Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000 film)

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Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas
How the Grinch Stole Christmas film poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Ron Howard
Produced by
Screenplay by Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman
Based on How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
by Dr. Seuss
Starring
Narrated by Anthony Hopkins
Music by James Horner
Cinematography Donald Peterman
Edited by
Production
company
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date
  • November 17, 2000 (2000-11-17)
Running time
104 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $123 million[1]
Box office $345.1 million[1]

Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas (promoted theatrically as The Grinch) is a 2000 American Christmas comedy film directed by Ron Howard and written by Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman based on the 1957 story of the same name by Dr. Seuss. The film was released by Universal Pictures on November 17, 2000. It was the first Dr. Seuss book to be adapted into a full-length feature film.

Because the film is based on a children's picture book, many additions had to be made to the storyline to bring it up to feature-length, including some information about the backstory of the title character. Most of the rhymes that were used in the book were also used in the film, though some of the lines were to some degree changed, and several new rhymes were put in.

The film also borrowed some music and character elements (such as the Grinch's green skin tone) that originated in the 1966 animated TV special How the Grinch Stole Christmas!. The film was produced by Howard and Brian Grazer, and starring Jim Carrey, Jeffrey Tambor, Christine Baranski, Bill Irwin, Molly Shannon, Josh Ryan Evans (in his final theatrical role), and introducing Taylor Momsen as Cindy Lou Who.

The film received mixed reviews from critics but was a box office success, spending four weeks at #1 in the United States and grossing $260 million in the United States and over $345 million worldwide, becoming the second highest-grossing holiday film of all time, with Home Alone being the first.[1][2] It won the Academy Award for Best Makeup, and was also nominated for Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design.

Plot[edit]

All the Whos down in Whoville enjoy celebrating Christmas with much happiness and joy, except the Grinch (Jim Carrey), who hatefully resents Christmas and the Whos with great wrath and occasionally pulls dangerous and harmful practical jokes on them with a vengeance. As a result, no one likes or cares for the Grinch. Meanwhile, six-year-old Cindy Lou (Taylor Momsen) believes everyone is missing the point about Christmas by being more concerned about the gifts and festivities. After her two brothers are harassed by the Grinch when they trespass on his domain, and she herself has a face-to-face encounter with the Grinch at the post office, in which he saves her life, Cindy Lou becomes interested in his history. She then asks everyone what they know about him, and soon discovers that he has a tragic past.

The Grinch actually arrived in Whoville by mistake when he was a baby, and was adopted by two elderly sisters. Although he showed some sadistic tendencies as a child, he was rather timid and not the cruel, selfish person he would become. He was bullied by his classmates (particularly by Augustus May Who (Jeffrey Tambor), who grew up to be Mayor of Whoville) because of his appearance, with the exception of Martha May Whovier (Christine Baranski), who was courted by both the Grinch and May Who. One Christmas season when he was eight, the Grinch made a gift for Martha, but attempted to shave his face after being made fun of for having a "beard", cutting himself by accident. When his classmates saw his face covered with shaving tape the next morning, they ridiculed him. He lost his temper, went on a rampage and ran away to live on Mount Crumpit, a mountain to the north of Whoville.

Cindy Lou, touched by this story, decides to make the Grinch the main participant of the Whobilation, much to the great displeasure of Mayor May Who, who reluctantly agrees after pressure from the townspeople, who have been warmed by Cindy Lou's generous spirit. When Cindy Lou goes to Mount Crumpit and offers an invitation to the Grinch, he turns her down. He gradually changes his mind, however, due to the promise of an award, the presence of Martha at the celebration and the chance to upset the Mayor. Just as the Grinch is enjoying himself and is almost won over, May Who gives him an electric shaver as a present, reminding him of his awful humiliation at school. May Who then asks Martha to marry him, promising her a new car in return. In response, the Grinch openly berates the Whos and criticizes Christmas, claiming that the holiday is only about gifts that they will just dispose of later, in the hopes of making them too ashamed to celebrate the holiday. The Grinch then goes on to ruin the party by burning the Christmas tree with a makeshift flamethrower but his actions prove to be fruitless as the Whos have a spare tree, which the Grinch sees them erect before he leaves.

The Grinch, knowing that his attack has failed to remove the Whos' Christmas spirit, instead concocts a plan to steal all of their presents while they are sleeping. Creating a Santa suit and sleigh with his own dog, Max, as a "reindeer", the Grinch flies around Whoville, stealing all of the Whos' Christmas gifts. He is almost discovered by Cindy Lou, but lies to her in order to get away. On Christmas morning, the Whos discover the Grinch's scheme, and May Who blames Cindy Lou for the whole disaster. However, her father, Lou Lou Who (Bill Irwin), the Whoville postmaster, finally stands up to him and reminds everyone that they still have Christmas spirit, and that the principal meaning of Christmas is to spend it with family and friends. The people accept his speech and begin to sing. Hoping that the change of mood would inspire the Grinch, Cindy Lou goes to Mount Crumpit to find him.

