Is A Christmas Story the best Christmas movie?


Let’s talk about why A Christmas Story should be crowned the greatest Christmas movie. Holidays are ostensibly about family and the memories we make when we are with our family. The plot of A Christmas Story is not a big, showy production. It is simply about young Ralphie’s Christmas with his family and his hopes for the perfect Christmas present. Remember your childhood? Remember when you thought about what you would get for Christmas for at least a month? This is the highly effective hook of A Christmas Story. The story is told through the unique story device of an adult Ralphie providing the voiceover in retrospect.

As a child, my father sat the family down to watch A Christmas Story. I was initially uninterested. In the years holidays that ensued and the highly effective 24-hour cable marathons, pre-cutting the cord, watching A Christmas Story at least biannually became one of my family’s traditions.

This film is intentionally dated and intentionally cheesy. It is a way to connect to the child you were. When I watch this film with my father, it takes him back to his childhood. This is not because his childhood was exactly the same as the film. As an adult, I too experience nostalgia with this film.

This movie touches on many childhood struggles that a lot of us went through: the perfect Christmas toy, wearing giant snowsuits against your will, performing like a monkey at your parents’ request, meeting Santa, childhood fights, and dares. Most importantly, A Christmas Story is so effective at putting us in Ralphie’s shoes that we get to experience our own childhood again, even if it was actually superficially different. It is family friendly fare that is perfect to put on when everyone is gathered together this holiday season.

C’mon, let’s choose A Christmas Story as the greatest Christmas movie! Please join me in checking out the rest of the contenders over on the LAMB

“a major award”

Movie Rundown: September 2010

Well I wasn’t sure if I’d just end up rolling this out at the last minute or not. If you read this blog semi-regularly you probably noticed that I had done a write up on all of the movies coming out for quite a few months but then I had some drama in August and didn’t get a chance. I’ve had some more stuff going on during September but I wanted to bust this out anyway. In many areas a lot of these flicks will still be out for a while longer. I’ve also simplified the title since it was getting tricky to come up with them and they weren’t as clever as I liked anyway.

The American-09/01
George Clooney stars in what looks a bit like a B-version of a Jason Bourne movie. I would much rather watch this than one of his more serious flicks in which he tries to teach me about a boring subject I don’t give a damn about. This will probably be a rental for me.

Going the Distance-09/03
This is a long distance romantic comedy starring real-life on again/of again couple Drew Barrymoore and Justin Long. I am a fan of both (okay I’ve been in love with Long since Jeepers Creepers, shh, don’t tell) and the trailers and TV spots look very funny. The film co-stars Christina Applegate, Jason Sudeikis, Ron Livingtson and Jim Gaffigan.

This is the revenge exploitation flick from Robert Rodriguez that is based on his fake trailer for the film that aired in front of the Grindhouse films a few years ago. Of course, Danny Trejo stars. He is backed up by a huge cast including Michelle Rodriguez, Jessica Ala, Cheech Marin, Robert De Niro, Don Johnson, Lindsay Lohan and Steven Seagal. I saw the movie opening weekend. While I definitely thought it was awesome it seemed to lack something I can’t quite put my finger on. It’s over the top fun though.

The Winning Season-09/03
Apparently this is about a girls’ high school basketball team that emerges victorious or something like that. I truly love Sam Rockwell (who is starring in this) but I’m not at all interested in feel good, family sports flicks.

I’m Still Here: The Lost Year of Joaquin Phoenix-09/10
Remember how Joaquin Phoenix seemed high and went on and on during a Letterman interview about how he was going to be the next big rapper? From the beginning everyone pretty much agreed that this was a weird gimmick. The film has been described as reaching a sort of Andy Kaufman sort of genius. It was directed by Casey Affleck. I will have to rent this just to see exactly what happened here. I’ve always been a huge Joaquin fan ever since To Die For/8MM.

Resident Evil: Afterlife
This is the 4 film in the zombie series based on the best selling video games series of the same name. I enjoyed all of the films up until now, the 3rd movie ended with me wanting more and I squeed out loud when I found out it would be in 3D. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see it when it first came out. Then our local theater had a problem with the 3D mechansim breaking down when I showed up last weekend to go see it and have never repaired it. So now if I want to see it I have to travel an hour.  Looks fantastic though. The film stars Milla Jovovich (as usual) and Ali Larter.

The Romantics-09/10
I had been hearing some good buzz about this prior to seeing the trailer. After seeing it I’m not impressed. It looks like a bunch of independent films I’ve seen about friends who have all dated each other in the past. The difference is this film seems to make the characters too self aware even saying they call themselves ‘The Romantics’ due to their partner swapping. Plus it features a well known cast including Katie Holmes, Anna Paquin, Josh Duhamel, Malin Akerman and Elijah Wood.

