Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Who makes holidays brighter, Ralphie or Governator?

Ashley Voss – A Christmas Story

On Nov. 13, 2003, the day of my 19th birthday, I came to a realization that changed my life. My mother, fully understanding my undying devotion to any and all things involving leg lamps and Red Ryder BB guns, bestowed upon me a special-edition copy of "A Christmas Story," complete with a miniature bobble head doll.

It was then, as I gazed upon the cover of this glorious piece of multimedia and its companion figurine, that it hit me: I bear an uncanny resemblance to Peter Billingsley at age 12. "Peter who?" you may be asking. Perhaps you know him better as Ralphie Parker, friend to Little Orphan Annie, foe to the yellow-toothed Scut Farkus and all-around wonderful human being.


It would be fair to say that I'm a little bit biased because the film I'm about to endorse stars my Hollywood twin (admittedly a pre-teen male, but that's far better than resembling the star of some other Christmas film like say, Daniel Stern of "Home Alone," or worse … Joe Pesci.), but I can say without hesitation that "A Christmas Story" is the best holiday movie of all time. Hands down. Case closed. Surely, if it were anything short of spectacular, why would TNT continue to devote 24 hours of non-stop airtime to this merry little marvel annually?

The answer is simple: Ralphie Parker is the man, and everyone that surrounds him is naturally golden by association, from his ridiculous brother Randy in that massive snowsuit, to his father who sees fit to pronounce "fragile" in its Italian form ("Fra-gee-lay) to the "Fa-ra-ra-ra-ra" carolers at the Parker's makeshift Christmas feast.

Excuse me for taking a deep and symbolic turn (but I feel it's only fitting, as I am debating against an English major) when I say that Ralphie and his quest for the Red Ryder encompass key aspects of the American dream.

When Ralphie's parents, teacher and even an intoxicated department-store Santa Claus tell him he'll "shoot his eye out" and deny him his Christmas wishes, he doesn't give up his mission — no, no — he perseveres (repeating the phrase "Red Ryder BB gun" 28 times throughout the film, nonetheless). He even puts his convincing arguments down in writing in an in-depth third grade essay.

As the film presses on, Ralphie continues to grow as a character, fending off any potential roadblocks (i.e. beating the idiotic coonskin cap off of Scut Farkus), learning right from wrong (saying the expletive version of "fudge") and taking notice of the "soft glow of electric sex" in his front window.

True, Ralphie is not perfect, but he learns from his mistakes. He is but a child growing into a young adult in a truly touching Christmas tale — which naturally sets "A Christmas Story" leaps and bounds ahead of "Jingle All the Way," a film where some hulkish dude named Howard (Arnold Schwarzenegger) does battle with a crazed postal worker (played by none other than Sinbad) for some Power Ranger-esque toy.

When Ralphie smiles in "A Christmas Story," it touches hearts across America, whereas when Howard grins, it breaks hearts, as viewers fear the giant going Terminator and snapping small children in half.

No question about it, Ralphie and those adorable blue puppy dog eyes: 1, Sinbad and the angry Kindergarten Cop: 0.

Now, please excuse me while I go count down the minutes until the TNT marathon commences.

Dave McGrath – Jingle all the Way

Trying to compare "A Christmas Story" to "Jingle All the Way" in a favorable light is an exercise in futility more pointless than trying to dunk with Mugsy Bogues in "NBA Jam" on Sega Genesis.

What is Christmas? You can call it a holiday, or a time of cheer or a religious landmark on the calendar, but to be truly politically correct, it is a time for commercialism to thrive. Christmas is presents and getting what you want. Look no further than the two films in question here. "A Christmas Story" is all about some dumb kid, with dumb glasses and a dumb name trying to get a pellet gun for Christmas. It's all about Ralphie, Ralphie, Four-eyes, Ralphie.

Meanwhile, the greatest Christmas movie of all-time, presents a much less hedonistic moral, as Arnold Schwarzenegger — a.k.a. Mr. Awesome — goes on another harrowing, mission, more frightening than any he took in Predator, Commando or End of Days: Trying to get his son a Turbo Man action figure.

Anyone who lived through the infamous Tickle Me Elmo epidemic of 1996 knows that Christmas that year wasn't the same. That giggling red fuzzball of evil was the cause of more holiday cheerlessness than a marathon of Kathy Lee Gifford Christmas specials.

Fathers everywhere had to brave lines measured in hours, not distance, for the mere hope of a chance to win a chucking crimson cretin for their kids, despite knowing that by the end of the day the child would be having more fun with the packaging than the toy itself. It would be worse than suffering through a line for the privilege of dining in a Port-a-Potty.

No movie captures the essence that was the stampede for the stuffed toy of Satan more than "Jingle All The Way."

Being the educated English major that I am, I can see the obvious parallel that is drawn between Turbo Man and the fiery furred manifestation of Beelzebub — just as I well as I can see that Ms. Voss bares a striking resemblance to Ralphie, so much so that it has to be a family resemblance. Ralphie must've gotten together with Scut Farkus' sister sometime after the credits ran. Scary stuff.

Anyway, with Christmas being the commercial holiday that is the epic tale of Arnold chasing down a Turbo Man doll is inspiring. What more could a father do for his child? Talk about undying love for one's offspring (unlike Ralphie, who only sends Voss a copy of his movie every year). Beyond just fighting the lines, the Govenator duels a gang of fake-bearded mall Santa's including one that is a professional wrestler. Arnold repeatedly breaks the law for his son, eventually even impersonating a police officer (with a toy badge) and later on even Turbo Man. In the end of course the Santa-nator, saves the day as usual. He is his son's hero, and his wife is happier than ever … until she realizes that he didn't get her a present (roll credits).

Voss says that Ralphie embodies the American dream? Maybe, but Arnold is the definition of American reality as he was the do-gooder, try hard husband who is inevitably forced to sleep on the couch. Arnold is the true blue-collar everyday man in "Jingle all the Way" that everyone can relate to. Ralphie, he's kid with soap in his mouth.

Lastly, as further proof that "A Christmas Story" is far inferior to "Jingle All the Way," I point to television airings.

If you want to see Jingle All the Way you don't have to wait. Turn on HBO — the Cadillac of movie channels — at 3:30 p.m. today and it'll be there waiting for you like a quarter under your pillow the night after you lost the damned cavity-ridden molar.

Want to torture a hostage for info and need "A Christmas Story" to help? You'll have to wait until Dec. 15 and look for that channel no one less than 70 knows exists, Turner Classic Movies — the Geo of movie channels.

But the biggest reason that "Jingle All the Way" is the greatest Christmas movie of them all is because Sinbad is beat down and beat down repeatedly.

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