Mister Scrooge to See You, Part 4
Tim Cratchit has a busy Christmas Eve: after yelling at the office Christmas party and spooking the crazy old man who works with him by telling him when some other old man died over a century ago, he meets his lackey for lunch (or possibly dinner) in a private booth. This is really so Ron can tell Tim about the findings of the “investigation.”
“The results are back from the blood test that we gave Scrooge during his physical. The DNA test run against a sample of the original Mr. Scrooge found on artifacts in the corporate vault show an exact match.”
Damn. The Innocence Project needs to get in touch with this Ron guy. Sounds like the second-in-command at a financial firm, who also knows about “document recognition and identification,” is also a whiz at forensic analysis.
Either that, or Scrooge and Cratchit Financial is in such great condition that they can hire forensic experts with a two-week turnaround on DNA “found” on random old papers in a basement.
So Ron is shocked, but kinda accepts that this means Scrooge is Scrooge. Which makes me wonder what he thought Scrooge was when they agreed to hire him, but we’ve been over that.
And we don’t need to worry about it anyway! Ron glosses over the whole issue instantly by bringing up something Tim needs to know about Belle. He hands Tim some papers, and Tim’s response is a shocked “It can’t be!”
So, yanno how I’ve admitted I’m not great with figuring out the endings to movies, usually can’t spot the killer, etc.? Well, when Tim said that, I said (out loud, while watching the movie (yes, I’m a dork)), “It’s a V.C. Andrews story—they’re brother and sister!”
Then I laughed at my own silly notion.
What a fool I was.
But hey, forget about that, too! Ron immediately glosses over that to rub it in that he’s going to help Belle close the diner.
Time for another shoehorn, and this one I want to look at in detail, because it is SO stilted.
The original, from Carol, speaking of Fezziwig:
“It isn’t [that Fezziwig only spent a few pounds on the party],” said Scrooge, heated by the remark, and speaking unconsciously like his former, not his latter, self. “It isn’t that, Spirit. He has the power to render us happy or unhappy; to make our service light or burdensome; a pleasure or a toil. Say that his power lies in words and looks; in things so slight and insignificant that it is impossible to add and count ’em up: what then? The happiness he gives, is quite as great as if it cost a fortune.”
And here’s what Ron says to Tim:
“Y’know, it’s remarkable how some people have the power to make others happy or unhappy, to make an individual’s service light or a burden, a joy or an unbearable suffering. What is even more remarkable is that this person’s power comes from a look or a word, in things so subtle or insignificant that you can’t count them like you would money. Yet the happiness given is as great as if it cost a fortune.”
He just declares this whole little speech to Tim (who has just had some serious knowledge dropped on him and really might not be in the best frame of mind to take it right now). It just sounds stilted and silly—who says things in casual conversation like “what is even more remarkable is…” and “things so subtle and insignificant.”
Moreover, although we are shown that it kinda sucks for Ron to work for Tim, who is short-tempered and a bit of a jerk, Ron, unlike Bob Cratchit, is not underpaid, and seems to have quite a bit of power and influence in the company—enough so that it was initially his idea to turn the Dinner Belle into “boutique condos.”
If this little speech should be given by anyone, it should be Petra. It would be a way for the movie to show why she’s sticking it out with a failing business. (And don’t tell me it’s because she and Belle are best friends!!! I have a best friend, too, but if my best friend was also my employer, I wouldn’t stick it out, even with her, for FOUR MONTHS without pay.)
This all goes back to the idea that Tim should be Scrooged. For an example of how to do this, Belle, Scrooge, Ron, Petra, and the Bridge Club could look to the Christmas Carol episode of Quantum Leap, in which Sam shows a greedy jerk the error of his ways. This particular miser wants to shut down a Salvation Army shelter to make room for a multi-level mall.
(By the way, this is exactly how I thought this movie would turn out: see, in the episode, the miser still builds his mall—he just puts the shelter on the first floor! I thought for sure that Belle’s Diner would turn from a restaurant to a soup kitchen with Bible tracts…which is basically what it already is.)
Again, what a fool I was.
Anyway, I’m getting off track. I almost forgot about the next bizarre scene, in which Scrooge is wandering around by himself, and comes across some giant Wintermas inflatables.
And battles them.
Why is this Scrooge portrayed as a childlike doofus so often?
Oh, and he continuously quotes from Henry V. Because he’s into Shakespeare, you see!
Around the same time, Tim is walking alone, too. And as he stares in a Wintermas window, he sees Marley’s reflection. Of course, since he knows nothing about Marley or the whole Carol story, he really doesn’t know what significance Marley in particular might have.
Or his chains!
