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Why I like "A Chtristmas Story"


Sepiatone
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For one....

 

A good friend of mine's Dad used to work at a publishing company warehouse( a manager of some kind) and my friend would go with him to earn some extra money doing stuff around the warehouse.  And he'd often get ahold of "stray" Playboy magazines, and pass them around to all of us friends.  And, actually, that's how, even at THAT age, (16-17) we all got into the habit of actually READING the magazine!

 

And one of the things I loved reading were the oft-published stories of writer Jean Shepherd.  I really attatched myself to his writing style, and loved his narrative style.  In subsequent years, I subscribed to Playboy, and kept reading.  AND reading MORE Shepherd over the years. 

 

And, I just LOVED the collection of stories he put together for the book called "In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash".  And I had NO idea that someone adapted it into a screenplay and made a movie.

 

But during the first year of me and my wife's relationship, we went to visit a friend of hers she hadn't seen in a couple of years.  SHE had taped the movie off of Showtime or HBO or one of them premium cable channels, and it was playing when we got to her house.

 

I noticably looked distracted by the sound of the movie( it was the "leg lamp FRA-GEE-LEE" part), and she said, "take it home with you.  I'll let you BORROW it."

 

It was THEN, noticing all those familiar characters and storylines, that I recognized what it was!  Then the credits came, and sealed the deal!

 

One thing I relate to and feel fondly about was Ralphie's obsession with obtaining his RED RYDER Daisy air rifle.  I too, wanted a "B B gun"  But was denied NOT because my Mom was afraid that I'd "Shoot my eye out", but more afraid I'd shoot somebody ELSE'S eye out!  But, I also shared the same obsession with a "Palladin" cap gun and holster set.  No doubt FAKE black leather, with the knight chess piece decoration on it, AND the little holster on the inside of the buckle which held the DERRINGER!---JUST LIKE Richard Boone's!  Never got it, but I could relate to Ralphie in that respect.

 

AND, as the story does take place 11 years before I was born, and I didn't start school until 16 years after the story took place, there wasn't much change or difference in schoo lkids back when  the movie took place(1940)  and the way we looked, dressed, talked and acted in 1956.

 

Even the building standing in for Warren G. Harding elementary school (don't know WHICH old school building they used in the movie) DID kinda look like the grade school I went to.  Oh, the architecture was a bit different, and MY school WAS built in 1918, and torn down to make way for an A&P in 1976, but, there IS a bit of a similarity, AND the CLASSROOM looked pretty much the same as most of them did in Goodell school!

 

My mom, who was 14 years old at the time the movie takes place said she was impressed at how much they got right about the look of things, even the clothes styles and hair.  And SHE just loved this one, too, which is probably ANOTHER REASON I still love it!

 

Now, I know there are a lot of self proclaimed "sophisticates" on this site who will put their jaded wit and thesaurus's to work on all the things THEY think is wrong with this movie.  But actually----compared to ELF and Jim Carrey's "GRINCH", can it be all THAT bad?  I'll admit that 24 hours of it CAN be a bit much, but since it IS about impossible to find anything Christmas-y on TV ON Christmas Day, it'll have to do! (AMC showed JOHN WAYNE movies all Christmas day!)

 

Well, anyway----HAPPY NEW YEAR to all.!  Don't forget to put your money out, and remember to carry enough BAIL MONEY if you're going OUT anywhere on New Year's Eve!

 

 

Sepiatone

 

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Loved your write-up here Sepia, and yeah, I too can not understand some of the negative comments about this movie being "mean-spirited", as not only as you point out are the sets and wardrobes very period correct, but ALSO the way the kids parts are written in particular seem a very accurate depiction of how kids are at that age and what they go through, such as the school bully and many other aspects to American suburban life of that time and which would continue on well into the "Boomer" generation's childhoods.

 

Btw, and regarding this part of your post here...

 

 

 

One thing I relate to and feel fondly about was Ralphie's obsession with obtaining his RED RYDER Daisy air rifle.  I too, wanted a "B B gun"  But was denied NOT because my Mom was afraid that I'd "Shoot my eye out", but more afraid I'd shoot somebody ELSE'S eye out!  But, I also shared the same obsession with a "Palladin" cap gun and holster set.  No doubt FAKE black leather, with the knight chess piece decoration on it, AND the little holster on the inside of the buckle which held the DERRINGER!---JUST LIKE Richard Boone's!  Never got it, but I could relate to Ralphie in that respect.

