Alternate Endings for the Bah Humbug Set
Christmas movies are not for pessimists. They’re all so touchy-feely and leave you with a bad case of the warm fuzzies. In the real world, for some, the holidays are actually a dark, lonely, depressing time. Let’s present five beloved (over-played?) Christmas movies with alternate endings for the pessimists of the world.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL (the first movie was MGM’s 1938 classic that has been re-made numerous times; based on Charles Dickens’ 1843 novella “A Christmas Carol”)
PLOT: Seven years after the death of business partner Jacob Marley, Ebenezer Scrooge hates Christmas! The story begins on Christmas Eve and Scrooge is visited by Marley’s ghost who advises Scrooge to change his ways and avoid suffering the same fate as Marley in death. Asleep that night, Scrooge is visited by an additional three ghosts. The first ghostly visitor is the Ghost of the Christmas Past who takes Scrooge back to scenes from his childhood with his sister Fanny, his first boss and his fiancée Belle. The second ghost, The Ghost of Christmas Present takes Scrooge to the scene of nephew Fred’s Christmas party and to his employee Bob Cratchit’s family dinner with son Tiny Tim, whom Scrooge is informed will die if things don’t change. The final ghost, The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come takes Scrooge to next year’s Christmas. Tiny Tim had died and the visit ends at a neglected grave that ends up belonging to Scrooge himself. Crying, he vows to change. He awakens on Christmas Day and is, indeed, a changed man. Scrooge spends the day with Fred, gives Cratchit a raise and sends the family a magnificent turkey for dinner.
ALTERNATE ENDING: (This movie was going so well until Scrooge decided to change.) After being awake all night flying around with those ghosts and having to endure the trauma and shock of being visited by four ghosts in one evening, Scrooge is exhausted after the last ghostly visit and doesn’t awaken until New Year’s Day. Scrooge decides to make changing a resolution instead. As resolutions tend not to stick, Scrooge falls back into his familiar patterns and resolves to try the resolution next year where hopefully he’ll have better success…..
IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE (RKO Radio Pictures, 1946)
PLOT: On Christmas Eve, George Bailey contemplates suicide. Prayers for him reach Heaven where Clarence Odbody, a 2nd Class angel is assigned to save him. If Clarence is successful, he will get his wings. Clarence’s reviews George’s life to this point, which includes George having saved and sacrificed himself numerous times for the betterment of others. Back in the current time, a drunk George crashes into a tree and he staggers to a bridge where he intends to kill himself. Clarence jumps into the water first, pretending to drown, which prompts George to save him. Clarence reveals to George that he is his guardian angel, but George doesn’t believe him and wishes he had never existed. Clarence grants his wish and shows George the lives of his loved ones in which they are all miserable. George begs to live again and all ends well.
ALTERNATE ENDING: George jumps into the water to save Clarence, completely forgetting that he doesn’t know how to swim. (Why do you think George tried to drown himself?) George and Clarence both die and Christmas is ruined.
A CHRISTMAS STORY (MGM, 1983)
PLOT: Ralph “Ralphie” Parker is desperate for a Red Ryder BB Gun, which three people (his mom, his teacher and Santa himself) tell him no way because he’d shoot his eye out with. A bad grade on a composition about wanting the gun as a Christmas gift prompts a fight with a local bully. Meanwhile, on Christmas morning, Ralphie ends up getting the gun. He goes outside to play with it and the ricochet from the bullet causes a blow to his cheek and knocks his glasses off. While searching for them, he steps on them and they break. Their Christmas dinner ends up ruined as their neighbor’s dogs eat it, so the Parkers end up eating dinner at a Chinese restaurant.
ALTERNATE ENDING: The restaurant ends up being a Chinese/Italian mix of cuisine. The Parkers decide to order chicken tetrazzini all around. Unfortunately, the chicken isn’t cooked and they all end up with food poisoning.
HOME ALONE (20th Century Fox, 1990)
PLOT: The night before their Christmas holiday to Paris, the extended McCallister clan torment 8-year-old Kevin. After a fight with brother Buzz, Kevin is sent to the third floor. A power outage occurs overnight that causes the family to over sleep. When they awaken, in the confusion and bustle to get to the airport they don’t realize that they have forgotten Kevin until they’re airborne. Once they land in Paris, mom Kate tried to get back to Kevin. Meanwhile, Kevin awakens and initially is elated to find himself alone. He then learns a pair of burglars are targeting the empty houses in his neighborhood. On Christmas Eve, Kevin sets up numerous booby traps around his house to thwart the bandits, which he successfully does and the pair is arrested. The next morning, Kevin wishes that his family will appear. He races downstairs and is disappointed. Soon after, Kate has finally managed to get home. Shortly after their reunion, the rest of the family return.
ALTERNATE ENDING: The McCallisters become so enamored with Paris, they move permanently without returning to Kevin. But don’t worry about him, Kevin becomes a rousing success in the home security business. Who needs a family anyway?
NATIONAL LAMPOON’S CHRISTMAS VACATION (Warner Bros, 1989)
PLOT: Clark Griswold attempts to have the perfect Christmas for his family. Things go completely awry – Christmas dinner ends up a disaster, their tree goes up in flames, Clark’s Christmas bonus doesn’t come through and the SWAT team shows up. In typical Christmas movie fashion, everything works out in the end and everyone is happy.
ALTERNATE ENDING: This movie is a pessimist’s dream until every mishap ends up working out in the end. The only fitting ending for this movie is to have Christmas go perfectly from the beginning and having the family realize that perfection is overrated and that they should have just went to Wally World instead.