Yes, despite the ridicule of my resident Scrooges, I watched my favorite movie last night. I have my own copy, but I watched the network broadcast and did a few chores during the commercials. And of course I dozed off during a few key moments, but I have them memorized. LOL Yes, I could have used my DVD and hit pause…blah, blah, blah... I’ve already heard all of that from my son. Do you not know by now that I am old fashioned and really don’t care about always doing things in the most efficient manner? And I actually like some of the commercials during the holidays.
I’m sure my guys think I watch the movie for its sappy ending. Good triumphs over evil. George Bailey is saved from disaster by his loving friends because he is such a good man. No one is poor who has friends. Well, yes and no. Actually I love the movie because George is such a reluctant “good man”. One of my favorite quotes from him is “I want to do what I want to do.”
Jimmy Stewart was a great actor because he could say a thousand words without opening his mouth. His facial expressions in this movie are priceless. You know what he’s thinking. You know what he really wants to say. Then out comes the dialogue and he’s saying what people expect him to say. That’s what I like. He’s an ordinary man who would love to run away and have the time of his life fulfilling his dreams. But instead he does what is expected of him, until it nearly kills him.
“It’s a Wonderful Life” was a commercial flop in 1946 when it was released. It was too dark and dreary for post-war audiences. It wasn’t until the 1970’s when its copyright expired and networks began to use it for a holiday movie, that it became so popular. I suppose modern audiences are almost immune to the “dark” side of the movie because we have become accustomed to depictions of holiday depression and suicide. We tend to focus on the comical Clarence and George’s passionate, but amusing relationship with Mary. We know the movie, so we jump straight to the happy ending. However, I think it’s important to remember what’s in the middle- a man losing his grip on his life because he feels he is being used and abused. He’s tempted by Mr. Potter’s offer of a job. He’s tempted to dump Mary and the kids and run away. He’s tempted to jump off a bridge and end it all. I think you would be shocked by how many people are at the same brink of despair, especially during this time of year.
It took an angel to save George. But you can save someone by doing something very simple. Tell your friends how much they mean to you. Tell someone in your life how important they are to you. Let them know that what they do counts for something. That’s all most of us want. That’s all George wanted. Just to know that we make a difference. Just to know that the little things we do are noticed by someone. George’s dream was to build something with his life. He just didn’t realize he already had.