Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Christmas Story

There once was a guy named Jean Shepherd who would tell stories based on his past. Based on. He told them on the radio and wrote them in books. And some of them were the basis of the 1983 movie, A Christmas Story, which he narrated!

Set during the weeks leading up to Christmas in the late 1930s or early 1940s, young Ralphie Parker (Peter Billingsley) has his eyes set on one prize that he wants under his Christmas tree: a Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle with a compass in the stock. However, his attempts to tell his parents, his teacher and even Santa are all met with the same response: "You'll shoot your eye out!"

Meantime, the Parker family has a rather eventful time until Christmas. Mr. Parker (Darren McGavin) wins an award in the form of a lamp shaped like a woman's leg, clad in fishnet stockings. Mrs. Parker (Melinda Dillon) is not so crazy about it and it mysteriously shatters one evening. During recess at school, Ralphie dares one of his friends to put his tongue to a cold metal pole, which freezes on, leaving him stuck. Even worse, on their way home, Ralphie and his little brother Randy (Ian Petrella) are occasionally terrorized by bully Skut Farkus (Zack Ward).

When Christmas morning hits, there are still surprises for the Parkers in store. A few good ones, and some not so good.

This isn't really a thematic Christmas movie. It's mainly a family comedy about a family celebrating the holidays. Even though Ralphie's way of life isn't so common anymore, the way it's expressed is very in line with how a child thinks and sees the world. There's many, memorable misadventures ("Oh... Fudge!" "But I didn't say 'fudge...'") and moments all through the movie, far too many to fully summarize.

Even though it might not have quite everything every other Christmas classic has, this one has earned its spot admirably.

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