Sunday, December 13, 2009

But I don't want to see it! ~ It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

As of this very moment, I'm 29 years, 18 days and a few hours old. In that span of time I have never, not ever, not even once, seen the classic film It's a Wonderful Life (1946). I have had no even an iota of interest in watching it. Why? Who knows. I just never wanted to and still really don't. Do any of you have a film like that? A film that everyone praises to the skies but you react to the idea of watching it with an unenthusiastic "meh"?

Here are a few things you should know about me.

1) I didn't grow up celebrating Christmas but adopted the tradition as an adult.
2) I tend to shirk those movies that are uber-popular. Gone with the Wind, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, etc.
3) I believe life is too short to watch films that don't interest you when there are so many other films that do.
4) I will however take a film recommendation of a friend or someone I care about because sharing films is a great way to experience them.

Unfortunately, It's a Wonderful Life happens to be a really popular Christmas movie that my family never watched when aired during the holidays, that never piqued my interest and one in which no one has realy taken the initiative of forcing me to watch it. Until now.

Tonight, I will break my lifelong boycott of It's a Wonderful Life (1946). I have absolutely no idea what my reaction will be! Will I hate it and wonder why I even bothered? Will I love it so much that I wondered how I lived so long without this marvelous film? Or will I simply say "meh"?

Next up: My reaction


  1. It is a really good film and quite a bit darker than its feelgood reputation might have you expect. I dare you not to cry at the end as well. Dare you!

    I don't know if I've got any films I've similarly avoided, although I still haven't ever watched a Bollywood film even though friends of mine have frequently tried to convince me of their charms. I don't know why I've got such a mental block about them. Maybe it's time to take the plunge.

  2. I didn't grow up watching It's a Wonderful Life either, and didn't get around to seeing it until I was a junior in high school. I liked it though, mostly for Jimmy Stewart's performance. And Phil's right, it's not as upbeat and cheesy as its reputation, and it's not even all that Christmasy. I hope you like it!

    Personally, I've avoided The Godfather II, because I didn't like the first one and have no desire continuing the story. I'm not in a rush to see The Departed either, even though everyone keeps telling me I should. Meh.

  3. I'm a real fan of IAWL, so I know I'm biased.

    But it isn't really a Christmas film at all. It's not like Holiday Inn, or White Christmas.

    It's tie to the holidays is more of a plot device. The fact that there is an angel involved is a device for explaining why George is able to change how he sees his world.

    The only things that are directly tied to Christmas are songs, snow, an angel, and a Christmas tree.

    As Phil has said, it's a fairly dark movie at times.

    I do hope you find the film worth your hour of viewing.

  4. You must see it honey! I think you will truly enjoy it. I did a post about some trivia associated with the film last week if you want to check it out before you watch it! Have a great day! Kori xoxo

  5. i think its a great film with a great cast, great screenplay, great direction and a truly great performance by Jimmy Stewart.

    yeah, it's great! will you think so too.... we'll see, but i'll bet it isnt going to be what you expct :)

  6. I've seen it a few times over the years and I come to the same conclusion with each viewing ... it's a terribly overrated movie. Not only that but it's filled with enough sappy stereotypes to make a reasonable person want to push George off the bridge.

  7. I'm biased as well. It's A wonderful Life is my favorite movie!

    I agree with with everything Karen said, and like everyone else, it is a darker film than expected. Similar, yet quite different from Frank Capra's other films. Jimmy Stewart gives a great performance as well. This was his first movie after serving in World War II, and he is absolutely marvelous in it.

    I'm the same way with most popular films, though. I really liked Gone With The Wind and Casablanca, but movies such as Rebel without A Cause and Breakfast At tiffany's I never really understood all the hype about. And after seeing them, I don't think they're as great as everyone says. They were good, but not spectacular.

    I really hope you enjoy It's A Wonderful Life! :)

  8. Hi Raquelle, I hope you enjoy the movie. This is actually my favorite film, not because of holiday sentimentality, but because it is a story I can relate to, of a person whose dreams don't always come true. The film deals with alot of adult themes that when I first saw the movie at 10 years old, I didn't fully understand: troubled economy, bank failures, death of a parent, putting off college, living modestly, corporate corruption. So it may be a great thing that you are seeing this for the first time now as an adult! The performances are all wonderful. James Stewart becomes the character of George Bailey, and Lionel Barrymore becomes the sinister banker Potter, one of cinema's greatest villains. If I can give some advice, the film is filled with supporting characters, and each of them is important in some way. In fact, I don't consider this a "Christmas movie". Most of the film doesn't take place at Christmas at all, only the ending takes place at Christmas, but it could take place any time of the year; the film is more about how George Bailey's friends and acquaintances affect his life. I once met someone who didn't like this film because it has angels in it, yet they liked "A Christmas Carol", which has ghosts and spirits. I hope you like it, and look forward to your review! - Tom

  9. I grew up watching It's a Wonderful Life, so it is rather tied up with memories of Yuletides past. Even so, I think I can objectively say you'll like it. It features what I consider Jimmy Stewart's best performance. And even though you hear it bandied about as an "inspiring," "sentimental," "heart felt," et. al. film, it is actually very, very dark. In fact, it may be Capra's darkest film besides MEet John Doe!

  10. Wow! Thank you to everyone for their feedback. It seems like everyone loves this film except for Bill. I'm not sure who's team I'll join. :-)

    I already knew that this film was dark. It's one of the main reasons why I don't want to watch it. I'd almost rather see something sentimental and happy.

  11. I was just like you avoiding IAWL. I watched it for the first time last Christmas only because the DVD stared me in the face while I was shopping and the guilt of not having seen it overwhelmed me. I did a little post about my shock on how much I liked it.

    Everyone who commented here is right when they say it's not a traditional Christmas film. It's much more Frank Capra than Christmas Cheer. It even has the trademark crow! I can't wait to see what you think. :D

  12. I concur with some of the other comments here about IAWL not being very Christmassy. To me it has more of the post-war flavor of The Best Years of Our Lives or Till the End of Time, although I like both of those movies better than I do It's a Wonderful Life.

    I can almost guarantee you'll get verklempt at the ending. I know I always do. :)


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  14. To be honest, I don't remember if I have seen It's A Wonderful Life or not. I think I have but it was most certainly a long time ago. I may have been too young to really grasp it. Maybe it's time to see it again.

    I have also chosen to avoid some popular titles. Anything concerning Star Wars or Star Trek. The Lord Of The Rings and such great fantasy epics just don't appeal to me. There's no songs, no dancing or even no romance in those films. At least nothing I can understand. To me they are just a load of pretentious mumbo-jumbo, noise, elfs and light sabres. No thanks!

  15. I think It's A Wonderful Life is a pretty swell film, it might surprise you! If you ask me, Capra isn't as "corny" as everyone makes him out to be. I see a lot more cynicism in his films than he's usually given credit for.

  16. I'm curious, why the change from not celebrating the holiday to choosing to do so?

    As many have said, It's a Wonderful Life is not completely Christmas-y. It's just that the ending takes place at Christmas and the fact for years it got shown to death around the holidays that makes that connection.

    It's funny, I too tend to dislike things that become super popular, and have definitely dismissed things as being overrated. But I don't usually have that reaction with classic movies. I guess I feel that people liking any of the classics is a good thing. :-)


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