A Christmas Story

i like the tin man

Is it too early for Christmas movies? Not if this weekend’s box office is any indication, with The Best Man Holiday giving Thor: The Dark World a run for its money. Also, it was pretty much this weekend 30 years ago that a little classic called A Christmas Story debuted in movie theaters nationwide. Today, Bob Clark’s beloved adaptation of Jean Shepherd’s autobiographical stories is a staple of the season. Back when it opened on November 18, 1983, however, it bowed in third place behind fellow newbie Amityville 3D and the ongoing hit The Big Chill. But it rose to first place in the following week, only to fall back down and eventually way out of the top ten by the very holiday in its title. More people saw Yentl on Christmas weekend that year than A Christmas Story. As is the case with most holiday movie favorites, this one really gained popularity and became canon through cable television airings. Now, of course, it’s run on repeat in marathon form every December 24-25. Last year, the Library of Congress added it to the National Film Registry, where it joined It’s a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street. Like those movies, this is now almost as big a part of the holiday as visiting Santa and decorating the tree. For some people, it’s probably even inspired new annual traditions. I bet there are fans out there who have duck for Christmas dinner at a Chinese restaurant in honor of the movie. […]

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mnad_nobody

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s cousin Eddie showing up at just the right moment to spoil Clark’s well-lit house. It’s the Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle here to shoot your eye out. It’s basically the best invasion of your Christmas eve that you could have hoped for. And tonight, it’s full of Christmas cheer. Griswold Wisdom – Over on Etsy, it’s way too late to buy this Clark Griswold quote plaque thingy. But you can always get one for next year. There’s also a place where you can buy the lamp from A Christmas Story. Only $200 and this 40″ beauty could be yours.

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The Matrix

We’ve lost something close to 3/4 of black and white films. It’s easy to imagine that we have all of them at our fingertips, and that they’ll be there forever, but that’s simply not the reality, and it’s a good reminder of what can happen if we’re not careful. That’s part of why the work of the National Film Registry is so vital. They ensure that a large number of time-tested films survive to test even more time. This year, as usual, they’ve selected 25 flicks to preserve including The Matrix, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Dirty Harry, and A Christmas Story (which will also be preserved 24-hours a day as long as TBS still exists). The Library of Congress has also saved Delmer Daves’ 3:10 to Yuma (1957); Otto Preminger’s Anatomy of a Murder; George Cukor’s Born Yesterday; Penny Marshall’s A League of Their Own; Richard Linklater’s Slacker; the Laurel and Hardy comedy Sons of the Desert; Robert Epstein’s documentary The Times of Harvey Milk; Monte Hellman’s Two-Lane Blacktop; a 1914 adaptation of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” that’s thought to feature the first leading role by a black man; The Augustas (which may be the Scott Nixon compilation of towns in the US named Augusta); The Corbett-Fitzsimmons Fight from 1897; Nathaniel Dorsky’s experimental Hours for Jerome Part 1 & 2; the Kidnapper’s Foil films; the Kodachrome Color Motion-Picture Tests (which you can see below); Robert Snody’s The Middleton Family at the New York World’s Fair; Kary Antholis’ holocaust documentary One Survivor Remembers; Rolf Forsberg and Tom Rook’s Christian film Parable, which imagines Christ as a clown and the world as a circus; Ellen Bruno’s Samsara: Death and Rebirth in […]

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Over Under - Large

Sometime around fifteen years ago, A Christmas Story was something of a modern cult classic. It was kind of amusing and kind of off-beat, and you could make a connection with someone if you mentioned it and it turned out you both liked it. Or, at least, that’s how it was where I grew up, which was the area of Northwest Indiana where the story was set. A funny thing happened in the late ’90s, though. TNT started playing the movie on cable for 24 hours straight during Christmas, the concept caught on, and now, thirteen years later, you would be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t know about Ralphie, his Red Rider BB gun, and Scut Farkus. But another funny thing happened, too. After so many years of repetition, the movie has started to feel a whole lot less quirky and fun. At this point, it’s probably the most overrated holiday movie ever, and all it takes is one person dropping quotes from it at a Christmas party to get me to make internal noises of frustration. Joe Dante’s Gremlins has had almost the exact opposite lifespan. It came out a year after A Christmas Story, was a pretty gigantic hit right away, and established itself as one of the iconic ’80s blockbusters quite quickly. But, over the course of the last couple decades, its influence has faded a bit. Despite the fact that the movie is set during Christmas, and is about the perfect Christmas present just as […]

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Junkfood Christmas Movies

Welcome back to Junkfood Cinema; giving fruit cake is tantamount to treason. It’s that time of year again, when we put on ugly sweaters, drunkenly sing carols off-key, and forget how much we hate Aunt Bagatha. What? Who doesn’t have an Aunt Bagatha? For all of me here at Junkfood Cinema, Christmas is a time to suck down as many festively-shaped sugar cookies and assorted pies as humanly possible before slipping into the firm embrace of a ho ho heart attack. And of course, I give myself the gift that keeps on giving: a giant stack of my favorite holiday movies. These movies are often, as you might expect,  terrible, but every once in a while a highly-regarded classic slips in. When this oversight occurs, my baser impulses, the ones that account for my DiMaggio-like twenty-eight year streak as a resident of Santa’s naughty list, take over. I begin to image ways to corrupt said classic films and stuff them back in your stocking as twice-baked/half-baked/bake-me-something-right-now-I’m-hungry treats. Today’s subject, or rather subjects, offer a particularly easy corruption. Director Bob Clark is renowned for making one of the most beloved Christmas movies of all time: A Christmas Story. It is a movie so adored that some TV stations actually showcase it in 24hr rotation on Christmas Eve. Luckily, A Christmas Story is quality enough that we overlook the fact that the one and only movie that should EVER be played on TV in 24hr rotation is Raw Deal. What some people […]

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Sometimes you just have to punch a wall, or perhaps a car door, or a ceramic cat – really, it’s whatever is closest. Whether it is rage, retribution, or legitimate hatred, sometimes an inanimate object just has to go down. In the moving pictures this is especially fun to watch. Much like a movie death is often more dramatic than reality, a little inanimate destruction goes a long way.

