The Grinch (2018)
December 4, 2019
(The Channel Awesome logo and NC title sequence play)
NC: Hello, I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don't have to. Say! (picks up and looks at his cell phone) It's December! (chuckles) Well, I suppose I should change into my Christmas clothes, not that Christmas is a big deal around here. HA-HA!
(He stands up and throws his arms out. In a dramatic fashion, his jacket turns into his Christmas jacket from last year, in the style of Sailor Moon's transformation. After his Christmas jacket appears on him, he salutes dramatically)
NC: Now I'm ready for Christmas!
Malcolm: (offscreen) Um, Critic?
(NC looks toward who said that: it's Malcolm and Tamara. They are standing in the doorway, looking visibly disturbed. Malcolm points down to NC's lower half, trying to get his attention. NC looks down at where Malcolm is pointing. It seems as though the transformation had turned out too much like Sailor Moon's transformation, as he is now wearing a blue skirt instead of pants)
NC: (looking up) I know. It's intentional. I wanted to see if a more breezy Christmas was what I was looking for, as...some girls choose to fight crime in this.
NC: Naturally. But I feel I don't have the, um...calves for this, so I will...alter this outfit.
Malcolm: It was a good try.
NC: (pointing to them) Yeah, you get it. You get it.
(Again, he raises his hand in the air and another transformation takes place. Malcolm and Tamara are surprised)
NC: (now wearing a shorter blue skirt, waving dismissively) It's fine, it's fine. I want this. I totally want this.
Malcolm: Even though you just said it didn't work.
NC: I said that because I needed more leg to balance out the size of the calves.
Malcolm: (nods, not entirely convinced) Mm-hmm, balance out.
NC: Yes, it's freeing. (whispering) It's very freeing.
Tamara: (as she and Malcolm shake their heads) It doesn't look freeing.
NC: I feel alive. Very alive.
Tamara: You look dead. Very dead.
NC: (whispering) Leave.
Malcolm: Both inside and outside, dead.
NC: (whispering) Leave.
Tamara: (NC is still whispering "Leave") We're gonna go get some boots to balance out this whole situation.
NC: (whispering) Leave.
Malcolm: (NC is still whispering "Leave") I'd get you some meatballs for your hair, but then you'd just look silly.
NC: (still whispering) Leeeeeeeave.
(Malcolm and Tamara finally take the hint and leave)
NC: (turning back to the camera) Somehow, this connects to The Grinch.
(The opening title for the 2018 adaptation is shown, followed by a shot of the Grinch here)
NC (vo): Because people couldn't get enough of...
(Cut to footage of the earlier How the Grinch Stole Christmas; namely, the more notorious aspects of that movie: the Grinch's schoolteacher laughing with the rest of the class at his poorly-shaved face; the Grinch's face buried in Martha May Whovier's breasts; the Grinch putting his dog Max's butt in Mayor Augustus May Who's face, causing him to kiss Max's butt, much to Max's wide-eyed shock)
NC (vo): ...nightmare face fuels, awkward motorboating, and dogs' asses being kissed...
(Poster of Bad Santa appears in the corner)
NC: (shaking head) No, no, no. This (Poster for the earlier Grinch movie replaces the Bad Santa one) family classic, obviously!
(More footage of the newer Grinch movie is shown)
NC (vo): Universal decided to give us another cinematic version of The Grinch, this time with the help of Illumination Entertainment. I mean, after they handled perfectly...
(Cut to footage of The Lorax)
NC (vo): ...the haunting nature of the timeless Lorax...
(A clip of the movie is shown, showing the Once-ler singing "This Is My Place" and playing it on a guitar)
Once-ler: Gonna chop one down and make my thneed!
(As we cut back to NC briefly, an image of a tombstone with Dr. Seuss' name on it appears in the corner, accompanied by the sound of ground shaking)
NC: (gesturing toward tombstone with thumb) Oh, there he goes, rolling again!
(More footage of The Grinch follows)
NC (vo): They gave another try with this cinematic circumcision. I'm not sure why people insist on breaking what's not broken...
(Footage of the original How the Grinch Stole Christmas is shown)
NC (vo): ...as the original animated Grinch is still the best representation of the classic story.
NC: I mean, I know why they did it. (To a cash register ding, several dollar bills fall down) But I don't get why they don't...
(More footage of the newest Grinch follows)
NC (vo): ...try to understand what made the original a masterpiece before jumping wallet first into a pool of cliche-stained Who cash. Brought to us by the writers of... Ooh! (Posters of the following are superimposed...) Snow Dogs and Bushwhacked?!
NC: Throw in (Poster for the following appears in the corner...) Beverly Hills Chihuahua, and we'll have the holy trinity!
NC (vo): The film brought in over 500 million worldwide against a 75 million, despite it getting...
(The movie's page on Rotten Tomatoes is superimposed, showing that it got a 59% on the Tomatometer and an audience score of 51%)
NC (vo): ...less-than-stellar reactions from critics and audiences. So I guess the question is, what got better and what got worse...
(Cut briefly to the 2000 version of The Grinch, showing the Grinch wiggling mistletoe over his butt)
NC (vo): ...since the last theatrical outing?
(Cut back to the newest Grinch)
NC (vo): And, is there anything better in it (A clip of the original cartoon appears in the corner) than the origin– That's adorable you think that question is even worth finishing! So let's take a gander at how this animated green shit smells different than the live-action green shit.
NC: This is–
Tamara: (interrupting) Oh, hey!
(He looks up, annoyed, to see Tamara and Malcolm have returned, holding up a huge red bow and a pair of purple boots)
Tamara: We found this red bow we thought you could put in the back to really complete the look!
