Still more lazy thoughts from this one…

TMT: “You’ll shoot your eye out!”

This is the next entry in a Theatre… a Movie… and a Time, a series that was begun here. As they say, “Tis the season.” My colleague Morgan Lewis over at Morgan on Media has offered his keen movie thoughts for the yuletide season this month, too. Most recently, his Non-Obvious Christmas Movies list gets the credit for this particular memory download and the unique vibe one film had on me. Obviously, before it ever became the staple it is today, and played seasonally ad nauseam on cable.

“The line waiting to see Santa Claus stretched all the way back to Terre Haute. And I was at the end of it.”


Theatre

The Marina Del Rey Six:


Movie

a christmas story

Time

November 23, 1983: Once, I couldn’t wait until Thanksgiving came and went. For the kid in me, it signified Christmas (and presents) were just a few weeks away. Works that way when you don’t have to purchase them yourself. My cousin, who was more like a sister, and I would begin to plan our treasure hunt for locating wrapped gifts at grandma’s house.

Once found, careful scrutiny (and deft shaking) were the tools used to discover their masked contents.

Life was simpler then. Growing up may have dulled this child’s gleam for such things, but never did it go away entirely. Although, become more jaded I did to the marketing of it all. Much later, this newly crafted adult, now tempered by the cauldron that are the teen years, saw it repeated in the children who subsequently joined our clan by birth and marriage.

“We plunged into the cornucopia quivering with desire and the ecstasy of unbridled avarice.”

By now, living with She-whose-name-must-not-be-mentioned brought its own holiday peril to such family festivities. Right before this year’s Turkey Day, with her working another evening shift at the hospital, I found solace of more than one sort by heading to the movies. The Marina Del Rey Six, a few miles from our current place in Fox Hills, a new venue for this from-time-to-time single movie-goer.

I’d heard about A Christmas Story via the motley twosome on weekly television that hosted At The Movies. Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel. Mostly, I sided with Roger in reviews. Yet, after seeing the film first-run, for one of the few times, it was Siskel who really nailed the film’s feeling of youthful angst and want. The sincere, be it an all too familiar, battle-weary awareness of being a kid at Christmas.

While no air rifle, I’ve owned every version (VHS, DVD, and Blu-ray) of the film ever since.


The entire TMT series can be found here. If you’re interested how it’s put together, click here.

21 Responses to “TMT: “You’ll shoot your eye out!””

  1. broadandhigh

    I, too, first saw this film in a theater, and I was stunned that it never became one of the movies talked about on Monday around the water cooler. When the film finally became a mainstay of TV Christmas viewing, I felt vindicated – as much for Ralphie as for myself.

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    • le0pard13

      We were the vanguards, Naomi. :-)

      And yes, I felt vindication too when this film started gathering acclaim. Wonderfully put. Many thanks, Naomi.

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  2. cindybruchman

    Nice post, Michael. I’m sorry to admit I do not like this story! People look at me like I’m nuts. I know the script is charming and it certainly fits the time period of my youth. Yet, I still don’t like it. Oh, well.
    Merry Christmas, anyway, bah humbug ;)

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  3. Roman

    This has been a staple in my house since it came out on VHS way back when. I remember my dad bringing home the movie and all of us having a great time with it. My wife’s a big fan of the film too and we watch it once every year around this time. I’ve run into a few folks who don’t like it. I even had one person say they couldn’t identify with the period and never connected to the characters because of it. I was a bit surprised by that. Of course the gent was very young, so maybe he hadn’t put enough distance between himself and the those youthful christmas dreams to get pulled into the story.

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    • le0pard13

      Good to hear, Roman. And for a film that has reached 30 years now, that is something. It has resonance. Many thanks for sharing that, my friend.

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  4. ruth

    Lovely TMT as always Michael. I have seen only parts of A Christmas Story as it’s playing on TV but I really should see it in its entirety soon :D

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  5. Morgan R. Lewis

    For some reason, it wasn’t until I was about 25 that I saw this. I remember it being one of the films that Fogs would regularly harass me about not having seen, on a comics forum we both frequented. :D He was right, of course; it’s a classic. Absolutely hilarious, and definitely relatable.

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  6. mummbles

    Just watched this one with my wife the other night. It does nail the way a child looks at Christmas when they really want that one present! I also thought this was a bomb but later have found out it placed #1 in its first week. Great blog and Merry Christmas!

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  7. John DuMond

    I love this movie. Sadly, I never got to see it on the big screen. But I do own it on DVD, so I get to re-watch it periodically, though not as often as I’d like. As it turns out, my wife is one of those folks who hates this movie. :(

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