A Christmas Story Review: Christmas in July Blogathon 2019

Hello, friends!

Welcome to the penultimate day for the sixth annual Christmas in July Blogathon and last day of guest reviews! Up first today is Damien of Riley on Film and The Damien Riley Podcast. Damien reviews a variety of film genres on his site and podcast but as a particular affinity for horror films. Go give his sites a read and podcasts a listen, especially if you like horror movies. While there are several Christmas horror films, for this blogathon, Damien chose to review the comedy classic A Christmas Story.

A Christmas Story movie posterA Christmas Story – Electric Sex in the Family Room Window

It’s hot outside and I am thrilled to be able to cool off imagining Christmastime for this movie challenge. Whatever time of year it is, I can always get into the spirit of Christmas by rewatching “A Christmas Story” directed by Bob Clark. It has just enough off-color humor to not bore and still accent the nostalgic visuals of a boy and his family humorously living in the 1940’s.

Director Bob Clark was a true visionary. He is ironically also well known for his horror film “Black Christmas.” Clark takes familiar American settings and visits sarcasm upon them. The result is a hilarious film that pulls no punches. A lot of us guys were “Ralphie” at some point, wanting a bee bee gun and asking every Santa on the street we saw for it. Our teacher, our parent, in like fashion all said “You’ll shoot you’re eye out.” Ah the humanity..

Besides having relatable characters like Ralphie, the film has symbols that everyone can identify with. Ralphie’s middle class dad strains after the daily crossword every night in order to win a “Major award.” It ends up being a tawdry and kitsch leg lamp that he emblazons from the window. Ralphie’s narrator calls it “Electric sex in the front window.” This much to the chagrin of Ralphie’s mother who has all the charm of every mother among us combined and then some.

There’s a famous scene here where Flick, Raplhie’s friend, Puts his tongue on a frozen pole on a bet. Most of us can recall similar dares which is why so many people love this movie. We aren’t laughing at Flick, we’re recalling our own childhoods. Bob Clark is truly in touch. We get to know so many characters here: the father, mother, little brother, Flick, the teacher, Scott Farkus, the “bully,” and a few other core ones. Interspersed between tales from Ralph’s youth, we get the traditional trappings of Christmas like Santa and the classic carols. The cinematography is also great, bringing us back to the 40’s.

This is one I’ve seen countless times and I look forward to watching it this year a few times as well. I highly recommend it, I give it a 10/10. Merry Christmas in July.

I am a Guest Author: Damien Riley

Follow my reviews at rileyonfilm.com

Listen to my podcast at thedrpodcast.com

For our holiday party, Damien is inviting the fiery vixen Jessica Chastain.

Jessica Chastain

Excellent invite, Damien! Great to have a fellow redhead at the party. 😉

The final guest entry for this year’s blogathon comes from someone I have worked with many times here on DMR and whom you all should be familiar with.

Until next time, cheers!

My Fave Five A Christmas Story Scenes

Hello, friends!

Today is Christmas! You know what that means: A Christmas Story marathon on TBS. A Christmas Story is one of my favorite Christmas films, so of course I love that I can just turn on the TV and have it playing in the background. To celebrate this yearly marathon, I’m taking a look at several of my favorite scenes from the film. Before you get to the list, you can read my review of the movie here. Now that you’ve read my thoughts on the film, here are my five favorite scenes from A Christmas Story.

5) Randy puts on his snowsuit

I reference this scene all the time. Whenever I find myself in a lot of layers I describe myself as “Randy from A Christmas Story.” But that’s not why this scene is on this list. I just get a laugh every time I see Randy’s mom try to put his arms down and they just won’t stay down. Then she’s like “Eh, forget it,” and just leaves it to his teacher at school to deal with.

4) Ralphie meets the mall Santa Claus

This scene is one of my favorites because of Ralphie’s reaction to Santa telling him “You’ll shoot your eye out, kid.” Santa was Ralphie’s last hope; His mom told him he’d shoot his eye out, his teacher told him he’d shoot his eye out, and now Santa has told him the same thing. You can’t help but feel Ralphie’s disappointment when Santa himself echoes that sentiment. He now thinks his chances of receiving the Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas has just gone down to zero. Such a Christmas heartbreak.

3) Ralphie shoots his eye out

This is it. This is the big moment. This is what Ralphie’s journey of the entire movie has been leading to. He finally got his #1 Christmas present: the Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle. Now that he has the gun in hand, he heads out to the backyard to shoot it… and nearly shoots his eye out. After being constantly told that he’d shoot his eye out but continuously asking for it anyway, he finds out his mother, his teacher, and Santa were all right. Then he figures out a lie to tell his mom, simply because he didn’t want her to say she told him so. This is the moment Ralphie losses his childhood innocence.

2) “Oh, fudge!”