NC: (softly but dangerously) I hate everything you right now.
Malcolm: It'll be like your present to open up.
NC: There isn't a name yet for the hell I have planned for you, but rest assured, you will be screaming in it.
Tamara: Okay, well, let us know if you need any other accessories.
NC: (yelling) I WON'T!!
Tamara: (as she and Malcolm leave) You look great, sweetie.
(NC sighs and then is about to begin the review when he suddenly looks down at himself)
NC: (calling out) Some leggings would be nice!
NC (vo): The film opens with the narration from... (Image of the following is superimposed...) Pharrell Williams?
Narrator (Williams): ...only it's not a dream or a hoax or a ruse...
NC: (confused) As it just made too much sense...
NC (vo): ...as the film looks pretty enough, I suppose, but sadly, this movie falls into an unfortunate category that a lot of animated movies are falling under.
NC: And that's being like every animated movie that's out.
NC (vo): You notice they're all kind of opening the same...
NC (vo): ...we see a colorful town; it's always super-busy and usually filmed in long shots; there's some zany slapstick that folks are just used to in this environment; and some outsider, either the hero or villain, is introduced.
NC: Now, here's the thing: it's a good opening.
(All the shots from the montage is shown at once around him, with the addition of The Lorax)
NC: The first kinda bajillion times it's been done, but after that, you gotta add something new.
NC (vo): The idea of these intros is to let you marvel at a world you've never seen, show how it works, and how/why a character doesn't fit into it. But because it's been done so much, the marveling element is less impressive, and a world like this that maybe ten years ago would have been cool is just another kid's movie fantasyland. Unless something really charming or funny is happening, we're just not gonna be sucked in anymore. And...do you think these lines are funny or charming?
(A montage of lines is shown)
Female Who: (sniffing a window at Daisy's Daisies) Smells like Christmas!
Who Wife: (to her husband as he runs out the door toward a passing sled) Have a great day, dear!
Who Husband: (jumping on sled) You, too, hon!
Male Who: (to a giant reindeer) Whoa! Where are you going?
Who Vendor: (giving out a wreath to a kid) Here, kid, have a wreath!
Who Kid: (taking it) Oh, cool!
NC: It's not even jokes or character-building, it's just stuff being said!
NC (vo): It's the equivalent of being like...
NC: (looking toward main door) Wow, what a brown door!
(He sees a second NC standing by the door and gesturing toward it)
Second NC: That is a brown door.
First NC: Has that whimsical music scored anything as charming as that brown door?
Second NC: I think not, brown door.
First NC: Brown door.
Second NC: Brown door.
First NC: Brown door.
Second NC: Brown door.
First NC: That is such a brown door!
Second NC: Here's to no conflict ever entering our lives.
First NC: Brown door.
Second NC: Brown door.
First NC: Brown door.
Second NC: I'm enchanted.
First NC: (looking back towards camera) Brown door.
NC (vo): We're introduced to the Grinch, played by Benedict Cumberbatch...
(To the left, images of Cumberbatch's roles as the title character in Sherlock and Smaug from the Hobbit movies appear)
NC: Cool Sherlock-Smaug British accent or weird (To the right, images of Chris O'Dowd and Hugh Laurie appear) Chris O'Dowd-House American accent?
Grinch (Cumberbatch): (American accent, looking around his kitchen) Where's my personal reserve of moose juice? And goose juice? My emergency stash of Who-Hash?
NC: House, it is.
(The Grinch's alarm on his clock radio goes off, playing "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town", as performed by the Jackson Five, to his annoyance. He throws a lamp at the clock radio to silence it, knocking it down in the process)
NC (vo): As he wakes up to Christmas music, which not only has me asking why he'd set it to that in the morning, but what the hell do the Jackson Five (An image of the Jackson Five with Who heads appears in the corner) look like in this world? I mean, (Images of grown-up Michael Jackson and a Who are shown now) we know Michael grows up into a Who, but still...
Tyler the Creator: (rapping) You're a mean one...
(The Grinch grabs a string, tied to one of many bells in the lair, and pulls it, ringing the bell, awakening his dog, Max)
Tyler the Creator: (rapping) You really are a heel...
Grinch: (calling out) MAX!
NC: (shaking head) Did you really think there wouldn't be a Grinch rap in this? (nods head and smiles)
NC (vo): My favorite is, it sounds like the rapper was shoved in at the last minute as a replacement for Snoop Dogg leaving to do (Poster for the 2019 Addams Family movie is superimposed briefly) Addams Family, so it all sounds like a first take.
NC: (looking at a paper in a binder) Okay, I got two minutes. What do you got here? Uh... (Grinch rap is heard as he reads along) "You're a mean one"... "You really are a heel"... Okay, what's next? "You're as cuddly as a cactus, you're as charming as an eel"... (drops binder) Okay, we good?
Tyler the Creator: (rapping) He's this mean fellow with his skin all green and his teeth all yellow...
NC: His teeth are perfect.
(The Grinch opens his mouth, revealing his teeth are perfectly white)
NC (vo): Whitestrips might take him up as a model!
Tyler the Creator: (rapping) You have termites in your smile...
(The aboves words appear in yellow, while showing a shot of the Grinch grinning evilly, but showing no termites anywhere in his teeth)
NC: (stumped) Liars!
NC (vo): I'm disturbed not only to see him in his underwear...
NC: I weirdly don't want to think what his dick looks like!
NC (vo): ...but find he has skin suit pants to wear as well, as if he Buffalo Billed Brobee from Yo Gabba Gabba. (A shot of Brobee is shown off to the side) These are all questions no one should ask!