 

Well, you remember that Jimmy Jet cockpit toy I mentioned to you I got as a kid for Christmas one year and which you said you were very envious of me because of that...well, I REALLY hate to mention this here BUT yeah, not ONLY did I  ALSO have that Palladin cap gun set with the Derringer from that Richard Boone TV Western series, but ALSO the official Steve McQueen "Wanted: Dead or Alive" Mare's leg gun TOO laying inside my toy box back in the day!

 

(...don't hate me just 'cause I was spoiled, okay?!) LOL

 

;)

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"A good friend of mine's Dad used to work at a publishing company warehouse( a manager of some kind) and my friend would go with him to earn some extra money doing stuff around the warehouse.  And he'd often get ahold of "stray" Playboy magazines, and pass them around to all of us friends.  And, actually, that's how, even at THAT age, (16-17) we all got into the habit of actually READING the magazine!


 


And one of the things I loved reading were the oft-published stories of writer Jean Shepherd.  I really attatched myself to his writing style, and loved his narrative style.  In subsequent years, I subscribed to Playboy, and kept reading.  AND reading MORE Shepherd over the years."


 


My first introduction to Jean Shepherd was through Playboy - and I did read the articles, eventually.   Started working in local drug store as a freshman in high school.  Even though we were only 14 or so, there was no limitation on what we could sell in the store, including "men's" magazines and other "personal" items.  So, naturally we looked at Playboy.  Actually started subscribing as a senior in high school when store stopped selling magazines. 


Shepherd wrote some really great stories and still have some of his books of short stories.  As for "A Christmas Story," it was probably about 10+ years ahead of me, but I can see its authenticity for a smaller, industrial type city.  Can identify with a lot of what went on at home, school and around the neighborhood.


It is far, far more accurate than any of the other popular Christmas movies.


Never had a BB gun, nor really wanted one.  Most parents considered them likely to end up with kids shooting windows out and so forth.  They waited until we were in early teens and gave us real guns.


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For one....

 

A good friend of mine's Dad used to work at a publishing company warehouse( a manager of some kind) and my friend would go with him to earn some extra money doing stuff around the warehouse.  And he'd often get ahold of "stray" Playboy magazines, and pass them around to all of us friends.  And, actually, that's how, even at THAT age, (16-17) we all got into the habit of actually READING the magazine!

 

And one of the things I loved reading were the oft-published stories of writer Jean Shepherd.  I really attatched myself to his writing style, and loved his narrative style.  In subsequent years, I subscribed to Playboy, and kept reading.  AND reading MORE Shepherd over the years. 

 

And, I just LOVED the collection of stories he put together for the book called "In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash".  And I had NO idea that someone adapted it into a screenplay and made a movie.

 

But during the first year of me and my wife's relationship, we went to visit a friend of hers she hadn't seen in a couple of years.  SHE had taped the movie off of Showtime or HBO or one of them premium cable channels, and it was playing when we got to her house.

 

I noticably looked distracted by the sound of the movie( it was the "leg lamp FRA-GEE-LEE" part), and she said, "take it home with you.  I'll let you BORROW it."

 

It was THEN, noticing all those familiar characters and storylines, that I recognized what it was!  Then the credits came, and sealed the deal!

 

One thing I relate to and feel fondly about was Ralphie's obsession with obtaining his RED RYDER Daisy air rifle.  I too, wanted a "B B gun"  But was denied NOT because my Mom was afraid that I'd "Shoot my eye out", but more afraid I'd shoot somebody ELSE'S eye out!  But, I also shared the same obsession with a "Palladin" cap gun and holster set.  No doubt FAKE black leather, with the knight chess piece decoration on it, AND the little holster on the inside of the buckle which held the DERRINGER!---JUST LIKE Richard Boone's!  Never got it, but I could relate to Ralphie in that respect.

 

AND, as the story does take place 11 years before I was born, and I didn't start school until 16 years after the story took place, there wasn't much change or difference in schoo lkids back when  the movie took place(1940)  and the way we looked, dressed, talked and acted in 1956.

