I finally made it to the Christmas post! You know, though these few weeks have probably been the most chaotic of my entire year, the twelve days of Christmas have just ended, so I'm not as late as it seems. Trust me, I'm a Catholic.
I literally had no choice but to make this my movie for Christmas Day, because, as you may know, TBS plays this movie over and over again all day long on Christmas. It's a wonder how I managed to not sit down and watch it from start to finish EVER in all the years of seeing parts of it on TV every year. The movie is super funny, but I completely forget it exists just about every other day of the year. It's just such an institution. No wonder it is just simply called "A Christmas Story," because I honestly couldn't tell you anything about it other than that it's a normal family celebrating the holidays together and they go through some funny stuff. I guess it was meant to really just be a snapshot of an era in United States culture and history. The internet has just told me that it was recently preserved in the National Film Registry for it's cultural significance. So there!
In this movie, like The Princess Bride, there is a narrator who is basically telling the story and dropping in personal comments here and there, but, also like The Princess Bride, you totally forget there is even a narrator until you watch it again. Or at least I did/do. The greatest part of this movie is the older Ralphie looking back and remembering this as the best Christmas he ever had, or at least the story of his life surrounding the time he got the best gift he ever received. It completely elevates the comedy to a higher level, not to mention age group, and adds a layer to the movie itself. Though we never actually see the narrator, unlike The Princess Bride, (sorry for bringing up The Princess Bride so much, I can't stop) we do get to see him as a child. It's funny, though, because his older narrating voice kind of plays out situationally as Ralphie's 9-year-old inner dialogue.
It works. I'm just trying to say it works and it works on so many levels. It's hard to say sometimes what is so good about a movie that is lodged in the hearts of so many people, and just like other movies that people ritually watch this time of year, you can't touch tradition. Literally, if I sat here and typed up the most scathing review of A Christmas Story that you ever read, even if you agreed with some of my points, you would never stop watching it. (nudge, nudge, Love Actually.)