I suppose the sequel A CHRISTMAS STORY CHRISTMAS (2020) was inevitable, just as it was inevitable it wouldn’t measure up to the original. Peter Billingsley, the original Ralphie, cowrote the story of how Ralphie in the 1970s is a husband, father and apparently a failed writer (you will never ever guess what story he writes that finally makes him a success); when his father dies right before Christmas, the family has to decamp for Christmas in the Midwest with Mom (Julie Haggerty), giving Ralphie a chance to catch up with the rest of the original cast. Part of why this doesn’t work is that I never felt Ralphie’s dad was the magical Christmas figure he’s retconned into here. “The term ‘breaking and entering’ has always had an unduly sinister tone.”
THE X-FILES: How the Ghosts Stole Christmas has a lonely Mulder drag Scully out on Christmas Eve to investigate a haunted house where the ghosts appear on Dec. 24 and drive the occupants to suicide. Scully’s skeptical (of course), Mulder’s confident this’ll be a cakewalk but the spectres have other plans … with Lily Tomlin and Ed Asner as the ghosts, this sixth-season episode is one of their oddball ones, but more engaging than usual (though Scully comes off even more irrationally rational than usual). “Mulder, is that a gigantic hound I hear baying on the moor?”
Back to my Christmas perennials — MR. MAGOO’S CHRISTMAS CAROL has the nearsighted old geezer playing Scrooge on Broadway in a delightful musical, with heart-tugging moments with young Scrooge, and some really great songs. The most remarkable thing is that at 52 minutes they fit in almost everything of importance, leaving out only Scrooge’s nephew “Guineas and threepence and twopence and bob/Give them away and nobody can rob/You.”
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