A Christmas Story (1983)
A Christmas bore-y
Merry Christmas, everyone. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, when people of all different backgrounds and beliefs come together to celebrate the birth of Passion of the Christ star Jesus of Nazareth. And nobody celebrates Christmas more than big-time Hollywood producers. Every year, we get classics like Santa’s Slay, Santa Claus Conquers The Martians and Santa With Muscles to unwrap. Now, I’ve reviewed the aforementioned films in the past (read the articles on cinemaconn.com, I’m trying to crack triple digits in visitor traffic this year), and I was hoping to review a film that was on par with those superb efforts this year. Unfortunately this year’s film, A Christmas Story, simply is not on their level.
A Christmas Story is a littleknown 1983 film that I had quite a bit of trouble tracking down. I eventually managed to find a retailer based in New Zealand that had a copy. So for a whopping $113.49 with shipping, I nabbed a copy. I’m going to be so pissed off if they end up showing this film on TV over the next month.
For those who have never heard of this film, here is a brief synopsis. The lead character of the film is nine-year-old Ralphie, and the film focuses on his obsession with the one gift he wants at Christmas: a Red Ryder BB Gun. Though the film was released in the 1980s, it takes place several decades earlier. Kind of like Happy Days. Unfortunately, there is no Fonzie present to save this utter dreck.
Throughout the film, Ralphie lies and manipulates at every turn in order to score the present. Spoiler alert, his parents actually buy it for him! Someone call child services! They buy him a gun. I’m surprised they didn’t throw in a bottle of Jack Daniels, some unfiltered Marlboros and the phone number of Miss Kitty, the town whore. A gun, seriously, great parenting. My daughter is three years old, and I won’t even let her use a fork. Do you know how hard it is to eat chicken breast with a spoon? She does. Sure enough, Ralphie nearly shoots his eye out after just a few minutes with it.
The film’s worst sequence is one of its last. After the family’s Christmas dinner is ruined by a pack of dogs run amok, the family is forced to dine at a Chinese restaurant. The waitstaff attempts to sing some Christmas carols, and here the writers choose to mock their culture by having them sing “Fa-ra-ra-ra” instead of “Fa-la-lala.” How deliciously racist. I don’t know why the filmmakers thought they had to go down this route. They could have made this scene more positive by showing the staff excelling by solving complex mathematical equations or doing some wicked Kung Fu moves, but instead decided to belittle these people.
Peter Billingsley, who played Ralphie, never amounted to much after this role, and rightfully so. His portrayal of Ralphie was loathsome. Every year when Vince Vaughn stars in a movie, he insists that his best pal Peter receive a small role. So as long as Vaughn still has some stroke, Ralphie won’t need to hang out in the unemployment line.
Christmas is a time of joy, and this fine holiday does not deserve to have its name besmirched by appearing in the title of this lump of coal in all of our stockings. The cast, the director, the screenwriters, hell, even the on-set caterers deserve a permanent place on Santa’s naughty list. I wish my parents had bought me a BB gun so I could have shot my eye out and not have had to watch this turkey. To all those who are unaffiliated with this motion picture, may I say Merry Christmas. To those who did have something to do with the production of A Christmas Story, then may I draw your attention to the mistletoe hanging directly above my ass.