The adored family holiday movie to rule them all. So Ralphie (Peter Billingsley) wants nothing more from Christmas than a Red Ryder B.B. gun. This movie is about his plight in trying to convince all of his teachers, parents and Santa that this is a smart gift choice. Looking to get in the Christmas spirit (and needing to get another movie checked of the 1,001 list), a group of friends and I decided to sit down and rewatch A Christmas Story. A number of holiday seasons have passed since I’ve watched this (I’m much more inclined to pop in Love Actually and/or Die Hard), and I’m pleased to say that this still holds up. It’s as adorable as can be, and is chock full of one-liners and memorable moments that you likely still remember from years past.
I feel that this time around watching this, I was able to view this in a much more objective light. I still think this very worthwhile, but I was able to see the structure a lot more this time around in that there really isn’t that much of a story, it’s more of a series of loosely related vignettes. It doesn’t take away from any of the entertainment factor, but as an older individual who has now seen exponentially more movies, the seams showed more. Where A Christmas Story really wins you over is its irresistible goodwill; it really takes you back to a time of innocence where the only thing that mattered was getting the coolest toy on the block. While that may be a touch on the shallow side as an adult, this really presents its story to you from the point-of-view of a nine-year-old, and the fact that it is narrated by an adult really adds to the humor of how exaggerated and obsessive the perspective of a child can be.
This movie is light and enjoyable at every turn. Because the structure is so fractured with all of these different anecdotes, it feels short and well-paced, which in turn really makes the 90 minutes just fly by. Whenever you watch this, you’re going to have a great time, and while I wouldn’t go so far to label this a bonafide classic, it does succeed in what it is trying to accomplish: it delivers a heartwarming story that the whole family can enjoy.
A Christmas Story (1984) ****
– Critic for Hire