Title: A Christmas Story
Country: USA, Canada
Genre: Comedy, Family
Director: Bob Clark
Music: Paul Zaza, Carl Zittrer
Cinematography: Reginald H. Morris
Surprised to see this film listed among Top 250 films of IMDb years ago (a glory will not return considering it has been outranked by other newcomers), but still it is an unthinkable feat since family-slewed holiday season comedies has rarely been able to manage on that prestigious list, less to mention it is from a Tinseltown hack, the late director Bob Clark.
Now I finally have watched it with BluRay calibre, what can I say? It is a damn good family boon, a bona-fide Christmas film outshines all its contemporary duds.
Set in 1940s, an ordinary American family, Ralphie is a schoolboy lives with his parents and a younger brother Randy, all he wants for the approaching Christmas is a BB gun which every adult considers it is dangerous since it will shoot your eyes out! (An utter antithesis of what I wanted when I was that age, of course, not for Christmas, for Spring Festival instead). So the film minutely recollects what has happened during this unforgettable Yuletide by a congenial voiceover from Ralphie in his adulthood, the mischiefs at the school and at home, all from Ralphie’s viewpoint, which perfectly aligns with the whimsical nature of a kid’s chimera.
Melinda Dillon and Darren McGavin makes such a dynamic onscreen duo as the cool mother and the naff father (McGavin is too old to be their old man, a grandfather should be more appropriate though). What happens in the family (a piggy-imitation incentive on the dining table, the leg-shape lamp accident, the icicle misconduct, and the f-word punishment etc.) radiates great affinity towards its viewers since it is not overtly soliciting for instant laughters, rather it stays with its audiences and brings ripple effects to everyone’s own memory of their most memorable holidays in childhood. Peter Billingsley, a bespectacled precocious over-thinker, does offset the abundance of epidemic smart-alecks among recent child-performances. Tedde Moore, as Ralphie’s schoolteacher, whose deadpan sanctimoniousness satires the traumatizing condescendence on the nose, personally I have met quite a few in my school days. Other skits such as Peter and the wolf parody, the impatient Santa Claus with his fiendish elves in the mall, and the tongue-stuck-on-the-ice prank, all goes well without hyperbole. Bob Clark may not be a great filmmaker, and A CHRISTMAS STORY doesn’t possess any unique talking point among cinephiles, but with a retrospective nostalgia, it certainly occupies a snug spot among many people’s guilty-pleasure bracket.