For as long as I can remember, every Thanksgiving in the Mackay household has ended with the viewing of the film A Christmas Story to ring in the Christmas season. Not only is the film a family favorite, it also happens to be an American Christmas classic. The older I get, the more I appreciate its humor and overall portrayal of the holiday season. It really captures what it feels like to be a kid at Christmas time...and not just during the 1940's...but during any era! Everything is built up in your own little world towards that one day and the presents that you might receive during it! Most Christmas films focus on the holiday itself, but it really is the whole month and the events that surround it that make up a kid's Christmas and the movie gets that. The cast is all very talented and the movie never really seems to get old. I've seen it 25 some odd times now and I only like it more and more. (It may just be because I can really relate to Randy, but who knows...)
Anyway, aside from all the strengths of the writing and performances, [quick side note before I move onto the main topic of the blog.... On the topic of performances: I just love seeing the joy on The Old Man's face when Ralphie finally opens his beloved present... it just shows the depth of his character and the joy he does get in the simple moments... okay side note over] one thing that always impresses me about A Christmas Story is how much it just nails the look of the period. I mean not that I was there, but it feels authentic...and every time I watch it I think of it as the 40's, and NOT the 80's in which it was made. The only flaw and the sign of the 80's was the mom's hair, but even so...it doesn't detract from the film. Unlike say.... Dirty Dancing, which is probably the worst period movie I can ever think of. I can't believe it tries to pass off that it was set in the 60's with all that 80's hair and music. But back to the authentic side, Back to the Future's 1950's sequences also always really impress me too.
One the upcoming movies I'm looking forward to is a black & white silent film called The Artist set in the 20's era...and most of it looks so amazing, but every time I see the lead actress she kind of takes me out of it. Not 1920's at all. But, it's been getting fantastic reviews all across the board, so of course I'll be seeing it anyway. So this all leads to the question of what period films work and which have their time imprinted on them, AND which actors and actresses are great in period films and which aren't? It's funny to me how well some people like Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet, and Keira Knightley seem to be able to slip into any decade or era at ease, but you throw a Kirsten Dunst into something like Marie Antoinette and you think "this feels wrong..." (though that movie felt wrong for a myriad of reasons..) More questions I guess could be: what are the best timeless films featuring stories that anyone can relate to at any time? What are the best Christmas films? and..... What are the best timeless Christmas films? Oh and who are the best timeless, or can fit into anytime, actors and actresses? Did you get all that? Now discuss.