Every single year at this time I’m bombarded with people talking about the movie A Christmas Story. Most proclaim it is the best Christmas movie ever made and I cannot, for the life of me, understand why. The story is stupid, the characters annoying, and the overall feel of the movie reminds me of a crappy B movie. Not only that, but there is a cable network that airs it for 24 hours straight each year. It is the most overrated Christmas movie.
The movie, which is based on a short story by Jean Shepherd, revolves around a kid who wants a bb gun for Christmas. That’s it. The rest of the movie is filled with “slices of life” moments that serve no purpose to the bb gun story and are only meant to fill in the gaps to turn what would be a halfway decent 30 minute special into a feature-length movie and also makes the viewer think, “Oh, my family is just like that.” In fact, the entire movie feels like a series of short stories (and it is) that are incoherently and clumsily stitched together. How is that good story telling?
Perhaps the reason why so many people in my generation love the movie is because they saw it when they were kids. We all like stupid things when we were kids, just look at the Ernest series, but how does it still hold up for my peers as adults? Do they just watch it for nostalgia’s sake? I guess I can understand relating to that one perfect present that you hoped and hoped for and either did or didn’t get it. But is an entire movie necessary to remind you of that moment. The Santa Clause with Tim Allen achieves the same thing (the dating game and the Oscar Meyer Wiener whistle at the end) and has a great story to tell on top of it.
In my opinion, if you’re going to spend a couple of hours watching a Christmas movie, there are much better movies to choose from. Here are my favorites, in no particular order.
It’s a Wonderful Life
A Christmas Carol (George C. Scott version)
A Muppet Christmas Carol
The Santa Clause