New ‘A Christmas Story Christmas’ Warms Hearts

Meghan Tucker, Associate Editor

Most people are skeptical when a remake of a classic movie is in the works. Some are so skeptical that they will refuse to even watch it for fear that it might take away from the original magic that the classic had to offer. This reasonable doubt puts an extreme amount of pressure on the writers, directors, and producers who have to adhere to the fans’ expectations in order for their movie to succeed. On November 17, 2022, exactly 39 years after the original, A Christmas Story Christmas was released.

The 1983 A Christmas Story has been bringing families together all across the country during the holiday season, a movie that encapsulates a true, traditional family Christmas in 1940. It follows a boy named Ralphie, his little brother Randy, their parents, and friends from school, as Ralphie’s only wish is for a Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle, which is eventually gifted to him by his father despite the warnings from his mother and teacher that “you’ll shoot your eye out!” This feel-good comedy is narrated by adult Ralphie, voiced by Jean Shepherd, whose semi-fictional anecdotes inspired this movie.

Peter Billingsley, who stars as Ralphie Parker, returns for A Christmas Story Christmas, but instead of playing a sweet, daydream prone kid, he plays a struggling writer and father in the 70s ( roughly 30 years after the events of the original film) who tries to create a magical Christmas for his wife and kids just like the one he had as a child. As the movie progresses, the audience will most definitely feel nostalgia and sheer excitement as familiar faces appear on the screen. Ian Petrella as Randy, Scott Schwartz as Flick, R. D. Robb as Shwartz, and of course the neighborhood bullies with Zack Ward playing Scott Farkus and Yano Anaya playing Grover Dill. However, two substantial people were missing – actress Melinda Dillon, who plays the mom, retired from acting in 2007 but did attend all the premieres for this movie, and actor Darren McGavin, who plays the dad otherwise known as the “old man,” who sadly passed away in 2006. 

In the first ten minutes of the movie, Ralphie gets a call from his mother that his father passed away and the camera immediately shifts to a framed picture of McGavin on the wall which presumably looks as though it was taken on the set of the first film. From there, the rest of the movie serves as a tribute to the “old man.” Ralphie says, “I had to pull this off. For the memory of my old man and all the Christmases to come. It was my old home, with its light, its colors, its smells. But it was forever changed.” Billingsly was excited to take this story from a different perspective, he says, “It was exciting to explore – the idea of going home and all that represents for those of us that have gone back to childhood homes. It’s a weird, but good feeling and it evokes a lot of memories.”  Billingsly knew and admitted to the fact that you can’t mess with the original movie, but he felt as though it was time to reunite all of the cast members, honor the “old man,” and create a magical Christmas movie that transports the audience to a simpler time. 

With a plethora of flashbacks to the original, an abundance of sentimental value, and the emotion among the characters and actors that you could feel through the screen, A Christmas Story Christmas did not disappoint. Its comedic and vintage feel warmed the hearts of the countless fans that have been waiting for this reunion since 1983.