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YMMV / How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

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The 2018 film has its own page.

The original book:

  • It Was His Sled: The Grinch doesn't steal Christmas, has a Heel–Face Turn, and ends up Saving Christmas instead.
  • Magnificent Bastard: The Grinch is a grumpy, cynical creature that hates Christmas, especially all the noise Whos make during the holiday, so much so that he decides to steal it from the entire town of Whoville. After the Grinch steals all the gifts and decorations from the Whos, he finds out that they are able to celebrate Christmas even without them, which makes him realize what the true meaning of Christmas is. The Grinch's heart metaphorically grows by three sizes and he returns all the gifts and decorations, even joining in on the Christmas feast.

The 1966 animated special:

  • Adaptation Displacement: While the special hasn't completely displaced the book per se, we challenge anyone to read the book to themself and not hear Boris Karloff narrarating it. Also, the Grinch's green coloring was an invention of the special — a somewhat necessary one, as Seuss' original illustrations were in black and white with red accents (at the time the book was published, color printing was still rather limited). To further drive the point home regarding how tied to the role Boris Karloff is, there exist two record productions of the story, one narrated by Zero Mostel (made before the cartoon special), and one by Walter Matthau (made after the special). Both performances sound particularly jarring to hear.
  • And You Thought It Would Fail: Dr. Seuss was initially hesitant about making this special, remembering how badly his attempt to venture into film turned out and feared television would produce similar results. Instead, it became one of the most acclaimed Christmas Specials of all time.
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  • Awesome Music: "The Villain Sucks" Song is a classic, and is easily the most famous part of the special.
  • Can't Un-Hear It: Again, Boris Karloff is the voice of the Grinch, to which every successor in the role is compared.
  • First Installment Wins: Though several others specials based on Dr. Seuss books were made after the success of this, none of them came anywhere close to match the success of this one and are generally overlooked by the public today.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • The famous "The Villain Sucks" Song is commonly rewritten to be about a hated character or real life person (usually a politician).
    • The Grinch's grin as he gets the "wonderful awful idea" of stealing Christmas.
  • Misaimed Fandom: It's become sort of a meme among social media users to criticize the famous song for being unbelievably harsh on the titular character, even though it's implied that the Grinch is a Card-Carrying Villain who probably enjoys all the insults the song throws at him.note 
  • Nightmare Fuel: The face the Grinch made when he got his "wonderful awful idea" is not very child-friendly...
    • And when he sneaks into the bedroom, that same creepy Slasher Smile he makes at the sleeping kids before he steals their candy canes. It was even edited out in broadcasts for some time.
    • Remember, stealing children's candy canes while they're sleeping is NOT a euphemism for anything. *cough*
    • The Grinch in general has a penchant for making various Nightmare Faces.
    • The unsettling Nosferatu-esque wall shadow which all but consumes Cindy Lou Who as he's lying to her.
  • Ron the Death Eater: Maddox is thoroughly convinced the Whos are the worst neighbors in the multiverse and that the Grinch should be a sympathetic character for putting up with it for 53 years straight. Seuss himself actually said he sympathized a lot with the Grinch, having to deal with an increasingly merchandise-heavy Christmas season from his hilltop home in La Jolla.
  • Signature Scene: The Grinch making his Slasher Smile when he has a "wonderful awful idea".

The 2000 movie:

