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A Christmas Story

A movie directed by Bob Clark

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A hilarious Christmas classic.

  • Dec 5, 2010
Rating:
+5
**** out of ****

Seldom are there films which we can relate to without having ever experienced a similar incident or event. "A Christmas Story" happens to be one of those movies; treating bunny suits and frozen flag poles as if we've all encountered them as the film's characters have. The best part about it all is that strangely enough, we laugh at every single one of these things. We act as if we can connect, although it's a well known fact that more than half of "A Christmas Story's" audience has never been dressed up in a pink rabbit suit or has asked for a Red Ryder BB gun. It's the sweet, nostalgic stuff that we just don't get enough of these days, and "A Christmas Story" is nostalgia at its best. I loved this movie. Never have I laughed so much at a Christmas movie, and never will there be something as funny or fitting as this for the great holiday. It's the gags that keep the film memorable and consistently entertaining, and the heart that keeps it from the formulaic melodrama that it could have encountered on the way. Still, there were moments in "A Christmas Story" which were-oddly enough-quite touching. The film is a comedy at heart, but what of the heart without the sweet sentimentality? That is what I love about this film; it's ability to appeal to just about anybody going into it expecting nothing more or less than a spectacular comedy with a little bit of tenderness thrown in there. It's an excellent film to watch over-and-over again during the Christmas season, and should suffice otherwise. Good luck finding a handful of other great Christmas movies, because "A Christmas Story" might as well be one of the great emperors of the former. This is movie-making heaven; hilarious, entertaining, and strangely relatable. I love it, even if at times it is intentionally mean-spirited. What the hell. Why criticize a movie for being a little dark at times when that's the intent. It's funnier that way. The jokes will fly over the kids' heads without it being too inappropriate, making "A Christmas Story" a treat for all ages. And this time, parents will enjoy themselves too. Oh yeah. It's that good.

Its Christmas time, and Ralphie wants a Red Ryder BB Gun for Christmas. That's all he would ask for if he were to get it. Unfortunately, Ralphie gets the same old "you'll shoot your eye out" from everyone he mentions the matter to, although he's oddly resilient. The film is a story of life in the Holiday Season; a celebration of children surviving in their climates. Ralphie lives in Hammond, Indiana. He lives in the suburbs where there are bullies. His family is far from content; consisting of his up-tight mother, his obscene and tough-as-nails father, and his squeamish little brother Randy. Ralphie must live with his surroundings, and at the same time try to please just about everyone around him that he doesn't treat with scorn to begin with. Those people include his parents and his teacher. The plot itself is speedy and moves along fast, although it's the sub-plots that help the film achieve brilliance. This is, indeed, a well written movie. The screen-play is witty as hell, and the characters are strangely involving and are given some seriously hilarious backgrounds. The sub-plots don't necessarily help to tie the film together; they're simply there to offer up more than their share of consistent laughs. This is what a Christmas movie should be: touching, hilarious, and entertaining throughout. The experience is ultimate when comparing it to many other Holiday movies, and it is not to be missed.

The talented Peter Billingsley plays the role of Ralphie with an un-ending amount of talent and humor. He seems to have the right amount of humanity that I look for in these roles, and really plays what I would call a "true kid" of the 20th century. However, it's Jean Shepherd's narration that really gets the movie going. Without Shepherd's brilliant guidance, the film would have been at least 40% less hilarious. However, that would still make it pretty damn funny overall. Nevertheless, Shepherd offers up more than his share of understanding. He gives the child persona of Ralphie a whole new character, and seems to combine his voice with Billingsley's physical performance to create one goddamn hell of a show. Ralphie's parents are played by Darren McGavin and Melinda Dillon (both of whom I admired a lot). Overall, a very talented cast in a very amazing and funny movie. A match made in heaven, if I do say so myself.

"A Christmas Story" essentially benefits from its use of consistent vignettes. Some of these little segments are highlighted by their utter uniqueness. One of these scenes in particular was the Santa one, which in the end, had the feel that was equivalent to a psychological horror film-Terry Gilliam style. I say this because in that scene, the cinematography was meant to signify the fear that children feel when a mall Santa pretends to give a damn about their Christmas wishes. Now that I can relate to. Otherwise, the film looks pretty nice for an 80's film. That's not to say that it's any more or less advanced than most films of its year and decade, but I liked how the film presented itself on a visual level. The music is appropriate, most of it fitting in with the Christmas atmosphere. Surprisingly, most of it is played in the background and doesn't seem all that significant. However, that doesn't really affect the film all that much. It's far too good for that. The main point of "A Christmas Story" seems to be the hilarity involved. This may be one of the funniest movies I have ever seen. It's nostalgic and darkly funny at times, and then in other scenes it's just plain unrelatable (but still awesome). Not everyone can relate to Ralphie's exploits given how unrealistically generic his family seems to be. While some may find that a tad tedious, I find it to be freaking brilliant. But what the hell: you either like it or you don't. However, "A Christmas Story" has so much heart that it makes its way into mine with ease. And that's just my personal two cents.