So he’s reduced to just being scared by a random ghost:
“Who are you?”
“I am Jacob Marley.”
“Jacob Marley? No…no, you’re dead!”
“And this surprises you, how?”
“Well, on two fronts, actually: 1) because I’ve never seen a ghost before, and 2) I’ve never heard a ghost talk to me like a 20-year-old hipster.”
Marley says they have a lot in common, then shows Tim an image of himself in ghostly chains (again, Tim has never been taught the meaning of ghostly chains, as this is a world without the story of A Christmas Carol), and then the Ghost of Christmas Future appears and spookily points at Tim, but again, he doesn’t know the meaning of this beyond that particular Ghost looking like the Grim Reaper.
Tim runs away, yelling all the time that he can change (though, once again, he has no context for any of this, and would have no real reason to know why these two ghosts want him to change, or what exactly they want him to change). He gets a little ways away before darting out into traffic…and Scrooge, who just so happens to be there, yanks him out of the way.
Tim asks why Scrooge saved him since he’s been such a jerk and doesn’t “deserve to be helped,” and Scrooge uses this perfect opening to point out that nobody deserves help (?????) but Jesus is there to help us anyway.
Helluva way to look at things.
And it’s so fortunate that this conversation takes place here, because they’re in front of a big church!
That Matthew pastors.
This pisses me off to no end—AND LET ME TELL YOU WHY:
All this time, Matthew has been slumming, passing himself off as homeless when he is the pastor of a big, well-appointed church.
He’s been mooching off Belle and her kind, way-too-generous heart, and encouraging others to join him, thus running her business right into the ground.
Plus, he spends all his time loitering at Belle’s place with, at most, three other people. WOULDN’T HE BE RESPONSIBLE FOR PASTORING MORE THAN THREE OTHER HUMANS???
How frakking DARE he use Belle’s business as a free soup kitchen that HE should be running?
Oh, and as previously pointed out, it’s Christmas Eve. And Matthew’s beautiful church is not having any services. Nope, Matthew is just loitering around as usual, just waiting for TWO whole people to show up so he can condescend to them.
“This congregation called me to be in the streets.”
“Yeah, they told me they didn’t need any sermons or services at all. Funny, the kids even seemed relieved that there wasn’t going to be choir practice. But hey, when you’re ‘called’ to pretend to be homeless and never do your job, how can you say no?”
Now, Belle does know what’s gong on, but has agreed to never being paid, apparently, because “She loves people, she loves the Lord.” Loves ’em so much that she can’t make her mortgage or pay her employee.
Tim, no fool, points out that “Belle’s the one who needs help.”
To which Matthew oh-so-sensitively responds, “Maybe there’s a Belle-like person out there for her.”
Yeah, maybe. OR MAYBE YOU COULD PAY FOR FOOD ONCE IN AWHILE AND NOT DRIVE PAYING CUSTOMERS AWAY.
Really, this is all very short-sighted of Matthew. He’s driven Belle out of business, so now where will he take his congregation of three for free food?
Oh, and Matthew’s not done:
“Besides, who better to help Belle than her loving Father in Heaven, through the most glorious gift ever given, Jesus, his son?”
That’s one helluva religious get-out-of-responsibility-free card Matthew’s got going there.
Then he drops some great logic:
“In here, I’m reminded of the One who never changes.
With what I get in here, I know I can always face what may come out there.”
Well, isn’t that ducky for you, Matt. As we sit here Christmas Eve with no services. Little did his parishioners know what they were paying him for—using the church solely for himself and three homeless people, but providing nobody else with the comfort he claims can only be found in church.
Wait, WHY AM I TELLING A PASTOR TO PASTOR MORE???
Sick of hearing Matthew talk only about himself, Tim asks if it’s too late for him?
“You’re here [in church], aren’t you?”
“Well, then, it’s not too late.”
“Yeah, good thing you caught me here on the extremely rare occasion when I’m actually inside the church at which I am paid to pastor!”
I’m surprised Matthew doesn’t make the hard sell here, but he abandons his possible conversion prospect to head out to Belle’s. Well, I guess it’s only nice that he help Belle pack up the business, when he’s the main reason she’s going out of business.
Tim agrees to go with, but adds that he needs to tell Scrooge and Matthew something about Belle.
FADE TO BLACK
At the Dinner Belle, the other homeless folks, Ron, and Petra are helping Belle pack and clean. Again, WHAT was Belle’s plan for getting the money, which she swore on several occasions she would do?
- Accept that you are delinquent in your mortgage
- Run the business just as you always have
Yeah, not seeing it.
Neither is Belle. After all that trouble teaching Scrooge coffee-ordering and Spanish-speaking, she has one bit of stragtegy left: “Pray.”
