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‘Christmas Story’ still brings laughter to holidays

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By Erin Tobin

By Erin Tobin

In 1983 Ebenezer Scrooge and the Grinch had to make room for “A Christmas Story” and its down-to-earth look at the most wonderful time of the year.

Director Bob Clark (currently planning “Halloween 9”) presents the story of Ralphie Parker and the Christmas he experiences as a normal 9-year-old boy who has nothing close to “a wonderful life,” but who does?

For example, the “Little Orphan Annie” decoder ring he has been waiting months to find in the mail, is nothing more than a promotional tool for Ovaltine.

Though Ralphie (played by a young Peter Billingsley who is now known for the show “Dinner for Five”) lives in a town in 1940s Indiana his story rings true anywhere and anytime.

“A Christmas Story” presents the holidays as they are experienced in any part of suburbia. As winter vacation draws closer, he and his friends find themselves dealing with bullies armed with snowballs, triple-dog dares, essays, tree hunting with the family and soap poisoning. There is also the constant nagging regarding eating, his mother and starving children in China.

This is all in the back of Ralphie’s mind though. What he is more focused on is the ultimate Christmas gift.

It’s not world peace or a second chance at life; all Ralphie wants for Christmas is something much simpler: a Daisy Red Ryder 200 range Carbine Action BB Gun.

His quest to ensure this perfect gift is harder than would first seem. Everyone, including every child’s red-suited jolly yuletide hero Santa Claus disapproves the young boy’s desire with the reoccurring chant of “you’ll shoot your eye out.” Nothing could be more disheartening than be kicked in the face by Santa Claus after waiting in a two-hour long line.

Probably the strong aspect of “A Christmas Story” is the narration by Jean Sheppard as an adult Ralphie. Sheppard is also author of the novel “In God We Trust, For All Others We Pay Cash” which the movie is based on.

Witty would probably be the best description of Sheppard’s narration as it keeps people of all ages laughing during the course of the 93 minute movie. The script is along of the lines of Norman Rockwell nostalgia; vocalized and made more comedic. Throughout the course of the movie the true commonplace horrors of the season are brought to light and laughed at.

This movie doesn’t have a real message or moral, it is just a feel good time in the midst of the most stressful time of the year, which is why people repeatedly return to this charmer of a film.

After watching “A Christmas Story” the holidays seem a little brighter and a little more enjoyable. Not even the umpteenth rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” can put a damper on things.

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