 

Even the building standing in for Warren G. Harding elementary school (don't know WHICH old school building they used in the movie) DID kinda look like the grade school I went to.  Oh, the architecture was a bit different, and MY school WAS built in 1918, and torn down to make way for an A&P in 1976, but, there IS a bit of a similarity, AND the CLASSROOM looked pretty much the same as most of them did in Goodell school!

 

My mom, who was 14 years old at the time the movie takes place said she was impressed at how much they got right about the look of things, even the clothes styles and hair.  And SHE just loved this one, too, which is probably ANOTHER REASON I still love it!

 

Now, I know there are a lot of self proclaimed "sophisticates" on this site who will put their jaded wit and thesaurus's to work on all the things THEY think is wrong with this movie.  But actually----compared to ELF and Jim Carrey's "GRINCH", can it be all THAT bad?  I'll admit that 24 hours of it CAN be a bit much, but since it IS about impossible to find anything Christmas-y on TV ON Christmas Day, it'll have to do! (AMC showed JOHN WAYNE movies all Christmas day!)

 

Well, anyway----HAPPY NEW YEAR to all.!  Don't forget to put your money out, and remember to carry enough BAIL MONEY if you're going OUT anywhere on New Year's Eve!

 

 

Sepiatone

Wrong? With this movie? A pox on anyone who doesn't love it, period.

 

The only thing I'm always intent on trying to figure out - was the snow real in any of the movie, or wasn't it? It certainly looked fake at the beginning, especially on the cars, but then the kids did have cold breath and at one point it appeared to be snowing and at the very end that panoramic scene looked real.

 

That's all. I thought this movie was perfect, and even though I have the DVD, I let it and its accompanying commercials run over and over for a good part of the day. 

 

Did you see It Runs In The Family, the inferior follow-up from 1994? I was thrilled to once again hear Jean narrating, but the film itself made me sad.

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I love A Christmas Story, it is hilarious.  I don't know how many times I've seen it.  My family can pretty much recite the whole thing.  While I can't identify with the time period the movie takes place in, I can identify with the central story-- a kid who really wants one particular gift for Christmas.  The rest of the story is funny and all, but the whole point of the story is Ralphie's quest for the Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle.  He explores all avenues-- mom, teacher, Santa, yet to no avail.  His old man is the only one who "gets it."  While I love Meet Me in St. Louis, I like how realistic and "gritty" the film and sets look.  I believe they used a real house for the outside shots.  While the movie takes place in Indiana, they used various locales in Cleveland for the outside shots.  There are so many great lines and scenes and Jean Shepard's narration really makes it.

 

My favorite lines:

 

Randy lay there like a slug.  It was his only defense.

 

It's a major award!

 

Randy's gotta go!

 

It... It 'twas soap poisoning!

 

For some reason, I also find the scene when Santa pushes Ralphie down the slide with his foot hilarious.  I also like the scene when Mother calls Schwartz's mom (after Ralphie claimed that Schwartz taught him "fudge") and you can just hear Schwartz's mom wailing on the kid and screaming at him, with poor Schwartz yelling "what did I do mom?"

 

One thing I always thought was interesting was Mother's hair in this film.  It is supposed to take place in I think 1939 or 1940 and she has a perm-- very 80s. 

 

I'll just forget that my beloved Elf was disparaged in the original post.  I love that movie. 

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I love A Christmas Story, it is hilarious.  I don't know how many times I've seen it.  My family can pretty much recite the whole thing.  While I can't identify with the time period the movie takes place in, I can identify with the central story-- a kid who really wants one particular gift for Christmas.  The rest of the story is funny and all, but the whole point of the story is Ralphie's quest for the Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle.  He explores all avenues-- mom, teacher, Santa, yet to no avail.  His old man is the only one who "gets it."  While I love Meet Me in St. Louis, I like how realistic and "gritty" the film and sets look.  I believe they used a real house for the outside shots.  While the movie takes place in Indiana, they used various locales in Cleveland for the outside shots.  There are so many great lines and scenes and Jean Shepard's narration really makes it.

 

My favorite lines:

 

Randy lay there like a slug.  It was his only defense.

 

It's a major award!

 

Randy's gotta go!

 

It... It 'twas soap poisoning!