  • Accidental Nightmare Fuel: The amounts of Uncanny Valley in the film have unsettled many of the younger viewers over the years.
  • Adaptation Displacement: In some countries where the book and the animated short isn't well-known, many viewers were introduced to the Grinch story by this movie and refer to it as "the original" when comparing it to the 2018 animated film.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: The Grinch's backstory provides one: is he just naturally bad from birth, or did he become that way from how he was treated by many of the Whos?
  • Awesome Music: Although some would say it's more of a Award-Baiting Guilty Pleasure, "Christmas, Why Can't I Find You?" and its full-length country-pop version "Where Are You, Christmas?" is a touching song that has become somewhat of a modern Christmas staple.
  • Can't Un-Hear It: For millennials, Jim Carrey's voice is the Grinch in their minds.
  • Critical Backlash: From the half of the audience who liked it. It's nowhere near among the greatest Christmas films of all time, and it may have been stretched out too long for some people, but to others, it's not a bad film adaptation of the book and mostly maintains the spirit of it. And not to mention, it's far better than the following film based on a Dr. Seuss book. It helps that Ron Howard defended the film as more variations on a theme than a straight adaptation.
  • Critical Dissonance:
    • This was the #1 film for four weeks after its release, and became the highest grossing film of 2000 domestically ($260 million). Critical response was still sharply divided (52% on Rotten Tomatoes and 46/100 on Metacritic). There are those who like the film, and those who consider it an abomination. This stems to the audience as well: 55% on Rotten Tomatoes, 6.5 on Metacritic, and 6.1 on IMDB.
    • It earned three Academy Award nominations, winning one for Best Makeup, which was very well deserved considering what the actors had to go through. Especially poor Jim Carrey who had to act in a stuffy yak-furred suit for a whopping 92 days, which took 2 and a half hours to apply and the same amount of time to remove every day. Jim Carrey got nominated for Best Actor at the Golden Globes for it.
    • On the flip side, the film also got two nominations at the 2000 Razzies for Worst Remake or Sequel and Worst Screenplay, but won neither.
  • Designated Villain: Why exactly is the audience supposed to root against the Grinch when he has every reason to hate the Whos? He does become more of a legitimate villain in the third act (the one actually adapted from the book) mainly because the Whos, while still misguided, do accept him back during the Whobilation and the Grinch tries to steal Christmas from all of them regardless based on only the actions of one of them (the mayor).
    • Of course, this may have been the movie's intention; it's definitely Played for Laughs at some points, especially the scene where one of the goals on his "mean-hearted" daily schedule is solving world hunger (and not telling anyone.)
  • Franchise Original Sin: Despite some poor moments, the film manages to be pretty good for the most part, keeping the spirit of the original story. The infamous The Cat in the Hat film that followed it, however, forgot all of the stuff that worked and instead focused on amplifying everything about The Grinch movie that was bad. The generous examples of Parental Bonus and shit getting through that shouldn't have that ultimately destroyed Cat in the Hat were counterbalanced in The Grinch with things that were true to the original story and mostly-justifiable instances of Adaptation Expansion, and the Uncanny Valley look of the Whos ultimately had nothing of Thing 1 and Thing 2, similarly to how Jim Carrey as the Grinch worked better than Mike Myers as the Cat.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: After Jeffrey Tambor's sexual harassment allegations in the mid-2010s, Mayor Augustus' rather creepy fixation on Martha feels a lot grosser.
  • Game-Breaker: Max's bark in the Game Boy Color game. It stuns everything that isn't currently chasing him, and can interrupt enemy recovery, permanently stunlocking everything.
  • Ham and Cheese: Jim Carrey providing his trademark ham to the movie's cheese. While the critics provide the whine.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • Jerkass Woobie: The Grinch due to his new backstory. He was a borderline sociopath as a kid until one Christmas he put all his heart into embracing the holiday and being good... and wound up traumatized and an outcast in the end. Then at the Whoobilation, he starts getting into the holiday again... until the Mayor yanks his chain and reinforces his previous cynical view of it.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: Jim Carrey constantly Chewing the Scenery is one of the most remembered things about this movie.