(The Grinch is having dinner at a fancy table, but he has only a single bean, much to his confusion)
Grinch: (to Max) What is this depressing bean? (Max barks) No, no, no, no, no, no, that's impossible. We can't be out of food.
NC: (sighs) So here's the thing: Benedict Cumberbatch playing (Shot of the original cartoon Grinch appears in the corner) this Grinch would have been fantastic.
(Footage of the original Grinch is shown)
NC (vo): Both him and [Boris] Karloff have these elegant British accents, with soft but cryptic voices. It would have matched perfect.
NC: But, he's not playing that beloved creation. He's playing...
(Footage of the 2018 Grinch is shown)
NC (vo): ...this tool: a super-hyper, super-silly, with a nasally whiny, American accent.
Grinch: (to a Who, speaking in a nasally, shrill American accent) This is one of your "kidding" things. (holds up a flyer reading "Christmas Will Be 3 Times Bigger This Year") Finally, something you said is actually funny! (laughs)
NC (vo): It's not even consistent. One minute, he sounds like Dr. Venture...
Grinch: (wearing an inner tube, to Cindy Lou Who) What is wrong with you? Didn't you see me? I mean, if that was a sled, I'd-I'd... (takes off inner tube) Well, I'd be dead!
(Cut to a clip of an episode of Venture Brothers)
Dr. Venture (James Urbaniak): Come on! Really? I don't know what the hell you're singing about.
(Cut back to The Grinch again)
NC (vo): ...the next, he sounds like Agador Spartacus...
Grinch: (to Bricklebaum, as he walks away from him) Oh, you're a scream. Have a nice life. Goodbye.
(Cut to a clip of The Birdcage)
Agador Spartacus (Hank Azaria): My father was the shaman of his tribe, okay?
(Cut back once again to The Grinch)
NC (vo): ...and sometimes, he even sounds like Jim Carrey's Grinch.
Grinch: (sounding more than a little like Carrey's Grinch) Christmas! ARGH!
(Cut to a clip of the 2000 Grinch movie)
Grinch: Christmas season is STUPID!
(Now cut back once again to the 2018 Grinch)
NC (vo): It's like every day he came in to record, he forgot what voice he did in the previous session.
NC: But don't worry. (holds up index finger) The one consistent thing about this movie is how inconsistent it is.
Narrator: Yes, the Grinch hated Christmas, the whole Christmas season. Now, please don't ask why. No one quite knows the reason.
NC (vo): Yeah, these movies always use that line moments before they go into great detail...
(A comparison of the two Grinch movie is shown, depicting in both, that the reason dates back to the Grinch's childhood)
NC (vo): ...the exact reason he hates Christmas!
NC: (stares) ...Liars!
NC (vo): Hmm, this is a 2018 family film. That means the mother is either a strong, working single parent or dead.
(A montage of clips showing Donna Who, Cindy Lou's mother, is shown, starting with her making breakfast for the family while talking on the phone)
Donna (Rashida Jones): No, I can't today. I have a list of errands a mile long. (seeing a suction-cup arrow on the wall) I'll talk to you later. I have to get breakfast on the table.
(She pulls the arrow off the wall. Now cut to her on the bus)
Bus driver: (to Donna, who is sighing with relief) They still got you on the night shift, huh?
Donna: Sure do.
NC: (as Donna, waving) You'll see me in an upcoming Hallmark movie!
Offscreen voice (Rob): Which one?
NC: (as Donna) All of them.
Offscreen voice: Sounds right.
(The Grinch and Max go to Whoville to buy food)
NC (vo): Again, like in the Carrey film, the Grinch goes into town...which I never got. Isn't the idea he wants to stay far away from the Whos? I can see him ordering groceries from the store and leaving no tip for the delivery boy before pulling Nickelodeon pranks like this.
(More footage of the classic Grinch (as in, from the original cartoon) is shown)
NC (vo): The idea was he's a stubborn old recluse. Thus, it's the years of joyful noise in contrast to his personality that pushes him to finally act. And it makes sense. We've all known someone like this, especially around the holidays.
(Cut back to the 2018 Grinch)
NC (vo): This Grinch throws himself into the Whos and attention-grabbing mayhem.
(Another montage is shown, this one of the Grinch engaging in petty acts around Whoville. First, he grabs an old woman's cane out of her hand and looks toward another Who as he uses the cane to pull down on a wire holding up some wire with tinsel and a wreath attached to it)
Who: (reaching out to Grinch, but grabbing cane instead) And a merry Christmas to you–
(The Grinch releases the cane, causing the Who to be launched into the air as the wire snaps back up. Next, the Grinch is seen in a Who grocery store, holding a jar of jelly as a female Who addresses him)
Female Who: Are you getting that?
Grinch: Nnnooo... (puts jar on a high shelf where she can't reach it)
(In another scene, the Grinch is pushing on the carrot nose of a Who kid's snowman, finally causing it to fall over. Cut back to the grocery store, where the Grinch hits the shelf with his fist, causing the jar he had put back to fall to the floor and break. Finally, he throws a snowball at the Who kid, knocking him into the pile of snow that used to make up the snowman. Back in the store once again, the Grinch discreetly steals a jar of pickles from another Who's shopping basket, opens up the lid and eats a pickle, only to suddenly start gagging)
NC (vo): I could see this idiot pulling a YouTube drive-thru prank, filming it on his phone.
(Cut to a sketch, where Tamara plays a fast food clerk. She has on a hat reading "Burger-Burger" and a phone headset which she talks into)
Tamara: Welcome to Burger-Burger. How can I help you?
(A voice is heard on the headset, presumably the Grinch)
Grinch (voiced by Doug): Recording...? Okay. (clears throat) Yes. Uh... heh... Do you have Prince Albert in a can?
