Author Topic: Fictional etiquette - Scrooged (making plans in advance)  (Read 2826 times)

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Knitterly

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Fictional etiquette - Scrooged (making plans in advance)
« on: December 19, 2011, 09:56:22 PM »
The situation is entirely fictional, but it grates on my nerves every year!  Every year my husband and I watch the movie "Scrooged" with Bill Murray.  Every year one little scene in that movie drives me absolutely NUTS.  It's the breakup scene between Frank Cross and Claire Phillips.

Movie synopsis: It's basically a modern (well, 1980s) day version of a Christmas Carol.  Frank Cross (Bill Murray) is Scrooge as a TV exec.  He's a jaded, bitter jerk.  The Ghost of Christmas Past takes him back to the late 1960s where he's been seriously dating Claire Phillips.  According to the timeline thingy on the Ghost's cab, they've been seriously dating/living together for at least 2 years.  At the point in the scene that makes me crazy, Frank plays a dog in a live action kids program and has apparently been "fighting for the integrity of the show" for a while.

Part that drives me crazy:  Frank is on a quick commercial break.  Frank's boss, the President of the Network, comes in and tells Frank that he wants Frank and Claire to join him and his secretary (with whom Network Pres. seems to be having an affair) for dinner.  It's Christmas Eve.  Now, cheating scumbaggery of the pres aside, this is kind of a Really Big Deal and a golden opportunity.
Frank says yes.
Claire comes in.  Frank tells her that the President just invited them to dinner.  Claire says "Oh no, we can't go, we promised to have dinner with friends."  Frank is taken aback and tells her that she can't expect the President of the Network to make plans a month in advance and that they can reschedule with their friends, whom he is sure will understand.  This is where he mentions that this is a big opportunity and that he's been fighting for the integrity of his show.  Claire claims to not have realized what a big deal this is to Frank.  He makes a joke about how he can forgive her once in a while. 
Claire promptly breaks up with him.
Frank doesn't really have time to deal with this now as commercial break is over and he has to go back on the air.
Ghost of Christmas Past heckles him for having made the wrong choice.

This entire scene makes me absolutely CRAZY!  But maybe it's just me.

First - There is absolutely no indication that they'd been having problems prior to this scene. 
Second - She breaks up with him on a commercial break, effectively giving him no opportunity to really address the problem/situation.  Yes, he wanders back on stage and waves goodbye, but he's at work, what else was he supposed to do?
Third (and the biggest issue in my mind) - What the heck kind of lousy friends wouldn't understand Frank's situation?

So my question to the e-hellions is this:
If you'd been in Frank's shoes and you were fighting for the integrity of your (admittedly pretty menial) job and the President of your Company invited you to dinner on Christmas Eve, basically offering you a major career opportunity on a golden platter, but you had dinner plans with friends, what would you have done?

If you were Claire and your significant other were offered a golden opportunity like that, but you had plans with friends, what would you do?

If you were the friends in this situation and your good friend called you up and explained aforementioned golden opportunity, how would you reply?

Yes, I understand it's just a movie.  But this whole scene just gets right under my skin. 

Sharnita

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Re: Fictional etiquette - Scrooged (making plans in advance)
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2011, 10:01:18 PM »
Honestly, I would expect my boss (even the president of a company) to realize that many people had obligations that night incliding religious obligations that they would be unwilling to forgo. 

Knitterly

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Re: Fictional etiquette - Scrooged (making plans in advance)
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2011, 10:09:25 PM »
Honestly, I would expect my boss (even the president of a company) to realize that many people had obligations that night incliding religious obligations that they would be unwilling to forgo. 
There is no indication in the movie that anything negative would have happened to Frank if he declined.  The invite was just clearly a golden opportunity that he needed in order to fight for the integrity of his show.

But you do make a good point.  Most people have obligations on Christmas eve.

immadz

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Re: Fictional etiquette - Scrooged (making plans in advance)
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2011, 10:12:41 PM »
You know I think I would liken it to having to fly out for a big event or interview on Christmas day. If it is something that is a big career break for me and didn't happen very often then I would expect family and friends to be more understanding than interviewer/boss.


