Oh dear. Oh dear! I had low expectations for the live musical version of A Christmas Story. I did. I went in expecting not that much. Some bland songs, some cynical dance numbers. The grown ups would shine, the kids would suck eggs.
I noticed, right away, how diverse the cast was. And since I’ve read the source material and seen the actual A Christmas Story– a million billion times because it’s one of my fave Xmas movies. And they run a marathon of it over on one of those T networks– I was like, well, okay. Good choice. It’s 2017, we’re aware and woke! However…! It was jarring as I wondered why the United Colors of Benetton had suddenly shown up in Indiana in the late forties. And then had some internal back and forth about if entertainment should try to show what things were actually like during a time period or if painting past periods with the happy brush of now where everyone’s all equal and shit is what we need to do to all literature, all plays, all books…yeah. Do you fix racism by ignoring it? I was having those thoughts instead of actually watching that annoying child they’d chosen for Ralphie do his thang.
I squirmed and gulped and flailed through a good half an hour or so. I don’t even think I made it that long.
So, the Ralphie kid.
Oh. Granted, I’m all WHO TURNED MY RALPHIE INTO A WHINY LITTLE AAAAARHG. There’s cuss words and since it’s nearly one of the major sacred days of heavy drinking, chips and dip and ‘family time’, I’ll refrain from flinging profanity about like sparkly razor blades. He had the glasses, sure. They got that right. I’m blaming the writers for this one. Ralphie’s song/s. Generic is the kindest description. He had a fantasy session about, yes, the Red Ryder BB gun and saving his teacher, played by the wonderful Jane Krakowski, and someone forgot to include the RED RYDER BB GUN in this sequence. I. I just can’t.
Oooooh. Where our first intro to Sexy Teacher is that she’s OCD…my soul just flew away like a startled little sparrow. Nope! Don’t add! DON’T ADD. Wait. Why is the teacher played so sexy? What the…??
Oh and Matthew Broderick. As the narrator. I was both annoyed by this and yet liking how he popped up and wove himself in and out of the story he was narrating about his own life. Ferris Buehler meets Christmas schlock.
It was like watching an ‘edgy’ experimental piece written by that woman in your writing class who wears all-black all the time, chain smokes ironically and tells everyone that her yeast infections are caused by society’s rage against feminism.
I kept expecting…something. I wondered. There’s three hours of this. Is he going to do this FOR THREE HOURS? Oh my blessed ovaries! How much are ciggies these days?? Vodka now!
The parents, played by Chris with some long Greek name, and oh Maya Rudolph, just seemed to be imitating Darren McGavin and Melinda Dillon. Who played the dad and mom in the, um, actual movie. And held their own and then some against some cute, pretty realistic little tots. I was not drawn in. I was not charmed. I did not want to see their journey toward some sort of Christmas orgasm. I noticed how abusive dad was…I noticed. Uh oh.
So, I checked what was on the other channels. Hallmark spitting out their cookie cutter Christmas fare, yay. The Christmas Love Cottage Santa Express Plastic People Getting Happy Endings Every Time movie was on. Tempting! Lifetime, also runs Xmas fare. Oh there’s sometimes the old-timey holiday fare over on TMC and AMC. I then noticed, yes, it was Sound of Music night.
Not that ghastly attempt at a live musical version with Carrie Underwood, who looks like she stepped out of a Hallmark holiday confection, but the actual movie. With Julie the Goddess Andrews. And Christopher Sexy Beast Plummer. Yes, yours truly has a serious crush on the Captain. Is it just me??? And such a beautiful movie. The backdrops of Austria. Oh wow. I’d get all scholarly and movie film critic-esque but I don’t wish this here blog post to run into overtime.
And if you’ve never seen Sound of Music, even ironically, then…you’re probably an agent of Satan. And I just can’t deal with you right now.
I showed up right as Maria shows up late for that dinner. She’s spunky! And sweet. And oh, the familiar rhythms of this film just soothe this savage beast!
However, my least fave bit of SOM approaches.
That ode to ‘you’re not old enough yet but hey it’s just around the corner’ sung by the eldest daughter and the Nazi boy. If you’re suddenly jarred and wondering why I’m watching a film with singing Nazis…ugh, you really need to get out more and watch something other than youtube odes to why Bigfoot is real.
I switch back to, yes, Christmas Sorry. They are at the lamp bit! And singing about the prize dad wins. And there’s this actually well done on-screen quick change. And then the dad continues to sing and wave a lamp-shaped trophy about. I nod over that bit of clever prop-placement and then head back to see if the horny Nazi and the horny Liesel are done dancing and singing in the rain. Again, if that flies over your head, put Sound of Music on your Netflix will probably never watch this but it’s on my list list. You can mute the musical numbers. But I suggest you don’t. Most of them are pretty spiffy. Spiffy!
I mean, that horny teenybopper scene is well done. Their song and dance in that glass-covered gazebo has a gorgeous intimacy to it. I find my attention wandering during it. I wonder if there’s any cheese left. Did someone eat all the cheese? So switching back to a Christmas Sorry seems a must. I must give it another chance. I’m being nit-picky and elitist! And also a few other things, prolly. I mustn’t let my Christmas Story movie purist ideals guide me here!
Nope! Maya slamming the oven shut and singing about how…I don’t know. Let’s go watch the Buy Women Jewelry Get Laid ads in between slices of Austrian-flavored movie pastry.
Wait, she’s watching actual television??? Yes. Yes, I am. I’m not viewing all this on some phone or one of those awkwardly large ipad thingies. I’m stuck in a bygone era. Stuck!
I’ll wrap this up by confessing Sound of Music sent me off into sleepland and I woke up near the end where the Sexy Beast Captain and his band of backup singers AKA ‘the children’, along with New Wife Nun Maria, are hiding from, yes, the Nazis. Molly the Lab snoozed as well and even the house mice seemed quiet, not rattling about and having mouse fist fights.
I live in something called the ‘country’ so that means lots of mice. And it snowed, so the mice take that as a signal they all need to move into the house. This is useless information that has nothing to do with ACSL or SOM. You can skip the rando mouse blargle and it won’t mar your otherwise pleasant reading experience.
Oh, I did keep checking to see how ACSL was going. I saw, online, that the production ‘fixed’ that rather troubling end scene from the movie.
If you don’t know what that is, I might have to give you an actual glare and mutter WTF is wrong with you if we meet in real life. Who hasn’t seen this damn movie? Hands? Hands???
That there was some line flub that was covered beautifully. That Jane and Ana Gasteyer killed it. That Santa was played by David Alan Grier and that the dad killed the entire family with a butcher knife after the neighbor dogs stole the Christmas turkey off the table…and sang the best song of the whole three hours while doing that. Strangely, I can’t find that on youtube. Man, I love when family musicals channel some inner Sweeny Todd!
That’s it. I’ll stop there. I meant to keep this super-short and on point. Bye!