  • Memetic Mutation: Many people have commented on how Mayor Maywho bears a rather disturbing resemblance to former US presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
    • "This is not pudding."
  • One-Scene Wonder: The baby grinch is onscreen for maybe two minutes.
  • The Problem with Licensed Games: This trope is both played straight and averted by the movie's video game adaptations. The version released for PS1, PC and Dreamcast was critically thrashed for clumsy controls, weak graphics and being way too confusing and frustrating, especially for its target audience. Not to mention the Grinch's inevitable (and in this game, horribly voiced acted) Heel–Face Turn at the end of the game would render the player's hours and hours of scheming, blueprint-collecting, Who-rassment, completely meaningless. However, the Game Boy Color version was praised as a fun little stealth-puzzle game that's like a cross between Pac-Man and Metal Gear.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Cindy Lou's actress, Taylor Momsen, would later play Jenny Humphrey, as well as become the lead singer for The Pretty Reckless.
  • Rooting for the Empire: The Grinch was already subject to this sometimes, but this movie increased it by fleshing out his backstory and giving him a Freudian Excuse, along with making the Whos all seem rather shallow and greedy and just plain stupid by comparison.
  • Special Effects Failure:
    • The Grinch himself is a great effect that managed to win an Academy Award. Him skiing down Mt. Crumpet near the end of the movie? Not so much.
    • Santa's quick appearance though the Grinch's binoculars reeks of early 2000s CGI.
  • Squick: At one point, the Grinch gleefully tricks the sleeping mayor into rimming Max. No, really.
  • Strawman Has a Point:
    • The Grinch's anti-Christmas rant in Whoville is not entirely without merit, given how materialistic and mean the Whos have been treating him over the years, and how they seem to be all too willing to Yank the Dog's Chain. Even Cindy Lou Who echoes his complaints about the Whos placing too much emphasis on gifts; it's just that the Grinch's complaints feel far more justified, given his backstory treating him like a Jerkass Woobie. The Grinch's plan would have succeeded if it hadn't been for Lou Lou Who standing up for his daughter and reminding the people that they still have each other on Christmas.
    • Mayor Augustus' insistence than the Grinch not be allowed to attend the Christmas festivities is framed as his personal vendetta against him, but he has good reason to keep him away from the town. Even if they didn't know it, earlier in the film we saw the Grinch go around town vandalizing personal property, giving weapons to kids, messing up people's mail deliveries, and generally delighting in terrorizing the Whos. True, Augustus is directly responsible for sparking the Grinch's Christmas Eve rampage, but the Grinch was a powder keg of rage and destruction that was just waiting to go off, and the mayor is in full rights to be concerned about inviting a volatile troublemaker like him to the centennial of their biggest celebration of the year.
  • Ugly Cute: Baby Grinch!
  • Uncanny Valley: The Whos are somewhat... off looking, thanks to their make-up and snout-like noses. The Grinch too, but in his case this was probably intentional. Especially as a baby.
  • Vindicated by History: While nobody is about to call this film a masterpiece, opinions of it have softened into more of a Guilty Pleasure, especially when held up next to the far-more unpopular adaptation of The Cat in the Hat, which cranked the inappropriate jokes Up to Eleven and had much poorer casting choices (say what you will about Jim Carrey, but he's a much better choice for The Grinch than Mike Myers was for The Cat). In the wake of the animated version from 2018, which was criticized for trying so hard to be inoffensive that it wound up being insufferably dull, others have given this one credit for at least doing a distinct variation on it's source material, whether or not it always worked.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: One thing the viewers can unanimously agree on with this movie is how spot on the make-up for the Grinch is. They managed to make Jim Carrey look exactly like the Grinch without the slightest restriction to his wide array of facial expressions, a feat that could not have been easy. No wonder this film won the Academy Award for Best Makeup in 2000.
  • The Woobie: Cindy. She's completely missing out on what Christmas truly is and nobody listens to her at all. It gets to the point that, when she cheers up the Grinch by sending him to the Cheermister and Mayor May-Who's cruel joke on the Grinch causes the Grinch to destroy the entire place, she is blamed instead of May-Who.
    Cindy: (heartbroken) I just wanted everyone to be together for Christmas.


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