It’s a Wonderful Life, where to begin…..
It’s that time of year again when it’s acceptable to put bells on your dogs and drink spiked eggnog. Just think if alien life forms were disguised and living among us observing our culture this time of year. They would be wondering what the function of trees are because everybody is putting them in their homes so they must be important right? They would also be asking themselves why people keep giving their friends and family fruit cakes if nobody likes eating them. There are thousands of question possibilities they would be asking themselves, but they would defiantly be wondering why ABC Family has a countdown to the countdown of 25 days of Christmas. I’m still confused about that one. Another thought, how do we explain to the Aliens if they ask us why Home Depot sets up their Christmas decorations before September starts every year? Either way this time of year is for taking in some classic movies that make you laugh while you sip hot chocolate.
I was around ten years old when my parents sat me and my two older brothers down and forced us to watch It’s a Wonderful Life. Of course I was very young and didn’t even know what this movie was, but I knew one thing for sure that I didn’t like being told that I had to watch a movie by my parents. I was very stubborn about the idea of watching an old movie that was in black and white. How dare my parents take me away from my N64 gaming time to make me watch some old movie! Thank goodness they did make me watch it (albeit it was the colorized version and on VHS). It’s one of my all time favorites for so many reasons. It has great writing, directing, acting, and they made a great choice to film it in black and white, even though they could have done the movie in color. You can’t even tell that this low budget movie was made in the middle of the summer. The temperatures were around 100 degrees during filming, FYI, while you watch Jimmy Stewart and Thomas Mitchell’s characters run around the snowy town of Bedford Falls looking for their lost money you should think of that fact. This was Jimmy Stewart’s first movie back from fighting in the big one, WWII (yes actors used to do more than just get divorced from each other), and it proved to be one of his best performances. This movie came close to being lost forever but its box office demise actually helped the movie become a cult holiday favorite. Capra started his own movie company and his first picture was It’s a Wonderful Life. The movie was not generally liked by its original audience, it was a box office bust. After Capra was forced to sell the movie rights the movie’s ownership changed hands a couple of times throughout the years. But because of a copyright ownership error in the early 1970s the movie was able to be shown for a small royalty charge by local television channels across the nation during the holidays over and over, which lead it to becoming so well known and popular. This film was actually not originally intended to be a Christmas movie, which is why it is probably so great. After it was determined that the release date would be around the holidays Frank Capra wrote some Christmas elements into the movie.
And I know what you’re thinking (Yes I read minds) why should I want to watch this old movie in black and white? The majority of the younger demographic has a great indifference for anything old when it comes to movies. I’m glad I found the immunization for this disease of indifference toward anything old. Usually if some twenty-something lady or fellow champions a movie or television show pre-dating their parents birth they are ostracized and disregarded. But “We can’t be consumed by our petty differences anymore. We will be united in our common interests. Perhaps it’s fate that today is the Fourth of July (disregard the date), and you will once again be fighting for our freedom… Not from tyranny, oppression, or persecution… but from annihilation. We are fighting for our right to live. To exist. And should we win the day, the Fourth of July (just think of the fourth of July as old stuff) will no longer be known as an American holiday, but as the day the world declared in one voice: “We will not go quietly into the night!” We will not vanish without a fight! We’re going to live on! We’re going to survive! Today we celebrate our Independence Day!” I think that quote from Independence Day put it best. Just give it a shot and watch it as it was meant to be watched, don’t pay attention to that colorized version, that version is just blasphemy. You just might as well get used to older movies because the truly great older films will always stick around.
It’s officially December so that means we’re going to be watching twelve different versions of the Christmas Carol. Decembers when the American people question why Tim Allen made not one but two sequels to The Santa Clause. It’s when we get to watch Arnold Schwarzenegger Jingle All The Way to finding a toy for his son and somehow ends up using a jet-pack at the end of the movie. It’s when we see Will Ferrell in tights, Jim Carrey as the Grinch, a little kid get his tongue stuck to a frozen pole, and Chevy Chase throw a horrible Christmas party. Putting all those movies aside December is also the time of the year when you should sit down and watch one of the true great inspirational movies, It’s a Wonderful Life. It’s going to be NBC Saturday night (December 3rd) it’s one of the few good things NBC has left to air on its channel (goodbye Community), and if you miss that showing shame on you but you can see it again Christmas Eve on NBC. This movie has a lot of heart and brings a lot of warm and fuzzy feelings at the end of the picture. I get goose bumps every time when George Bailey’s family and friends bail him out for once at the end of the movie during his time of need. This movie has it all, it even explores an alternate universe for you time traveling, and what-if history lovers. So check this film out, if you hate it then you can blame me for my recommendation and you can send your complaint to “firstname.lastname@example.org”.