Category Archives: 1983

A Christmas Story (1983)

Aunt Clara had for years labored under the delusion that I was not only perpetually 4 years old, but also a girl.

— Narrator

The seminal modern day classic A Christmas Story plays on a continuous run of TBS around the holidays. Even though I have seen this movie thousands of time, I still love this story about a boy wanting the ultimate gift for Christmas.

I remember when I was younger watching this movie for the first time on TBS and fell in love with the stories and especially the characters. For years, I saw only the edited version. When I saw the uncut version, I loved it even more. In this circumstance, I am basing my review on the edited television cut.

The movie takes place in Indiana where the Parker household is preparing for Christmas. Jean Shepard narrates this story about Ralphie Parker (Peter Billingsley) in the 1940s who desires a Red Rider air rifle for a gift, almost to an obsession. He sees it in a store window one night out with his friends, Flick and Schwartz (Scott Schwartz, R.D. Robb). He daydreams and schemes to have the ultimate gift whenever he tells an adult about his dream today, he gets the same canned response, “You’ll shoot your eye out.”

His parents (Darren McGavin and Melinda Dillon) are trying to get the house together. The father is trying to keep the furnace from engulfing the house in smoke, his Oldsmobile from freezing over or the hillbilly Bumpusses’s bloodhounds at bay. The mother tries to keep the house running smoothly and the little brother, Randy (Ian Petrella) to eat voluntarily at the dining table.

Ralphie thinks that there is a silver lining when his teacher, Mrs. Shields (Tedde Moore) gives the class an assignment to write a theme about “What I Want for Christmas.” Ralphie thinks that if he gloats over the potential masterpiece that he is writing. When that doesn’t work, he thinks that bribing her would raise his grade.

There are so many classics moments like the father’s major award, Flick’s tongue getting stuck on a pole, Ralphie saying, “Fudge”, the homemade pink bunny outfit or Ralphie getting his revenge against two school bullies, Scut Farkus and Grover Dill (Zack Ward, Yano Anaya).

Judgment: What can be said about an American tradition?

Rating: ****

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Scarface (1983)

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You wanna fuck with me? Okay. You wanna play rough? Okay. Say hello to my little friend!

— Tony Montana

Scarface is the archetype for every rap star’s video since it entered the public consciousness in 1983. It has the classic lines, the glitz, the glamor, and plenty of “f” bombs. Seeing Brian De Palma’s opus left me with a bad taste in my mouth. This movie is #177 of Top 250 Film of All Time on IMDb. I’ll be damned.

This movie chronicles the rise and fall of drug kingpin, Tony Montana (Al Pacino). It begins with his humble beginnings as the 1980 Cuban immigration when Fidel Castro revolution started.

Tony and his friend, Manny Ray (Steven Bauer) live in a detention camp when they wait for their green cards. When they do, they work for a taco truck when Manny’s other friend, Omar Suarez (F. Murray Abraham) sets them up with their first drug trade. Something goes wrong with it when his brother, Angel, (Pepe Serna) is brutally killed in the process.

Eventually the duo is hired by drug lord Frank Lopez (Robert Loggia) to carry out his deals with Omar as the liaison. Tony has his eye on Lopez’s girl, Elvira (Michelle Pfeiffer).

Notorious skirt chaser, Manny is taken by Tony’s little sister, Gina (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio). Tony warns him not to pursue a relationship with her.

The people that he works with want him out of the way, but he doesn’t want that to happen. Snitches are revealed. Alliances are formed.

Tony is crafty is his ways. He will dispose of anybody that stands in his way. When he finally has all the power, he is paranoid that he loses it all. He drives the people closet to him away.

This movie is a morality tale about having absolute power. How it will destroy you and the innocent people around you.

This is almost three hours long. Some scenes were long and drawn out. The tone was all over the place. It was drama, comedy, and love story. It was like a pooh-pooh platter of genres.

Some of acting was questionable with the non-Hispanic actors slipping in and out of their accents. That was distracting.

Judgment: A movie that has not aged well. Still a pop culture fixture.

Rating: ***1/2

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