[Losing My Virginity articles are reviews written by someone who still hasn’t seen an incredibly popular movie after all these years. LMV reviews are interesting in that they can offer the perspective of a person who’s untainted by the cloud of commonness that surrounded a famous film of the past, and also show how well it has stood the test of time.]
Iâ€™m starting to feel like a broken record, what with me mentioning my distaste for Christmas in reviews, podcasts, and even news items here on Flixist. But itâ€™s true; after a certain age, I just fell out of the Christmas spirit and the holidays became nothing more than a day off. I especially have a distaste for Christmas films, which is why, for the most part, I avoided watching A Christmas Story all these years.
[Losing My Virginity articles are reviews written by someone who still hasn't seen an incredibly popular movie after all these years. LMV reviews are interesting in that they can offer the perspective of a person who's untainted by the cloud of commonness that surrounded a famous film of the past, and also show how well it has stood the test of time.]
I’m starting to feel like a broken record, what with me mentioning my distaste for Christmas in reviews, podcasts, and even news items here on Flixist. But it’s true; after a certain age, I just fell out of the Christmas spirit and the holidays became nothing more than a day off. I especially have a distaste for Christmas films, which is why, for the most part, I avoided watching A Christmas Story all these years.
Now I’m well aware that A Christmas Story is an American Christmas institution at this point. It is put on such a pedestal that I’m almost afraid not to like it. I mean, what other movie can you think of that has a channel dedicate an entire 24 hours to playing it on loop? I feel like everybody loves this movie in retrospect and I fear that to a newcomer (or virgin) like myself in these modern times, the value might be lost on me.
To the uninitiated (though I’m thoroughly convinced Josh and I are the only ones to not have seen this movie), A Christmas Story takes place in the 1940s and revolves around young Ralphie Parker trying to convince his parents to get him a Red Ryder BB Gun for Christmas. What ensues is a series of strange events in a seemingly ordinary childhood that tugs at those nostalgia strings and speaks to the inner child in all of us.
Bob Clark (of Porky’s fame) directed this film which is based on a series of short stories written by Jean Shepard for Playboy Magazine (I know what you’re thinking, and as it turns out, Playboy does have articles). Though I barely remember Porky's (other than boobs and peepholes), Clark’s direction was so successful in the way he captured 1940s suburbia, and more importantly, how flawlessly he’s captured childhood. Despite not really having a plot per se, both Clark and Shepard manage to take a series of events and conjoin them together with childish tomfoolery and daydreams. The use of narration (provided by Shepard) turns the events into an act of poetry, with each action enhanced with heavy words and a literary flow.
There’s quite the charm throughout the film and most of it comes from the dynamic of the Parker Family. Though they’re a little dysfunctional, they’re still quite admirable. There's a right amount of dysfunction to this family that's often extreme and disingenuous in other Christmas films. Little brother Randy, to whom I can only describe nicely as a simpleton, is a nice counter to Ralphie’s wit. Though Mr. & Mrs. Parker represent the American parental figures of the 40s (right down to the separate beds), they still maintain a level of kookiness that keeps them interesting.
The actors themselves give a performance that further enhances the characters, providing us with a rich world to play with. The parents, as I mentioned earlier, are wonderful straight men with a bit of uneasiness to them. Randy (played by Ian Patrella) is a wonderful annoying younger brother, making him just annoying enough to still find him endearing. However, it’s Ralphie (played by Parker) who obviously steals the show. Playing a kid wise beyond his age, he still maintains a level of innocence that makes him relatable both to me as an adult as well as to my inner child.
Often times, these Christmas movies focus so much on the magic of Christmas or the power of bringing family together. What made A Christmas Story acceptable to the grinch inside me is that it effortlessly captures the excitement of Christmas to a young child. Though I've grown older and cynical and my Christmas presents amounts to days off and underwear, I felt Ralphie's need to get that BB Gun, much like my need to get a Sega Saturn for Christmas (much like a BB Gun, it also shot my eye out in the end). There's no Holiday spirit or Christmas magic to be had here, just a kid going to school, causing mischief, and trying to convince his parents to buy him something he really shouldn't have. To me, that's far more relatable than an extremely dysfunctional family coming together or convincing the world that Santa does exist. It shows what Christmas was to a lot of us when we were kids, a chance to get awesome presents.
Overall Score: 8.20 – Spectacular. (Movies that score between 8.50 and 9.00 are some of the best films its genre has ever created, and fans of any genre will thoroughly enjoy them.)
I now understand why this film has become such a staple to the Christmas Holiday. It manages to bring viewers back to the simpler times of being a child despite the fact that none of us lived through the 1940’s. Capturing our hopes, dreams, and ignorance of being a child, it’s an endearing little tale that very much warrants being played for 24 hours on TBS. Despite being fully aware of the jokes (the pole, you’ll put your eye out, leg lamp) beforehand, it was still a joy for me to watch. I'm only mad at myself for missing out on this film for so long, as it provides an simple blueprint to a successful Christmas movie.
- The kid who stuck his tongue on the lamp pole (or as I remember him, the kid from The Toy) grows up to be a porn star later in life. This isn’t first hand knowledge, it’s just what I found out on IMDB. Still, I wonder if he’s ever done a Christmas Story/The Toy themed porn parody.
- The piggy scene between Randy and the Mother is one of the most f*cked up scenes I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen some sh*t.
- Zack Ward went from this to Uwe Boll movies. Sadness indeed.