EVERY YEAR AROUND THIS TIME has always been special to me. First, my favorite holiday takes place this month, Thanksgiving. The food that is served for this holiday has always been special to me. Family recipes, some tweaked a bit depending on who would be there, would be on display offering multiple options of every course. And there was something about the food that gave me a sense of comfort, safety and love. I cannot describe it exactly, but there was nothing I did not like on the table except for that icky green bean casserole a relative insisted on bringing to the dinner. The other thing that made this time special was the yearly airing of the movie, The Wizard of Oz on television. As a little kid, I loved that movie. Every year when it was going to be shown on TV, the family would get together. The kids would settle down on the living room floor; some would have blankets; others would have pillows. The adults who wanted to see the film would have brought in extra chairs with them so every aunt and uncle would have a place to sit. One of the adults would check on us kids to see if we wanted anything to eat; however, depending on whose house we were all at, some relatives would not allow any food in their living room or what we would call it, “the front room.” JUST THINKING OF THAT TIME BACK then always puts me in a good mood. There are so many memories associated with that time we all got together to eat around the table and watch The Wizard of Oz. I remember as an adult watching the different versions/sequels that came out based on the original Oz film and I must tell you, none of them provided that warm fuzzy feeling that the first film did for me as a child. My amazement when a relative told me the reason the movie started out in black and white then went to color, when Dorothy opened the door after the tornado dropped the house down, was because color film was invented after the studio began shooting the movie. Whether that is true or not doesn’t matter to me because it is a deep-rooted memory of me being amazed at the transformation from the grey Kansas landscape to the colorful Oz. I think it is terrific when a movie can trigger a fond memory in us; I wonder how many of you will experience this when you watch this sequel to a holiday classic. WITH THE MOST IMPORTANT HOLIDAY COMING up, an adult Ralphie Parker, played by Peter Billingsley (The Break-Up, Sherman Oaks-TV), wants his kids to experience the magic of Christmas like he did when he was a kid. It would include a road trip back to his childhood home in Indiana. With Erinn Hayes (The Goldbergs-TV, Interior Night) as Sandy Parker, River Droshce (Miracle Workers-TV, Little Heroes: Mighty Missions-TV) as Mark, relative newcomer Julianna Layne as Julie and Julie Hagerty (Instant Family, Airplane franchise) as Mrs. Parker; this family comedy blended in situations from the original film with the updated versions. I will point out that the ending credits had side by side matching scenes, which were fun to watch. Because I saw the original film once a long time ago, I felt there were some things that I was missing in this picture. The beginning started out slow for me, but then found its footing. Some of the scenes were predictable, yet others had a ring of familiarity for me. The fact that this movie was created to be a wholesome, fun family watching experience I feel those who have fond memories of the original film will enjoy this new one more. Either way, I am glad I could watch it and remember my version of a happy holiday celebration.
2 ¾ stars