The Virginity Hit-09/10
I haven’t seen many advertisements for this but if it’s like any other dirty ‘let’s lose our virginity’ flick it would probably crack me up.

Easy A-09/17
This film has been described as a John Hughesesque spin on The Scarlett Letter. The first time I heard about this film was reading an interview with lead Emma Stone in which she described it as having been really toned down so they could get the rating changed from a R to PG-13. Plus her whole tone in the interview almost made her seem indifferent toward it. If she isn’t excited and spent her time making it then why should I be? Then I saw commercials for it. I’m sorry but a 17 year old losing her virginity isn’t exactly unheard of in our current world of 13 year old mothers. I earn money daily listening to teens and their woes and they are having sex younger and younger. The most common ages that I hear about them losing their virginity is often 13 or 14. Children as young as 9 have told me they ‘do it’ though. Prior to the release Myspace posted a 10 minute preview of the beginning of the movie so I checked it out. I think my main problem is that I like Emma Stone but mainly when she is more down to earth and insecure. From the looks of the film her character may bug mean when she starts fronting. I was also pretty surprised at the awesome cast which includes Malcolm McDowell, Thomas Haden Church and Stanley Tucci. I don’t really buy Amanda Bynes as a goody good anymore but I guess it could work.

The Freebie
-09/17 (Limited)
I hadn’t seen anything about this until I just watched the trailer. The plot is that a bored couple decide to give each other a free pass at a one night stand. I can’t tell if this will be indie gold or boring from the trailer. However it stars Dax Shepard so I’m all over this when it hits DVD.

Jack Goes Boating
This film is lead Philip Seymour Hoffman (who’s always amazing)’s baby as it’s his directorial debut. He also a producer on it. It’s a dark romantic comedy about some misfits which I could either way on.

The Town-09/17
As a big Jeremy Renner fan I’ve been hearing stuff here and there about The Town for quite a while. I’m really glad that it got a large release and I’ll probably check it out in theaters soon. It’s a film about bank robbers directed by Ben Affleck. I’ve heard nothing but good things about it. The film also stars Jon Hamm, Chris Cooper and Blake Lively.

You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger
-09/22 (Limited)
This is the latest Woody Allen film. I’ve enjoyed all of his previous films that I have seen and I doubt this will the exception. The film appears to be one of his more light hearted looks at love. It stars Naomi Watts, Josh Brolin, Anthony Hopkins, Antonio Banderas and Ewen Bremner.

Howl-09/24 (Limited)

It’s a drama centered on the obscenity trial of writer Allen Ginsberg. I’m not familiar with Ginsberg but I hope the film shows much more than the trial as that seems sort of dry. It stars James Franco, Jon Hamm, Mary-Louise Parker, Jeff Daniels and Paul Rudd.

Like Dandelion Dust-09/24 (Limited)
This looks like a really depressing movie about a family whose son was put up for adoption when the father went to jail. Now the father is out and they want him back. It stars Mira Sorvino, Barry Pepper and Cole Hauser.

Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps-09/24
This is a sequel to the original Wall Street and also stars Michael Douglas. The film seemed fairly unnessecary to me but I did enjoy seeing all of the shots of the sexy Shia LaBeouf suited up. Apparently I now have a thing for well dressed men. Who would have thought? The film was directed by Oliver Stone who some regard as a genius. The only film of his that I’m a big fan of is The Doors though. The less said about W. the better. It’s the only movie I’ve ever walked out of due to boredom. I really felt like it was sucking years of my life away. I thought the original Wall Street was good but not as good as the hype surrounding it. Anyway, this film really belongs to LeBeouf even though it’s Douglas that they are basically using to pimp it. He’s a young Wall Street guy who soon becomes mesmerized by Douglas’ Gordon Gecko. Of course he is also seeing Gecko’s estranged daughter. I was talked into seeing this when I was unable to see Resident Evil 4 recently. The main problem with this movie (aside from the length, ugh) is that none of the characters are likeable. LaBeouf is unabashedly driven but (like most men) wants to impress his girl, she’s sort of an always morose know it all, James Brolin is supposed to be the villain and Douglas starts out trying to make us think he changed (but I think only the most naive would believe that). It was okay but I do not see myself rewatching it anytime in the near future. The best part of the movie was definitely the wardrobe. I recommend reading about it here.

You Again-09/24
In this movie an ex high school nerd finds out that her bro is marrying the girl who tormented her in high school. Then her mom finds out that the mother of girl was the girl who always upstaged her in high school. This does look funny. The problem is that we are supposed to buy the Kristen Bell and ‘The Body’ Jamie Lee Curtis in these roles. Sigourney Weaver and Betty White also star.