The Grinch reveals that he intends to push the stolen gifts off the top of the mountain after he hears the Whos crying. However, instead of crying, he hears the joyful singing of the Whos. Infuriated over the failure of his plan, the Grinch has an epiphany about what Christmas is really about: not material gifts, but spending time with loved ones, an insight that profoundly touches him and causes his heart to grow to three times its original size. When the sleigh full of stolen gifts begins to go over the edge of the cliff, the Grinch desperately tries to save them to no avail. However, when he realizes that Cindy Lou has come to wish him a merry Christmas and is in danger of falling off the cliff with the sleigh, the Grinch finds enough strength to lift the sleigh, the gifts and Cindy Lou to safety. After a long descent down Mount Crumpit, the Grinch returns to Whoville with Cindy and the gifts. He confesses to the burglary, tearfully apologizes for his actions towards the Whos and surrenders himself to the police as they arrive, but the Whos reconcile with him, much to May Who's dismay. Martha turns down May Who's proposal and decides that she would rather stay with the Grinch instead. The redeemed Grinch starts a new life with the Whos, commemorating the Christmas feast with them in his cave.

Cast[edit]

  • Jim Carrey as the Grinch, a misanthropic green creature who despises Christmas and the Whos of Whoville. It is revealed in his origin story that he started to hate Christmas after his school classmates humiliated him when he tried to shave his face. Before Jim Carrey was cast to play the Grinch, Jack Nicholson and Eddie Murphy[3] were briefly considered.[citation needed]
    • Josh Ryan Evans as an 8-year-old Grinch; his humiliation at school by May Who is what drives him into a hatred of Christmas.
  • Taylor Momsen as Cindy Lou Who, a young Who who thinks the Christmas spirit in Whoville is lost. (In this version, she is six years old, whereas in the book in 1957 and TV special in 1966 by Chuck Jones she was "no more than two").
  • Jeffrey Tambor as Mayor Augustus May Who, Whoville's rude, arrogant, and judgmental mayor. He is revealed to be a school bully who picked on the young Grinch over his shaved face, which is what motivated the Grinch to hate Christmas in the first place. He also denounces the Grinch every chance he gets and wants to have a Grinch-less Christmas.
    • Ben Bookbinder as an 8-year-old Augustus May Who; he tormented the young Grinch, which then motivated the Grinch to hate Christmas.
  • Christine Baranski as Martha May Whovier, the Grinch's lifelong crush and the romantic interest of Mayor Who. She ultimately rejects the Mayor and chooses the Grinch.
    • Landry Allbright as an 8-year-old Martha May Whovier. She shows compassion towards the young Grinch.
  • Bill Irwin as Lou Lou Who, Cindy Lou's father and the postman of Whoville.
  • Molly Shannon as Betty Lou Who, Cindy Lou's mother and a rival to Martha May in a house-lighting contest.
  • Kelley as Max, who is the Grinch's pet dog and only companion on Mt. Crumpit. It is unknown how or when The Grinch got him.
  • Clint Howard as Whobris, the mayor's sycophantic aid.
    • Reid Kirchenbauer as an 8-year-old Whobris.
  • Mindy Sterling as Clarnella Who, one of the Grinch's childhood caretakers.
  • Rachel Winfree as Rose Who, one of the Grinch's childhood caretakers.
  • Jeremy Howard and T. J. Thyne as Drew Lou and Stu Lou Who, troublesome sons of Lou and Betty, and brothers to Cindy Lou.
  • Jim Meskimen as Officer Wholihan, the chief of police.
  • Lacey Kohl and Nadja Pionilla as Christina Whoterberry and Junie, Drew and Stu's girlfriends, and sisters to Cindy Lou.
  • Mary Stein as Miss Rue Who, the school teacher.
  • Bryce Dallas Howard as surprised Who.
  • Anthony Hopkins as the Narrator.

Production[edit]

Ron Howard is the film's director and producer.

