It’s a Wonderful Life (1947) I rarely review movies that I genuinely detest, but I’m making an exception in this case. Think of this review as more of a warning than an assessment, if by some chance you have not watched this classic. I really dreaded re-watching the public domain issue of this pedestrian yawner on YouTube, but hey, I would not want to miss out on remembering any of the lore in this abomination of a holiday stinker. This will be a short review because there was no snappy dialogue, there were no special memorable scenes and there was no special life changing message to be gleaned from this movie.
Where to begin? This movie was a colossal flop at the box office, but somehow, decades later, Frank Capra’s effort at mans inhumanity to a movie is a highly revered Christmas tradition. How did this happen? Ill be damned if I know. This movie is drecky, sappy, overly long and a real burden to watch. This wreck of a movie is the very embodiment of Americas gullibility and willingness to adopt sentimental hogwash, regardless of how unwatchable. IMDB voters have catapulted this movie to an unimaginable 8.6 out of 10,voting it to be one of the greatest movies of all time. I know, unbelievable.Lovers of this classic embrace it with a fervor and ferocity not unlike that of tree-killing Alabama Football Fans. A single negative comment on YouTube resulted in a firestorm of shock and hate similar to the outrage exhibited by Confederates over the previous occupant of the White House.
For those who may not be familiar with the story line, George was a small town dreamer who was forced to abandon his dreams to run the family S&L business. George settled down in Bedford Falls, marrieed his High School sweetheart (Donna Reed) and proceeded to continue to make marginal loans to the local townspeople. Uncle Billy, a drunken incompetent, somehow manageed to be trick-bagged out of an $8,000 deposit, by an ancient cripple in a wheelchair, leaving the company to potential ruin. A distraught George was ready to fling himself off a bridge, but was rescued by a bumbling fool of an angel, Clarence, who used supernatural forces and hallucinations of an alternate universe to force George to experience redemption. He then returned to real time, and witnessed the town rallying around his misfortune to save the day. Sound familiar? Of course it does, this movie is just a shameful rip-off of of A Christmas Carol and Scrooge.
James Stewart, who was wonderful in a movie like The Flight of the Phoenix gave forth the worst performance of his career as the shrill and suicidal hero of this celluloid debacle. Except for the pharmacy scene (Stewart not present), not a single scene in this movie was watchable. Clarence the bumbling angel was so annoying that it was painful to watch, and was at least as watchable as a Jar-Jar Binks. He was simply awful.
What does this movie have to do with Christmas? Not a goat-damned thing, that’s what. Somehow, after decades, this movie is in public domain and the general public not only thinks that it is a Christmas movie, but that it is one of the greatest movies of all time. The movie was tedious, overly long, and just how long does it take for Georgie to realize that Clarence was an angel? As far as George’s original life goes, why does he even bother to salvage it? Did not his original life consistently omit all of his aspirations and dreams, so what sort of a redemption was this? This movie had nothing to do with realism, and the alternate universe town of Pottersville presented a much more likely reality than Bedford Falls. Hey I’m here for the popcorn, not the movie.
There were no really memorable scenes in the movie, just two plus hours of corn, but I did enjoy watching George stumble drunkenly around the town after Uncle Billy’s disaster with the bank deposit. As soon as the wingless rescuer and meddler hits the scene, it was all downhill as Clarence poisoned every potentially good subsequent scene with his mere presence.
I hated this movie, on every level and just having to write this review makes ME want to think about jumping off of a bridge. Avoid this movie if you can, you have been warned. A wonderful movie it is not.
Special Ruthless Ratings