Films have formulas and rules, but how well do Christmas movies follow those formulas?
|"Christmas was on its way. Lovely, glorious, beautiful Christmas around which the entire kid year revolved."|
A Christmas Story (1983) is a film about a child's view of Christmas in the 1940s.
The following may contain spoilers for
A Christmas Story (1983)
RULE #1 - CHARACTERS
"In our world you were either a bully, a toadie or one of the nameless rabble of victims" ~ Adult Ralphie.
- Someone Who Hates Christmas - No one seems to hate Christmas.
- Someone Who Inflicts Christmas Cheer on Others - No one forces Christmas cheer on others..
- Precocious Kids - Ralphie, but he is the main character. His little bother Randy counts and most of Ralphie friends as well.
- Bullied Kid - Ralphie, his little bother Randy counts and most of Ralphie friends as well.
- Silver-haired joval old person - Does not appear.
- Someone with a secret - Does not appear.
- Stressed Young Female - Does not appear.
- The Single - Does not appear.
- Someone Career Obsessed - Does not appear.
- Grumpy Old (usually) Man - The Old Man is usually grumpy.
- Sassy Old (usually) Woman - Does not appear.
- An Inappropriate Santa Impersonator - The Higbee Store Santa.
RULE #2 - SEX & NUDITY
"Only one thing could drag me away from the soft glow of electric sex gleaming in the window." ~ Adult Ralphie.
- No sex or nudity, it's a kid's film. There is a leg lamp, which is pretty hot. Or bound to be if it's left on too long.
RULE #3 - PLOTS
"Aunt Clara had for years labored under the delusion that I was not only perpetually 4 years old, but also a girl." ~ Adult Ralphie.
- Mostly a simple family Christmas, no "gathering" as no one's left the home. Santa isn't real and none of the traditional stories are used.
RULE #4 - GENRE
"There has never been a kid who didn't believe vaguely but incessantly that he would be stricken blind before he reached 21, and then they'd be sorry." ~ Adult Ralphie.
- A bitter-sweet family drama-comedy: a nostalgic look at childhood with mini-daydream sequences.
RULE #5 - EXPECTED EVENTS
"Let's face it, most of us are scoffers. But moments before zero hour, it did not pay to take chances." ~ Adult Ralphie.
- Ugly Christmas sweaters - Beyond the ugly sweater, is the pink bunny suit.
- Pulling Santa's beard - No one pulls Santa's beard.
- Carolers - Do not appear.
- Some kind of competition - The Old Man enters competitions in the newspaper. It's how he won the leg..
- Mistletoe - Does not appear.
RULE #6 - UNEXPECTED DIFFICULTIES
"Don't anybody move! Hold it right there! The fuse is out." ~ The Old Man.
- Christmas lights - Does not appear.
- Not walking out after a fight with family - Does not appear.
- Last minute gift purchasing - Does not appear.
- Assembling Christmas gifts - Does not appear.
- Cooking - No cooking issue, but the neighbour's dogs get in and destroy Christmas dinner before it can be eaten.
- Attempts to get home for Christmas - Does not appear.
- Christmas tree - Flat tyre and a blown fuse.
RULE #7 - RELIGION
"Some men are Baptists, others Catholics; my father was an Oldsmobile man." ~ Adult Ralphie.
- Religion is mentioned once and not in relation to Christmas.
RULE #8 - ENDING
"Next to me in the blackness lay my oiled blue steel beauty. The greatest Christmas gift I had ever received, or would ever receive. Gradually, I drifted off to sleep, pranging ducks on the wing and getting off spectacular hip shots." ~ Adult Ralphie.
- Snow: Some snow throughout, but a particularly icy wonder land on Christmas morning and the parents watch it snow Christmas night at the end.
- Grump-No-More: The Old Man mellows for Christmas.
- Santa is Real: Doesn't happen.
- The Unexpected Extra Guest: No guest, then end up being refuges in a Chinese.
- Wisdom From an Unexpected Source: Doesn't really happen.
- The Single Will Find Love: No singles.
RULE #9 - HAPPY ENDING
"That Christmas would live in our memories as the year we were introduced to Chinese turkey. And all was right in the world." ~ Adult Ralphie.
- Family - Not outright stated, but heavily implied.
- Miracles - No Christmas miracles.
- It's the thought that counts - Not stated.
RULE #10 - SEQUELS
"Mom, this is just the same dumb old parade as last year." ~ Ralphie.
- A Christmas Story is based on the stories of Jean Shepard and is based on the same material as 1976's The Phantom of the Open Hearth.
- It has two sequels with mostly new casts, It Runs In The Family (1994 aka My Summer Story) and A Christmas Story 2 (2012).
- PBS has also done a series of telemovies based on Shepard's stories.