A movie non-review
It was a dark and stormy night and not a creature was stirring, except for my cat.
Well, actually it wasn’t dark and stormy, but if I recall correctly, it was drizzling a bit. You know, what we call a storm here in Sacramento.
Anyway, I was looking through Target’s weekly advertisement in search of a new video game to purchase when I came across the biggest monstrosity I’ve ever seen: “A Christmas Story 2”.
My jaw dropped to the floor, my eyes lowered in anger and my stomach curled, as if to tell me it was time to go puke. I turned to my wife and said, “A Christmas Story 2”? This was followed by several words I’d rather not mention right now, but if you’re as big a fan of the original movie as I am, I’m sure it’s not hard to figure them all out.
Growing up in the ’90s, “A Christmas Story” was a part of the holiday season, almost as much as presents, time off from school and large plates of delicious goodies. We’d watch the 24-hour marathon on TNT or TBS, or sometimes both, and by the end of the night could quote every single line in the movie.
One year, my mom had to work on Christmas Day so my little sister and I, elementary and middle school ages respectively, had to sit at home all day and wait for her to return before opening any presents. It was torture, but watching Ralphie try to convince his mom he wasn’t going to shoot his eye out made it all the more bearable.
Today, my wife and I don’t celebrate Christmas anymore due to several reasons, mainly because we are not religious, but “A Christmas Story” remains a part of our yearly winter tradition. I own four different copies, two Bobbleheads from the movie and even a leg lamp, which I keep on my dining room table year-round.
Yeah. I’m that obsessed.
I’m sure by now you can imagine my level of disgust at the fact that Jean Shepherd (the co-writer of both films) felt the need to create a sequel.
I have not and will not watch the new movie.
From the trailer, I will say this: director Brian Levant did an excellent job making the movie look and feel as if it were recorded shortly after the original. The sets look similar, the washed-out colors and old-school cars make it feel like an ’80s flick that takes place in the ’40s, and the actors look semi-decent in comparison to the original cast, with the exception of Daniel Stern as the Old Man. He just looks too young, as if he’s decreased in age, and he looks nothing like Darren McGavin, who played the Old Man in the original movie.
However, my biggest complaint is the story. According to the trailer, the movie takes place several years after the original and Ralphie’s (now called Ralph) little brother, Randy, talks a lot more. From the trailer, I’d say he talks too much. I prefer him mumbling while wearing his puffy coat or chanting “Meatloaf, double beat-loaf.”
Ralphie is still a whiny kid, though now he’s a teenager so it doesn’t come across as cute anymore. He wants a car for Christmas, which doesn’t even make sense. Who asks for a car for Christmas? He and his friends Flick and Schwartz, who both make a return from the original, get jobs at the department store to help pay for it.
The worst part is the writers couldn’t even come up with new jokes or original ideas.
Randy gets a costume for Christmas from Aunt Clara, there’s a scene in the department store where the kids sit on Santa’s lap, the Old Man is still fighting the furnace, Randy still has to be wrapped up by his mother in 50 feet of clothing just to go outside, and there’s even a poor-taste sex joke thrown in, which ruins the family values that the original captured so well.
Furthermore, the leg lamp makes a return as a gift from Santa to the Old Man. Additionally, Stern’s portrayal of one of the most charming characters in the original movie is too over the top and silly for my taste.
The fact that Shepherd and Levant had the nerve to make this film, to use footage from the original in the trailer and to call it the “Official Sequel” makes me sick to my stomach, but they had to go and make a DVD two-pack and sell the two of them together. I can’t even put into words how upset that makes me.
I guess when it’s all said and done, the existence of this film doesn’t make me enjoy the original any less, but it just saddens me that an obvious cash-in like this could be created. No one asked for this sequel to be made and if it had to be done, it could have at least been done better.
Just from the trailer alone, I can tell the story is ridiculous, lazy and overly cheesy.
The fact that the humor and look of the movie tie in pretty well with the original will not be enough to keep this budget title from the depths of the deepest bargain bin.
No one will remember it come next Christmas. Good riddance.