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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

A Christmas Story

*** A Christmas Story. Comedy.

Directed by: Bob Clark.
Starring: Peter Billingsley, Darren McGavin, Melinda Dillon.

So many people cited this as their very favorite Christmas movie, and I'd never seen it, so I put it in our Netflix queue.

And that was two strikes against it right there: first that so many people raved about it, and second that by the time we got to it, it was February, and I wasn't really in the Christmas spirit. Of course, it's not really a very Christmassy movie anyway.

Basically, it's about a boy in the 1940s who wants a BB gun for Christmas. It's set in the 1940s. Rather than a single, linear story, it's a series of scenes about their life in the 1940s. Did I mention that it's set in the 1940s? Argh. Obviously, the filmmakers spent a lot of time and money getting the setting just right, because they beat the audience over the head with it every chance they got. Drove me up a wall, in case you didn't notice.

It's also got the first-person voice-overs from grown-up Ralphie. If you watched The Wonder Years, it's like that. A grown-up navel-gazing about his childhood. It's almost as entertaining as listening to someone tell you about their dreams.

There were some amusing scenes, of course, and I even laughed aloud several times. And I really enjoyed the end when ****spoiler**** the dad gave him the BB gun. It was such a nice parent moment--that no matter how disappointing his own life was, he could still give that joy to his son. **** Awwwww....

I'd guess it would be a more appealing movie if I had an idealized view of childhood or of the 1940s (it was set in the 1940s, by the way). Unfortunately, I have neither. Or if I liked Hollywood's version of a "cute kid." I have kids. Three of them. They're cute--or were, when they were younger. I tend to find Hollywood's version of cute obnoxious and whiny.

On the other hand, I can't agree with the (very few--the average is 4.5 stars) negative Amazon reviews--almost all of which complained about either vulgarity or *gasp* a gun! for Christmas! *ack!*--either. It was the 1940s. Kids had guns. They had BB guns in the 1960s, too--well, the boys did, at least--I had to borrow my little brother's. And it's pretty obvious that vulgarity doesn't bother me, if I give Blazing Saddles 5 stars.

I'm glad I finally saw it, and I'm equally glad that I got it from Netflix instead of buying it to add to my Christmas movie collection. I don't think I'll be watching it again.


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