EMuir

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Re: Fictional etiquette - Scrooged (making plans in advance)
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2011, 10:17:53 PM »
I would absolutely support my spouse's career.  Unless the friends included my dying mother, in which case I'd give my spouse my blessing and celebrate separately.

Calypso

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Re: Fictional etiquette - Scrooged (making plans in advance)
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2011, 10:37:59 PM »
Well, for sure, Claire was a big dang jerk, unless Frank has a long history of breaking plans (and there's nothing in the movie to indicate he's like that, right?)

The stance in general, though, is so typical of the kind of world-view a lot of movies try to shove down our throats. Love-without-thought is always better than approaching your relationship rationally. Small towns are always better than cities, people are always more important than work (and evidently you can live in a fabulous place on the smallest, lowest paying job, in the movies)...oh, and don't forget, businessmen are bad, developers are bad, scientists are (usually) arrogant and bad (unless they're geeky and lovable)...what am I forgetting?

You can say "but it's only the movies," and I'd agree if the tropes weren't so boring.

Anyway, good luck and you have my permission to throw popcorn at the screen when Claire is pulling her selfish (unusable word on Ehell) act.

lowspark

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Re: Fictional etiquette - Scrooged (making plans in advance)
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2011, 10:16:40 AM »
Well the part I have a problem with is Frank accepting the invitation without at least checking with Claire first. And for Christmas Eve yet. I mean, if the boss invited him on any regular night, he still would need to check with her first to make sure they didn't already have previous plans -- even if it meant that she might need to cancel the plans for this important dinner. But let's face it, Christmas is family time and even the boss should know that.

Frank should have told the boss that he'd need to let him know after talking with Claire. And he should have talked with Claire after he was done with the show for the day instead of springing it on her during a commercial break when there clearly was not time for a conversation.

HOWEVER, I can understand Frank possibly being excited about the invitation/opportunity in the heat of the moment and forgetting all that. So at that point we turn to look at Claire's behavior.

I can understand her being unhappy with it all, but really, breaking up with him on the spot? There would have to have been more going on with the two of them and maybe this was just the last straw for me to buy that she would do that. Since Frank is the Scrooge character, maybe we are just meant to assume that he's generally not a nice guy and that their rel@tionship was already on the rocks.

Otherwise, though, I will put the blame on both of them, maybe Frank taking 35% for not at least checking with Claire first and for not waiting till a better time to spring it on her, and Claire taking 65% for breaking up with him in such a situation.

Knitterly

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Re: Fictional etiquette - Scrooged (making plans in advance)
« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2011, 10:20:44 AM »
Well, for sure, Claire was a big dang jerk, unless Frank has a long history of breaking plans (and there's nothing in the movie to indicate he's like that, right?)

The stance in general, though, is so typical of the kind of world-view a lot of movies try to shove down our throats. Love-without-thought is always better than approaching your relationship rationally. Small towns are always better than cities, people are always more important than work (and evidently you can live in a fabulous place on the smallest, lowest paying job, in the movies)...oh, and don't forget, businessmen are bad, developers are bad, scientists are (usually) arrogant and bad (unless they're geeky and lovable)...what am I forgetting?

You can say "but it's only the movies," and I'd agree if the tropes weren't so boring.

Anyway, good luck and you have my permission to throw popcorn at the screen when Claire is pulling her selfish (unusable word on Ehell) act.

I just grumble through it.  Loudly.  Every year.

Because, prior to the visit of the ghosts, Frank is firmly established as a big old jerk.  And Claire is supposed to be the sweet, kindhearted, giving, loving, generous paragon of perfection.  But that scene just undoes it all for me. 

It's supposed to be analogous to the scene between Ebenezer Scrooge and Belle, where Belle broke up with Scrooge because of his greed.  Except, as I recall from the book and other adaptations, Belle has lots more reason than a broken dinner engagement.  To me, the movie just fails here. 


