Wednesday, November 21, 2012

3 Things Scut Farkus Taught Us About Life

You've seen his face.
Those thin lips.
Those yellow eyes that strike horror in your eight-year-old inner self's memory.

Scut Farkus, the iconic brace-faced bully from the 80's classic film, A Christmas Story, not only made us afraid to take the alleyways home from school, but he did so by being totally awesome. I mean, have you ever known anyone to sport a coon cap, green sweater vest, and black jacket as effectively as Zack Ward did when he was only twelve and appearing in his first film? Furthermore, does it surprise you that the actor's name is Zack Ward, a perfectly bullyish name? Or that he turned out to be probably the busiest kid-turned-adult actor (not in porn) to come out of A Christmas Story besides Peter Billingsley, who played the lead role of Ralphie and went on to executive-produce the box-office smash, Iron Man? Zack has appeared in episodes of CSI: Miami and NY, Hawaii Five-O, The Mentalist, Breakout Kings, and also in films such as Resident Evil: Apocalypse and Freddy vs. Jason.

But perhaps Zack Ward's greatest legacy is Scut Farkus, and if I were him, I'd be totally okay with that. Here's 3 things I learned from his character:

1) If you're gonna have a toadie, it helps to get one who's bigger than your victims. Dude, really? Grover? The 4-ft-high, top-heavy flat-capper who went on to play a young Michael Anthony in Van Halen's Hot for Teacher video and the paperboy in Better Off Dead ("Two dollars, I want my two dollars!") My basil plant is taller than that guy.
2) Yellow eyes did not start with the Cullens. That's right, Twilighters. Scut Farkus had yellow eyes waaaay before Edward did. Everything 80's is just better, so get used to it. So, what are you gonna cry now? Huh? Cry for me, crybaby! Come on!!!

3) The meanest, baddest boys bleed the mostI'll never forget seeing Ralphie get so fed up with Scut that he finally unleashed his fury and pummeled Scut into the snow, drawing copious amounts of blood--hard-hitting, reality-inducing blood--onto the big screen, teaching me that the meanest boys are usually the softest ones, at least on the inside, and that you're better off watching out for the baby-faced, blue-eyed rage monsters who ask Santa for BB guns, instead of footballs (which, yes, Ralphie, is a perfectly good present).

Our family watches A Christmas Story every year right after the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. Yes, it's replaced A Wonderful Life in our house as the post-parade Christmas season-kickoff film. So if you watch it too, make sure to pause Scut's face and take a good long look at it. Soak in the red-faced, squinty glare of the best screen bully who ever lived. And remember that bullies are people, too, good kids who nobody's watching who usually don't have anybody to give them hot Ovaltine on a cold Northern Indiana day and just need the shit kicked out of them to make them stop their bullying reign.

Lesson learned.

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  1. I love this movie! In fact, I was shocked that my husband never saw it so I made his inner child complete by forcing him to watch it two years ago. It's now his favorite Christmas movie. Not only that, he spots the leg lamp references everywhere teehee ;). It's like he was let in on a Christmas secret. Thank you for writing about this Christmas classic.

    1. I saw it in the theaters when I was a kid and never imagined it would become the modern classic it has today. Thanks Dinah!

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