My Favorite Holiday Films: It’s a Wonderful Life

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is officially December, which means Christmastime is in full swing around the world. In New York (and, okay, lots of other places too) this means putting up the most ostentatious lights and decorative displays known to man and, well, elf. Besides listening to Christmas music nonstop, my other favorite pastime during this time of year is watching all my favorite holiday movies and TV specials. It feels like reuniting with old friends and stepping into a time capsule of childhood, doesn’t it? There’s something about this season that brings out the inner five year-old in all of us.

I find it only fitting to start off this special little series of holiday posts with a classic:

It’s a Wonderful Life

Is there a more heart-warming holiday film than this? No, and this is why it’s shown on repeat throughout the holiday season to make us all weep our way through George Bailey’s life story and realization that his life is indeed wonderful.500full

For all of you who find it cheesy, you probably don’t have a heart. And while, admittedly, Frank Capra had a soft spot for all-American tales of heroism, heart, and home, is that such a bad thing? I personally find it all rather refreshing in a time when we think everything has to be “gritty”and “realistic.”

This movie just wouldn’t work without Capra’s muse, Jimmy Stewart. Got to give props where props are due. Stewart makes George into a complicated guy instead of the one-dimensional melodramatic character he could be in another actor’s hands. In fact, I think George’s tale is more relatable than ever in these current, hard economic times.

George Bailey facing down Mr. Potter (no relation to me).

What I find so lovely about It’s a Wonderful Life is the older I get, the more I connect with it. It’s so easy to get caught up in all the have-nots of our lives instead of seeing all the great things we DO have. I’ve experienced that feeling so many times already in my adult life, and I can understand how enough of it could overwhelm anybody, even somebody as good and generous as George Bailey.

Mary Bailey, wife extraordinaire

Mary Bailey, wife extraordinaire

I think it’s also important to point out how great Mary is for George. She is the perfect spouse because she quietly supports him through everything, always knows what George needs (even when HE doesn’t know), and she loves him more than anything else in the world. George would be nothing without Mary, but Mary would also be nothing without George; they’re a real team.

And just try to tell me you don’t find the whole “lasso the moon” scene after they’ve fallen backwards into the pool incredibly romantic. Also the scene where they’re on the phone with Sam “He-haw” Wainright.

Just make out already. I can't handle it anymore!

Just make out already. I can’t handle it anymore!

I mean, this is the stuff of swooning, kids. Truly. I can only hope to have a love as great as George and Mary Bailey’s in my life. And the end where they’re embracing by the tree with their kids while everyone is singing “Auld Lang Syne?”  Forget it. I’m weeping. It’s a wonderful life, kids, and this is a wonderful movie.

Merry Christmas, Bedford Falls!

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