I entirely sympathize with people that complain about the press (or bloggers or fanboys or "the Internet community") over-hyping certain movies because I feel the same way about holiday flicks in general. It's like the "Small World" ride/attraction at Disneyland: the first time you hear "It's a Small World," you think, "OK, fairly inoffensive little song, nice message, good for the kids" but by the end of the ride -- and the 50 millionth rendition -- you want to take a baseball bat to all the speakers in the vicinity and, oh yeah, smash yourself over the head too, to properly bid the song good riddance.
That's just me, though. I realize I may be walking out onto a plank solo with my choices, but these are the holiday movies for which I've developed an unreasoning, out of proportion hatred -- the mere mention of which drives me insane. In some cases I've tried to watch them, sometimes repeatedly, to see what others enjoy so much, but I'm afraid it's a lost cause. Apologies in advance if you're offended; please don't take it as a rejection of your values, morals, or good sense. These are not reviews, they are notes on films I couldn't finish or simply hate on principle. For the record, I don't have a knee-jerk reaction to ALL holiday movies, or movies set during the holidays; I came to enjoy most of It's a Wonderful Life (up to that sentimental ending with James Stewart running down the street), and really dig The Nightmare Before Christmas, Gremlins, Die Hard, and Lethal Weapon.
1. A Christmas Story
I've tried, I've tried, I've tried. I've started at the beginning, I've come back in the middle, I've come back near the end, and the charms of this film still elude me. All due respect to the late Jean Sheperd, but how does his voice not drive you folks up the wall? To me, he sounds like nails on a chalkboard. And he never shuts up! Combined with the kid's unrelenting desire for a BB gun, it just seems to me like one long whine for a present. In general, the tone is far too precious for me. Maybe I heard too many stories from my father about growing up in poverty during the 1930s to enjoy a warm-hearted family tale set in the 1940s. (For an entirely different perspective, read why my boss thinks you should watch it for 24 hours straight.)