 

For some reason, I also find the scene when Santa pushes Ralphie down the slide with his foot hilarious.  I also like the scene when Mother calls Schwartz's mom (after Ralphie claimed that Schwartz taught him "fudge") and you can just hear Schwartz's mom wailing on the kid and screaming at him, with poor Schwartz yelling "what did I do mom?"

 

One thing I always thought was interesting was Mother's hair in this film.  It is supposed to take place in I think 1939 or 1940 and she has a perm-- very 80s. 

 

I'll just forget that my beloved Elf was disparaged in the original post.  I love that movie. 

speedracer, you'll like this story about the Christmas Story house:

 

http://quickbooks.intuit.com/r/business-profiles/fishnet-leg-lamps-spawned-christmas-story-house

 

It's a museum now:

 

http://www.achristmasstoryhouse.com

 

In addition to those you mentioned, one of my favorite scenes was the fa-ra-ra-ra-ra one.

 

Not to worry, I liked Elf too.

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Speedracer, there was an old photo of my mother's chorale gropup from Chadsey High School in Detroit from about that period, and----well, there WERE a few young ladies in that group who had hair that resembled Melinda Dillon's hair in "A Christmas Story". 

 

A co-worker friend of mine, who also loves this movie, moved to the Detroit area when his dad took a job somewhere aroun here when my friend was 15 or so, and they usaed to live in the PARMA area of Ohio, and he was quite familiar with the HIGBEE stores.  The movie, obviously, means more to him.

 

And, I'll not apologize, but since I can't stomach Will Ferrell in ANY form or fashion, ELF will never become a well watched favorite of mine.

 

But, if YOU all like it, that's fine with me. 

 

 

And DARG----I wonder what, if anything, that Palladin holster would fetch in a collector's market?  I only hope you grew to appreciate  all of that over the years.

 

 

Sepiatone

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And DARG----I wonder what, if anything, that Palladin holster would fetch in a collector's market?  I only hope you grew to appreciate  all of that over the years.

 

 

Sepiatone

 

Probably a couple hundred bucks or more on ebay I'd guess, Sepia.

 

Btw, and although I remember purchasing the following myself and didn't receive it as a Christmas gift, I had one of these very cool Star Trek Tracer Disc toy guns back in the day too...

 

mudo6b3BsnVsvmR30Or3YBA.jpg

 

(...funny, but while I sure had a lot of toy guns back then, I never got much into the real thing as an adult...got into motorcycles and cars instead...must have eventually realized one can't drive in or ride on a gun in order to get somewhere, and which I at least found to be MUCH more fun to do...AND, got into playing a lot of basketball and tennis...YOU know, REAL sports where athleticism COUNTS for somethin'!!!!)  LOL  

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Speedracer, there was an old photo of my mother's chorale gropup from Chadsey High School in Detroit from about that period, and----well, there WERE a few young ladies in that group who had hair that resembled Melinda Dillon's hair in "A Christmas Story". 

 

Sepia, thanks. I've wondered for years about that hair.

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speedracer, you'll like this story about the Christmas Story house:

 

http://quickbooks.intuit.com/r/business-profiles/fishnet-leg-lamps-spawned-christmas-story-house

 

It's a museum now:

 

http://www.achristmasstoryhouse.com

 

In addition to those you mentioned, one of my favorite scenes was the fa-ra-ra-ra-ra one.

 

Not to worry, I liked Elf too.

Wow.  If I were in the area (quite a ways away for me, so it probably won't be soon), I would visit this museum.  I saw the pictures of the house after it was renovated (but before it was renovated back to its appearance in the film) and I hated it.  A big grey block.  What a boring house.  The yellow house with green trim is much more interesting.  I love that the "soft glow of electric sex" is displayed so prominently in the window.  I know Mother hated the lamp and it is pretty tacky, but I find it pretty hilarious too and would probably display it in my house just because it is so tacky. 

 

The scene at the Chinese restaurant is hilarious.  I always laugh when they chop the duck's head off right on the table.

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I love A CHRISTMAS STORY and have seen it many times. In a discussion a few years back, someone suggested that it may appeal more to men, who find the portrayal of the Darwinian world of boyhood accurate as well as funny.

 

To me, it's just about a perfect film. Favorite scene: visiting Santa. Favorite line: "I love Santa" (from the kid in line behind Ralphie).

 

Now I like ELF and found it pretty funny. But I love A CHRISTMAS STORY.

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