A CHRISTMAS STORY: My Summer Story (1994)

Jean Shepherd started working on this movie in 1989 after wrapping up production on the TV movie Ollie Hopnoodle’s Haven of Bliss and realizing that he was making more off the replays of A Christmas Story than trying to create TV shows or films. The cast of that film was now too old to oplay the roles, other than Ralphie’s teacher, Miss Shields, who is played again by Tedde Mills.

A year after the first movie, Ralphie Parker (Kieran Culkin) is now battling with a new bully, Lug Ditka (Whit Hertford), with former bad guy Scut Farkus (Chris Owen) now just another student. The two battle spinning tops and most of the movie involves Ralphie trying to find the perfect top to defeat Lug. Randy is played by Kieran’s brother Christian.

Meanwhile, mom (Mary Steenburgen) is dealing with a movie theater giving away the same gravy boat every week — the same story is in The Phantom of the Open Hearth — while the Old Man (Charles Grodin, trying to do a grunting approximation of Darren McGavin) is battling an even bigger Bumpus clan.

Directed again by Bob Clark, this was released as It Runs In the Family but released on video as My Summer Story. It’s a cute enough movie — the moment where Ralphie realizes he’s now a man are really poignant — but you can see why the studio changed the name of the film so it wouldn’t be compared to A Christmas Story.

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