Jean Shepherd has got to be spinning in his grave. I haven't read his books, but we've watched the original "A Christmas Story" 20 - 30 times. To say it is only a movie or forget about comparisons and just take it as something new and just 4 fun is a symptom of a society that has lost its soul. The richness of the writing of the 1982 original (somebody mentioned there are parts of #2 that are taken from Shepherd's stories, and I think I can guess which--I would bet the visit to the dentist, one of the few funny moments) is not just a hard act to follow, but a national treasure. The original transports us back to another time when the world and especially this country were qualitatively different than it is now. Every detail, the cast, every nuance, the whole aesthetic, gels to remove us from the cynicism and political correctness and every other aspect of Today to a world that some of us can remember, almost remember, or at least, imagine we remember. The would-be sequel fails completely to understand, much less appreciate, the beauty or depth of this magic. The cast is all wrong. Crudeness was a part of that era, but it was configured in a totally different way from the 1-dimensional postmodern context which this one is locked into. The demon White Male stereotype this buys into is devoid of any comprehension whatsoever of the character Darren McGavin so perfectly portrayed. The costumes are still from 5 years earlier, not counting Ralphie's 1980s giant eyeglasses, which didn't yet exist in the years this story is supposedly set in. This one was cranked out by commercial crapsters incapable of escaping a temporal tunnel vision that has no business attempting to recapture any era that has gone by before their own time. The acting is mostly godawful. Seems like the only times it improves a bit are scenes where it appears that they finally got a bit tired of yelling their lines. The meanness of some of the acting or characters in the original was purposeful--it showed a child's perception of them, not actual cruelty. In this one, it's all just crude and stupid. The only reason to see version 2 is as a kind of cultural monitor, to compare and contrast, hopefully to learn the differences between great art and a total failure to grasp what art is.
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