Tuesday, December 26, 2006

What makes something a "classic"?

I love A Christmas Story. It has become a part of the fabric of Christmas thanks to the annual 24 hr Christmas marathon on TBS (used to be on TNT before they went all serious and dramatic). I'm not even sure how many years that marathon has been running, it can't be that long, the movie only came out in 1983 and yet, it seems like forever, I can hardly remember Christmas without it. I watched it yesterday, as I do every Christmas. Not all at once, but we usually turn it on in the morning and then leave the tv on as we go about our day. I caught the ending first this year as I waited for my turn to shower - the goose "smiling" at the family as they are introduced to "Chinese turkey". I saw Flick get stuck to the flagpole as we returned from Church and ate breakfast, and as we went about the usual traditions of the day - the eating, the present opening, the eating - I caught flashes: the bunny suit; Fuudddgggeee!; the decoder ring; Fra-gi-le, it must be Italian; that wierd kid in the goggles that stands next to Ralphie in the line to see Santa.

There is no doubt in my mind that this is a classic holiday movie. In my world I put it right behind A Charlie Brown Christmas, and right before It's a Wonderful Life, though I'm sure you have your own list.

I wonder though, is it a classic because it's good (which it is, of course, really good), or is it a classic because the annual marathon has made viewing it a part of our family's Christmas day traditions (and apparently some 35 million other households as well according to Wikipedia). Without the marathon viewing would it have had the same impact?

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