I loved this movie. I loved it a lot. "A Christmas Story" is a perfect sort of satire of the American way of life. Ralphie's family is a traditional 80's family for the time period, and that's why it works so darn well. Not only is it clever, but it's also non-stop hilarity. It's one hilarious vignette after another; one ingenious joke after the last ingenious joke. I enjoyed myself a great deal. I'd recommend this film to anyone; even grinches. I, for one, could very well be classified as a "Grinch", but as always I admire good cinema for what it is. Yes, you could call this movie art. It represents human nature so intelligently and skewers the hell out of it. It comes to show that we humans are greedy, devious little bastards at a young age; and Ralphie is not exception. His exploits are what make this gorgeous Holiday film go 'round. I greatly recommend that you see it; that is if you haven't already. It is approved by me and is an essential Holiday viewing in every way. You can't miss it.

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December 06, 2010
Brilliant review, one of the best movies [not just Christmas] of all time.
 
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More A Christmas Story reviews
review by . March 07, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
A Christmas Story Will Never Die, As Long As You Don't Let It.
This is one movie that you can never get tired of seeing. This was made in 1983 and depicted the 1940's, and every time that I watch this it makes me take a step back in time. Ralphie (played by Peter Billingsley)a 9 year old boy tries to trick his parents in getting the toy of the season and that was a Red Ryder BB gun, at that time this was every little boy's dream. Ralphie goes to the extent to leaving hints all the way up to Christmas Eve. They reside in a small town in Indiana, and …
Quick Tip by . May 31, 2010
Christmas classic must see
review by . December 12, 2008
What is Christmas without 'A Christmas Story'?  That is like Santa Claus not getting any cookies and milk, Rudolph not getting any carrots - the grocery stores running out of egg nog, no Christmas carols ....no holiday cards in the mail,  no traditional yule log warming the television for 24 hours....I can't imagine    I get my fill because TNT runs the movie straight for a consecutive 24 hours from December 24th at 8:00 pm through December 25th.    This …
review by . December 27, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
Jean Shepherd's 'A Christmas Story' deserves to be the classic it is. It is a likable reminiscence of a Christmas past when the author's near self, Ralphie, yearns to get an airrifle for Christmas. He makes every hint possible, but is always rebuffed with the counsel, "You'll shoot your eye out." In the midst of his unfulfilled desire, is the usual hijinx with his school teacher and the pursuit of the neighborhood bullies.    Much of the movie is episodic with fun scenes that …
review by . November 30, 2005
The first time I watched this movie was at the age of ten and I love it ever since. Ralphie and his obsession with a Red Ryder BB gun is an annual classic. I think that everyone can relate to Ralphie's Old Man and his mother. Randy the little brother is adorable too. I watch this movie every year during the holidays. I laugh ever time I watch it. I think that everybody should have this movie it makes a very good Christmas present.    Set in the 40s, for those who grow up in the …
review by . December 16, 2003
posted in Movie Hype
A true classic, in the best sense of the word. It's not a "stuffy" classic that everyone admires but no one actually enjoys. It's not a classic in that it's a movie your grandparents really admire...but you have no use for. Another word for CHRISTMAS STORY would be "timeless." I have seen this movie nearly every year since it first came out on the big screen 20 years ago. I enjoy it EVERY TIME. All the classic comic moments remain hilarious even now.Tongue stuck to flagpole. The bully with the yellow …
review by . May 04, 2003
posted in Movie Hype
When A CHRISTMAS STORY originally arrived in theatres, it was only around for about three weeks because the studios didn't feel it would make any money and felt the story didn't lend itself to a longer theatrical run. It wasn't until the movie started airing on televsion and cable that people found out how great a movie A CHRISTMAS STORY is. Since then, the movie has become a piece of our American heritage, a part of the pop culture paradigm, and (like IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE) a Christmas classic.The …
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Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #11
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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This is one movie that you can never get tired of seeing. This was made in 1983 and depicted the 1940's, and every time that I watch this it makes me take a step back in time. Ralphie (played by Peter Billingsley)a 9 year old boy tries to trick his parents in getting the toy of the season and that was a Red Ryder BB gun, at that time this was every little boy's dream. Ralphie goes to the extent to leaving hints all the way up to Christmas Eve. They reside in a small town in Indiana, and every time that he brings up the BB gun his parents or someone responds that he would shoot his eye out, including his parents, teachers, friends, and even Santa Claus. A lot of other versions have come and gone but none is as good as the original version.
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