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Film: How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

"The presents! They'll be destroyed! And I care! ...What is the deal?!"
The Grinch

Or just The Grinch. A 2000 film based upon the book of the same name. Jim Carrey cavorts a little more than usual as The Grinch, leaping around all over the place and wearing a green mask. Again. While it follows the original book pretty closely, it features an additional backstory to make the Grinch much more sympathetic. To date, it is the second highest-grossing Christmas film of all time, next to Home Alone.


Includes Examples of:

  • Accidental Pervert: The title character at one point winds up flying face-first into the bosom of his childhood crush. Without removing his head from her chest, he greets her with the muffled words, "Hello, Martha."
  • Adaptation Expansion: The movie expands on the Grinch's character, actually creating legitimate motivation for his actions and a reason why he stole Christmas this year as opposed to any previous year, in comparison to the original story where he simply hated Christmas and randomly decided that after 53 years of putting up with it, he would ruin it.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Until the ending, the Whos are really less sympathetic than in the book. They're not intentionally mean-spirited, but are ultra-commercial and have lost sight of what Christmas really means.
  • Adults Are Useless: For most of the film the smartest characters are an eight-year-old girl and a 53+ year old Grinch.
  • Affably Evil: The Grinch.
  • Affectionate Parody: A subversion of sorts. The Grinch starts to realize he's speaking in rhyme at certain points, and goes out of his way to try and prevent it. He does, however, keep going just before his Heel-Face Turn. At the very least, it's in character for him in the beginning.
  • Age Lift: Cindy Lou Who was "no more than two" in the original. Her age isn't specified in the film, but six-year-old Taylor Momsen is obviously not two.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Martha May Whovier has had a crush on the Grinch for years.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: The Grinch was alienated from his peers (excluding Martha), especially from the Mayor.
  • Anti-Villain: Grinch is a Type II, while Max is a Type IV.
  • Ascended Extra: Sure, Cindy-Lou was the only Who with a name in the book, but she was only in a very small portion.
    • All of the Whos really.
  • Aside Glance: The Grinch, a few times.
  • Award Bait Song: "Where Are You, Christmas?"
  • Bad Santa: The Grinch disguises himself as one.
  • Batman Gambit: Unlike the book and the cartoon, the Grinch's plan hinging on Christmas being ruined by him stealing the presents actually holds merit as the Whovians truly are that materialistic. And it works!
    • Spanner in the Works: What ruins the plan? Mayor Augustus blaming Cindy Lou for the disaster. If he hadn't, her father wouldn't have defended her and, thus, realize what the true meaning of Christmas was.
  • Beast and Beauty: The Grinch and Martha May Whovier.
  • Berserk Button: The Grinch actually starts to enjoy being involved in the Christmas celebrations... until he opens his gift to find an electric razor, a bad joke that triggers his deep-seated childhood rage, increased when Augustus proposes to Martha right in front of him.
  • Bill... Bill... Junk... Bill...:
    • The Grinch does this in reverse to the Whos, sending unpleasant mail to random destinations in the post office: "Jury duty! Jury duty! Jury duty! Blackmail! Pink slip! Chain letter! Eviction notice! Jury duty!"
    • He flips through the town phone book at random, loudly voicing his displeasure with each name he reads. "Hate, hate, hatehatehatehate, double-hate, LOATHE ENTIRELY!!"
  • Blatant Lies: The Grinch. "Look, I don't want to make waves, but..."
    • Also Mayor Augustus: "Martha was my girlfriend..."
    • Plus the whole thing with Cindy Lou Who and the Christmas tree.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: After the Grinch fails to scare off Cindy Lou Who.
    Grinch: "Kids today; so desensitized by movies and television."
    Grinch: (about Cindy Lou Who) Nice kid, bad judge of character.
  • Breath Weapon: While wandering Whoville incognito, The Grinch knocks out a pushy hat salesman with his foul breath.
  • Brick Joke: After he finishes pranking the Whos, he goes back to his lair and states that his heart size has gone "Down a size and a half!", meaning it's three and a half sizes too small. Near the end, his heart grows three sizes, leaving it still a half size too small. It explains his remaining Jerk Ass tendencies. And Martha May Whovier wouldn't have it any other way.
    The Grinch: Who wants the gizzard!?
    Who: I do!
    The Grinch: Too late! That'll be mine...
