Thursday, December 1, 2011

31 Days of Xmas: A Christmas Story

1983, Bob Clark -- download

People like this movie ?!?  I have been seeing bits and pieces of this movie for years, on TV and in reference to holiday film lists.  Everybody seems to have a favourite part or goes on about the bunny costume.  But I never saw it.  Even as a teen and young adult I avoided it, once it became a holiday TV staple, just because the kid annoyed me so much.  Then as I got older, I avoided it out of pure curmudgeon.  But with  this latest movie-a-thon of ours, it had to be part of the list.  Just like Die Hard has to be.

So, a movie made in the 80s about kids being brought up in Indiana in the 40s. Focusing on the narrator's retelling of how Ralphie got his BB gun, we are presented with a picture of the holidays almost completely from his perspective.  It's actually done pretty well, a warped viewpoint from the mind of an 8 year old. Too bad the 8 year old is an annoying little git. People like this kid?!? I guess my younger self saw what would annoy me about Ralphie my entire life.  The weird thing is that it actually hit holiday cult status when I was an adult, in the 90s.

The acting is so bloody atrocious but at times I was not sure if that was intentional, to show the skewed child viewpoint again, or just the directing of the movie.  The kids are bloody damaged with their neuroses and daydreams that probably would have been medicated today. The plot is jumbled, going from Xmas vignette to childhood vignette and back again. The parents are warped, from Dad's obsession with an ugly lamp to mom's enjoyment of her son's piggy antics.  If you don't want the dogs in the house, don't open the fucking door to them !!  And dad struck me as perpetually drunk but we didn't see him take a single nip, though once again if that was intentional (as the kids might not have caught it either) then kudos.  Only two scenes made us laugh out loud.  First there was Randy falling on his back in reaction to the bullies, because that was his only defense instinct.  Second was a reference to Ralphie sleeping, "next to me in the blackness lay my oiled blue steel beauty." I giggled madly at that one as I doubt an 8 year has his blue steel yet.  Blame the lingering virus I have.