We've all have one: a movie the whole damn world thinks is the bees knees, but you think is shit or tripe or overrated or just plain not-so-great. Everyone is entitled to their opinion of course. I'm sure no one will hold it against you if you didn't like The Hangover or the new Star Trek. But what if you detest an older movie? A bonafide classic?
It's A Wonderful Life (1946)
It seems that everyone is wet for this one. I, unlike the other six billion people on this planet, did not grow up with this Christmas staple. Sure, I'd heard of it--"Every time a bell rings an angel gets its wings!"--and I'd seen it parodied on The Simpsons. But it wasn't until high school during my failed attempt to see all the Best Picture Nominees that I finally saw this supposed uplifting tale of the importance of a simple man's life.
I didn't like it. This is supposed to make me feel good? A man, one George Bailey (James Stewart) spends his whole life stuck in shitty New Bedford, working at the Building and Loan, constantly battling the eeevil Mr. Potter (Lionel Barrymore) and never, ever getting to go on one measly vacation? Not even a honeymoon with his loving wife, Mary (Donna Reed)? Well, one night, specifically Christmas Eve, George decides to end it all but Clarence Odbody (Henry Travers), a second class angel intervenes and shows George just what the world would be like if he were never born.
This poor man is used and pushed around and taken for granted...but no matter, he's made such a difference in everyone else's life! Without him, where would the New Bedfordites be? Get your panties out of a knot, I get the point of the movie: It's not all about You, give to others. But Jesus H. Christ, there's a limit to what one man can take!
Yeah, George sees the light and Everything's Gonna Be Alllllll Right. But that doesn't change how miserable the previous two hours were! That doesn't change the end where life just goes on. If this is such a happy-go-lucky film, why doesn't everyone pitch in and send George on that vacation he's always wanted? Exactly. It's not a wonderful life, it's a sad-sack existence of never getting a the one thing you want.
People love this movie and if you are one of them, good for you. I'm sure that it's helped many a sad soul on a Christmas night, so I would never wish it gone from the face of the planet. But most of it depresses me which a "feel-good movie" shouldn't do.