On September 26, 1998, it was announced that Ron Howard would direct and produce a 2000 American fantasy Christmas comedy film titled How the Grinch Stole Christmas or Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas (promoted theatrically as The Grinch) with Brian Grazer, and also with the budget of $123 million based on the 1957 story of the same name by Dr. Seuss, which would be released in theaters on November 17, 2000. Universal Pictures acquired distribution rights to the film and Imagine Entertainment would co-produce it. James Horner composed the music for the film and Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman would write the screenplay for the project. It was also announced that the film would star Jim Carrey (who plays the title character), Josh Ryan Evans, Taylor Momsen, Jeffrey Tambor, Ben Bookbinder, Christine Baranski, Landry Allbright, Bill Irwin, Molly Shannon, Frank Welker, Clint Howard, Reid Kirchenbauer, Mindy Sterling, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jim Meskimen, Jeremy Howard, Kelley and T. J. Thyne with narration by Anthony Hopkins. Alec Berg, David Mandel and Jeff Schaffer did an uncredited rewrite of the script.[4]

The film was shot between September 1999 and January 2000. Dr. Seuss' wife, Audrey, visited the set in October 1999. Much of the Whoville set was constructed on the backlot of Universal Studios behind the Bates Motel. During a break in filming, Jim Carrey scared tourists on the Studio Tour by running out of the motel in a dress and brandishing a knife. Despite this, none of the Universal employees and tourists on the tour recognized him. Jim Carrey's Grinch suit was covered in yak hair, which was dyed green, and sewed onto a spandex suit, and Carrey spent 92 days in the Grinch make-up, spending three hours in the morning getting in, and one hour in the evening to get out. According to Carrey, he became a "Zen Master" while sitting in the make-up chair.

Soundtrack[edit]

  1. "Kids Today" – Jim Carrey and Taylor Momsen *
  2. "Grinch 2000" – Busta Rhymes and Jim Carrey
  3. "Green Christmas" – Barenaked Ladies
  4. "Christmas of Love" – Little Isidore and the Inquisitors
  5. "Lonely Christmas Eve" – Ben Folds
  6. "Grinch Schedule" – Jim Carrey *
  7. "Better Do It Right" – Smash Mouth
  8. "Whoville Medley" (Perfect Christmas Night/Grinch) – Trans-Siberian Orchestra
  9. "Reindeer" – Jim Carrey *
  10. "Christmas Is Going to the Dogs" – The Eels
  11. "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" – Jim Carrey
  12. "Christmas Means More" – Anthony Hopkins and Jim Carrey *
  13. "You Don't Have to Be Alone" – *NSYNC
  14. "Where Are You, Christmas?" – Faith Hill
  15. "The Shape of Things to Come" – James Horner
  16. "Memories of a Green Childhood" – James Horner +
  17. "Christmas, Why Can't I Find You?" – James Horner and Taylor Momsen
  18. "Stealing Christmas" – Anthony Hopkins, James Horner, Jim Carrey, and Taylor Momsen ~
  19. "The Big Heist" – James Horner +
  20. "Does Cindy Lou Really Ruin Christmas?" – James Horner +
  21. "A Change of Heart" – James Horner +
  22. "The Sleigh of Presents" – James Horner +
  23. "He Carves the Roast Beast" – James Horner ^

Legend:
*Dialogue
+ Instrumental
~ Includes Narration and Dialogue
^ Includes "Welcome Christmas"

Release[edit]

Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas grossed $260.0 million domestically and $85.1 million in other territories for a worldwide gross of $345.1 million, becoming the sixth highest-grossing film of 2000.

In the United States, The Grinch opened at number-one on its opening day, making $15.6 million, with a weekend gross of $55.0 million, for an average of $17,615 from 3,127 theaters. The film still holds the record for the highest opening weekend for a Christmas-themed film. In its second weekend, the film grossed $52.1 million, dropping only 5.1%, settling a new record for highest-grossing second weekend for any film. The film stayed at the top of the box office for four weekends, until it was overtaken by What Women Want in mid-December. The Grinch closed on April 30, 2001, after five months, with a final gross of $260,044,825.[1] Box Office Mojo estimates that the film sold over 48.1 million tickets in North America.[5] The film was released on VHS and DVD on November 20, 2001. A Blu-ray/DVD combo pack was released on October 13, 2009.

Reception[edit]

Rotten Tomatoes gave the film an approval rating of 53%; the critical consensus reads, "Jim Carrey shines as the Grinch. Unfortunately, it's not enough to save this movie. You'd be better off watching the TV cartoon."[6] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 46 out of 100 based on 29 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[7]

Roger Ebert gave the film two out of four stars, referring to it as "a dank, eerie, weird movie about a sour creature" and said, "There should be...a jollier production design and a brighter look overall... It's just not much fun." Ebert observed that Carrey "works as hard as an actor has ever worked in a movie, to small avail." Nevertheless, he decided that "adults may appreciate Carrey's remarkable performance in an intellectual sort of way and give him points for what was obviously a supreme effort."[8]

Paul Clinton of CNN declared that Carrey "was born to play this role" and noted that "Carrey carries nearly every scene. In fact, if he's not in the scene, there is no scene.[9] Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly began his review of the film analyzing the Grinch's "mischievously divided, now-I'm-calm/ now-I'm-a-raving-sarcastic-PSYCH-o! personality" and summed up Carrey's Grinch as "a slobby, self-loathing elitist ruled by the secret fear that he's always being left out of things." Gleiberman expressed surprise at "how affecting Carrey makes the Grinch's ultimate big-hearted turnaround, as Carrey the actor sneaks up on Carrey the wild-man dervish. In whichever mode, he carreys the movie."[10]