  • Broken Aesop: The backstory presented in the film makes it clear that the Grinch's hatred of the Who's way of celebrating Christmas is perfectly justified, yet the end is still presented as him needing to learn a lesson. To be fair, the Who's end up learning the same lesson too.
  • Callousness Towards Emergency
  • Cheshire Cat Grin: When the Grinch gets his awful idea.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Jim Carrey takes it a little too far when he eats a wine bottle.
  • Christmas Carolers: The one thing the Grinch hates most of all is when all the Whos down in Whoville gather together, and start caroling around the Christmas tree. There's a song on the subject by Ben Folds called "Lonely Christmas Eve".
  • Crapsaccharine World: A light example. While Whoville seems like a festive, friendly place at first, the Grinch - and Cindy Lou - feel that the Whos are very materialistic about Christmas. Not to mention how The Grinch was treated when he was a kid.
  • Curtains Match The Windows: The Grinch has green eyes and green hair.
  • Delivery Stork
  • Devil in Plain Sight: Mayor Augustus Maywho.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: The Mayor loses Martha to the Grinch.
    • Subverted with the Grinch who didn't win Martha over as a child.
  • Easily Forgiven: While more cynical towards the Grinch in this interpretation, you have to give credit that the Whos are willing to give him a chance twice over after completely destroying the festivities:
    The Grinch: I am the Grinch that stole Christmas... and I'm sorry. *beat* Aren't you going to cuff me? Put me in a chokehold? Blind me with pepper spray?
    Mayor Augustus Maywho: You heard him, Officer. He admitted it. I'd go with the pepper spray.
    Officer Wholihan: Yes, I heard him all right. He said he was sorry.
  • Enfant Terrible: The Grinch when he was a kid.
  • Enormous Engagement Ring: The ring offered to Martha May Whovier by Mayor Augustus Maywho is visibly large. It's also hideously gaudy.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: While the Grinch is not above destroying anything Christmas related, he avoids running women pushing children on the stroller even if the end result ends with his (stolen) car exploding. He'll cause a little chaos and mayhem, but he avoids people getting hurt. After Max gets the Grinch's attention that Cindy's in real danger from the machinery, he reluctantly saves her.
  • Extreme Omnivore: The Grinch eats a lot of 'junk' food.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Cindy Lou doesn't recognize the Grinch while he's stealing her family's tree, despite him putting his head through the tree and talking to her at one point.
  • Fantastic Racism: The Mayor against the Grinch.
    • The Grinch hilariously thinks this when he is passed up on the road.
    The Grinch: "It's because I'm green, isn't it?"
  • Flashback
  • Freudian Excuse: The Grinch is given one that previous versions lacked.
  • Funbag Airbag: "Hello, Martha." Coupled with Crash into Hello.
  • Funny Answering Machine: "If you utter so much as one syllable, I'LL HUNT YOU DOWN AND GUT YOU LIKE A FISH! If you'd like to fax me, press the star key."
  • G-Rated Sex: The "baby Whos from the sky" method of reproduction.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: The Grinch.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar
    • The flashback to the baby Grinch being delivered appears to take place at a key party.
    • "Hey honey! Our baby's here! ...He looks just like your boss."
    • The Grinch cleavage-diving May - and she likes it.
    • "Now pucker up and kiss it, Whoville!"
    • The Mayor kissing Max's rear
    • In the extended version, Nogoff
  • Genius Bruiser: The Grinch.
  • Grim Up North: The Grinch lives "just north of Whoville", and his lair is pretty icy (although that may just be because it's winter.)
  • The Grinch: Obviously.
  • A Grinch And His Dog: The Grinch's pet dog, Max, was his only friend for years.
  • Has Two Mommies: The Grinch was raised by two women who lived in the same house. Whether they were friends, relatives or life partners is unknown.
  • He Was Not My Boyfriend: Cindy Lou's interview of Martha May opens with Martha May flatly denying ever having had a crush on the Grinch, to which a confused Cindy replies, "I didn't ask you that."
  • Hide Your Otherness: As a child, the Grinch tries to shave off his green hair after being teased about it. It doesn't work very well.
  • Hollywood Heart Attack: The Grinch seems to have one when his heart grows three sizes.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Cindy Lou manages to do this even while being absolutely right. This is lampshaded by the Grinch when he says of her, "Nice kid, baaaad judge of character."
  • Interactive Narrator: The Grinch shushes the narrator when he's sneaking into the Whos' houses to steal their presents.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Eventually The Grinch and Cindy Lou.
