Friday, May 04, 2007

My Summer Story

Why doesn't this movie work? I'm not sure. Just like A Christmas Story, it has a script by Bob Clark Jean Shepherd, along with his narration and Clark's direction. It's based on Shepherd's fictionalized memoirs of his childhood. It has dandy period details. And yet . . . it just doesn't come up to the standards of the (much) earlier film.

Charles Grodin plays The Old Man, and he's fine, but the character's not quite the same one that Darren McGavin played in
A Christmas Story. Or maybe Grodin just doesn't get the nuances right. Mary Steenburgen is the mother, and she's fine, too. The original mom, Melinda Dillon looked a lot like her. A couple of Culkin kids play Ralphie and his little brother. They don't come up to the originals at all. Anyone who's read the stories, as I have, will recognize them immediately. The Bumpus family figures prominently, as do top spinning, movie giveaway nights, and crappie fishing. All well and good, but the end result is just an okay little movie without the special magic of A Christmas Story. Worth watching if you want to see more adventures of the Parker family, but don't expect too much.

9 comments:

  1. In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash and Wanda Hickeys Night of Love are two of the funniest books I've ever read. And listening to him as a kid in NJ on the radio was amazing.
    Darren McGavin was just brilliant in A Christmas Story.

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  2. I agree about McGavin. And about those books, too. I almost wish I'd grown up in NJ so I could have heard Shepherd on the radio. Must've been great, all right.

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  3. Chirstmas Story is just this magical, and how often does something like that get capitured on film?

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  4. My brother keeps telling me I should watch this, but I just can't make myself. Darren McGavin owned the role of the "Old Man," and I've never liked Grodin anyway. I'll stick to my CHRISTMAS STORY dvd.

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  5. Probably a wise decision.

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  6. My dad used to make us watch Fourth of July and other disasters, which had a runaway Roman Candle... that always held a special place in my heart as well...

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  7. Thanks for the review. I guess I can stop looking for a copy of this one. My wife doesn't even like Christmas Story so I have to watch it by myself.

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  8. Benjie, I know you have a wonderful wife, but . . . .

    Dave, I think that one was part of a series of several shows that PBS did based on Shepherd's stories. I haven't seen it, but I'd like to.

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