Yesterday I watched Elf, which was a beloved Christmas movie that I had never seen. I knew a few scenes but I had never watched the whole film. Tonight, I removed another Christmas classic from the list of Christmas movies that I had never seen before, A Christmas Story.
Ralphie (Peter Billingsley) wanted a a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas more than anything. As he tried to figure out a way to get the Old Man (Darren McGavin) and his mother (Melinda Dillon) to get him a Red Ryder for a present, Ralphie had to make his way through a challenging childhood, dodging a bully Scut Farkus (Zack Ward) among others.
Of course, everybody tells Ralphie that the Red Ryder BB gun would only lead to him “shooting his eye out.”
A Christmas Story was a nostalgic trip back to a simpler time and is filled with humor. Poor sad sack Ralphie never seemed to catch a break and you could root for him easily. You knew things weren’t going to turn out okay though. So when he has his major confrontation with the bully, you cheered for him.
There was a lot of humor in the movie as Ralphie tried his best to navigate through his youth. The scene with Flick (Scott Schwartz) got his tongue froze to the metal pole during recess is an iconic moment and still plays wonderfully.
The film was imaginative and included plenty of fantasy scenes directly from the head of Ralphie. These scenes gave the film a true magical, almost dreamlike state. This set the tone for the film and showed the audience what to expect.
The performances were all solid, especially from the parents, Darren McGavin and Melinda Dillon. They were an old fashion couple, but their relationship felt real even among the fantasy. The whole battle over the leg lamp was some of the best scenes of the film not directly connected to Ralphie.
Speaking of Ralphie, Peter Billingsley was perfect as the young boy. His bright blue eyes shined through each scene he was in and his child performance has to be considered one of the best of all time.
A Christmas Story is clearly Christmas classic and I am glad to have finally added it to my list of watched movies.