Tamara: (playing with her hair) Well, I hope not; we'd have to let him out.
Grinch: Aw, shit! Uh, hold on... Uh... Oh! Is your refrigerator running?
Tamara: Somebody will catch it.
Grinch: God damn it! Um... Do you have Prince Al– Oh, I did that one. Uh, wait, wait, lemme get my guitar. (A car horn is heard honking loudly) ALL RIGHT!! I'll just do a Mondo-Burger.
Tamara: Great, will that be cash, credit or matter with my dick?
Grinch: What's the matter with my dick? (Tamara smiles as he suddenly gets it) Oh, you little bitch! Joke's on you; I'm not posting this on my channel anymore! Oh, who am I kidding? I need the views. Go to youtube/grinchpranks– (Tamara interrupts as she turns off her headset) Please subscribe!
(Cut back to the movie)
NC (vo): Also, I seem to remember the Whos celebrating Christmas on their own, not forcing their religion on others like a PureFlix movie.
(The Whos sing and dance toward the Grinch while snapping their fingers)
Whos: God rest ye merry gentlemen, let nothing you dismay...
(The Grinch screams and runs off, Max following close behind)
NC: (nervously) Black Christmas (Poster for that movie appears in the corner) is officially the second scariest holiday movie ever made.
NC (vo): Meanwhile, Overworked McPerfect has a daughter named Cindy Lou Who.
Cindy Lou (Cameron Seely): (running out the door and taking an inner tube with her) Roger that, Mom!
NC (vo): They really should have called her "Tomboy Nojoy" as, again, this is their attempt to update what really didn't need to be updated.
(Cut to a clip of Cindy Lou in the original cartoon)
NC (vo): Cindy Lou is supposed to be the child innocence to set off the Grinch's old, corrupt soul.
(Cut to a clip of Cindy Lou in the live-action movie)
NC (vo): Though she's as interesting as tap water in the first film, they did at least get the general idea of what her role was.
(Cut back to Cindy Lou in the newest movie)
NC (vo): But here, she's replaced by...
(Cindy Lou, holding her letter to Santa, slides down a hill on her inner tube while dragging a hockey stick behind her to keep from going too fast)
Cindy Lou: Here goes Cindy Lou Who as she dashes through the snow!
NC: (shaking head in confused) Girl power, I guess?
NC (vo): She's just every generic energized kid who gets in trouble, but means well in her heart. Again, this can be done well, like (shots of the following appear in the corner...) Gosalyn [Mallard], Lilo, and Mabel [Pines], but where they had funny lines and unique interactions, she [Cindy Lou] has...
(Cindy Lou races through a Who family's house as they have breakfast)
Cindy Lou and NC: (in unison) ..."Shortcut!"...
NC (vo): ...and...
(Cindy Lou calls out to the family...)
Cindy Lou and NC: (in unison) ..."Bon appetit!"...
NC (vo): ...and...
(Cindy Lou flies through the air, but loses her grip on her letter)
Cindy Lou and NC: (in unison) ..."Oh, no!" (She starts to fall)
NC (vo): Any lines any kid in any movie would say; instantly forgettable.
(Cut to more footage of Cindy Lou in the original cartoon)
NC (vo): The original didn't need much because it was short and simple. People still remember Cindy Lou from that because of the way she was drawn and how charming she was and...yeah, she said very little, but what she needed to do was effective.
(Cut back to the 2018 movie)
NC (vo): But when you're doing a film that's supposed to have, I guess, complicated characters, you can't make them this Anakin.
Anakin Skywalker: (dubbed over Cindy Lou flying through the air on her inner tube) Yippee!
NC (vo): (sighs irritably) I haven't been this angry since Dante Basco didn't put me in his autobiography.
(Cut to NC and Dante interacting with each other in a comic book store)
Dante: Oh, you mean the Family Guy thing who wrote the book? Thanks so much!
NC: Yeah, yeah, links down below. (An image of Basco's book "From Rufio to Zuko" appears on the screen)
NC (vo): She wants to deliver a letter to Santa with a Christmas Wish, but she loses it, bumping into the Grinch.
Cindy Lou: This isn't just a letter, this is the letter, and what I'm wishing for is really, really important.
NC: (as Cindy Lou) That's why I did...
NC (vo; as Cindy Lou): ...a bunch of crazy stunts, increasing my chances of losing it.
NC: (exasperated) Just get the basics down!
NC (vo): Look at this, she finds the letter, and she's so bland, that they don't even know what reaction to give her.
(Cindy Lou picks up the letter and gives an emotionless look)
NC: Emotion LEAPING off the screen!
(The scene replays)
NC (vo): That's a deep, complicated face that says (The following words pop up...) "I EXIST...I GUESS".
(We then cut to Bricklebaum as he helps the Grinch to his feet)
NC (vo): Even Kenan Thompson, one of the funniest cast members on SNL right now, literally everything he says can get a laugh...
NC: ...2018 Grinch shit can fix that!
Brickebaum: We all got to keep the gray away. I myself use Chocolate Explosion.
NC (vo; as Bricklebaum): Yeah, that's what my wife calls me. Or...at least, it.
NC: I'm just trying to make it a little funny!
Bricklebaum: The mayor wants Christmas to be three times bigger this year!
NC (vo): Again, part of the charm about the Whos...
(Cut to the Whos in the original cartoon)
NC (vo): ...in the original is that they were celebrating for themselves; nothing was forced.
(Cut to the Whos in the live-action movie)
NC (vo): While the live action one was at least making commentary on it, being over-commercialized...
