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262 of 299 people found the following review helpful
actually there are 7
on September 10, 2012
do people realize there are 7 movies about this family. so it's not like this is some sort of thing that noone should touch. it fact many were done before Christmas Story, and noone really complained about the others. then again i guess the titles of the other weren't Christmas Story. that alone I guess will get people in a huff. I won't give it more or less then 3 stars tell i see it, cause i like to stay objective.
the others btw are:
1976 - The Phantom of the Open Hearth - Ralph is attending the prom. Yes, the TV films were all about a teenage Ralphie. This one also gives us the original film versions of the leg lamp story and the Orpheum dish-night fiasco, and the amusing build-it-yourself house story. It's my least favorite of the Ralphie films to watch though, because it's a bit depressing and probably the hardest to acquire a good copy of today, but still very enjoyable. Never released officially on VHS or disc. Ralph is played by David Elliot here, and the Old Man by the wonderful James Broderick. Mom is played by Barbara Bolton.
1982 - The Great American Fourth of July and Other Disasters - Matt Dillon plays Ralph in this one! It's probably my favorite of the Ralphie movies outside of "A Christmas Story". In it, Ralph goes on a disastrous blind date, marches in the 4th of July parade with his school band, and gets tangled up with Schwartz in a picnic race against their weasely buddy, Flick. Meanwhile, Mom takes up a washrag chain-letter, neighborhood drunk Ludlow Kissel surprises everyone with a firework from hell, and the Old Man puts on a fireworks display to thrill the masses. It's a must-see on every 4th of July for me, along with 1776, The Patriot, and Johnny Tremain. Great fun! James Broderick and Barbara Bolton return in this one. A wonderful, heartwarming holiday film. Sadly, another that's still only available under the table.
1983 - The Star-Crossed Romance of Josephine Cosnowski - Another delightful one here. Teenage Ralph finds his first serious love in his new Polish neighbor, Josephine, but at her family's big Thanksgiving celebration he learns how serious a few dates can be with some families, and it's escape now or wind-up like his pal, the former high-school basketball star thrust too soon into adulthood. This one also explores the Old Man's bad habit of buying used cars and Randy's turn at playing a turkey in a school play. Good movie to watch on a Thanksgiving evening or anytime, but, again, not available officially on VHS or DVD. Forget about Blu-Ray. Ralph is well played by Peter Kowanko here, with George Coe as the Old Man and Barbara Bolton returning as Mom. Katherine Kamhi plays Josephine Cosnowski.
1983 - A Christmas Story - I'm sure you know this one. Ralph, 10 years old and played to perfection by a bespectacled Peter Billingsley, is on a holiday quest to insure himself the gift of a Red Ryder BB gun. A perfect movie and a Christmas classic. The Old Man is also played to perfection here by Kolchak himself, Darren McGavin, and likewise Mom played by Melinda Dillon. Easily available in any format I know of, and currently running for 24 full hours annually on one of those cable networks that starts with a T. At some point, inspired by this film, my family gave up the virtual repeats of Thanksgiving dinner on Christmas Day to instead go out to a local Chinese buffet. We never looked back.
1988 - Ollie Hopnoodle's Haven of Bliss - The Parker family returned to TV in this one, as we see a barely teenage Ralph, played well by a young Jerry O'Connell of "Sliders" fame, getting his working papers and his miserable first job. In addition, the family dog, little Fuzzhead, runs away. The bulk of the story, however, is the family's maniacal road-trip to their favorite fishing haven, Ollie Hopnoodle's Haven of Bliss. Another great cast brings another great Ralphie tale to life with the delightful Dorothy Lyman of "Mama's Family" as Mom and James Sikking nicely portraying the Old Man and feeling quite a bit like McGavin's version without it seeming intentional or forced. Available only on VHS so far. I believe Disney holds this one, so I wish they'd quit sitting on it.
1994 - My Summer Story - The Old Man is played here by Charles Grodin. Some folks say he seems to be trying to be Darren McGavin. Personally, I only got that feeling a wee bit when he sounded like he was trying to talk like him in a couple parts. Mostly, he seemed to be playing it on his own and he's enjoyable in the role most of the time. Mary Steenburgen was well cast as Mom, and Kieran Culkin plays Ralph well enough, but Peter Billingsley is a tough act to follow. The only returning cast member, aside from Jean Shepherd narrating as Adult Ralph, is Tedde Moore as Ralph's teacher, Miss Shields. This one was made for the big screen, originally titled "It Runs in the Family". I don't recall it ever actually going to theaters, at least not in my area. Probably had a limited release. The title was wisely changed to "My Summer Story", and the fact that another MGM release is titled "It Runs in the Family" likely causes some confusion at times for folks looking for this film. "My Summer Story" has been released on both VHS and DVD. I prefer the VHS cover to the "house wrapped in a straitjacket" DVD cover, but whatever. Neither is great nor reminiscent of the "A Christmas Story" poster artwork. The Ollie Hopnoodle's VHS cover is much better