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A Christmas Story

What He said:

He

Ralphie Parker (Peter Billingsley) wants just one thing for Christmas. He doesn’t care if he gets anything else as long as he gets an “Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle!” He tries everything he can think of get this message across. He makes his case to Santa, his teacher, and even subliminal messaging with his mother at one point. It is that one big thing that he wants that we can all identify with. It is the present to beat all presents. Ralphie’s life would change for the better if he got a Red Ryder, he just knows it and will do anything to get that point across.

A Christmas Story

This is the storyline of the movie, but of course there is a lot more going on here too. He’s your typical kid who has to deal with typical kid things, which includes bullies. He’s got quirky father who spends his days battling with his furnace or marveling at interesting artwork.  He’s also got a little brother who is…well he’s just weird, but in a totally loveable way (this kid steals the show). So, Ralphie has a lot going on in his life, but he never forgets what his priorities are.

I, Robot

Who hasn't seen this movie? If you are raising your hands, there's something wrong with you. It's on TBS for 24 straight hours starting on Christmas Eve. So that means you are either a grump or don't have cable; which is just plain weird in today’s day and age. This movie is a Christmas staple and I make sure to watch it every year. I usually catch bits and pieces of it throughout the day – its great to have on the background at a party – but I actually watched the whole thing all the way through this year. I usually catch the whole thing, but in bits over 24 hours.

This movie has something for everyone. Remember that one big thing you really wanted growing up? Visiting some creepy Santa in a crowded mall to make your case for that must-have gift? Getting a really bad present? What about the neighborhood bully? I actually remember these brothers we were terrified of until I beat one up, just like Ralphie did to Scut Farkas (Zack Ward). This movie is timeless and relatable on so many levels.

I, Robot

It's all brought together through some really great performances that make it feel like your watching some part of your own life. Darren McGavin is perfect as Ralphie’s zany father. Whether it’s the furnace, a flat tire, a Christmas tree salesman, or the neighbors dogs, he’s always fighting with something. Melinda Dillon plays the mother equally as well. She’ll discipline him when she has to, but is also there to give him some love and support when he needs it. Ian Petrella (who?) is simply awesome as Ralphie's whiny, but loveable little brother Randy. This kid steals the show. His is a comedic genius and the movie is loaded with great stuff like this. It's a shame his career never really took of. And of course there's Ralphie himself, played by Peter Billingsley and voiced by Jean Shepard (whose life the movie is based on). Billingsley’s performance captures that kind of kid who’s a mix between a little old man one minute and an innocent kid the next. There’s some really great stuff going on here.

This is a wonderful little comedy that will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I smile from ear-to-ear every time I see Ralphie wake up and realize it’s Christmas morning. There’s snow throughout the movie, but it’s different this day. It’s magical. As he gazes out the windows at his snow-covered yard, he realizes that the day has come.

It's good for a few laughs too! This movie is absolutely hilarious.

Rating: Thumbs up.

This movie review was updated on December 26, 2012. It was originally written somewhere in the neighborhood of Christmas 2010.

What She said:

She

I used to have a t-shirt that said “You’re gonna shoot your eye out,” with a full color photo of Ralphie on the front.  Not surprisingly, it was a total hit.  Who hasn’t ever seen A Christmas Story?  You’d have to either not have cable, or not turn your TV on at all on Christmas to miss it.  There’s actually something quite comforting, knowing that this classic flick airs 24 hours a day Christmas Eve/Christmas each year. 

I, Robot

In case you are one of the few who haven’t seen the movie, it’s about young Ralphie, a boy with a great imagination and a Christmas dream.  He, like so many young boys, wants a BB gun.  The film follows Ralphie and his family in the days leading up to the big holiday.  Narrated by an adult Ralphie, it brings a sense of nostalgia to all who view it.  Some can relate to the boy’s experiences, while others, like me, find joy in the personal memories of watching the movie every year with my family.

At this point, I have the movie mostly memorized, which is why I’m fine with catching bits and pieces here and there throughout Christmas Day.  But at some point in your life, or preferably every five years or so, each person should sit down and watch the film from beginning to end.  It’s fun, and it really gets you in the holiday spirit!

Diagnosis: Thumbs up

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