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There have been plenty of challengers throughout the years, but one movie remains atop the Mount Olympus of Christmas cinema. It has stood the test of time against movies like Christmas Vacation, Home Alone, Love Actually, Die Hard and plenty of other worthy candidates. I’m talking, of course, about A Christmas Story. The story of a young, Midwestern boy’s crazy tale of his pursuit of the ultimate Christmas present: an official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle.
So, why will it never be smout down from its almighty perch?
Every kid dreams of that ultimate Christmas present. For me, the adrenaline and anticipation I felt as a kid on Christmas morning will probably never be matched by anything for the rest of my life. Sitting on the stairs, waiting for mom and dad to give the go ahead, wondering what glorious material belongings Santa had left for me. No movie has ever captured the lead up to Christmas morning you felt as a kid like A Christmas Story. It’s also an awesome look back to childhood friendships, much like The Sandlot and Stand By Me. The desperation, the uncertainty, the sheer terror over whether Santa thought you were naughty or nice. Then, finally, the pure feeling of elation when you finally open that gift you so coveted. Those were magical times, indeed.
“We plunged into the cornucopia quivering with desire and the ecstasy of unbridled avarice.”
“My little brother had not eaten voluntarily in three years.”
“Only one thing in the world could’ve dragged me away from the soft glow of electric sex gleaming in the window.”
“I have since heard of people under extreme duress speaking in strange tongues. I became conscious that a steady torrent of obscenities and swearing of all kinds was pouring out of me as I screamed.”
“Aunt Clara had for years labored under the delusion that I was not only perpetually 4 years old, but also a girl.”
People don’t write like that anymore. Especially in movies. Also, they made blatant racism hilarious and that’s pretty tough to do.
Ralphie’s relationship with his parents is one of my favorite elements of the movie. His strict, overworked, but sympathetic mother. His detached, yet passively loving father. The dynamic between Ralphie and his parents remains as relatable as can be, despite being set in the 1950s, when parents were a lot different than they are now. The scene in which the Old Man overrides Mother Parker and gets Ralphie the BB gun is so incredibly touching and relatable. Maybe your dad didn’t get you a BB gun for Christmas, but I can guarantee that almost everyone has a memory of a moment between themselves and their father where your pops overrode mom and the two of you bonded over it, whether you saw it or not.
The only move that comes close to upsetting A Christmas Story is It’s a Wonderful Life. That movie is a classic and almost transcends the Holiday genre. Other than that, it’s a mixed bag of holiday classics like Christmas Vacation, Home Alone and Elf. All of those are solid picks to unseat the incumbent, but they all fall short in capturing exactly what Christmas means to the entire American family.
The Current State Of Affairs In Hollywood
It’s only a matter of time until Hollywood starts remaking the holiday classics and destroys their legacies like they’ve done with so many other classic films. For that reason, it is unclear when, if ever, A Christmas Story will be taken down from its almighty perch atop its yuletide throne.