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Video Rewind: And They Call These "Christmas Classics?"

Updated on December 21, 2014
The Head Elf (Patty Johnson) roughs up Ralphie (Peter Billingsley) on his way to see Santa.
The Head Elf (Patty Johnson) roughs up Ralphie (Peter Billingsley) on his way to see Santa.

When It's a Wonderful Life hit the big screen it bombed at the box office. To this day, I haven't watched it, since it used to be on a different channel EVERY day throughout December. Maybe that's when it became a beloved movie.

Then came A Christmas Story and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (aka Christmas Vacation).

Excuse me while I throw up, but are these two movies Christmas classics? Those with a low IQ seem to think so, but in my opinion the answer is a resounding no.

For the first time in years I had the opportunity to watch both alone. Did I illicit a laugh or smirk? No. Did I find a way to leave the room? Yes. Actually I found many excuses to leave the room.

In both, the main characters want something. Ralphie wants his Red Ryder BB gun and Clark wants his Christmas bonus. And to make these "comedies" they have to find a way to get what they want. Thus hilarity ensues!

The one thing I do like about A Christmas Story (aside from the ending) is it reminds me of when I was little. There always seemed to be snow on the ground plus the annual pilgrimage to visit Santa at the store. Although I don't think Santa's elves were as cranky as they are in the movie.

If you're smart, you know never to stick your tongue on a metal pole in sub zero weather. Okay, maybe you've tried it on the metal in your freezer but I'm sure you learned you lesson, right?

The narration from Daniel M. Pinkwater is very annoying as are the fantasies Ralphie keeps having.

But when it comes to Christmas Vacation (which was supposed to be the best Vacation movie) the whole thing is just plain annoying. I even tried watching it with the commentaries from some of the cast and crew and even that was annoying!

If you've never seen this movie you're lucky.

Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) wants a big family Christmas complete with in-laws. What he doesn't realize is Ellen's cousin Katherine and husband Eddie (Miriam Flynn and Randy Quaid) have arrived uninvited and with their kids in tow.

With a host of people staying in the house (and a battered RV in the driveway) something's bound to happen. Whether its the Christmas tree exploding, a cat getting electrocuted or a squirrel holding everyone hostage, the movie can't get any worse than it is.

Since I haven't had cable since 1994, I'm not sure which of these "classics" will be shown continuously for 24 hours starting on Christmas Eve and then wrapping up the next day.

My advice for a good laugh is to watch Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. At least it's a campy cult classic and it's easy to insert your own dialogue once you've had one too many eggnogs.

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    • Eric Tuchelske 1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Tuchelske 

      3 years ago from Detroit

      I think Elf and While You Were Sleeping will probably become timeless classics. They're what classics are built on.

    • CarltheCritic1291 profile image

      Carl 

      3 years ago

      Yeah, that all makes sense.

      "Home Alone" is another very overrated film which (although I like it, and when I made my own list of Christmas Classics I put it on, but just really low), it's not really that good. I for the longest time felt that Macaulay Culkin's acting wasn't really that good at all (he was a kid then but still even when I was a kid watching the film I was like "I do not believe or relate to you at all!"). Also some of the characters were so unlikeable I couldn't stand watching them on screen. This was a Chris Columbus film which if you've seen one generic cheesy family movie, you've seen them all. I still liked it because some of the acting was okay, John Williams' score was memorable and good, and I guess I just have a soft spot for early 90's cheese (childhood nostalgia, you know). It's at least a guilty pleasure for me.

    • Eric Tuchelske 1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Tuchelske 

      3 years ago from Detroit

      Originally I had published this on another site that I wrote for (which has been taken down- not by me or these "mini reviews") and you know those questions- "If you could shoot someone off into space who would it be?" it would have been me. There was a lot of outrage!

      The "low IQ" comes from people that I know (whenever there's been a debate) or I've heard talking about these movies. At first, I thought NLCV was pretty good (okay, I was hung over when I watched it) and then after watching it multiple times I saw just how bad it was. When I hear people talk about it I cringe. I did buy the sequel and never opened it, but it sold on eBay for a few bucks!

      When it comes to ACS, I don't think I've ever "really connected" with it. I'm sure when it first came on cable I saw it and then bits and pieces when I'd be out on Christmas. After finally watching it I couldn't relate.

      I think one of the reasons I can't stand both is for the hype, which as we all know can get under your skin after twenty minutes. I'm also in the minority of Home Alone as well since I didn't like that one either!

    • CarltheCritic1291 profile image

      Carl 

      3 years ago

      I do disagree with you that people with "a low IQ" are the only people who think these are Christmas classics, but I'm not going to be an idiot who says things like:

      "OMG ur SO wrong!" (I've had idiots who've actually said this on my own hubs and find them very annoying.)

      For me, "A Christmas Story" is a classic, because I felt it was a universal story about being a kid during Christmas time, and wanting not just something (by the way aren't all stories about characters wanting something?) but wanting that one special gift that every kid wants. Granted not every kid wants a Red Ryder BB gun, but as a kid didn't you ever want something that you felt was special? As for Flick licking the metal pole, yeah he was pretty stupid, but it to me felt like the writer Jean Shepard (aka "Daniel M. Pinkwater") was making that the point. The entire idea of "Oh crap! A triple-dog dare! He has to do now!" is stupid, but every generation of children does something that stupid. If you don't believe me there's this site called Twitter that contains all the proof I need.

      All of this is a flashback to Jean Shepard's childhood (it's exaggerated of course) so his narration to me made sense because it's as if he's telling us what his childhood was like as he remembered it. The day dreams that Ralphie has were a little out and there's really no defense for them beside for "he's a kid, kids usually day dream crazy things like that", the type of logic that comes second only to "boys will be boys" on the list of excuses that weak, and it still doesn't change the fact that they were weird. Is this a perfect film? Hell no! My comment is not suppose to change your mind or anything, I just wanted a chance to defend my intelligence because I do think it's a classic, not because everyone loves it (because that's not true) but because I related to the characters, and the story. Is it overrated? Hell yes! So much so that it spawned an even worse sequel two years ago.

      Alright so, National Lampoon's "Christmas Vacation", another film I like and felt as though it was a classic because it is about one of the most important aspects of Christmas: Family. Also I related to the film's main character trying to have a great Christmas, and make Christmas great for everyone despite getting more stressed, from work, in-laws, squirrels, etc. Again, is this overrated? I'd be lying if I said it wasn't.

      If liking these films means I'm an idiot then call me Stupid McDumbass (actually I won't mind, and it wasn't the first time), but I'd rather be stupid and have fun, rather than being bored out of my genius mind.

      I don't think these are bad but I'm also not everyone and we all have our own opinions as to what we find entertaining or not. I'm sure there are plenty of people who feel the same as you. Keep up the good work and keep writing more hubs! I hope to read more!

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