Saturday, April 25, 2015

(Spoilers) It's a Wonderful Life Review

***SPOILER WARNING: Spoilers may be found in the post below about VARIOUS ITEMS. And I'm going to add in a bit of filler text here to limit how much of the main article gets shown in a preview. That should take care of most of it. Hopefully. And away we go. SPOILER WARNING. ***

Took a few decades, but I finally sat down to watch It's a Wonderful Life on an uneventful weekend night around Christmas last year.

A town can't seem to let go of a banker who feels a duty to help others around him. And then something bad happens.

Good or Bad?
I know, it's a classic, but I try to stay away from movies made before the 1980s. That doesn't explain why I've watched every episode of Combat, every old Planet of the Apes movie, and a bunch of World War II movies. Okay, maybe I try to stay away from black and white movies then. This probably means I'm missing out from a lot of incredible classic movies. Oh well?

It's a Wonderful Life has probably been shown on TV around Christmas time every year since I was born. Never really tried to watch more than a minute of it. This was my first time watching it from beginning to end. I enjoyed it. Figuring out why it was a Christmas movie took some time though. If I remember correctly, the story followed George's entire adult life. The constants were the town he couldn't manage to leave for various reasons and his job at one of the town's banks. He felt he was getting shafted, had a meltdown, then got to see how great he was and how much everyone appreciated him -- the last part happened around Christmas. It came off as a major feel-good movie and very PG, perfect for Christmas?

The long span of time the movie covered was interesting. George lived through the Great Depression and World War II with stops in the movie around each -- I think the run on the banks part was about the depression? What caught my attention was the use of the angel and alternate universe thing. I didn't expect that to happen from the tone set throughout the first portion of the movie. Maybe I was expecting something more like City of Angels or Faraway, So Close! (German movie), but those movies were mainly about the angels -- only seen the first one with Nicholas Cage and Meg Ryan.

I found the acting and production to be pretty well done as well. Expectations were a lot lower given the special effects and acting style I was used to from post-1980s movies. This was a 1940s release? It did have a bit of a timeless quality. This might explain why it's still being shown about 70 years later regularly.

And now a lot of popular culture references actually make sense to me. At least a few of them that I missed were in The Simpsons. It's going to be a surprise when I finally get others when I watch reruns.

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