Ep. 18: A Christmas Story

ralphie-a-christmas-story-imageNate and Ryan have it out over 1983’s beloved A Christmas Story just in time for the most wonderful time of the year: Christmas movie season. This is one of their earliest film fights, and time has done little to calm the storm.  As with any good blizzard, it’s best to just put another log on the fire, cuddle up, and watch the madness from the safety of your home.

What are your thoughts on A Christmas Story? Is Ryan too sensitive?  Or do you agree with him, but you’ve been afraid to admit it for fear of the backlash?  Is Nate right to join in singing the praises of this holiday classic?  What place does this movie (or any other Christmas movie) have in your annual traditions?

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  1. I’m with Ryan on a good bit of this. I find this movie to have a motif of sadness layered through the entire thing.

    I actually grew up watching this as a kid, and I never felt like it was funny. I thought it was stressful, and for whatever reason I still watched it. I got in a fight as a kid, and I also cried afterwards (even if I did get the best of my opponent). I’ve also spun some lies to cover my tracks as a kid, so the anxiety translates to me as well. I also had a few moments as a kid where I was a jerk to another kid, and the guilt actually crushed me.

    I think part of this is due to the fact that I’m very empathetic and have a hard time reminding myself that it’s fiction, but part of it really has a dark mood to me. I feel like this effect has got to be my emotional baggage.

    My wife and I watched this together this year as parents, and we could definitely relate to the parents more than anyone else. I enjoyed that aspect of the film, and she thought it was funny (it was the first time she had seen it).

    • Hey Ben,
      Thanks for commenting! Its incredibly hard to argue whether something should be funny or not and usually afterwards all of the laughter has been sucked dry for everyone, so these discussions are tricky but I appreciate you exploring why you don’t find this movie funny. You also commented on our Facebook, in particular talking about the leg lamp scene. I replied over there, but I’m going to copy and paste my response here for the benefit of anyone who doesn’t follow us on Facebook-

      I’ve thought about the leg lamp scene and the overall sadness some feel about the movie quite a bit since recording this episode. That sensitivity towards the father is just not a feeling that ever occurred to me once over my years of watching this movie. If I’m overly forgiving its only because I’d have to conjure up some sort of false heartache that I don’t think the film is asking of the audience.

      So, is that because my heart is black as coal? I don’t think so. Well, maybe. I wouldn’t rule it out. But, as I’ve thought about it more I’ve realized for me the key ingredient to whether the “tragedies” that unfold in this movie work as comedy is Jean Shepherd’s narration. We’re looking at this all through his eyes and he doesn’t look back with very much sadness. He sees the silliness in most of the situations and affirms for the audience its okay to laugh. As the voice of the main character he has the authority to do this on our behalf. I always saw the leg lamp scene as a silly family memory, not really a whole lot more.

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