As far as classic Christmas films goes, A Christmas Story is one that gets better with age. It’s like the fat chick in middle school who got really hot then went on Ricki Lake and showed off to her old bully. Is Ricki Lake still even on? Is she still alive? Either way, A Christmas Story is film that nobody liked until around the early 1990s despite coming out in 1983. In this piece, and it is a piece because it is a work of art, I discuss the film’s plot and what makes this a classic.
A Christmas Story is about a kid named Ralphie living in Indiana during the 1940s or 1950s. I’m not sure. Television doesn’t really exist yet, but there is no mention of Hitler throughout the entire film. It can’t be the 1930s either because they have nice things. There’s only maybe one black person in the whole film so it’s clearly not during Civil Rights. Whenever it takes place, it’s a nostalgic time in America.
Christmas is right around the corner and Ralphie wants more than anything to get a Red Ryder BB Gun with a compass in the stock and this thing that tells time. I think there’s also pump action. Throughout the film the adults tell him that if he gets this gun he’ll shoot his eye out. Ralphie is convinced he may never get his dream Christmas gift and we follow this loser through his sadness at not having the greatest Christmas ever.
Ralphie also has a little brother named Randy. Randy is a little special and the only way to get him to eat mashed potatoes is if he pretends to be a pig. Ralphie’s mom is a redheaded woman who is strict yet reasonable. She also could probably get a man much more handsome than her husband, Ralphie’s father. Ralphie’s father is a strict man and probably related to Charles Grodin. He curses and never seems to enjoy anything in life. He’s pretty much what I’m going to become by the time I turn 27.
(I never realized how big the dad’s nose was until this picture)
Ralphie’s best friends are Flick and Schwartz. Flick’s classic scene happens when he is triple dog dared to lick a pole in the middle of winter by Schwartz. His tongue gets stuck and it’s a really funny scene when you’re younger and even funnier when you get someone to do it. Schwartz’s best scene happens when his mom beats him and we hear it over the phone. Yeah, this movie was dark.
In addition to not getting the one thing he wants for Christmas, Ralphie has to deal with a bully, Scut Farkus. The actor who played Scut Farkus, Zack Ward, actually has gone on to have a decent career. Scut Farkus wears a coonskin cap and has an evil ginger’s smile. He’s everything a bully should be; aggressive, violent, sinister, and bigger than everyone else. He eventually messes with Ralphie on the wrong day and gets his ass kicked in front of everyone by Ralphie.
I would be a failure at writing about this film if I didn’t mention the leg lamp. The leg lamp was something the father won and had delivered to the home. The mother didn’t like the leg lamp because it was too sexual and she was jealous of it. She eventually ends up secretly breaking it when really I think the best thing she could have done was bought a penis shaped door handle as a compromise.
My favorite part of the film is the scene at the mall and everything after it. Ralphie is eager to meet Santa and tell him what he wants for Christmas. In a horrifying scene, Santa kicks Ralphie in the face and he goes down a slide. This made me frightened of mall Santas for the rest of my life which isn’t a big deal because what good are mall Santas to me? It’s not like I ever caught one sleeping with my wife or anything…
After the mall comes the part when Ralphie drops the F-bomb. Since this is a kid’s movie, he says “fudge” instead. This always made me think fudge was a bad word. Because I thought it was a bad word, I ate a lot of fudge as a kid. Now I have diabetes and one foot. The dad tells the movie that he said it then she washes his mouth out with soap. She wants to know where he heard the word, the real answer being from his father, but instead Ralphie says it was Schwartz. Ralphie’s mother calls up Mrs. Schwartz and then we hear the old Jewish woman beat her son and hilarity ensues?
When Christmas finally does come, Ralphie’s parents trick him into thinking they’ve given him all the gifts they purchased. Then the dad tells him to look somewhere else and Ralphie gets the BB Gun he has always wanted. He goes outside and on the first shot he takes the BB ricochets off something and hits him in the eye. He lies and says an icicle hit him and he gets to keep the BB Gun despite almost getting blinded by it.
(Fact: The NRA used this image taken out of context as their logo for 3 years)
The film concludes with a racially stereotyping moment of Chinese men singing Deck the Halls and replacing L’s with R’s. I never saw this whole film until I was much older, when they started showing it on TBS for 24 straight hours on Christmas Day. I used to think this movie never ended. I was such a stupid kid. How does a movie not end?
I have yet to see this film.
It’s on my list, don’t worry!
“and hilarity ensues?” hahah
Well I’m ashamed but I’ve actually never seen this movie all the way through. I’ve seen parts, but not even like, full scenes. Just like, the leg lamp, the tongue on the pole, and maybe a couple of others? Never saw the mall santa scene, so thanks for that! Scarred for life!
I won’t tease you for not seeing this all the way through because it took me years to do it. It has become one of those films that is like The Godfather where it’s more about the scenes than the story. Hook is better so watch that first.