Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Does 'It's a Wonderful Life' Irritate You or Lift Up Your Spirits?

As I wrapped a gazillion Christmas presents today, I was listening to a Boston area talk radio host trash It's a Wonderful Life as being a depressing movie with a lousy message. Shortly thereafter, the mailman delivered a new DVD copy of It's a Wonderful Life that I'd ordered. (We only owned it on VHS and this year decided it was about time we upgraded.)

The talk radio host was going on and on about how it sucked that George Bailey was taken advantage his entire life, cheated by his greedy brother who took George's college money and never took the reigns of the Bailey Building & Loan as he promised he'd do, left vulnerable to possible criminal charges after Mr. Potter kept Bailey Building & Loan money that Uncle Billy had foolishly left in the folds of his newspaper, being assigned a bumbling guardian angel in training as George contemplated suicide, and then his wife had to go all around town begging for money.

About half of the callers to the radio show thought the host was off base and called it a beautiful film about family and the power of community. However there was a vocal group which agreed with him, saying that it was a shame that George was guilted into giving up on his potential and his talents, that he was railroaded by people who didn't have his best interests at heart.

My husband always complains whenever we watch the film -- I consider it one of my favorites -- about how poorly George is treated, about the martyring choices George made. But watching the old Saturday Night Live skit -- where the gang at George's house learns the truth and then stormed over to the bank and beat the hell out of Mr. Potter -- never fails to bring a snarky smile to his lips.

What do you think about It's a Wonderful Life, does the film irritate you or lift up your spirits? Or both?

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