Top 10 Christmas Movies #3: A Christmas Story

a-christmas-story-movie-poster-1983-1010423185Note:  Here’s Jeff’s take on #3, A Christmas Story.

Do you remember that one Christmas gift you wanted more than any other? Maybe it was a bike or a Cabbage Patch Kid. Depending on when you grew up it might have been a video game system (Atari, Nintendo, Playstation…) or an Erector Set.  The specific gifts may differ from person to person and time to time but the dream is the same. We all went to bed on Christmas Eve hoping the morning would bring us joy tied up with ribbon.

A Christmas Story taps into this universal longing with protagonist Ralphie’s quest to get a Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model BB gun for Christmas. He seems to be thwarted at every turn. Whether it’s his mother, his teacher or even Santa Claus himself he always hears the same refrain, “You’ll shoot your eye out”. Sprinkled throughout his pursuit are views into his everyday life.  We get to watch as Ralphie and his friends try to survive encounters with the school bully. We meet his parents (in particular The Old Man). We even get a glimpse into his childhood fantasies. These looks provide some classic moments: Flick and the frozen flag pole, the major award, The Santa Slide, the bunny suit just to name just a few.

All of this leads to Christmas morning. After all the gifts appear to be opened and the Red Ryder is nowhere to be found, Ralphie has one last surprise.

This is my favorite scene in the entire movie. Darren McGavin (The Old Man) deserved an Oscar nomination for this scene alone. He captures perfectly that as great as it is to finally get that gift you have been wishing for it’s even better as a parent to be able to give your child exactly what they wanted for Christmas.

A Christmas Story is set in Hammond, Indiana during  the post WWII 1940’s, It is a period piece that perfectly presents its era yet it ties into themes that audiences from any generation can relate to. The result is that whether you are a Baby Boomer, Gen X, Gen Y, or even a dreaded Millennial you walk away from this movie with a sense of nostalgia.

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