A Christmas Story (Bob Clark, 1983)
Ralphie has to convince his parents, his teacher, and Santa that a Red Ryder B.B. gun really is the perfect gift for the 1940s.
Of course when I grew up I used to shoot with my family’s B.B. gun in the backyard of my grandparents country house. My brother and I would change turns religiously and we would shoot on different kinds of targets that our father made himself. It was one of our favorite things to do while passing the weekend at grandpas.
So just like Ralphie (Peter Billingsley) I can relate to what it is to have your own toy rifle. One difference is that I grew up in the 1980’s instead of the 1940’s like he did. Our mother was like his (Melinda Dillon), she would be a mother at home and make sure that everything’s fine and probably cover our too much like pretty much all the mothers. On the other side, Old man Parker (Darren McGavin) would be like my own father, strict but permissive and always optimistic about everything.
The main focus of the film is to remember to us how Christmas is based on the nuclear family and how it is a time that we should share with the people in this cell. It is also about the way that sometimes we wish for some gift so much and so hard and sometimes it materializes and sometimes not. But it is always special and magic on Christmas.
As I wrote those lines, it is my 31st Christmas eve and I couldn’t sleep this morning because I’m probably too excited about tonight and because all it represents makes me nostalgic about my childhood memories of Christmas and how each year I would love it to be just like I imagine it.
One thing is sure; next year will be even more special because in six months exactly I will be the father of a beautiful baby girl. This for me is the greatest Christmas gift: the gift of starting a family and starting making new fond memories and unforgettable times of joy and other Christmas. This year is my dog Elliot’s first Noël, as we call it here up north, and next year will be my six months old daughter’s.
Bob Clark’s A Christmas Story has a huge following and despite my high expectations I liked it quite a lot and I can understand how people can relate to this thirty year old film. Simple but so effective in its whole.