again, unable to stop the cycle. That is, until he learns to let go of his selfish, mean-spirited behaviors and become loving and considerate again.
Is anyone eager to see a fourth version? Anyone?... Bueller?... Bueller?