A Christmas Story is one of my favorite films and in my opinion, the greatest Christmas movie ever made. When TBS starts the 24 hour marathon every Christmas, I park the TV on that channel and watch the movie back to back to back until it ends. I love Ralphie and the Old Man and his little brother. When I learned a sequel with a lot of the original cast was coming out, I was pumped. I even had a Red Ryder around the time the original movie came out, you can read about that here on the site.
It delivered. Billingsley nailed it. The makers of the film gave me what I wanted. Ralphie has grown up and become a Dad. He’s still the same guy who is prone to daydreaming and seeing possible future outcomes when stressed, and he’s still the dreamer he always was. I’m was very happy to see time and life didn’t grind those things out of Ralph.
The gist of the story is that Ralph is trying to be a writer and not having much luck. Before Christmas, he gets a call from his mother telling him that his father has passed away. He takes his family and heads home to Indiana to be with his Mom and take care of the funeral arrangements. While there, we get to see him catch up with the old childhood crew. Man… it was great. Of course, he gets into small misadventures and set backs as he puts in the effort to give his kids a great Christmas and take over as patriarch of the family.
The end of the film is sentimental in the extreme. But not in a bad way. The Old Man is there in spirit and Ralph achieves his dream of ending up as a raconteur writer. No surprise since Ralph is a semi-fictionalized version of his creator Jean Shepherd. Shepherd wrote the book full of stories about his own childhood that A Christmas Story is pulled from.
There are some great moments in the movie that I think most normal people will be able to relate to. It touches a spot that can’t be denied if you have lost your own father. Like the original, it is fit for all ages.
I don’t know if it will be as timeless as A Christmas Story. Maybe nothing can recreate that more innocent time of America we see in Ralph’s childhood. Though it is set in the 70s there is no effort to spoil it with any hint of 1970s malaise. That’s fine with me. I have no interest in seeing a Ralph chewed up and spat out by the world.
Watching it is like visiting family, or seeing a best friend you haven’t seen since high school. It feels great. It made me miss my own Dad something awful though. Just what I needed for a mental break from having to live in these dying days of Clown World.