  • Jerkass: The Grinch and Mayor Augustus Maywho.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: The Grinch calls out the Whos for being so greedy and demanding on Christmas. Even though he hates Christmas, he makes sure to point out what he sees in them.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: The Grinch, after discovering the meaning of Christmas. He's still kind of a jerkass, but he's considerably more affable. His heart is still a half-size too small, and Martha probably wouldn't have it any other way.
  • Large Ham: Jim Carrey really packs on the ham as the Grinch.
    • "Hello, little girl... HOW DARE YOU ENTER THE GRRRRRINCH'S LAIAH!!!! THE IMPUDENCE!! THE AU-DACITY! THE AHN-MIDDEHGATED GULL!!! You called down the thunder now, get rrready for the BOOOM!!! Gaze into the face of fe-ahhh!"
    • "DOUBT?! Another unmistakable sign of the heebie-jeebies! NOW! YOU'RE! DOOOOOMMMED!"
    • You can see Taylor Momsen (Cindy Lou) genuinely giggling through some of his hamminess.
  • Less Embarrassing Term: "It's not a dress! It's a kilt, sicko!"
  • Literal Ass Kissing: The Grinch holds a piece of mistletoe over his ass. "Now pucker up and kiss it, Whoville!"
    • Also when The Grinch is stealing the presents and gets to the mayor, he presents Max's ass to him while he sleeps. Max is very clearly NOT happy afterwards.
  • Live-Action Adaptation: Obviously.
  • Love Makes You Evil: The Grinch's backstory.
  • Love Triangle: The Grinch, Mayor Augustus Maywho and Martha May Whovier.
  • Made of Explodium: The tiny car that the Grinch steals. When he crashes it, it goes off like a gasoline tanker.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: The Grinch gets this after his heart grows three sizes.
  • Mood Whiplash: While obviously a comedy through and through, there are quite a few scenes foreign to the genre, like the "Where Are You, Christmas?" song.
    • The Whobiliation scene qualifies by the moment the Grinch gets the razor as a gift.
  • Morality Pet: A literal version! Max doesn't let the Grinch leave the Post Office without saving Cindy Lou.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: While not actually involving literal murder, Augustus Maywho tries to get rid of the Grinch and the Grinch takes extra care in ruining Maywho's life when terrorizing the Whos.
  • My Master, Right or Wrong: Max the Dog seems to be this, following the Grinch faithfully whether his intentions are good or bad. Almost like a... well, a dog.
  • Mythology Gag: The opening shot depicting Whoville as being inside a snowflake is a shout out to Horton Hears a Who!, where Whoville is located in a similarly microscopic speck of dust.
    • Fridge Brilliance! Who's to say that it's not the same speck, but stuck on a snowflake? It would explain why Whoville can have both warm and snowy weather. Plus in Seussical, the Grinch makes a cameo in the speck of dust Horton finds.
    • Many designs (including but not limited to the clouds over Whoville) are based on swirls and spirals, echoing design elements in the original book.
  • Narrator: Anthony Hopkins.
  • Never My Fault: Augustus Maywho blames Cindy Lou for the Grinch stealing Christmas, despite the fact that it was his brutal taunts that drove the Grinch over the edge the night before.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Max the Dog.
  • Official Couple: The Grinch and Martha May Whovier become an item by the film's end.
  • Opposites Attract Revenge: The Grinch's girlfriend Martha almost marries Augustus Maywho, who bullied the Grinch as a child.
  • Packed Heroine: This happens to Cindy Lou Who.
  • Papa Wolf: Cindy Lou's father, despite being a timid man, stands up for her when the Mayor blames her for the Grinch's thievery. In fact, he's the one who makes those in Whoville realize the true meaning of Christmas.
    • Also, despite being visibly scared, he steps in front of a crashing sleigh to stop it because his daughter's on board.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: This ugly cave creature puts on a red coat and Santa hat. Boom! He automatically looks "just like Saint Nick."
    • Partially justified as a way of keeping people from noticing him from a distance (i.e. "a figure on the roof tops in a Santa's hat on Christmas eve must be Santa!") When Cindy Lou approaches him, he tries to keep the tree between them to help keep her from seeing him properly.
  • Parental Bonus:
    • During the Grinch's childhood, in one scene the sisters can be seen collecting keys in a bowl, which could either be an alcohol reference or a sex joke.
    • Also shortly before that, when the Grinch and the other Who babies are arriving via stork, one new Who father asks his wife why their new son looks like her boss.