Peter Stack of the San Francisco Chronicle said, "Nobody could play the Grinch better than Jim Carrey, whose rubbery antics and maniacal sense of mischief are so well suited to How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Dr. Seuss himself might have turned to Carrey as a model for the classic curmudgeon had the actor been around in 1957." However, he wondered why Carrey "made himself sound like Sean Connery" and warned that the character's intensity may frighten small children.[11] James Berardinelli of ReelViews wrote that Carrey's "off-the-wall performance is reminiscent of what he accomplished in The Mask, except that here he never allows the special effects to upstage him. Carrey's Grinch is a combination of Seuss' creation and Carrey's personality, with a voice that sounds far more like a weird amalgamation of Sean Connery and Jim Backus (Bond meets Magoo!) than it does Karloff." He concluded that Carrey "brings animation to the live action, and, surrounded by glittering, fantastical sets and computer-spun special effects, Carrey enables Ron Howard's version of the classic story to come across as more of a welcome endeavor than a pointless re-tread."[12]

Some reviews were more middling. Stephanie Zacharek of Salon, in a generally negative review of the film, wrote, "Carrey pulls off an admirable impersonation of an animated figure ... It’s fine as mimicry goes — but mimicry isn't the best playground for comic genius. Shouldn't we be asking more of a man who's very likely the most gifted comic actor of his generation?" She concluded that in spite of "a few terrific ad-libs [...] his jokes come off as nothing more than a desperate effort to inject some offbeat humor into an otherwise numbingly unhip, nonsensical and just plain dull story."[13]

Todd McCarthy of Variety wrote, "Carrey tries out all sorts of intonations, vocal pitches and delivery styles, his tough guy posturing reminding at times of Cagney and his sibilant S's recalling Bogart. His antic gesturing and face-making hit the mark at times, but at other moments seem arbitrary and scattershot. Furthermore, his free-flowing tirades, full of catch-all allusions and references, are pitched for adult appreciation and look destined to sail right over the heads of pre-teens."[14]

Awards[edit]

The film garnered three Academy Award nominations, including Best Costume Design (Rita Ryack) and Best Art Direction (Michael Corenblith and Merideth Boswell), and nominees Rick Baker and Gail Rowell-Ryan won the Academy Award for Best Makeup. At the Golden Globes, Carrey was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy, losing the award to George Clooney for O Brother, Where Art Thou?.

It also won the Blimp Awards for Favorite Movie and Favorite Movie Actor at the 2001 Kids' Choice Awards. The film won a Saturn Award for Best Music. However, it was also nominated for two 2000 Golden Raspberry Awards for Worst Remake or Sequel and Worst Screenplay, but lost to Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 and Battlefield Earth respectively.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas at Box Office Mojo
  2. ^ "Arts & Media". Guinness World Records 2007. Guinness World Records Limited. 2006. p. 182 (UK edition). ISBN 1-904994-11-3. 
  3. ^ Evans, Bradford (7 April 2011). "The Lost Roles of Eddie Murphy". Splitsider. Retrieved 18 July 2015. 
  4. ^ Horn, John; Abramowitz, Rachel (4 December 2005). "Credit ascribed, denied". latimes.com. Retrieved 11 May 2016. 
  5. ^ "How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 13, 2016. 
  6. ^ "How the Grinch Stole Christmas". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved March 20, 2012. 
  7. ^ "How the Grinch Stole Christmas". Metacritic. Retrieved March 20, 2012. 
  8. ^ Roger Ebert (November 17, 2000). "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas". rogerebert.com. Retrieved October 28, 2012. 
  9. ^ Paul Clinton (November 17, 2000). "Review: Steal away to see the latest 'Grinch'". CNN. Retrieved October 28, 2012. 
  10. ^ Owen Gleiberman (November 24, 2000). "How the Grinch Stole Christmas Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 28, 2012. 
  11. ^ Peter Stack (November 17, 2000). "How Effects Stole 'Christmas' / Supercharged 'Grinch' stays true to Seuss but amps up Carrey's character". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved October 28, 2012. 
  12. ^ James Berardinelli (November 17, 2000). "Reelviews Movie Reviews". ReelViews. Retrieved October 28, 2012. 
  13. ^ Stephanie Zacharek (November 17, 2000). "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas". Salon.com. Retrieved October 28, 2012. 
  14. ^ Todd McCarthy (November 16, 2000). "Variety Reviews - Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas - Film Reviews". Variety. Retrieved October 28, 2012. 

External links[edit]