In last week’s Phenomenal 5 we looked at some of the funniest Christmas movie characters. This week we are heading in a different direction. I’m listing five Christmas movie misers who have become synonymous with the Christmas season. These are fantastic characters who have made names for themselves through a variety of different ways. But one thing is for certain – each could use a good dose of Christmas spirit. Now with so many Christmas movie meanies out there I wouldn’t call this the definitive list. But I have no problem calling these five miserly sticks-in-the-mud phenomenal.
#5 – Burgermeister Meisterburger (“Santa Claus is Coming to Town”)
Yes I know this is a cheat but I don’t care. I love Burgermeister Meisterburger. Not only does he have one of the greatest names but he’s a fantastic Christmas “movie” meanie. Ok technically this isn’t a movie. This stop-motion television program from 1970 has been a perennial favorite particularly with older audiences. One of the many reasons I love it is because of Burgermeister. This cranky old cuss is the head of Sombertown and has the nerve to ban toys and imprison anyone caught with one. The great voice actor Paul Frees plays Burgermeister and he is such a treat. He brings this great character to life and I had to sneak him on my list.
#4 – Granville Sawyer (“Miracle on 34th Street”)
The sniveling and fidgety Granville Sawyer certainly tried to put a damper on Christmas in George Seaton’s wonderful “Miracle on 34th Street”. As Macy’s resident psychiatrist, Sawyer is tasked with giving the store’s new department store Santa (aka Kris Kringle) a psychological evaluation. But Sawyer’s ego kicks in when Kris turns the table on him and he makes it his goal to have Santa Claus committed. Porter Hall is perfectly cast and you’ll certainly want to thump his head. In the end he gets whats coming to him and all ends well in the perennial Christmas classic.
#3 – Hans Gruber (“Die Hard”)
It may not by a traditional Christmas movie per se, but it certainly has a memorable holiday meanie. Evil German mastermind Hans Gruber and his merry band of terrorists crash the Nakatomi Plaza Christmas party and take the building hostage. Talk about a Grinch! The police department, SWAT teams, and the FBI all converge on the skyscraper but Gruber is always one step ahead of them. What he didn’t count on was the “poison pill” (aka John McClane) running loose in the building foiling his plans. Alan Rickman gives a standout performance as Gruber in what was his feature film debut. I just had to toss him on this list. He is too fun to leave off.
#2 – Mr. Potter (“It’s a Wonderful Life”)
An argument could be made that old man Potter from Frank Capra’s classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” is the meanest, most despicable miser in any Christmas film. Henry Potter, a wealthy slumlord, is a constant thorn in George Bailey’s side. He drains money from the small town of Bedford Falls and tries his best to shut down the Bailey Building and Loan which is the one safe haven for the community from Potter’s tyrannical hand. Potter lies, cheats, and steals and we can’t stand the guy. Lionel Barrymore is brilliant in his portrayal and he gives us an unforgettable Christmas movie meanie.
#1 – Ebenezer Scrooge (“Scrooge”)
There have been many cinematic tellings of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”. My personal favorite is the movie/musical from 1970 starring Albert Finney. Now we all know the story of Scrooge. He’s a miserable old miser who makes everyone around him miserable. He hates people and he most certainly hates Christmas. But three Christmas spirits bring along an amazing transformation in Scrooge. Finney is great as both the lovable and detestable Scrooge. And while I’m not a big fan of musicals, the numbers in this film are a real treat. I know Scrooge is an obvious choice, but how could he not top this list?
There they are – five of the meanest Christmas movie characters. What do you think? Please take time to share your thoughts or your choices in the comments section below.