Bijou

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Re: Fictional etiquette - Scrooged (making plans in advance)
« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2011, 10:49:52 AM »
Who would want to work for a boss who has so little consideration for his employees? 
Who would want to be with someone who would tolerate that kind of treatment and allow it to extend to me and our life together?  How could you trust this guy to be dependable? 
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Betelnut

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Re: Fictional etiquette - Scrooged (making plans in advance)
« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2011, 11:02:28 AM »
Well, that may be why Scrooged is not really considered that great of a movie?  <ducks>
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acicularis

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Re: Fictional etiquette - Scrooged (making plans in advance)
« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2011, 11:54:38 AM »
Been awhile since I watched it, but I think I assumed that this was simply the latest incident of choosing work over her, the latest example of how his choices and priorities were very different from hers. The straw that broke the camel's back. Besides, wasn't the boss a bit of a jerk to assume that Frank was at his beck and call on Christmas Eve?

JeanFromBNA

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Re: Fictional etiquette - Scrooged (making plans in advance)
« Reply #11 on: December 20, 2011, 02:57:12 PM »
Yes, I think chicken has it right.  Boss was a bit of a jerk to assume that an employee would drop everything to go out to dinner with him on Christmas Eve.  But otherwise, I got the same feeling about that scene as you, knitterly. 

Don't get me started on the whole Devil Wears Prada movie.  Nate was a whiner.  And a hypocrite.

Knitterly

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Re: Fictional etiquette - Scrooged (making plans in advance)
« Reply #12 on: December 20, 2011, 03:30:46 PM »
Been awhile since I watched it, but I think I assumed that this was simply the latest incident of choosing work over her, the latest example of how his choices and priorities were very different from hers. The straw that broke the camel's back. Besides, wasn't the boss a bit of a jerk to assume that Frank was at his beck and call on Christmas Eve?

That's probably the feel they were going for.  Still, you sort of get the sense that a key scene got cut, because it doesn't get communicated very well.

It interrupts the necessary "suspension of disbelief" that's necessary for good fiction to work.  kwim?

wolfie

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Re: Fictional etiquette - Scrooged (making plans in advance)
« Reply #13 on: December 20, 2011, 03:33:05 PM »
It's been years since I watched Scrooged but I always thought that was the moment that propelled him from generally good guy to greedy corporate guy.

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Re: Fictional etiquette - Scrooged (making plans in advance)
« Reply #14 on: December 20, 2011, 03:59:17 PM »
Well, for sure, Claire was a big dang jerk, unless Frank has a long history of breaking plans (and there's nothing in the movie to indicate he's like that, right?)

The stance in general, though, is so typical of the kind of world-view a lot of movies try to shove down our throats. Love-without-thought is always better than approaching your relationship rationally. Small towns are always better than cities, people are always more important than work (and evidently you can live in a fabulous place on the smallest, lowest paying job, in the movies)...oh, and don't forget, businessmen are bad, developers are bad, scientists are (usually) arrogant and bad (unless they're geeky and lovable)...what am I forgetting?

You can say "but it's only the movies," and I'd agree if the tropes weren't so boring.

Anyway, good luck and you have my permission to throw popcorn at the screen when Claire is pulling her selfish (unusable word on Ehell) act.

I just grumble through it.  Loudly.  Every year.

Because, prior to the visit of the ghosts, Frank is firmly established as a big old jerk.  And Claire is supposed to be the sweet, kindhearted, giving, loving, generous paragon of perfection.  But that scene just undoes it all for me. 

It's supposed to be analogous to the scene between Ebenezer Scrooge and Belle, where Belle broke up with Scrooge because of his greed.  Except, as I recall from the book and other adaptations, Belle has lots more reason than a broken dinner engagement.  To me, the movie just fails here. 



I happen to love the movie, but it certainly doesn't follow the book that closely. In the book, I think Belle objects to Ebenezer putting off their wedding because of business reasons, doesn't she? He makes excuses once too often and she (nicely) tells him goodbye.

I think they tried to squish too many parts of the book together for that scene. If you stretch the timeline out to more than a commercial break, Claire doesn't look so bad.

As for the etiquette, I think if it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, I'd go for it and I would hope my friends and family would be understanding. And I would be understanding if someone in my life had that kind of a chance. If it is one more dinner in a long list of business dinners (like it is supposed to be) then I'd be ticked.
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