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             What better movie for Christmas Eve than arguably the greatest Christmas movie ever made?  A CHRISTMAS STORY captures the essence of the holiday like no other film.  It is a movie that revels in all of the things that make Christmas what it is from the viewpoint of childhood.  This is a film that understands childhood better than pretty much any other movie ever made - perfectly capturing the emotional roller-coaster that is the Christmas season.

More below!   

I suspect everyone on Earth knows the story, but I will sum up.  Ralphie Parker (Peter Billingsley) wants a BB gun for Christmas.  His mom (Melinda Dillon) says they are too dangerous, and his father (Darren McGavin) seems to not want to even talk about it.  A CHRISTMAS STORY is about Ralphie’s efforts to secure himself that BB gun.  Along the way, he encounters a schoolyard bully, an embittered department-store Santa, and an unfortunate evening with Lifebuoy soap.  As he navigates these things, he will often slip into daydreams that depict him as a heroic cowboy, a blind beggar, and a triumphant essay writer.  It is a story full of fun, innocent whimsy.

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    Director Bob Clark and writer/narrator Jean Shepherd created a story of one kid’s journey through the days leading up to Christmas that rings utterly true - even in the story’s more outlandish moments.  All of the characters are perfectly depicted.  The parents are lovingly imperfect, and the kids are deviously innocent.  The family dynamic depicted in A CHRISTMAS STORY is at once real and hilarious - depicting the ways family will both infuriate us and comfort  us.  Ralphie’s mom washes his mouth out with soap for swearing, then covers for him when he gets into a fight after school.  Ralphie’s father is often emotionally absent and self-absorbed, yet comes through for him on Christmas day.  It is remarkable how this film depicts the complexity of family in such an effortlessly funny way.

    Every great story needs its hero, however, and Ralphie Parker is an “every-kid”  - one could almost call him a pre-pubescent working-class hero.  Perfectly portrayed by Peter Billingsley, we connect with Ralpie absolutely as he desperately pursues the one thing he wants for Christmas.  Bob Clark wisely avoids making Ralphie overly cute or overly intelligent.  He’s not bratty, sassy, or wise - he’s a kid.  A normal, totally recognizable kid from any generation.  He is focused absolutely on getting what he wants for Christmas.  His ups, downs, triumphs, and tribulations as Christmas swirls around him are ours because as kids, we’ve all been there.  We watch his family buy and put up the tree.  We watch his family attend the town Christmas parade.  We watch him visit Santa at a packed department store.  We watch his family open presents on Christmas morning.  This film doesn’t disdain these things.  Indeed the film is loving towards them - and that is the key to why the films works so well.

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    So many Christmas movies and specials try to teach us what the ’real’ meaning of Christmas is.  They try to tell us that the trappings of the holiday are illusionary and that Christmas is something more intangible.  What A CHRISTMAS STORY gets that others don’t is that it is the trappings of the holiday that make the intangible tangible.  It is the tree, the wreath, the lights that bring us into the holiday.  It is the feasting and celebrating that bring us together.  It is the giving (and receiving) of gifts that let us express love for each other.   Far from being worthless, they are an indelible part of what Christmas is all about.  A CHRISTMAS STORY is here to remind us.  And it will for generations to come.

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A CHRISTMAS STORY fun facts - Bob Clark and Jean Shepherd developed this film for ten years before it was finally green-lit.

Jack Nicholson was interested in playing Ralphie‘s father, but proved too expensive.  

Flick‘s tongue was stuck to the flagpole using a suction tube hidden in the pole.

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Mr. Parker - “Frah-Gee-Ley”.  It must be Italian.

Ralphie - Only I didn’t say ‘fudge’.  I said THE word.  The big one.  The queen mother of dirty words.  The “F-dash-dash-dash” word!

Mr. Parker - NOT A FINGER!!

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All I want for Christmas is...

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Comment Preferences

  •  Jean Shepherd is from what we in NW Indiana like (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NormAl1792, rebel ga, chimene

    to call "The Region". In fact, Hammond just opened up a museum type thing dedicated to the movie.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 08:09:01 AM PST

    •  Merry Christmas❅♥ (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calfacon

      And A Very Happy New Year, To Everyone♥❅

      ✰Joyous Holidays✰

      Don't forget to Follow Santa NORAD Official Website

      ♥♥♥♥♥
      MERRY CHRISTMAS
      AND HAPPY NEW YEAR
      FILLED WITH LOVE
      AND GOOD CHEER

      …………(¯`O´¯)
      …………./ | \ .
      …………...
      ………, • ‘ ‘ • ,
      ……. ‘• ♫♫♫•
      ….. ‘ , • ‘♫ ‘ • ,
      ….’ * • ♫♫• * ‘
      … * , • Merry’ • , * ‘
      .* ‘ •♫♫♫♫ • ‘ * ‘
      …’ ‘ • Christmas . • ‘ ‘ ‘
      ‘ ‘ • ♫♫♫♫♫♫• * ‘ ‘

      Love,
      ga

      Brought To You By That Crazed Sociologist/Media Fanatic rebel ga Be The Change You Want To See In The World! Gandhi

      by rebel ga on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 10:00:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Ick. I was with you until this one. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NormAl1792, rebel ga

    I hate that movie. Run-from-the-room hate.

    I hate the frozen pole scene. I hate the Santa. I hate the beating-up-the-bully scene (rewarded for violence, really, show?) I hate the lamp scene (domestic abuse is so Christmasy). Mostly, I hate the obsession with the gun. Dad made a mistake giving in. Give the kid a Tonka truck or something. And he really did shoot his eye out. Serves him right.

    I hate that movie.

    Yes, DailyKos DOES have puzzles! Visit us here Saturday nights @ 5:00 PDT (easier puzzles) and Sunday nights @ 5:00 PDT (more challenging) for a group solving party. Even if you just pop in and comment while watching the fun, everybody is welcome.

    by pucklady on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 08:33:57 AM PST

    •  Oh yes. And let's not forget racism. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NormAl1792, rebel ga

      Farararara ra ra ra ra. Racism is exactly what we need for Christmas.

      I hate that movie.

      Yes, DailyKos DOES have puzzles! Visit us here Saturday nights @ 5:00 PDT (easier puzzles) and Sunday nights @ 5:00 PDT (more challenging) for a group solving party. Even if you just pop in and comment while watching the fun, everybody is welcome.

      by pucklady on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 08:35:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I am with you. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pucklady, rebel ga

      I admit that I have never actually watched it in its entirety, but the parts I have seen have put me off enough to not want to see the rest, and I do not care for the overall premise, either.

      Same with National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, BTW.  I understand that much of comedy is laughing at others' misfortune and discomfort, but I guess I have too much empathy to like things like that.

      •  It's a corny movie, but cute. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NormAl1792

        I enjoyed it the first two or so times I watched it.

        Brought To You By That Crazed Sociologist/Media Fanatic rebel ga Be The Change You Want To See In The World! Gandhi

        by rebel ga on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 10:02:15 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

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