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The Grand Cinema goes retro this Christmas – and evil

Post by Craig Sailor / The News Tribune on Dec. 14, 2010 at 6:04 pm |
December 15, 2010 10:09 am

Tacoma’s Grand Cinema is showing two Christmas classics this weekend and one seriously sinister Santa film.

First up is “A Christmas Story” on Saturday. Part of the Click! Family Flick series, the movie will show on two screens. Consider it a gift: it’s free. Just get there at 10 a.m. The film starts at 10:30 a.m. and might fill to capacity as last year’s showing of “The Polar Express” almost did.

If you haven’t seen the movie or the musical based on it currently showing at the Fifth Avenue Theatre here’s a synopsis: Ralphie (Peter Billingsley), a young boy growing up in the 1940s, dreams of getting a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas. But his mother says no and poor Ralphie doesn’t get any support, even from Santa himself.

The movie became an instant classic when it came out in 1983 due in no small part to Billingsley’s endearing portrayal. Billingsley is, of course, all grown up now and is serving as a producer on the musical in Seattle. Ralphie’s buffoonish father was played by Darren McGavin, an alumni of the Jessie Dyslin Boys Ranch and Puyallup High School.


Going form the recreated ‘40s to the real ‘40s is the holiday classic “Miracle on 34th Street”. The Grand is hoping to start a new holiday tradition with two showings of “Miracle”. The first is Sunday at 3 p.m. and the second is Thursday, Dec. 23, at 6:15 p.m. Kids 17 and under are $5 for both showings. Adult prices are $6.50 on Sunday and $8.50 on the 23rd.

The story revolves around an elderly gentleman who claims to be Santa Claus. When he’s institutionalized as insane a young lawyer defends him in court by arguing that he is the real Santa.

The Grand’s Rachel Marecle said the theater is hoping to make a holiday movie screening an annual event. “We want to create a holiday family tradition for people.”

Perhaps a holiday classic in the making is this year’s “Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale” – a dark fairy tale from Finland. In the depths of the Korvatunturi mountains lives a sinister Santa – one who chews off ears and kidnaps innocent children.

Naturally, an American drilling team digs him up. Soon after, reindeer are slaughtered and children go missing. Only the son of a villager knows why and it’s up to him to put Santa back where he belongs.

A New York Times Critics’ Pick, reviewer Jeannette Catsoulis said, “Kids will love the diminutive, motherless hero and a plot that’s completely bonkers; adults will enjoy the exuberantly pagan images and deadpan humor. Tots, on the other hand, will probably never sit on Santa’s lap again.”

The R rated film (some nudity and language) opens Friday at the Grand.

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