Category Archives: TV/Movies

Review: ‘A Christmas Story Christmas’

“A Christmas Story Christmas” starring Peter Billingsley as Ralphie Parker was released Nov. 17 on HBO Max. You’re likely to read a lot of cynical reviews — ignore them all.

If you’ve not watched it yet, let this serve as an official notice: No matter what you think of the original, and no matter what you end up thinking about the sequel, it will never live up to whatever we dreamed up in our minds, having watched it on loop every Christmas for years. We’ve all thought about where Ralphie and Randy and the other characters are today. Or, you haven’t ever thought of it but are now forced to.

In a sequel to “A Christmas Story,” Billingsley’s Ralphie Parker finds himself back in Hohman, Indiana, for Christmas following news that his Old Man has died.

Set in 1973 — 33 years after the original film’s setting — his hometown return comes at a time when adult Ralphie is coming to terms with his lackluster career as an author in Chicago.

Ralphie, of course, runs into old friends and foes, all of whom give viewers a chance to watch connections come alive again.

“A Christmas Story Christmas” follows the concept of the original film — with relatable family events and holiday themes intertwined with grown-up problems.

From daydreams to Higbee’s storefront windows, the film pays homage to the 1983 original without leaning too far into nostalgia that would make it cringy. Instead, the film finds a perfect balance of nods to the past while carving out its own holiday movie plot.

The movie’s soundtrack is full of classic Christmas songs woven into the backdrop of the film.

In an era when sequels, reboots and continuations of once-popular or cult classic media continue to rear their head, “A Christmas Story Christmas” carefully lets us in on a glimpse of Ralphie’s life at a pivotal moment — the immediate grief of mourning the loss of his father while trying to make sure his family has a perfect Christmas.

As someone who only recently began to enjoy and appreciate “A Christmas Story,” this sequel had me shedding tears.

It may not become a marathon movie like its original, but its feel-good, family-friendly story will entertain and, perhaps, help to introduce the original to a new generation.

A cozy night with a fireplace, cup of hot chocolate, feet kicked up on the coffee table and holiday movies on the TV.

Where you can find ‘Christmas Vacation’ on TV, streaming

There’s no question that “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” is a holiday season classic!

With streaming and an array of cable channels, where can you find this classic?

It’ll air on TNT, TBS and AMC this season, including a 24-hour marathon starting at 6 a.m. Nov. 27 on TNT! Find out more air times at ChristmasTVSchedule.com.

Plus, you can stream the movie on HBO Max and Amazon Prime.

5 facts about ‘Christmas Vacation’

  • “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” is based on a short story — Christmas ’59” written by John Hughes. The story was published in 1980 for National Lampoon in December 1980. When Clark is pulling out a box of old movies from the attic, take note of the one paying homage to the story, labeled “Christmas ’59.”
  • “Christmas Vacation” has ties to “It’s A Wonderful Life.” The grandson — Frank Capra III — of the original Christmas classic’s director — Frank Capra — was an assistant director on “Christmas Vacation.”
  • “Christmas Vacation” director Jeremiah Chechik had never seen a “Vacation” series movie before directing “Christmas Vacation.” “I hadn’t seen the first two [Vacation movies], and so I wasn’t really influenced by anything other than the fact that it was a big—at the time—their big Christmas movie, and comedy,” he said in an interview.
  • The movie’s budget was kinda big — $27 million. For comparison, “Ghostbusters” had a budget of $30 million. And “Christmas Vacation” has no special effects like “Ghostbusters” did. But, the movie made it back and then some — grossing $70 million!
  • “Christmas Vacation” is the only “Vacation” series movie to get a sequel — “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie’s Island Adventure.” If you never heard of it, don’t worry. It was made for TV and holds a 12% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.