The Grinch: A Four-Movie-Marathon Review

Watching the Grinch is a beloved Christmas tradition at Montrose, and this year it was one of my favorites, being one of the only traditions coming out unscathed by the Covid-19 pandemic. I loved it so much, in fact, that I went home for Christmas break and ended up having a Grinch marathon with my family! With a total of four movies, here are my thoughts and rankings of each.


Coming in fourth: The Grinch Musical 2020

Credit: PlayBill

Shocking, I know! I love musicals, don’t get me wrong, but this Grinch just couldn’t keep my attention. Played by Mathew Morrison, who is best known for being Mr Scheuster in Glee, this Grinch wasn’t sad enough to be sympathized with nor mean enough to be villainized. The one thing going for this production though is that it did have an interesting story framework. An older and wiser version of Max substituted as a narrator, telling the story from his point of view. 

My mom voiced her critical opinion that it doesn’t have the same magic as a broadway production, with the commercials and all. She also commented on the actors being more Hollywood actors than Broadway actors, and how seeing an actor from the Twilight movies play the dog Max took her out of the experience. Overall though, the set was cool, which was made to look like the paper sets from the Dr Seuss book, and Cindy Loo Who was cute and sweet as always.


In third: How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Credit: Common Sense Media

We all know this one! It’s the classic, the original, the one and only. How on earth could it be third place?! I’m telling you, it was a really tough call. This movie, being animated in 1966, when every slide was hand drawn, is a masterpiece of animated cinema, and perhaps, the pinnacle of Disney animation at the time. It is so impressive how the Grinch’s gross, creepy, sly features and characteristics were all portrayed through a 2D animation. 

I love how all the Whos are wonderful, kind, and happy, and Cindy in this movie is only a toddler, but just as cute and sweet. The only thing going against this one is a lack of backstory for the Grinch, which isn’t their fault because the original book did not have one. Overall, this was the greatest first Grinch movie anyone could ask for and was the foundation for the Grinch adaptations to come. None of the future movies would’ve earned their rank on this list without the roots of this movie.


Second place goes to The Grinch (2018)


I adore this Grinch with all my heart. I cannot emphasize this enough. He is the saddest, sweetest, kindest, most adorable Grinch ever, and he just needs a hug. Not surprisingly, this movie came out pretty recently –only two years ago– so of course the Grinch is portrayed as a depressed ball of green fuzz which is pretty much every millennial these days. (I mean, if you know you, know). My favorite parts are as follows: 

  1. Fred the reindeer: He is the greatest added side character. The Grinch originally wants to use him to drag his sleigh but lets him go when he sees that Fred has a family to take care of. With the comeback of the century, Fred returns to save the day when the sled full of goodies is about to fall off the mountain.
  2. Cindy Loo Who- I love how her whole goal in tracking down Santa is to make her mom happy. I just melt. It’s too much.
  3. The Whos- The fact that they welcome the Grinch in with open arms, quite literally, some giving him a hug after only first meeting. They are so chill. 
  4. The Grinch’s house- It’s a luxury vacation home. Try to convince me otherwise. I mean it has a straight up piano organ (which he plays on while belting out his sadness to All by Myself by Celine Dion).
  5. Max- Instead of being the Grinch’s servant, he is his closest friend, confidant, and ally which is so wholesome.

This movie was also star-studded with actors like Benedict Cumberbatch (best known for Doctor Strange) voicing the Grinch, Pharrel Williams, well known American music producer, as the narrator, Radisha Jones, also known as Ann Perkins from Parks and Recreation, as Cindy’s mom, and more. I think this Grinch was a good adaptation as something more little kid friendly, as the past Grinches can be a bit upsetting and scary to some children, and it added a very heart-warming emotional aspect needed in the Grinch.


Finally, the moment you’ve all been waiting for. First place goes to How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)


Ok. So to unpack this, I think it needs to be said that there is obviously a phase that every child goes through in their life where they are absolutely terrified, and I mean terrified of Jim Carrey as the Grinch. I can attest to this, as I was once a child like this. But now that I am grown out of that phase (I hope), I can truly appreciate the mastery that went into creating this film. No doubt, Jim Carey acted his face off and gave the world the meanest, most disgusting Grinch anyone could imagine. I saw this movie as a child but watching it again, I realized he took a bite from an actual onion and made it look tasty, and that is jaw dropping. Every step he took, every word he said, everything just made you hate him, and that’s what is so brilliant. As a comedic genius, Jim Carrey carried the film (pun intended).

However, this movie was not number one just because of the strong Grinch character. No no no. It’s the hilarious backstory of the Grinch with the mayor and Martha May. It’s the development of the Whos who, in my eyes, were almost a second antagonist with their satirical obsession with spending money. It’s the funny noses and the extravagant sets. It’s the chaos. It’s the cacophony.

My favorite parts are as follows:

  1. The teenager Whos tumbling down the mountain to escape the Grinch- I have no words for the way they completely flop down the side of that mountain. It’s just golden.
  2. The Grinch saving Cindy from being squished in the mail room- Ten out of ten. Very wholesome moment.
  3. The mayor asking out Martha May- MOVE ON PAL, SHE HAS EYES FOR THE GRINCH ONLY
  4. All of the baby Grinch scenes- I’ve never seen something so equally cute and ugly at the same time.
  5. Cindy Loo Who riding in the sleigh with the Grinch- The juxtaposition in their appearance and yet the similarity in their hearts is moving, even if it is just a silly movie.

And that’s another thing. It may just be a silly movie, in fact, the story of the Grinch altogether could be just a wacky kids book, but it also could be saying something really special. And as kids, we didn’t really analyze movies, but now that we’re older and understand things better, we can find the meaning in what used to be childish antics. I think the meaning here is that we should reach out to the lonely and include them in our community no matter how Grinch-like. I think another hidden meaning is that we should all have wacky hair and weird noses like the Whos. Just kidding. Merry Christmas.


Elyza Tuan ‘23, News Editor