(A collage of merchandise from the live-action Grinch movie is superimposed over this scene)
NC (vo): ...while over-commercializing it....
(Cut back to the 2018 Grinch film)
NC (vo): ...here, they go over the top for no reason, making them pretty annoying to put up with it.
(Bricklebaum's Christmas tree, attached to balloons, flies overhead)
Bricklebaum: (to the Grinch) It's the most beautiful Christmas tree you've ever seen!
NC (vo; as Brickebaum): We had to kill twenty Loraxes for this baby!
NC: (shows an image of a woman wearing an orange fur coat; still as Bricklebaum) Somebody's getting a nice orange fur coat! (nods)
NC (vo): So the Grinch decides he wants to stop the lighting of the tree in Whoville. So he conjures up the clever plan of sneaking into town, attending the ceremony...
(Cut to a clip of Batman Returns, showing the Ice Princess falling off the roof to her death)
NC (vo): ...pushing the Ice Princess off a tall building, landing on a button, igniting an army of bats to an unsuspecting public– (as the Penguin) You lousy minx, ya sent out all the signals!
(Cut back to The Grinch, showing the Grinch standing next to a catapult outside of town poised to launch a snowball at Whoville)
NC (vo): Or he tries throwing a snowball. Less creative, but whatevs.
Grinch: Not on my watch, you don't.
NC (vo): While that's going on, Cindy reveals she wants to see Santa so she can wish for her mom to be given a break.
Cindy: She acts like she's fine, but I know, it's really hard for her.
NC (vo): So yeah, this is kind of story B, which is not a bad idea: showing the strong connection between Cindy and her mother.
NC: (holds up index finger) But you know what might have worked a little better? Showing the strong connection between Cindy and her mother.
NC (vo): Yeah, going through this almost-hour-and-a-half-long film, their time spent together before the ending is just a little over (Text pops up: "4 MINUTES 12 SECONDS") four minutes. All she talks about is how much she wants to help her mom, and yet she's constantly bailing on her, never helping out and causing a ton of trouble.
(A montage of Cindy Lou and her mother is shown to prove his point, starting in Donna's house)
Donna: Come here first.
Cindy Lou: (turning to leave) I gotta go!
(Cut to Cindy Lou and her mother at the tree lighting, as Cindy Lou once again has to leave for whatever reason)
Cindy Lou: See you guys soon! I'm gonna go find Groopert.
(Cut to Cindy Lou on her bike with a sidecar with her friend, presumably Groopert, sitting in there)
Cindy Lou: All right, let's go.
(Cut to Cindy Lou totally bundled up as she is about to leave again, walking awkwardly because she's all bundled up)
Donna: Are you going somewhere?
(Cut to Cindy Lou running out of the house)
Cindy Lou: Thanks! See you guys later!
NC (vo): Maybe if that was the lesson, like she should have been more attentive to her mom's needs at home, but nope, the whole subplot is about her reaching Santa, and nothing ever comes of it.
(The Grinch then has a flashback to his own childhood, which was spent in an orphanage)
NC (vo): As if that motivation wasn't weak enough, we finally get the Grinch's backstory, which...
NC: Why do we need??
(Two shots of the Grinch, one in the 2018 film and the other in the live-action film, are shown)
NC (vo): Every version says his hatred of Christmas is a mystery...
(Cut to a clip of the original cartoon)
NC (vo): ...but only one version actually leaves it a mystery!
NC: And God, I can't believe how often I'm pointing out the positives of this, but...even in the Jim Carrey one, they do this a little better!
(Footage of the live-action version is shown, showing the Grinch's mistreatment by the school and his subsequent Christmas hatred and abandonment of Whoville)
NC (vo): It's stupid and unneeded, but you got why at least he hated the holiday: he was mocked, he was ridiculed, and it was done during the happiest time of the year, so it gave him a reason to hate Christmas and the Whos. It was pointless, but you at least understood his anger.
(Cut back to the 2018 version, where the Grinch's childhood was spent in an empty orphanage, all alone)
NC (vo): Here, he's in an orphanage and...there's no other kids, no adults, and they don't celebrate Christmas...?
NC: (confused) Are they Who-ish?
NC (vo): It's not really clear how this world works, especially for a simple children's story. Even what's being shown contradicts what's being said!
(In the film, a young Grinch stares forlornly into the window of a Who home as the huge number of Whos inside sit down to a feast)
Narrator: They'd feast on rare Who roast beast, which is something the Grinch could not stand in the least.
NC: (confused) Really? Because...
NC (vo): ...not only can he stand it, he wants to stand it. He wants a lot of standing of that. Please, God, let him stand that! Do they mean like he can't stand it because he's not a part of it? Well, that's not what they meant in literally every other version of the story.
NC: Look, (An image of the Grinch from the original cartoon is shown) if you want to keep it vague, keep it vague. (This image is replaced by that of the young Grinch from the live-action film) If you want to be needlessly complicated...that sucks, but at least I can follow.
NC (vo): But you can't do something half-assed in between, because it both gives us too much information and not enough information. His environment isn't well-established, so his emotions aren't well-established. Hell, we don't even know (Shots of the Grinch's childhood in the live-action movie is shown in the corner) who looked after him, how kids treated him. We're just supposed to feel sad because...he looks sad. This whole film leaves out important details and focuses on less important ones. How are we supposed to be emotionally invested when it's not even clear why they're feeling these emotions?!
NC: I don't know! (looks up toward main door) Why is that brown door so whimsical?
(He sees the second NC again)
Second NC: It really is whimsical.
First NC: Well, if you say I'm supposed to feel whimsical towards it, (holds up index finger) I'm gonna feel whimsical towards it.
Second NC: (stroking door like a pet) This is what Christmas is all about.
