This is the last of the holiday posts from SATM. Hope you are having great ones!
I know Lola from work-related projects. She is super smart and creative and a fellow Sag. Sags Rule! – KWP
By guest author – Lola Sizemore
One morning in the summer a few years back, I received a voice mail message from my little sister.
“I’m at the Christmas Story house!!! BUMPUSES!!!
There is only one thing, one nostalgic movie that can bring my sister and I together at any time of the year. The Christmas Story. And it makes even a business trip Cleveland, Ohio seems glorious when there is a detour to a national landmark: The Christmas Story house.
There are few holiday movies that everyone can enjoy. Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, while beautifully done in claymation, is for the kids. It’s a Wonderful life is lovely but the kids may not get it. Bad Santa is… well… not for anyone without a glass of scotch and a cheap cigar.
Everyone remembers that one toy they desperately desired. Everyone has embarrassing family stories of holidays gone wrong. Everyone remembers the class bully and some even remember the class bully getting a piece of karma as well. There’s a reason it play for 24 hours on TBS the day of Christmas. There’s something we all can be nostalgic about, even with a movie set in the 1940’s when I was surely not even born yet, because some things about the holidays never change.
And with that, I bring you the top 10 moments that make The Christmas Story AWESOME:
10. The Dangummit Furnace: Who has a furnace that blows black smoke through vents?! Pay close attention in this scene: the Old Man also falls on a pair of skates going down the stairs.
9. Santa Pushing Ralphie down the slide with his boot: First of all, the idea of Santa is creepy. An old man dressed in a flamboyantly red suit who wants children to sit on his lap? And then tells them he’ll come into their house at night with presents? How is this story still continuing?! In this movie, Santa is probably a felon. Definitely intoxicated. And his little elves aren’t exactly bursting with the Christmas spirit either. The weirdo kid in line? Amazing. However, they all make the scene great. And as a kid, made me never want to sit on Santa’s lap ever again.
8. Randy can’t put his arms down: Moms love to bundle up their kids when it snows. I had a horrendous one-piece suit that made me look like the purple Michelein man. I felt for Randy. Sure I wanted to be warm, but what happens when you fall? Or as in the movie, what happens when you fall and mean bullies are chasing you? “Randy lay there like a slug. It was his only defense.”
7. Tire changing incident: “My old man’s spare tires were actually only tires in the academic sense. They were round, they had once been made of rubber.” All Ralphie wanted to do was help his Old Man change a tire. And when bolts and screws went flying into the street, gleaming the road like marbles in a cartoon, he said the first word that comes to mind. “Fudge.” But it wasn’t fudge. Why do parents always ask, “Where did you learn that word?” I’m pushing the wrong side of my twenties and my mother still asks me this.
6. Farkus the Bully take down: Everyone dreams of taking down their nemesis. They push and push until you just flip out and whack them in the head with a homemade knitted mitten. Now, I would never condone violence, especially at Christmas, but you can’t help but think of this as a win for the little guy. Way to go, Ralphie. I mean, very bad kids. Never fight.
5. Flick getting his tongue stuck on a pole: When it’s a triple dog dare, you better do it. The filmmakers accomplished this by installing a vacuum in the pole that would suck the kid’s tongue in. However, if they wanted to be more authentic, they could have easily done this in wintertime Maine. When I was younger, the kid next door was dared to stick his tongue to a metal mailbox. He did. It stuck. And it was legendary.*
*I may or may not have been the one who dared him to stick his tongue to the mailbox. Sorry buddy.
4. A Chinese Christmas: It all started when the Bumpus Dogs devoured the Christmas turkey. The old man screamed “BUMPUSES!!” and the beloved bird was nothing more than a wing left on the floor. “We are going OUT for dinner.” The Parker family went to the only restaurant opened on Christmas day for what Ralphie affectionately called a “Chinese Turkey.” The presented bird? A duck with it’s head still on. “It’s smiling at me,” says the old man. To this day, people in my family will ALWAYS say this before every Christmas meal. There have even been a few holidays where my family has eaten Chinese food because, honestly, if it was good enough for the Parker family, it’s good enough for us.
Side note: Jack Nicholson was rumored to have been in the running to play the Old Man. Can you imagine the joker saying “it’s smiling at me” without being a creeper?
3. The bunny suit: Ah, yes, Aunt Clara. How did you know I wanted a pink bunny suit? We’ve all gotten a “bunny suit.” Mine was a knit sweater with penguins wearing Santa hats. On top of their hats? Bells. Real, annoying, jingling bells. We’ve all been there, kid.
Side note: This isn’t the last embarrassing outfit actor Peter Billingsley wore. He made a special cameo years later in Will Farrel’s Elf as what else but an elf. He also got to cuss a word worse than “fudge”: cotton headed ninny muggins.
2. The leg lamp: The gleam of electric sex. The major award. FRAGILE. Every scene involving this plot line is pure gold (and expected from director Bob Clark who’s previous work was the teen sex romp Porky’s). But truly the best part is the most devastating… When the lamp breaks and the Old Man’s reactions of: “YOU USED ALL THE GLUE ON PURPOSE!” and “NADDAFINGA!!” It is customary in my family to use these two reactions at any time when something breaks, as it should be.
1. Christmas Morning: Well, of course he got the Red Ryder BB gun. And of course, he almost shot his eye out. But he got the BB gun and all was well. It reminds me of that moment as a kid when all the presents are unwrapped and you’re swimming in a sea of paper and bows. It’s THE END.
Lola is an art director, designer and Sagittarius. And sometimes she writes the same way she talks.