- Directors: Richard Donner
- Producers: Richard Donner, Art Linson
- Writers: Mitch Glazer, and Michael O Donoghue, Charles Dickens
- Genres: Comedy, Drama, Fantasy
- Actors: Bill Murray, Karen Allen, John Forsythe, Bobcat Goldthwait, Carol Kane, Robert Mitchum, Michael J Pollard, Alfre Woodard
Francis “Frank” Xavier Cross (Bill Murray) is a conceited, cynical television programming executive. He has found great success and wealth but only by becoming coldhearted and cruel. In the opening scenes, he is seen working out in a room with a border that reads “Cross: (n) A thing they nail people to.”
His ruthless concentration on his career has cost him his true love, the warm-hearted Claire Phillips (Karen Allen). It has also alienated him from his family, having only an “at arm’s length” relationship with his brother James (John Murray), and ruined any chance of his having a happy and fulfilling life. Frank overworks his assistant Grace Cooley (Alfre Woodard), forcing her to constantly break plans with her family and neglect her mute son Calvin. When a disturbing TV commercial is criticized by staff member Eliot Loudermilk (Bobcat Goldthwait), Frank responds by firing him on Christmas Eve.
When Cross is given the task of heading up a live Christmas Eve broadcast of A Christmas Carol, his life begins to mirror the story he’s producing. The decomposing corpse of his mentor, media mogul Lew Hayward (John Forsythe)â€”who had died of a heart attack during a golf gameâ€”comes back to visit to tell him the error of his ways, and to announce the impending visitation of three Ghosts.
As he feels his body being burned, Frank finally sees the error of his ways and begs for a second chance. He awakens back in his office, right as the live broadcast is wrapping up. The reformed Frank rehires Loudermilk at a considerable salary increase, steps in front of the rolling studio cameras, and publicly wishes his viewers a Merry Christmas. Calvin urges him to add Tiny Tim’s phrase, “God bless us, everyone,” finally breaking free of his mute condition. Claire appears in the studio and Frank reconciles with her, sharing a romantic kiss as Grace and the other television workers start to sing “Put a Little Love in Your Heart”.
- Directors: Bobcat Goldthwait
- Producers: Howard Gertler, Ted Hamm, Richard Kelly, Sean McKittrick, Tim Perell, Sarah de Sa Rego, Jennifer Roth
- Writers: Bobcat Goldthwait
- Genres: Comedy, Drama
- Actors: Robin Williams, Daryl Sabara, Alexie Gilmore
Lance Clayton (played by Robin Williams) is a single father, unpublished author, and high school English teacher who dreams of becoming a famous writer. He unsuccessfully tries to bond with his misanthropic, underachieving, sex-obsessed teenage son Kyle (played by Daryl Sabara). Virtually friendless, Kyle is a student at the same school where Lance teaches an unpopular poetry class.
Because of Kyle’s poor academic performance, the school principal advises Lance that Kyle should transfer to a special needs school. One night, Kyle dies accidentally in an autoerotic asphyxiation accident in his bedroom. Overcome with grief, Lance avoids embarrassment by staging Kyle’s death scene as a suicide, hanging Kyle in the closet and leaving a false suicide note on the body.
Initially, most of the students and faculty at Lance’s school are uninterested in Kyle’s death, Kyle having been a very unpopular and unlikeable person. However, a classmate later obtains the suicide note from police records and publishes it in the school newspaper. The note strikes a chord with the students and faculty and many now claim to have been Kyle’s friend. Enjoying the attention his writing is finally receiving, Lance fabricates and publishes Kyle’s diary of his last days. Kyle becomes something of a post-mortem cult phenomenon at the school; students who had previously disliked him begin to claim that they had always been close to Kyle and Lance is regarded as a hero. A much younger teacher on staff, who has been dating Lance at her convenience, begins to give him her undivided attention.
The bogus journal also attracts the attention of book publishers now eager for Lance’s work, and Lance lands a TV appearance on nationally-broadcast talk show. Ironically, the school principal now wants to dedicate the school library to Kyle’s memory, in spite of Kyle’s terrible attitude and lack of interest in schoolwork during his life. Kyle’s only friend Andrew, asks Lance some penetrating questions, aware that Kyle was incapable of profound writing. Lance’s work, though published under false pretenses, earns him all the fame and appreciation he had dreamed of. At the library dedication, Lance’s guilt over his exploitation of Kyle’s death reaches a breaking point, leading him to confess everything, from Kyle’s real character and death to Lance’s authorship of Kyle’s “journals.” Lance is immediately despised by everyone except Andrew, who praises Kyle’s bogus journal and encourages Lance to continue writing. Lance, encouraged by Andrew’s statement, invites him to attend a zombie movie marathon at his house.