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  • Ken Silvers

A Christmas Story Christmas


"A Christmas Story" hit movie theaters back in 1983(!) and has been a holiday classic ever since. The film was set in the early 1940's, although the year is never mentioned, and follows the Parker family of Hammond, Indiana as they prepare for Christmas. Son Ralphie (Peter Billingsley) dreams of having a Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle, but his Mom is not a fan of his wish as she constantly tells Ralphie "you'll shoot your eye out". When Christmas arrives, Ralphie opens presents and the rifle is not among them until his father tells him to a box hidden in the corner, and there is the rifle! Thus, Raphael's Christmas wish has come true. The film was released the week before Thanksgiving in 1983 and was considered a moderate success taking in just over $19.2 million at the box office. Of course the film has since become as much a part of the holidays as eggnog. So it's a mystery that it has taken until the year 2022 for a sequel to be released in the form of "A Christmas Story Christmas". The film is produced by original star Billingsley and Vince Vaughn among others. The film is set in 1973, which is 33 years after the original film, with Ralphie now living in Chicago with his wife Sandy (Erinn Hayes) and their two kids Julie (Julianna Layne) and Mark (River Dorsche). Ralph has taken a year off from his regular job to write his first novel, but due to being excessive in length (2,000 pages), he has been rejected by various publishers, leaving him disappointed but still hopeful. As the family is preparing for a visit from Ralphie's family for Christmas, his mom (Julie Hagerty) calls to tell her son his father has passed. The grieving family soon heads to Hammond in their beat-up 1966 Plymouth to be with Ralph's mother. I'm sorry but it's really hard to refer to Ralphie as Ralph, as despite being a grown man, he will forever be the wide eyed Ralphie to me, and I'm sure others as well. When the family arrives in Hammond, Mrs. Parker has been deluged with casseroles from friends and neighbors, which she states the family will eat all of them. Mrs. Parker also informs Ralphie (sorry), he must take up the mantle of his late father to make Christmas special for the family. While in Hammond, the family gets a Christmas tree too tall for the living room (ala the Griswalds), meet some obnoxious neighbors of Mrs. Parker, have reunions with Ralphie's childhood friends and rivals, go on a Christmas shopping trip that ends on a sad note, and experience two accidental family injuries. While he is in Hammond, Ralphie gives up on his dream to be a writer only to be surprised later when the obituary he had written for his father, which is actually a story, ends up in the hands of the local newspaper, and will change the direction of his life in a pleasant way. The film is filled with touching moments which may cause you to shed a tear or two, but also has time for plenty of laughs and happy moments as one expects from a holiday film. I love the fact we get to revisit the world of "A Christmas Story" and see how Ralphie has blossomed into a sweet and caring adult who still loves Christmas. The film also features Ralphie's younger brother Randy (Ian Petrella from the original), and other actors from the original film. While some "A Christmas Story" "purists" may scoff at the idea of a sequel, I say keep an open mind and you may be pleasantly surprised. "A Christmas Story Christmas" left me feeling nostalgic and all warm and fuzzy, which is exactly what a Christmas movie should do. Now playing on HBO Max and HBO. (Rated PG)

4/5

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