Wednesday, 7 November 2012

A Christmas Story (1983)

A Christmas Story,1983,USA
Director: Bob Clark
Stars: Peter Billingsley, Melinda Dillon & Darren McGavin
''I want an official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle!''

I had been wanting to see 'A Christmas Story' for a long time. The film seems to be so beloved in the states and I was eager to see Director Bob Clark's other take on the holiday after being a huge fan of his classic 1974 slasher film 'Black Christmas'. I finally saw the film, and from a pretty early on, I realized this isn't depicting the Christmas I know.

The film revolves around a young boy named Ralphie (Peter Billingsley) who wants nothing more than an official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle for Christmas, he is so desperate that he will go to great lengths to get it, but bullies, negative teachers, curse words and the possibility of getting his eye shot out threaten to get in the way of his wish.

I'm Australian so I have never experienced the kind of Christmas depicted in 'A Christmas Story', So it never really related to me in that aspect. Although even after 29 years after its release there are still some themes and moments throughout the film that seem contemporary in today's society such as, The ways in which Ralphie will resort in order to get his BB gun and the bullies amongst others.
The film is pretty smartly written by Jean Shepard, Leigh Brown and Bob Clark, is usually humorous and well put together but I didn't find a character I really liked or enjoyed.

Director Bob Clark had a strange career, On one hand he Directed the pivotal horror classic 'Black Christmas' and this film which is hes most popular, He also directed a few middle of the road films like 'Porkys' and then absolute disasters such as the two 'Superbaby Genius' films. It's peculiar to see a filmmakers career go so off the rails like he's did, but for as long as there is Christmas, Bob Clark will be remembered for this film.

I did not love 'A Christmas Story' but I can understand why its such and unconventional classic overseas, It takes the happiness and tradition of the holidays and turns it on its head. Its entertaining and funny at times but not being an American I wasn't able to get the full effect.


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