Like so many others, I am a huge fan of the 1983 classic “A Christmas Story”. The movie stars Peter Billingsley as Ralphie Parker, a young boy whose dream Christmas present is a Red Ryder bb gun. The entire movie is based on whether he is going to receive it for Christmas and his on-going fear and anxiety that, for one reason or another, he won’t receive it. As we all know, Ralphie does receive it.
Fast forward almost forty years. Ralphie’s Old Man, that of the “frag-ee-lay” leg lamp fame, has passed away. Instead of the Old Man and Ralphie’s mother visiting Ralphie, his wife and two kids for Christmas in Chicago, as they normally do, Ralphie takes it upon himself to pack up the clan and drive home to Hohman, IN to spend Christmas in the house he grew up in with his mother.
While there Ralphie meets up with his usual old crowd of friends: Flick and Schwartz. He even encounters his childhood bully Scut Farkus.
The film is filled with lots of nostalgia from the original film. It makes you laugh. It makes you cry. It made me wonder why Mrs. Parker (not the original–this one is played by Julie Hagerty) was not more tearful over her husband’s death. Maybe she was relieved of the Old Man’s passing? Finally she is rid of his complaining of the Bumpus’s dogs. Or the furnace. Or his winning odd, useless prizes that she can only roll her eyes at. Although no Melinda Dillon (who, I feel, did a fantastic job as the mother in the original), Hagerty gets us by. I was a little taken aback with her paranoia of the Christmas carolers. It’s not something I felt Mrs. Parker would be paranoid of. It also seemed Mrs. Parker had become a bigger fan of liquid spirits than she had been in the original. Which may be what has led to her great paranoia of carolers.
Other than the lackluster portrayal of Mrs. Parker and Ralphie’s roundabout way of obtaining a Christmas star for the tree, I thoroughly enjoyed “A Christmas Story Christmas”. The ending was just right, as I kept wondering when they were going to have any kind of funeral or end -of-life celebration for the Old Man. They honored him just right.