Not Rated, 130 minutes, Drama
The other half of our aforementioned Christmas double feature contained perhaps the most inescapable Christmas movie in American culture: It’s A Wonderful Life. A true necessity of the season, this film is one of the most widely viewed, longest lasting, sentimental powerhouses to ever be committed to cellulose.
George Bailey. Good ol’ George. It’s Christmas Eve and George isn’t doing so well. A host of angels look down upon him as they review his life, discussing how best to help him. George (Stewart) grows from a good boy into a good man, but his time on Earth comes with its frustrations. He never gets to travel and he never gets to go to college, but still George persists by doing the right thing no matter what.
After a large sum of cash goes missing from the savings and loan he manages and a warrant is written for his arrest, George falls apart and decides to kill himself. It’s due to the intervention by the angel Clarence (Travers) that George stops himself. After confessing his dissatisfaction with life to Clarance, George goes back into town only to discover the nightmare the world has become without him in it.
I’m guessing you’ve already seen this movie a few times before. There’s probably a split between viewers who either like it or don’t see what’s so special. It’s to the latter crowd that I ask where they had their lobotomies done. I hold this movie in the highest regard. As a fan of movies, I’ve seen thousands upon thousands and I have yet to find a single film that surpasses this shinning example. This is the greatest movie of all time and I daresay that is a fact and not just my opinion. You may not feel that way as the film starts, but the magic contained within will certainly change your mind by the end. This is a story designed to make anyone feel better about themselves and that is why it is the greatest movie. I might as well stop blogging here because this is truly it.
Yeah, but I’m not gonna. This movie might be the greatest, but it also has perhaps the largest chunk of setup in cinematic history. It literally goes over George’s life with a fine-toothed comb, much as with Charles Kane, but the results are astronomically better. Every element explored is vital is making George feel like a personal friend, neighbor, and important to the lives of everyone around him. He is the epitome of a good guy: flawed and human; resilient and weary; moral and thankfully not sappy.
It’s amazing to watch someone like George, even if he is fictional. Everyone around him actually gives a care about his well-being. It’s enough to make a guy jealous. While he’s obviously affected by his situation, George takes most every negative thing that comes his way and spins it into something good. That alone is enough to make him admirable and it’s all the more devastating to watch as he falls apart and his life turns inside out.
If you’ve somehow never seen this movie, it’s time that you do. If you somehow do not like this movie, I suggest you reevaluate your apathy level. If you don’t own this, buy it. If it’s playing at a theater near you, go out to see it. This is one film guaranteed to give your life at least a little bit of hope.
Rating: The Greatest Movie of All Time.
Watch: There isn’t any better film in existence. Period.
Don’t watch: Didn’t you just read the last line?