This was never a classic piece of Christmas entertainment while I was growing up; I was nine in 1983 when this movie came out, but my local channels relied on Alastair Sim, Jimmy Stewart, Boris Karloff and whoever starred in Miracle on 34th Street. Maureen O’Hara, and others I see.
So the story: Ralphie is nine in the 1940s and desperate to get a BB gun for Christmas, regardless of everyone who’s against the idea. Many “You’ll shoot your eyes out!” warnings. He is undeterred by their concern and lack of faith in his ability to hold his own. When we watched this, the Hubs noted that there really isn’t much of a plot to the film, beyond loosely connected stories of Ralphie, his family, his run-ins with the local bullies, and his small pack of friends.
Fair point. The gun dream holds the pieces together but otherwise it’s all short stories about family dysfunction at Christmas.
This was only my second time watching the film, the first being maybe 15 years ago. The Hubs had seen pieces over the years and the Young One, who is nine this year, had never heard of it. We kept poking him in the head when Ralphie would make the goofy grins and big elaborate sighs over how tough his little life was. “Looks like you! Sounds like you!” Then he’d growl. It was funny.
The Hubs and I debated a little over the godawful fishnet stocking leg lamp Dad wins through some random raffle and Mom’s reaction to it based on Dad’s reaction. Was he really overjoyed to get this ugly thing in the mail as his prize? I was totally on Mom’s side. Find a way to “accidentally” break the bloody thing so he can’t show it off to the neighbours anymore. Bloody hell.
Watching poor Schwartz get triple dog dared into sticking his tongue on a frozen metal post brought back my own childhood memories; we used the chain link fence but only touched the tip of the tongue to the metal. Still hurt like hell to yank off but didn’t need firefighters, ambulances and stitches. Kids are so stupid.
Wataching Ralphie lie and lay blame on Schwartz for who taught him how to swear (even though Dad knew a bucket-ton of bad language) and then hearing his mom beat the shit out of the boy for that over the phone was really hard to take, too. Not sure if Ralphie felt any guilt over that, nor for leaving Schwartz in the playground stuck to the post. “The bell rang!” FFFUUUUUUUU>>>>
Spoilerage – Dad buys him the gun, shrugging at Mom, “I had one when I was 8…” and Ralphie pouring on the tears while he lied about how his glasses broke after using it – the kickback knocked them right off his face and he stepped on them. Icicles? What mother will buy that story? Ralphie’s I guess.
I guess I get the classic status of the movie. I’ll watch it over the mess that is the Griswolds. It speaks to the nostalgia of the season, regardless of the era. I still have fond memories of being shocked to get a Care Bear; I literally ran back to my bedroom, rubbed my fingers in my eyes, and ran back to see if it was still there. Good old Good Luck Bear. I’m sure I wanted a “cooler” one at the time, but I was happy all the same. The year I was asking for a large Stegosaurus stuffed toy I got a small yellow and white dinosaur instead, plus a nifty fox. Dino and Todd lived in my bed from the moment of opening the wrappers. I think I still have Dino with his saggy neck. Old Todd was given away some years ago, though.
Sometimes it’s more about the memories of the things than the things themselves..