First NC: Brown door.
Second NC: Brown door.
First NC: Brown door.
Second NC: Brown door.
First NC: (looking back toward camera, smiling) This movie sucks.
(With that, we got to a commercial break. Upon return, the movie resumes, with the Grinch starting in on his plan to steal Christmas...by slipping on a pair of pink exercise shorts that reads "GO TIME"? And twerking in them?!)
NC (vo): Hey, what does this and Norm of the North have in common? They both snow and twerking.
(Max is creeped out by his master twerking as he exercises, wearing a sweatband and socks as he does)
Grinch: Genius starts with the abs, Max.
NC (vo): Let's be honest...
NC: ...if it existed in 2000...
(A shot of the live-action Grinch is shown in the corner, in which he tears off his t-shirt while Cindy Lou looks on)
NC: ...it'd be in the other one.
NC (vo): So he looks through a Christmas almanac to figure out how he'll become Santa.
Grinch: (looking through almanac) "Christmas Tree"... "Christmas Traditions"... "Christmas Pudding"...
NC (vo; as Grinch): That's funny, there's no mention of Jesus here anywhere.
NC: (as Grinch) The war is real! (The poster for Kirk Cameron's Saving Christmas appears in the corner) You were right, Kirk Cameron!
NC (vo): He discovers he needs a reindeer, so he searches for one in the mountains and finds one that he calls Fred.
(The Grinch throws a lasso around one of the antlers of Fred, a rather plump reindeer, but Fred starts running, and the Grinch can't hold him, so he gets dragged along behind, screaming as he does. In doing so, the Grinch gets dragged up a slanted rock, launching him into the air as thought it were a jump)
NC (vo; listlessly): Well, this is a routine I've never seen in cartoons.
NC: You know, that's another problem with movies like this: they're treated like cartoons, not animated films! And yes, there is a difference!
(Footage of Teen Titans Go is shown)
NC (vo): What I mean is, there's a lot of fast motion and zany humor to entertain kids, but it's without any discipline for character.
(Cut back to the Grinch movie, showing the Grinch's expressions and movements)
NC (vo): Like, look at how the Grinch moves. He moves like every other character: fast, zigzaggy, big expressions. Nobody moves differently from anyone else in this.
(Cut to footage of the original cartoon)
NC (vo): In the original, you can tell what he's like just by the way he moves: slow, stiff, old, bitter. Max moves with a little pep in his step, but often careful, like he's afraid what will happen to him. Cindy moves daintily but clumsily, like a curious child would. With a fraction of the budget, you can tell their personality just by watching them. No sound, no dialogue, you know what they're like.
NC: But in a lot of animated movies now, everybody...
(More footage of the 2018 Grinch movie is shown)
NC (vo): ...moves the same, reacts the same, expresses themselves the same, and therefore, nobody stands out. This Grinch moves like...
(Cut to a clip of Horton Hears a Who, showing Horton dancing around to avoid getting stung by bees)
NC (vo): ...Horton, who moves like...
(Cut to a clip of Despicable Me, showing Gru wagging a disapproving finger at the three girls)
NC (vo): ...Gru...
(Cut to footage of Dracula in Hotel Transylvania 1, 2 and 3)
NC (vo): ...who moves like Dracula, who moved uniquely at first, but now moves like everyone else.
(Cut back again to the 2018 Grinch)
NC (vo): This is because there's less care about his personality than there is about constantly making your kids laugh at silly movements, even if it doesn't match what the character is about.
NC: Want an example? Think of the Mandalorian.
(A shot of The Mandalorian is shown)
NC (vo): A brooding loner who keeps to himself. Imagine if all his movements and line deliveries were the opposite of that.
(Cut to a sketch involving Greef Karga meeting Din Djarin, the Mandalorian)
Greef (played by Malcolm): I hear you are a man who keeps to himself.
(The Mandalorian is dancing hilariously in place, jumping in the air and bobbing his head around)
Mandalorian (also voiced by Malcolm): Yeah, that's me. Nobody can get into my tortured soul. I'm so angsty and deep.
Greef: Really? Because you move like a buffoon.
Mandalorian: No, man, this is totally how people move. I was just thinking about my scarring childhood.
Greef: You're silly. I'm not hiring you. (leaves)
Mandalorian: Wait, can you at least get me Bill Burr's autograph?
Greef: (calling out) I don't like you!
(Cut back to the movie, as Cindy Lou meets up with her friends)
NC (vo): So Cindy meets up with her friends...
NC: You can call them pointless.
NC (vo): ...as she has a plan to make her wish for her mother come true.
Cindy Lou: (dramatically) We're gonna...TRAP SANTA CLAUS!
(She points up to an inflatable balloon of Santa covered in lights as a choir is heard singing "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town")
NC: Oh, come on! It's a Danny Elfman score! You couldn't play a little "Kidnap the Sandy Claws" at that point?
(As Cindy Lou and her gang go off to find Santa, the Grinch is seen stealthily trying to sneak over to Bricklebaum's house and, while avoiding Bricklebaum's sleeping dog, takes down some of the Christmas lights and a decorate sleigh and reindeer off of the house and wraps them around Fred, who is pulling the sleigh, and then has Fred take off, removing the lights in the process. The Grinch and Max sit in the stolen sleigh as Fred takes off with it)
NC (vo): They agree to help as the film certainly focuses on the "how" part of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, as there's a lot of time spent to him stealing what he needs to...steal Christmas.
