Carl Frederickson deserves to be a grouch. His grumpy demeanor is the result of his beloved wife passing away before him. “Up” is a remarkable achievement if for nothing else than getting made. I mean here you’ve got a cartoon where the main character is an old man. Toss in the fact that he’s a grouch and more suitable for watching on National Grouch Day than on Cool Old Guys Day and it really does defy all logic that “Up” ever even got made. But it did. And it features a wonderfully lovable old grouch. Much more so than Disney’s other major grouch, Grumpy.
As Good as it Gets
“As Good as it Gets” is truly about as good as it gets when it comes to portraying a grouch that the audience can eventually care about. National Grouch Day should probably be at least in part about coming to appreciate the grouches around us. It’s hard to do, though. The movie doesn’t cheat by having Nicholson suddenly show a softer side or having an amazing Scrooge-like transformation. “As Good as it Gets” is especially appropriate for National Grouch Day because it reveals the emotional engine that drives grouchy behavior.
The Muppet Movie
You don’t get nearly enough of Statler and Waldorf in the “The Muppet Movie” but it would be almost inconceivable to think of celebrating National Grouch Day without them. Up there in the balcony on the “The Muppet Show” these two were the epitome of grumpy old men well before Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon came along. Perhaps a movie that tells the background of Statler and Waldorf and how they became such grouches is in order?
The Wizard of Oz
Let’s not forget that grouches don’t have to be men. Women can be great big grouches as well. One of the all-time great characters suitable for National Grouch Day is Miss Gulch from the black and white portion of “The Wizard of Oz.” She’s grumpy and gruff and fairly mean enough in Kansas by the time Dorothy lands in Oz, Miss Gulch has transformed grouchiness into the high art of wickedness.