Friday, April 6, 2007
Scene Gems: Ralphie Beats the Bloody Snot Out of a Bully in 'A Christmas Story'
I realize this isn't the Christmas season, but director Bob Clark and his son were tragically killed by a drunk driver two days ago. He had an eclectic resume, directing this holiday classic, pretty seedy fare (Porky's, Black Christmas), and downright dreadful stuff (Rhinestone, Baby Geniuses). He wasn't a great filmmaker, but he definitely had his moments, and it's always sad to see an artist with passion pass from this world, never to make another film.
A Christmas Story (1983) is the tale of an everyday kid in the 50's who dreams of one thing: getting a BB gun for Christmas. His plans seem constantly thwarted by adults (even Santa) who keep telling him "you'll shoot your eye out". He presses forward undeterred, and we get a great slice of life comedy about a boy and his whacked family. The adult voice over here was also a first, later made popular by shows such as The Wonder Years (1988-93).
There are a ton of great scenes to choose from here, but every kid ever terrorized by a bully will immediately identify with this one. The wonderfully named Scut Farkus (Zack Carver) has been giving Ralphie (Peter Billingsley) a real bad time and here he gets his comeuppance. I really like how this scene plays out from the comedic beginning, to the completly real reaction Ralphie has at the end. Notice that the bully gets bloodied in the ordeal (something Ralphie never got), and how the tone swings from funny to melancholy.
We'll miss you, Bob.
Posted by Scott Eggleston