NC: (throws up hands) Filler up! (An image of a hand holding a gas pump appears in the corner, accompanied by the message "FILLER UP")
(Trying to avoid Bricklebaum's now-awoken dog barking viciously at him, the Grinch climbs up a support beam on the doorstep to get out of the way and rings the doorbell with his foot, then splits before Bricklebaum opens the door, seeing his dog there)
Bricklebaum: I taught Mabel how to use the doorbell! (picks up Mabel) Man, that's awesome! (Mabel barks as Bricklebaum goes back inside, holding Mabel in his arms) You smart little dog! (closes door)
NC: (his head resting on his hand) You ever notice how everybody in this movie sounds like a light imitation of their usual talent?
(Bricklebaum is shown again)
NC (vo): Like, that sounds like a half-assed imitation of Kenan Thompson, doesn't it?
(The Grinch is shown again)
NC (vo): That sounds like a half-assed imitation of Benedict Cumberbatch, doesn't it?
(The Grinch is looking over a scale model of Whoville)
NC (vo): Even the Danny Elfman score! It's like it said...
NC: (as a studio executive) Okay, we can't afford Danny Elfman, so give us an imitation. (as Danny Elfman (with Elfman's head over his head)) But I am Danny Elfman! (as the executive) Eh, we can't afford you, so we're paying you half for an imitation. You think you can do that? (as Elfman) I...know I can do that.
NC (vo): The Grinch actually grows a conscience when he sees Fred has a family and decides to let him go. First of all, how long has Fred been avoiding his family when he's had ample opportunities to escape?! Fucking deadbeat dad!
NC: (holds up two fingers) Second, he lets him go?!
NC (vo):' What was even the point of him?! And when is the Grinch nice to animals?!
(Cut to footage of the original cartoon, showing Max operating the sewing machine to make the Grinch's costume and then being forced to pull the sleigh as a reindeer)
NC (vo): I thought the whole thing was he treated Max like shit, one of the many reasons there's so many mean songs about him! We liked hating him!
NC: Oh, wait, my mistake! He's actually nice to Max...
(Cut to footage of the Grinch in the newest movie, showing him being nice to Max)
NC (vo): ...in this one! I dare even say, treats him like a member of the family!
(The Grinch having yelled at Max at one point, Max cowers out of sight of his master, and the Grinch realizes his mistake)
Grinch: All right, all right, I'm sorry. You're a good dog. (Max, still offended, grunts) What would you like to do?
NC: Did these two get married at some point?
(Cut again to the original cartoon as the Grinch ties a reindeer antler to Max's head)
NC (vo): Look at this! In the original, it was like a punishment when he was forced to be the reindeer!
(Cut again to the newest movie, showing how the concurrent scene plays out)
NC (vo): But here, (mocking voice) it's a "great honor"!
Grinch: (dressed like Santa, to Max) You...will guide my sleigh tonight!
(Max, now wearing a helmet with the antler on that, barks and wags his tail excitedly. The Grinch laughs. The following words pop up in yellow: "NOT MY GRINCH", which NC yells with an echo. Then, at long last, we reach the moment in the story where the Grinch goes into Whoville to steal Christmas)
NC (vo): Okay, so as much as they fascinatingly get wrong in this, the film does kind of get a little fun when he starts actually stealing Christmas, showcasing all these creative gadgets. They're super imaginative and there is kind of a fun momentum around this point.
NC: But again, in the context of this world, a lot doesn't add up.
NC (vo): Not only is his motivation for doing it still pitiful, so it's hard to get behind it...
(At one point, as he raids one house, the Grinch runs into a man sleepwalking while holding an empty glass)
NC (vo): ...but little scenes like this happen when he comes across a sleepwalker.
(The Grinch nervously takes out a carton of milk and pours some into the glass, then leaves as fast as he can)
NC: It's the Grinch! Shouldn't he have taken that glass?
(The original cartoon is shown as the Grinch's raid there includes stealing ice from an ice cube tray and some poinsettia petals off of a plant)
NC (vo): For Christ's sake, he took ice cubes from the original! How are you constantly doing the opposite?!
(Cut back once again to the 2018 Grinch, at the moment where Cindy Lou encounters the Grinch in the process of raiding her house)
NC (vo): When Cindy Lou comes across him, it doesn't make any sense either. She should recognize him.
Cindy Lou: I can't believe it's really you!
Grinch: (uncomfortably) Uh...yeah.
NC: I mean, in the original, (A shot of Cindy Lou in the original cartoon appears in the upper-left corner) she's (holds up two fingers) two; (A shot of Cindy Lou in the 2000 movie appears in the upper-right corner) in the other film, she's...dumb.
(More footage of Cindy Lou in the 2018 movie is shown again)
NC (vo): But here, they establish she's supposed to be "witty" and "clever" and such, so it doesn't match that her character would fall for this.
Grinch: Everyone wants presents.
Cindy Lou: No, really, I don't! I want you to help my mom!
Grinch: (surprised) Y-Your mom? (Cindy Lou nods)
NC: (as Cindy Lou) She needs to get laid bad! I hear there's a gigolo place down the street called (A made-up gigolo sign appears with green eggs and ham on it and a sign reading...) Green Eggs and Ham. It should fix her right up.
NC (vo): He of course still takes everything, leaving the Whos to wake up without any presents at all.
(In Cindy Lou's home, she is devastated to find everything gone)
NC (vo; as Cindy Lou): Oh! Santa gave the gift of poverty! Now Mom won't have to work at all! Good job, Santa!
(Everyone gathers outside, devastated at what just happened. Cindy Lou and her friends gather around)
One of Cindy Lou's friends: Where's the decorations?
Groopert: All the presents?
(Donna walks up to her daughter, kneels down beside her and hugs her, trying to console her)
NC (vo): Once again, the Whos have to convince themselves that Christmas is worth more than just presents, which still drives me insane...
