innocent_man: (wileyfish)
[personal profile] innocent_man
A Christmas Story is one of those Xmas movies that you've probably at least seen snippets of, if you have an cable at all. It's the story of little Ralphie Parker, growing up in the 40s in Indiana, and his quest to get an official Red Ryder 200 shot range model air rifle for Xmas. Along the way, he kicks the shit out of the school bully, is indirectly responsible for one of his best friends being physically abused by his mother, and helps his friend Flick get his tongue stuck to a flagpole.

OK, it sounds bad when you say it like that.

Ralphie is kind of a little shit, honestly. He wants what he wants, he's a little sullen a bit self-absorbed, and he really doesn't exhibit much in the way of redeeming qualities. But he's not a bad kid, either - he's not overtly mean or nasty, and he has a genuine regard for his parents (sure, he gets pissed off when they discipline him, but he also jumps at the chance to be with them and help them). Ralphie's a good POV character for the era and the story, white privilege and all.

Michelle watched this with me, seeing for the first time all the way through, and her take was that although it ended well, it was horrifying in places. There's a casual snark and unpleasantness that folks' interactions seem to have, and wondered if the movie is a Yankee thing. It might be - while obviously I didn't grow up in the 40s, I did grow up in the Midwest, and the movie feels familiar to me, even when I saw it for the first time. There are some very iconic moments in the movie - the aforementioned fight with the bully ("Scut Farkas!"), the interplay between kids, the horror at accidentally swearing in front of your parents - these are things I recognize. Is it a regional thing? I don't know, but Xmas in Ralphie's world isn't too dissimilar to Xmas the way I grew up.

I enjoy this movie, but it's definitely more out of nostalgia than anything else. And it amuses me that Scott Schwartz, the kid who plays Flick, grew up to do porn.

My Grade: C+ (evil witch cackle here)
Rewatch Value: Just once a year.

Next up: City Slickers


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