“A Christmas Story” (1983): Captivating Chronicle of a Kid geared toward Grown Up Guys & Girls

Based on the humorous writings of author Jean Shepherd, this beloved holiday movie follows the wintry exploits of youngster Ralphie Parker (Peter Billingsley), who spends most of his time dodging a bully (Zack Ward) and dreaming of his ideal Christmas gift, a “Red Ryder air rifle.” Frequently at odds with his cranky dad (Darren McGavin) but comforted by his doting mother (Melinda Dillon), Ralphie struggles to make it to Christmas Day with his glasses and his hopes intact.

Release date: November 18, 1983 (USA)
Director: Bob Clark
Story by: Jean Shepherd

“A Christmas Story” Review

Have you ever wanted a gift really desperately for Christmas?  No.  I’m talkin’ about that you were really jonesin’ for it.  Like, if you didn’t get it, you may contemplate the conundrum of even carrying on kind of desperation.

I explored the border of this extreme territory one Season of Giving past as a lad.  I’ll venture to guess that many, if not most, of us did as youngsters.  For me the ultimate quest was a purple Sting-Ray bicycle, complete with color-coordinated glitter banana seat and a metal basket draping the front handle bars for securing school books, mud puddle soaked tennis shoes and other assorted stuff of a child’s life.  I arose crazy early that much-anticipated winter morn and rushed to the living room, our family’s home base for the Christmas tree and wrapped present reveals.  There it was!  In full and fully assembled glory.  Upright and in position next to the spruced up Spruce, supported by the kickstand and ready to ride.  I recall shouting, laughing and crying, somehow all simultaneously.  Life could not get any better.  At least not ’til next December 25th, that is.

Enter Ralphie Parker, the precocious protagonist of the 1983 holiday movie treasure, “A Christmas Story”.  Ralphie, played to perfection by a bespectacled Peter Billingsley, lives together with his quirky yet loving parents (acting legends Darren McGavin and Melinda Dillon, each equally excellent) and bothersome baby brother in a 1940’s small-town America two-story.  HIs must, must, must, must have is a Red Ryder air rifle.  The film follows Ralphie’s single-minded mission to ask his mom, dad, department store Saint Nick and anyone else within earshot for the greatest gift a guy could ever garner.

“A Christmas Story” is a sweet, family-friendly fable, brought to life through a heartwarming lens of winsome nostalgia, courtesy of co-screenwriter Jean Shepherd and based on a book about his own childhood (Shepherd also narrates here).  Still, if you’re thinking everything is candy canes and mistletoe, think again.  Any flick that features beating neighborhood bullies bloody, self-mutilation via a frozen flagpole forged from a “Triple Dog Dare” and the cleverly implied uttering of “The F Word” ain’t no innocuous episode of Sesame Street, buddy.

Is Ralphie’s ultimate wish ultimately fulfilled?  What, me spoil an ending?  See for yourself.  amazon Prime is one platform which would be happy to help in this regard.

If this one doesn’t instill that ol’ Christmas Spirit, may you enjoy that lump of coal stuffed deep down in your stocking, Ebenezer.

I invite you to enjoy all of my film reviews as “The Quick Flick Critic”, continually updated at https://thequickflickcritic.blogspot.com/2020/10/new-short-story-collection-now-on.html

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  • Acting - 7.75/10
  • Cinematography - 6.5/10
  • Plot/Screenplay - 7.5/10
  • Setting/Theme - 7.75/10
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"A Christmas Story" (1983): Captivating Chronicle of a Kid geared toward Grown Up Guys & Girls

If this one doesn’t instill that ol’ Christmas Spirit, may you enjoy that lump of coal stuffed deep down in your stocking, Ebenezer.

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About John Smistad

I am a voracious writer of Movie Reviews. Check 'em out at my Blog, "The Quick Flick Critic", @: The Quick Flick Critic Thanks guys! John

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