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A Christmas Story: Ultimate Collector's Edition

Score: 97%
Rating: PG
Publisher: Warner Brothers Home

Region: 1
Media: DVD/2
Running Time: 93 Mins.
Genre: Comedy/Holiday/Classic
Audio: Dolby Digital: English Mono,
           French Mono


  • Commentary by Peter Billingsley, Melinda Dillon and Director/Co-Writer Bob Clark
  • Another Christmas Story Documentary with Cast Members and Director Bob Clark, Narrated by Peter Billingsley
  • Triple Dog Dare Interactive Trivia
  • Featurette
  • Daisy Red Rider: A History Featurette
  • Decoder Match Challenge
  • Hidden Easter Eggs
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • A Christmas Story Themed Apron
  • A Christmas Story Themed Cookie Tin
  • A Christmas Story Themed Cookie Cutters
  • A Christmas Story Themed Recipe Book

Every Christmas, we have a tradition where we watch two movies without fail - A Christmas Story and Elf, both with Peter Billingsley, funnily enough. In watching A Christmas Story: Ultimate Collector's Edition once again, I am reminded just how many popular phrases came from that movie. Maybe you don't use them in everyday life, but things "You'll shoot yer eye out!", "Nottafingah" and "He had yellow eyes!" come up more often than I'd like to admit, at least with my collection of friends and family. A Christmas Story: Ultimate Collector's Edition contains not only the special 2-disc edition that was released when the film hit the 20-year mark several years back, but also a collection of goodies worthy of the status of "a major award" like a red apron emblazoned with the A Christmas Story logo, a mini-recipe book containing foods mentioned in the movie (even the Christmas Peking duck, to which you must serve it singing "Fa-ra-ra-ra-ra Ra-ra-ra-ra), and most importantly, a selection of cookie cutters in familiar shapes like a turkey, a leg lamp and a deranged Easter bunny costume, all housed in a metal cookie tin.

A Christmas Story is the brainchild of one Jean Shepherd, whom you may remember as the narrator from The Wonder Years. His storytelling ability is only overshadowed by his innate ability to weave a story so engaging that the characters would become instant classics, not because of how great they were but because of how inarguably human they were, their lives filled with mistakes and stupidity. Ralphie (Peter Billingsley) is the main character, a boy whose single desire is to get a Red Rider air gun for Christmas. But how can he maneuver this when his mom and most other adults believe firmly that he will shoot his eye out if he gets one. He spends his days writing themes about the subject and planting advertisements in his mother's magazines in the hopes of persuading her. Meanwhile, his father's main goal in life is to win a major award and he enters all sorts of contests to fulfill this dream. One day, it happens! A large crate is delivered and in it is his prize. A stunning lamp in the shape of a leg clad in fish-net hose wearing high heel shoes. Ralphie's mother (Melinda Dillon) is mortified, but his father (Darrin McGavin) is so proud that he places it in the front window for all to see. Thus begins the quiet battle between his parents.

Ralphie pals around with his friends Flick (Scott Schwartz) and Schwartz (R.D. Robb), with his younger brother Randy (Ian Petrella) in tow, only to be mercilessly bullied by Scut Farkus (Zach Ward) and his toadie, Grover Dill (Yano Anaya). After a series of events including Flick being triple-dog-dared into sticking his tongue onto a freezing pole, Ralphie accidentally saying the "F" word in front of his father only to have his mother wash his mouth out with Lifebuoy soap, and Ralphie finding that the Santa at the department store also believes he'll shoot his eye out, he finds that Christmas has finally arrived. He is so excited when he realizes Santa has left him his ultimate gift, and the only thing that could possibly dampen his spirits is having to try on an ugly gift sent by a ridiculous relative - a pink bunny pajama suit. But soon, Ralphie is outside with his gun, only to have fate intervene when his first shot destroys his eyeglasses. So it is true what they say - you will shoot your eye out! The icing on the cake of Christmas Day is the neighbor's 785 hound dogs, better known as the Bumpus Hounds to his dad, coming in and stealing their turkey right off the table. What better way to celebrate Christmas dinner than at a Chinese restaurant singing Deck the Harrs with Borrs of Horry.

In addition to the goodies I mentioned earlier, special features also include featurettes on the leg lamp and the Daisy Red Rider gun, a documentary with key members of the cast and director Bob Clark that is really enjoyable, an interactive trivia game and a decoder matching game, plus some fairly long radio readings by Jean Shepherd on the Red Rider BB Gun and Flick's tongue on the pole. These readings are a little dry compared to the movie, though. Oh, and two easter eggs are hidden in the DVD menus and although small, are worth the hunt. If you've never seen A Christmas Story, then you are really missing out. However, chances are you've seen it and love it. If you already own the DVD that has all of these special features, it's hard to recommend a purchase just for the apron, cookie cutters, recipe book and cookie tin. But if you or a fan don't already own the movie, this is the one to buy with all of its extras.

-Psibabe, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ashley Perkins

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