I should wait for Christmas?
This villain isn’t Santa Clause! It’s Mother. And today is exactly the day to celebrate the most excellent movie villainy of Mom.
The Mom from A Christmas Story is the perfect Mom to be our movie villain of the day. From the very first seen you cannot help but fall in love with her. …which would only be your first mistake.
Don’t even try to tell me that you don’t see it, because we all know that you are right there with Ralphie on that Red Rider BB Gun thing. You want it for him. You want it for yourself. Even if you are a girl, you want the Red Rider BB Gun, or at least you’ve wanted something as badly as Ralphie wanted that Red Rider BB Gun. Your own Red Rider BB Gun might have been a Cabbage Patch Kid, a new bike or even a bullwhip, …mine was a bullwhip. Anyway, the point is that we’ve all had our Red Rider BB Gun. So, when Ralphie says he wants one for Christmas, he speaks for all of us. Hell, he is us!
And that makes his Mom, OUR Mom!
…at least for the balance of the movie.
And when Ralpie’s Mom says no to that Red Rider, you all know damn well how it feels, because you heard it from your Mom too. If there was ever any doubt that his Mom was your Mom and my Mom, it vanished in that very moment. Right there and then Mother squashes your one true purpose in life. What on earth would possibly be better than a Red Rider BB Gun? Nothing!
You know what I am talking about. You are right there in the scene with Ralphie and I right now, aren’t you? You are there.
And sure enough, there Mom is, telling you ‘no’. “You’ll shoot your eye out kid,” she says. It is the first of many times you will hear this terrible proclamation. And seriously, is Mother not acting as the true villain here? Is she not the central obstacle to fulfillment of our major ambition. How could Mother possibly be anything else but a villain while doing such a terrible thing?
Dad would understand. At least he would if it weren’t for Mom. She’ll talk to him and that will ruin everything.
Don’t try to say that it’s okay, because it’s not. At that moment Mother crushes the heart of hope itself. World Peace, the love of God and country, even the taste of really great candy; all these things fail when you hear those words. No movie villain has ever taken more than Mom did in that moment when she first uttered those terrible words.
But that is not all. Let us not forget how skillfully Mother wielded the winter-clothing torture against our little brother! Let us not forget how he cried all the way to school, how he fell in the snow, and how we had to help him up! Let us not forget the vision of our poor dear brother crying as no child has ever cried before, all because Mom insisted on packing him into such a bundle of cloth. What villain could possibly have been more ruthless?
Let us not even speak of the lamp! …that beautiful lamp that father loved so much, the one she destroyed, thus proving her total domination of the household! No, let us not speak of these things. It is enough to remember them.
Yes, my friends, the mother of A Christmas Story is perhaps the most powerful movie villain ever. Who else could possibly block our greatest ambitions with a single phrase, bring our closest kin to tears, and destroy our father’s prize possessions. Who else but Mom? Worse still, who could do all that and make us love her for it? With her gentle strength and calm demeanor, the Mother of this story seeks to seduce us all, to help us find in her what we loved most about our own Mothers, all the while inflicting upon us that which we most feared in them. She beckons us to find reasons to thank her for that very crushing blow. She insists that we learn to see it her way. There is not quarreling with this mother, no chance to fight back against her charms. She is relentless!
Who could make us love her even as she rules over us with a gentle but overwhelming smile?