    • IT'S BECAUSE I'M GREEN, ISN'T IT?
  • Parental Obliviousness: Lou and Betty Lou Who. They never seem to question where Cindy Lou is when she's out looking for the Grinch.
    • Also applies to Cindy Lou's older brothers, Stu and Drew, whose warnings about running into the Grinch at the beginning of the film are ignored as well.
  • Parent Service: Whenever Martha May Whovier is on screen. (Er, in adult form, that is.)
  • Parodies of Fire: Happens as the Grinch participates in a potato-sack race.
  • Parrot Expo-what?: "Holiday Whobeewhatee?"
  • Precision F-Strike
    Grinch: Are you kidding? The sun is bright and the powder's bitchin'.
  • Punny Name / Meaningful Name: The Mayor's yes-Who assistant is named "Whobris."
  • Pyro Maniac: The Grinch, burning down the Whos' Christmas tree.
  • Quote-to-Quote Combat: After Cindy Lou nominates the Grinch to be the Holiday Cheermeister, both she and the Mayor take turns quoting from the Book of Who to argue their positions. The Mayor loses badly.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: The Grinch delivers this at the Whobilation, calling out the Whos for their conspicuous consumption and Chewing the Scenery all the way.
    Grinch: That's what it's all about, isn't it? That's what it's always been about! Gifts, gifts, giftsgiftsgiftsgiftsgiftsgifts! You wanna know what happens to your gifts? They all come to me. In your garbage. You see what I'm saying? In your garbage! I could hang myself with all the bad Christmas neckties I found at the dump. And the avarice. The avarice never ends! "I want golf clubs!" "I want diamonds!" "I want a pony so I can ride it twice, get bored with it and sell it to make glue!" Look, I don't wanna make waves, but this whole Christmas season is stupid! Stupid! Stupid! There is, however, one teeny-tiny Christmas tradition that I find quite... meaningful. Mistletoe. Now pucker up and kiss it, Whoville!
  • Saving Christmas: Inverted; in fact, the inversion of this trope is the premise of the story. Then it's played straight when the Grinch Saves Christmas from himself at the end.
    • In a sense, his stealing of Christmas is what ended up saving it for the Whos, as it helped them to realize what was truly important about Christmas.
  • Schoolyard Bully All Grown Up: Mayor Augustus Maywho.
  • Shout-Out: When working with Max on his reindeer impression, the Grinch wears a baseball cap and affects mannerisms often displayed by director Ron Howard.
  • Shrunken Organ: The Grinch's heart. Starts as two sizes too small before going down "a size and a half". It grows three sizes, meaning it is still a half size too small. It shows.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Just while the mayor blames Cindy for letting the Grinch ruin Christmas, her dad says "If she's not [glad], then I am. I'm glad he took the presents." Then he proceeds to smack an awesome lesson onto him and the citizens, saying that gifts and contests weren't all that defines Christmas.
  • Spiritual Successor: 2003's live-action film of Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat, from the same production company and with Mike Myers as the Cat. Incidentally, guess who voiced Horton in Blue Sky Studios' Horton Hears a Who! in 2008?
  • Super Strength: The Grinch. Increases in dire situations.
  • Tears of Remorse: The Grinch after his Heel-Face Turn
  • Timeshifted Actor
  • Together in Death: The Grinch comforts Cindy Lou as they plummet seemingly to their deaths so that they won't cry together on Christmas.
  • True Blue Femininity: Martha May Whovier.
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: The Grinch at the start of the movie. By the end though he's become a much better person.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: The Mayor attempts to paint Cindy Lou Who as this for being the reason their Christmas stuff was stolen.
  • Up to Eleven: Inverted in the beginning as the Grinch's heart is two sizes smaller than what a normal one should be. And then shrinks another size and a half. And then grows three sizes, but unlike the book, this still leaves it a bit on the small side.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: The Grinch.
  • V8 Engine Noises: While all Who cars seem to have tiny engines with, like, one cylinder, the small car the Grinch hijacks from a couple of small Whos sounds like it has a V8 under the hood (or grows one as soon as he guns the engine).
  • Villain Protagonist: The Grinch, up until the end.
  • The Villain Sucks Song: "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch". The stage and movie versions give it to the Grinch, making it a tongue-in-cheek Villain Song.
  • Who-bie, Destroyer of Christmas: The Grinch.
  • Who-man Focused Adaptation

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