We've arrived just hours before the winter sun's ignited on Christmas day,folks,and Big Wop still doesn't know A)what day it is,B)who Jesus was,or C)what prayin' is.How can I be saved from the eternal grave?As long as the authorities don't stumble upon Kris Kringle's jolly cadaver I've covered with a tarp in the backyard 'til the ground softens up a bit,I should be right as dodgers.The fat Marxist fuck misstepped into one of the spring traps I set under the X-Mas tree,then ate one of my calebas curare Christmas cookies and washed it down with a tall glass of arsenic milk before turning his toes up sometime this morning.You thought I had forgotten that morning in 1975 when you put groovy-patterned polyester curtain pants under the tree with my name on them,didn't you,Claus.The last,fatal mistake of Saint Nick.I buried a steak knife in his labonza,just to be sure.I hope Doc doesn't notice it missing.I'd hate to be digging lime pits 'til spring time rolls around... In the past,seasonal flicks like "Miracle on 34th Street","It's A Wonderful Life",and "A Christmas Carol" were widely regarded as the must-see movies when the Christmas season rolled around every year.With 2011 right around the corner,it's fitting that an offering that dates from my generation that comes from one of my favorite genre directors has effectively replaced those earlier films as the top Christmas movie of all-time.If you haven't seen it by now,where the hell have you been the past twenty-seven years?Ted Turner only runs a brisk twenty-four hour marathon of it every single year,yet failing to tarnish the film's innocent,shining brilliance for even a second.The period piece helmed by Bob "Black Christmas" Clark,and penned by author/raconteur,Jean Shepherd,has successfully harnessed a bit of the magic that surrounds the holiday season,achieving timelessness in the process,a live-action Norman Rockwell painting bursting with beautiful simplicity and bittersweet imagery.A masterpiece if ever there's been one. Beware:Scut(Zack Ward),of the despised yellow-eyed Farkus clan. Nine year old Ralphie Parker(Peter Billingsley)is possessed with one obsession for the upcoming Christmas holiday:scoring himself a Red Ryder BB gun with a compass in the stock,and "a thing that tells time",as he would so poignantly write in a future essay for school.The only problem is,the gargantuan odds are stacked against the bespectacled tyke.Being a good boy is a monumental task when you and your younger brother Randy are terrorized daily by yellow-eyed Scut Farkus(Zack Ward)and his green-toothed toadie,Grover Dill,and your old man(Darrin McGavin)spews obscenity so thickly it filthily floats over Lake Michigan to this very day.Ralphie's overbearing mother(Melinda Dillon),who wraps Randy so snugly in layer upon layer of winter clothing that he can no longer move his arms or get up from the snow after falling down,has already vetoed the BB gun request,grimly warning,"You'll shoot your eye out!"The old man has enough holiday headaches of his own,guarding the Christmas turkey from the Bumpus' freeloading bloodhounds next door(and sneaking a taste for himself whenever his wife isn't looking,bonafide golly turkaconis freak that he is),guarding his tantalizingly garbed leg lamp(translation:important award)from his scheming wife,eternally battling with a stubborn boiler in the basement,and a younger son who refuses to eat what's on his dinner plate unless he can pretend to be a piggy in the hog trough with it. "Bumpuses!Sons o'bitches!"A bonafide golly turkaconis freak's best laid dinner plans are soon thwarted. Just when it looks like curtains for Ralphie's dreams of winging bad guys with spectacular hip shots;he utters the f-dash-dash-dash word in his father's presence while changing a tire,earning him a bar of soap in the mouth,he spouts a mile of obscenities while turning the tables and bloodying the Farkus boy,his amazing Christmas present essay earns a C-plus,and a reprisal of his mother's eye-loss sentiment from his teacher,as well.He goads his schoolmate Schwartz into sticking his tongue to a frozen flagpole in the school courtyard on a triple dog dare,and is ultimately denied by a department store Santa who echoes his mother's eye-warning before shoving him down a decorative sliding board with a boot to the face.When Christmas morning arrives,the last present he unwraps turns out to be his holiday holy grail,and when he runs out in his pajamas to play with it,amidst protests from his mother that are extinguished by the old man's admittal to having one just like it as a boy younger than Ralphie,his first shot ricochets and hits him directly below his eye,knocking his glasses to the snow.As he desperately feels around for them,he pulverizes them with a foot,then whips up fake tears and a fantastic fable about a rogue icicle smashing the glasses and causing the welt.Meanwhile a horde of Bumpus hounds barge into the house and make off with the family's turkey,forcing an impromptu dinner at the local Chinese restaurant,the only place open on the holiday.The family snickers at the Asians' inability to sing Christmas carols in Engrish,then enjoy a hastily prepared duck,head still attached.The film ends with Ralphie sleeping soundly with his trusty air rifle close by,in what would be remembered by the grown up narrator(Jean Shepherd)as the best Christmas ever. Ralphie(Peter Billingsley),pink nightmare/deranged easter bunny variant. From the first time I saw Story,visiting my buddy's place in New Jersey,I instantly connected with the movie,as most people do.Nearly every vignette within,I could relate one or more of my own to,minus the pink bunny costume,of course.The feelings of an era that passes with no prior warning,that if you're lucky enough,you'll experience vicariously through the eyes of your own kids as they repeat the rituals themselves.A view of the immediate world through an innocent child's eyes and imagination,and really,what could ever be better than that?Without trying to condescend too much here(or a seventies Coca-Cola commerical),if we retained that same wonder and amazement for just a bit longer,kept it unspoiled by the harsh realities of life and the world around us,perhaps it would be a better place for all of us to cohabitate in.Movies may come along to better capture the feelings of a changing society with ever-changing values and rituals,but for your humble N,none will say more to me,personally,than the cult hit from 1983.One of the best ever,and certainly the best holiday movie ever,in my opinion.Four wops and the highest recommendation. "You'll shoot yer eye out,kid!",warns a safety-minded department store Santy.