(Cut to a clip of a similar scene in the live-action movie, showing Mayor Augustus May Who losing it over the Christmas decorations while Cindy Lou hangs her head as the mayor blames her for everything)
NC (vo): ...as they did that in the last one, too, and I just think it's more powerful they don't know the presents are gone.
(Cut to how it plays out in the original cartoon, where everyone gathers around to sing cheerfully, presents or no presents, before showing the Grinch learning that Christmas "means a little bit more" and has a change of heart)
NC (vo): Like, they're too distracted by how happy they are that it's Christmas Day. But then we couldn't leave it open to people filling in what "a little bit more" means!
(Cut back to the 2018 movie)
NC (vo): Yeah, we have to friggin' spell that out for ya!
Donna: (to Cindy Lou) Christmas is in here. (points to her own heart) And besides, I already have the greatest gift I could ever get.
NC: (as Donna) Burglary insurance.
NC: (as Donna) ...are a close second. (nods)
NC (vo): As you'd expect, everyone sings, the Grinch's heart grows, the presents tumble, and...
(As the Grinch grabs the sleigh full of stolen Christmas items to keep it from falling over the cliff, his lower half is exposed as he hangs upside-down. A censor bar is placed over his lower half)
NC (vo): ...there really should be a censor bar there.
(Suddenly, just as the hook slips from the cliff and starts to fall, Fred bites down on the hook and holds it tight, causing the sleigh to hang in mid-air again. Then Fred's family start pulling on each other's tails and start pulling back hard to get the sleigh back up over the cliff)
NC: (mock excitement) Fred! They wrote you...
NC (vo): ...a reason for being in this at the last minute!
NC: Thank God for padding!
NC (vo): He of course returns the gifts to hand back to all the Whos.
Grinch: (feeling embarrassed) Uh... Hello, everybody.
NC: (as Grinch, awkwardly) I stopped Santa from stealing all these. That's one kick to the sleigh bells he won't forget.
NC (vo): He admits to his wrongdoing and walks back home after returning the gifts.
(Upon returning to their lair, Max barks to get the Grinch's attention, but the Grinch is too depressed to listen)
Grinch: Not now, Max. I need to be alone.
NC (vo; as Grinch): I estimate I have twenty minutes before they rally a mob to burn me. (normal again) But Cindy comes knocking on his door later that night.
Cindy Lou: My name is Cindy Lou, Cindy Lou Who.
NC: (as Cindy Lou) I heard you steal things. (gestures behind him with thumb) I was kind of hoping you could take my brothers.
NC (vo): She invites him to their house for Christmas dinner, and I'm not gonna lie, this is the closest thing they added in the movie that legitimately works. He awkwardly tries to blend in, not always doing a good job, but people still welcome him with open arms. It's different, takes its time, and is nicely handled, kind of like a Planes, Trains and Automobiles ending, if you will.
Cindy Lou: (seated next to the Grinch at the table) Merry Christmas, Mr. Grinch.
Grinch: (smiling) Merry Christmas, Cindy Lou.
NC: (as Grinch) So what kind of meat is this? Reindeer? (looks down and becomes shocked) FRED!!
(And the movie ends with the camera pulling away from Whoville and stopping on a mountain goat screaming. Then we cut to a clip of Young Frankenstein)
Igor (Mel Brooks): Quiet dignity and grace.
NC: So that was the second theatrical Grinch movie. (beat) I think this face sums it up.
(A shot of Cindy Lou holding the letter with an emotionless look is shown again)
NC: (whispering) Yeah.
(Footage of this movie is shown as NC provides his closing thoughts. As he is comparing this with the live-action version, clips are shown there, too)
NC (vo): It's fascinating the things it gets wrong, stuff you think would be the easiest to set up. Everybody's motivations, actions, even how they move are off. The live-action one is bad, but at least I got why the Grinch hated Christmas, why Cindy Lou loved Christmas, and a distinct character from everyone, even if they were all unlikeable as fuck.
NC: So, is it worse than the live-action one? (hesitates as he makes a weighing motion with his hand) It's kind of pick your poison.
(The live-action version/2018 version continue to alternate)
NC (vo): The motivations are set up in the live-action one, and it certainly stands out, even if it is as a Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Christmas. But I'll admit, I do like the way this film [the 2018 film] looks, with its winter lighting, gentle colors, and certainly more Christmas atmosphere than a sewage-stained Universal Studios attraction. I also do like the ingenuity when he's stealing Christmas and that legit nice couple of minutes at the end. So I guess I like this a little better, but it depends on what you find more interesting: a safe, bland mess you'll probably forget quickly about...
(The live-action Grinch movie's more notorious aspects are shown, such as the Grinch's face in Martha May Whovier's breasts, Mayor Augustus May Who accidentally kissing Max's butt in his sleep, and the Grinch wiggling the mistletoe over his butt)
NC (vo): ...or an insane catastrophe that has to be seen to be believed.
(One last snippet of the 2018 movie is shown)
NC (vo): You guys can duke it out which one is worse.
(Cut one more time to the classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas cartoon)
NC (vo): I'm gonna keep watching the smaller, simpler story that maybe, perhaps, means a little bit more.
NC: I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don't have to.
(He starts to get up, but he suddenly remembers he is wearing a skirt and not pants and sits back down again in wide-eyed embarrassment. His eyes shift around. Then he moves out of frame by sliding along in his chair)
Malcolm: (offscreen) Can you at least keep your legs closed?
NC: (offscreen) WHY ARE YOU STILL HERE?!
Channel Awesome tagline – (Mountain goat screams)
Igor: Quiet dignity and grace.
(The credits roll)