I think that for the most part, parents take a “do as I say, not as I do” approach to their kids’ speaking profanities. While they may swear up and down, their kids shouldn’t do the same. Ralphie found this out when he said the queen mother of dirty words in front of his father. I laugh every time I hear adult Ralphie describing the word he said without actually saying the four-letter word.

1) The Old Man wins a major award

Probably the most iconic scene in the entire movie and forever changed the way people say “fragile,” often followed up with “it must be Italian.” Like this scene, the leg lamp has become an icon of A Christmas Story. The best part about this scene is everybody’s reaction: the Old Man is excited, so is Ralphie (although probably for a different reason), Mother Parker is disgusted and reluctant to let her husband display the lamp so prominently in their front window, and Randy is just sort of there. No one really seems to know what it’s an award for but that doesn’t matter because the Old Man won a major award.

There are so many memorable and quotable moments from A Christmas Story so this is just the tip of the iceberg. If I were to include of my favorite scenes, I would end up eventually just have to post the entire movie!

What are some of your favorite scenes from A Christmas Story? What are some of your favorite Christmas movies?

Until next time, merry Christmas and happy holidays!

My Fave Five Christmas Movies

It’s that time of year again.  Snow is falling, bright lights decorate houses on every street, the Salvation Army bell ringers are outside every grocery store you can see, and TBS is having a 24-hour A Christmas Story marathon.  Yes, it’s the holiday season.  While you and your family are gathered by the fireplace sipping eggnog, sitting at the table playing a game of cards, or whatever your holiday traditions may be, chances are you do so with a Christmas movie playing.  Everyone has something different they like about the holiday season and there are plenty of movies to reflect that.  Here are my five favorite Christmas movies.

Honorable Mentions) Die Hard & Lethal WeaponLethal Weapon movie poster Die Hard movie poster

I have included Die Hard and Lethal Weapon on this list because they aren’t what could be considered “traditional” Christmas movies.  They take place during Christmas (the lowest requirement for a Christmas film) but that’s about the only relation to Christmas they have.  However, they are both great movies.  And on top of that, they both produced catch phrases that would last throughout both franchises.  They may not be the most traditional of Christmas films, but they are Christmas films nonetheless.

Elf movie poster5) Elf

Will Ferrell’s humor is hit or miss with audiences (based on people I’ve talked to at least).  But in Elf, he hits the mark.  Even those who I know aren’t Ferrell fans enjoy this movie.  The innocent and good natured Buddy the Elf resonates with everyone.  It’s always entertaining to see someone like Buddy who comes from a small town experience New York City for the first time.  There’s something about that fish-out-of-water element in the Big Apple that is so humorous.

4) The Polar ExpressThe Polar Express movie poster

When I was but a wee lad, I enjoyed the book The Polar Express.  Then it was brought onto the big screen, and the sense of wonderment only grew.  It can be difficult to adapt a children’s book into a movie, but The Polar Express shows how to do it correctly, and with style.  The animation uses contrasts efficiently and before Frozen, this was the pinnacle of snow animation, creating a gorgeously unique style that still looks amazing ten years later.

Christmas Vacation movie poster3) Christmas Vacation

Oh Christmas Vacation, how I love you.  I believe this was the first movie from National Lampoon’s Vacation series that I saw, and it is probably the best of the series.  Clark Griswald is once again played by the amazing Chevy Chase, whose comedic timing is spot-on in this film.  Even the supporting cast each get their moments.  But what I would have to say is my favorite part about Christmas Vacation is how it takes traditional holiday events that we loath (or like), such as in-laws staying for a few days or decorating the house with lights, and takes them to the extreme.  Sometimes real-life events make for the most touching.

2) A Christmas StoryA Christmas Story movie poster

This is the Christmas movies of all Christmas movies, or at least TBS thinks so since they play it for 24-hours.  But I would have to agree.  Every kid can relate to Ralphie, the young version played by Peter Billingsley, looking for that on awesome gift under the tree on Christmas morning.  The narration from an older Ralphie, voiced by Jean Shepard, is the perfect compliment to what is going on in the story.  Ralphie’s parents and friends, Ralphie’s daydreams, everything is skewed to fit a child’s perspective and it creates one of the best Christmas films out there.

The Santa Claus movie poster1) The Santa Clause

The Santa Clause was THE Christmas movie of my childhood.  This is the film I do not go without watching every year.  This was one of Tim Allen’s first movies since he started on Home Improvement and he carried much of Tim Taylor into this movie.  I think what appeals to me most is that Scott Calvin, Allen’s character, didn’t want to be Santa Claus, he was selfish and didn’t want the responsibility.  There is a big difference in his attitude between his first and second outings as Santa.  And I couldn’t forget all the cool elf gadgets.  Tinsel, jet packs, the sleigh’s CD dispenser.  Everything is just cool.  The cute little touches, like the Rose Sucha Clatter ladder company, just add to the experience.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!