A Christmas Story

A Christmas Story (12/8/11) TCM (1983 ***) Directed by Bob Clark, based on the novel In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash by Jean Shepherd (who also narrated), starring Peter Billingsly, Melinda Dillon and Darren McGavin. All Ralphie wants for Christmas is a Red Ryder BB gun. You’d just better hope he doesn’t shoot his eye out! When I first watched this movie on cable in the mid-1980s I wasn’t particularly impressed by it. But in the nearly 30 years since then, this movie has become a “beloved yuletide tradition.” But does it deserve that status? I’ll admit there was much in the “Kid’s eye view” of the movie for me to identify with, but there just wasn’t much to the film’s story as a whole. In fact — and I know some might want to punch me in the face for what I’m about to write — the whole build-up throughout the film of the BB gun? The pay-off for that was completely anticlimactic and more than a little disappointing. And I don’t think that’s only because I’m reviewing this film with 21st Century eyes. Look, if you’re looking for a family-friendly film to hoist onto the pedestal of “Holiday Perennial,” I suppose you could do worse than this lightweight little film. But let’s not go confusing it with REAL Christmas Classics like Miracle on 34th Street (1947) or It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)!

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