Merry Christmas everyone, I've been spending some time with family and loved ones and having a pretty good Christmas here. But enough about me, I'm here to talk about a Christmas movie which is always a holiday tradition for me and I look forward to every year. And that movie is; It's a Wonderful Life. Yeah I know it seems cliche to pick this one as my favorite but in all honesty, it may be my all time favorite movie of any genre (That list includes Citizen Kane, Star Wars, A Clockwork Orange, etc). And every Christmas Eve, I watch it again on NBC in the glorious black-and-white version (Sorry, but I can't even fathom watching it in color, just so used to it in B&W). Heck this year, I convinced my sister who's never seen it before to watch it and she loved it. But for those of you who haven't seen it and don't know what I'm talking about, I'm just going to highlight some reasons why I like it so much.
The backstory that is given for Clarence (Angel to save George Bailey) I felt like did have moments of forced exposition (Like flat out telling us "This scene is important") but in the grand scheme of the story I felt was actually done quite well. We see throughout the backstory that George is essentially a good well respected man who wants to travel the world and see new places but always has events that put his life second fiddle to his hopes and dreams. I felt that Jimmy Stewart's performance as a man who watches as everyone else gets what they want while he has to suffer by himself was fantastic. He never openly blames anyone for his life and he decides to make the most out of what he's given. It's not until the prospect of him going to jail for something his senile uncle did that he actually snaps and blames people and we all know what we're like when we snap under pressure. Mr. Potter has to be one of the evilest villains I've ever seen as he views people as a way of making more money and is willing to step on anybody who gets in his way. The line that cements his evil for me is when George is begging him for money so he doesn't go to jail, George offers Potter his life insurance policy as collateral but it's only worth $500 (George needs $8000). Potter then tells George as a response; "You're worth more dead than alive"... I was at a loss for words when I first heard that. To Potter a person is only worth as much as you can put a dollar symbol on them and it sickens me. Clarence showing George the alternate reality I thought was just great because we can all take our lives for granted and it's not until we realize what a big hole we'd leave if we weren't there. It also tells us that life is more than just money and it's about all the people we affect. I'd like to end my praise with the ending scene as it always gets me chocked up seeing how George is so well loved that the town would go to all that trouble to prevent something bad from happening to George. I think the quote in the book summed up the movie quite well; "Remember, no man is a failure who has friends"
If you haven't seen it, check it out, if you have, see it again. Until next year fans.