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I know that the holidays are a time for cheer, goodwill towards others, and all that good stuff. But with all the stress, crowds, and busy schedules that also come with the season, it’s hard not to want to blow off a little steam. If you are willing to risk getting a last minute addition to the “naughty list,” here are some pranks inspired by holiday films that should keep you laughing (albeit usually at the expensive of someone else). I mean, who said April 1st is the only acceptable day out of the year to pull pranks?

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Welcome to the second entry in FSR’s Official Cinematic Holiday Survival Guide – the best series of nostalgic holiday articles on the Internet today that were conceived of by a film writer too sleep-deprived to properly articulate just why that squirrel jumping out of the tree in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is the finest moment in Christmas filmology. Which FSR writer? I’ll never tell. But it wasn’t me. That said, today I will reach back into the far, far annals of movie history to provide you dear readers with some of the finest holiday decorating tips you will ever see committed to celluloid (and, well, the Internet). I will not provide specific crafting tips (because, let’s be real here, I could really injure myself with a hot glue gun), but more general tips that will allow you to tap into your personal style to gussy up your home to truly epic proportions. Or, you could just slide down to your neighborhood tree lot and pick up a flocked tree and just be done with it. But, before you get your flock on, let’s take a peek at some cinematic dos and don’ts when it comes to decking your halls.

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The Cinematic Holiday Survival Guide: Giving Gifts

It’s that time of year again when we all rush around, trying to find that perfect gift for all the special people in our lives. We at FSR know how stressful this time of year can be and thought what better source to look to when trying to figure out exactly how to find that perfect present than the movies? From tracking down the hottest toy of the season or finally getting the gift you always wanted, I rounded up a few seasonal favorites to create a handy list of tips that will hopefully help when it comes to finding a gift that makes the intended gift-ee smile, laugh and/or remember what it feels like to be a kid on Christmas morning.

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It’s a dangerous time of year for movie merchandise collectors – unsure what your partners, friends or family have decided to buy, and yet torn by the need to invest in the latest additions to the market, many collectors go stir-crazy and can be found roaming the streets of every major city in the snow, tragically calling out for Turbo-Man. So the best thing to do to avoid that entirely fictional eventuality is to make a list, check it twice… that sort of thing. Only instead of writing doing which children are naughty and which are nice (and probably inviting some suspicious inquiries from disgruntled and probably scared parents), populate said list with all of the goodies you require come December 25th. That way, you can spend the rest of November and December buying the cheaper things you want yourself – that’s right, leave the £650 Batman busts for Grandma to buy. With that in mind, here we go with this week’s triumvirate of movie merch goodness – at “pocket money” prices for pockets that are beginning to feel the festive pinch…

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If you knew actor Jason Momoa just from his performance as Khal Drogo on HBO’s Game of Thrones, you might wonder if the guy was even able to talk. Clearly he’s talented at looking big and strong and menacing, but what kind of a wordsmith could he be if not playing a horse lord from a different land? We’ll be getting a lot more of an idea how he handles language once Momoa takes the starring role in the upcoming Conan the Barbarian, and hopefully he impresses enough doing a lot of talking in that, because it’s looking like he’s going to be writing the story for the sequel. Momoa spilled the news when talking to Crave Online. When talking about the story he’s come up with for a possible Conan sequel, Momoa says that he would be looking for more mythic creatures for Conan to clash with the second go around. On why they’re waiting for a sequel to jump heavy into the mythology of the Conan universe, Momoa says, “We wanted to go there [in the first one], but having Clash of the Titans, and coming out against that, we wanted to put the budget into some other things. We just couldn’t hit… We couldn’t get to that level with the visual effects and stuff.” Of course, doing big budget effects in the sequel, and even making a sequel at all, will depend on how well Conan the Barbarian does at the box office. It looks like if […]

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Every day, come rain or shine or internet tubes breaking, Film School Rejects showcases a trailer from the past. Today’s trailer must be Italian, because it’s fragilé. Turn on your leg lamp, get some Chinese food, and let Santa kick you down the giant red slide of your failures. Think you know what it is? Check out the trailer after the jump.

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It’s that time of year again. A time to leer out your window suspiciously, a time to hear things that go bump in the night, a time to tremble with fear at the constant, piercing violin strings that follow you everywhere you go. It’s Christmas!

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cultwarrior-thanksgiving

This week’s Culture Warrior asks why there aren’t more movies about Thanksgiving. Christmas always seems to hog all the good ones.

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80sfilmheader

Rejoice! It’s not all doom and gloom when it comes to remakes. There’s a ton of 80s movies that aren’t being remade, and here’s just a handful of the ones we’re most thankful for.

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We all know that the most heartfelt holiday of the year will inevitably end with most of you splayed out in a pool of blood and gravy, nursing severe wounds and a hangover that weighs more than the turkey did before it was burnt. But rest assured tonight, because it could be worse.

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Not just the best Christmas film, but one of the best films ever made.

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published: 12.19.2014
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published: 12.18.2014
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published: 12.17.2014
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