Bob Clark

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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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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Carpenter seems untouchable these days, and he’s only getting started. See what he’s got up his sleeve inside…

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