Pray in one hand and crap in the other, and see which piles up first.
But without anyone praying, Scrooge and Matthew enter, with Tim standing outside the door until he can be beckoned in dramatically.
Ron immediately jumps in, saying Belle “has until midnight to make the payment!”
That’s adorable, the way he says it like it might just actually happen!
Tim cuts right to the chase (I still like this cutie!), by handing Belle the deed to the diner. (Still doesn’t solve the problem of no income because of all the homeless loiterers, but it’s the thought that counts, I guess.) Then Tim hands a big check to Matthew for “his ministry with the Bridge Club.”
I mean, maybe it’s so that Matthew can actually pay for the food they eat every day, but somehow it doesn’t seem like it.
Carol shoehorn! Tim says, “This is the first of many, I assure you.”
Then Tim drops the real bomb!
“I’ve come here to claim my family, my sister.”
Belle: “You know???”
Wait, Belle, YOU know???
Yup, she knew all along. See, when her father forbad her from dating Tim, he revealed to her that she and Tim are brother and sister. So wait, how did Belle’s father know? Belle never mentioned being adopted: was she? Or is Belle’s father Tim’s father, too? What about Tim Cratchit the Fifth? Did he know? Or was his forbidding the dating really because he didn’t want Tim to date anyone below his social class?
And get this: they’re TWINS.
I’m sorry—I know brothers and sisters don’t always look much alike, but Belle and Tim don’t look like second cousins, let alone twins.
“Belle, why didn’t you tell me?”
Hey, YEAH. Seems kinda cruel of Belle to keep such important information from Tim for so many years.
“Would it have changed anything?”
Um, YEAH. He would have known he had a twin sister. That would have changed PLENTY.
“The way I was, probably not.”
Yeah, I bet.
Then Tim asks Belle’s forgiveness, which she bestows. Hey, how about asking his forgiveness, Belle, for keeping this from him all these years???
But there’s still this little matter of Tim carrying a torch for (and a picture of) Belle all these years.
Better sure the audience knows he still doesn’t have incestuous feelings for his twin! So Petra hits on him, now that he’s “tall, apparently nice, and handsome.”
And Tim immediately returns her feelings of attraction! (I suppose it’s fitting that the two best actors end up together…)
I guess it’s like having a Case of the NotGays.
At that moment, Scrooge sees Marley, who beckons him. So Scrooge magically knows that it’s time for Marley to take him home, even though it makes no sense that Marley was in charge of all this in the first place.
“Yeah, Scrooge, your work here is done. Your work ordering modern coffee and listening to some asshat preacher condescend to the person who really needed to change.”
Scrooge goes upstairs to Belle’s apartment to change back into his 1844 suit, and Belle and Tim catch him there.
“Well, if it isn’t the wombmates!”
Stop with the anachronisms!
Scrooge tells Tim that he’s glad “God did not give up on either of us.” Yeah, because Tim talked to an asshat preacher for five minutes! He’s a real RTC now!
Then we get proof that the writers of this skipped parts of A Christmas Carol!
“You know, I once knew another beautiful young woman named Belle.”
“What happened to her?”
“Sadly, I do not know. But I think I would like to find out.”
YES YOU DO TOO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO HER!!! SHE MARRIED SOMEONE ELSE AND HAD SOME KIDS!!!
Scrooge gives Belle a key.
Scrooge and Belle quote Shakespeare at each other one more time (Belle adopts a horrible British accent this time!), then Scrooge flies off the balcony, becomes a spirit, then is transported back to 1844.
Because that’s…not at all how he arrived! The hell???
By New Year’s Eve, Belle has made Petra a partner at the Dinner Belle (hope she gets paid once in awhile, now!), and Tim has made Belle a partner at Scrooge and Cratchit.
Ron has brought up a box from the archives, and . It’s from Scrooge, from the past. This is admittedly a cool touch, but also a bit of a paradox—hasn’t the box been there for over a century, now? Wouldn’t somebody have broken it open before now? (This is why time travel plots are tough.)
The box contains a letter (which contains more mentions of Jesus than the entirety of A Christmas Carol), Tiny Tim’s crutch, and a Bible.
What it doesn’t contain are a few more of those coins so they can have a nice nest egg and give even more money to those less fortunate. Tim and Belle seem happy enough with it all, though.
ONE YEAR LATER
In the movie’s final attempt at “humor,” Scrooge arrives at his door, Christmas Eve 1845, only for Tim to suddenly appear! Marley spontaneously transported him from the company gym to London!
Har. I guess.
Next up, what we’ve all been waiting for!
Yanno, it really is the best time of the year…