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Thursday, December 5, 2013

228 of 1001 Movies: A Christmas Story (1983)

I'm just going to go ahead and get it off my chest, but I don't get the huge love of A Christmas Story. I understand I'm in the vast minority. A lot find the movie endearing and funny. For some reason I just relate more to the antics in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation than this movie though. I also found some of the overacting very confusing to the vibe of the movie. There is an edited version of the movie that is more toned down for families who want to watch this with younger children, but the original with the original bad language seems like it would have been more hilarious to watch as the edited language just makes the movie more childlike even though it doesn't have a child movie vibe.

Summary: Ralphie has set his sights on one thing for Christmas, a Red Ryder B.B. Gun. His requests to receive it for Christmas though have been met with discouragement. Everyone from his mom to even Santa Clause have warned that it might take out one of his eyes. Ralphie is determined though, and even sets out to write a paper at school about it to make his voice heard. When it comes Christmas day though will he wake up to find the one thing he wanted?


Acting: The cast seems to be filled more with unknowns, but they do act well. Melinda Dillion is the mother, Mother Parker. She probably was my favorite of the group. She seems like this really kind woman, who love her family fiercely. Darren McGavin was Father Parker, and more likable as well as the dad you loved his children, but wouldn't hesitate to punish either if he believed them to be in the wrong. Peter Billingsley was Ralphie the main star, and was a good pick for the child who would play the role that still resonates heavily today with people. He seems like a normal kid, and there is his little brother, Schwartz, played by R.D. Robb, who honestly had some of the funniest parts of the movie.

Filming: The movie didn't really capture the vibe of the 40's to me, which is when it was set. I've watched a lot of movies from the 40's, and the movie doesn't capture any of that vibe. Also, the mom's hair looked really 80's with the poof. Anyways, I thought in some ways the movie captured the hilarity of the moments well, and other moments I just felt it was stitched together in patches. The last hour of the movie so seems to find it's rhythm, but the first part seems to have no consistency to where it might be going.

Plot: The plot is told by an old man Ralphie. To be honest, I would have loved if at some point in the movie they would have showed us a glimpse of Ralphie in the future, or who he is talking to? Maybe we could see him now grown up with his own grandchildren at least. I think this would have added to the sentimental vibe the movie was going for. The movie stays in the past the whole time, so why do we even need the voice ove aged as is? Why not just give us Ralphie talking in his own head at that very time? Plus, there are the mixed messages on who this movie is for. The movie has adult humor, which is fine, but the story seems like it's aimed at kids. There were a few moments I found funny though like the kids crying almost every time one came to visit Santa, considering I never knew anyone who enjoyed the Santa meetings at the malls and what not.

A Christmas Story seems to just have caught a lucky break and really resonated with a lot of people humor and tradition wise. Personally, my go to Christmas comedy is Christmas Vacation. I guess it just depends on your humor though. If you had a childhood like Ralphie's I assume it's easier to associate and laugh with the movie. I just didn't find anything too comical about the story nor easy to relate to regarding my own Christmas stories and it.

Rating 6 of 10.


A Christmas Story (1983) on IMDb

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