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Mike Redmond Column

Please refer to the Mike Redmond Column main page for columns published in other issues.
Mike can be contacted via e-mail at mike@mikeredmondonline.com.

 

 

 

 Christmas Movies Unite, Inspire Us

I am about to make a statement some will consider Holiday Heresy.

So be it. I don’t care. I’ve held it in for years and I'm just not going to do it anymore. Batten down the hatches and get the kids out of earshot, because here it comes:

I cannot stand “It’s A Wonderful Life.”

Really. Whenever I watch it I get this feeling of ... well, you know how your stomach gets when you go one piece of fudge past your limit? That feeling.

Now, before you brand me as a cynic, let me assure you I am not. I’m the guy who takes six hours to decorate his Christmas tree because I have to sit and recall every story behind every ornament I own -- all five hundred of them. I’m the guy who walks down the block every night to gaze in wonder at the neighbors’ spectacular display of Christmas lights and sings (quietly, mind you) on the way back. I’m the guy who gets teary-eyed at the end of “Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol.” A cynic I am not.

And while we’re on the subject of things I am not, I am not a Frank Capra hater, either. I think “Meet John Doe” is one of the greatest films ever made, and I feel pretty much the same about “Mr. Deeds Goes To Town,” “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington,” and “You Can’t Take It With You.”

But “It’s A Wonderful Life?” Pass. Too sappy, Pappy.

It could be that I’ve seen it too many times. Remember, it spent several years in the public domain and as a result, used to be aired about 7,000 times each December. In my case, make that 7,000 times each December on the only channel that came in clearly on the black-and-white Zenith portable that was my mid-1970’s entertainment center.

It might also be a certain ... well, let’s call it a quirk of my personality that has me swimming against the tide a good deal of the time. If everyone else in my family likes something, I automatically take the opposing side. Well, everyone else in my family loves “It’s A Wonderful Life.”

Then again, we all love “A Christmas Story.” Although I have to say I’m not impressed with all the Ralphies-Come-Lately who have glommed onto that movie in the last 20 years. Where were you guys when it was playing in the theaters?

I saw it at a mall moviehouse in 1983 along with my date and six other people. We all laughed ourselves silly (sillier, in my case). However, if you had said then it would someday be among the most popular Christmas movies of all time, we would have thought you were off your medication.

The real question, I suppose, is why these things matter. Of course, I have an answer: I’m not sure.

But matter they do. It just wouldn’t be the season without “The Bishop’s Wife,” or “The Man Who Came To Dinner,” or “Christmas In Connecticut” or any of about a dozen versions of “A Christmas Carol” (including the Magoo). They bring us together, inspire us, fill our hearts – you know, all that nice holiday stuff.

Even that Capra movie, for most people. Just not me.

Although I must admit, especially at this time of year, he sure got the title right.

 

 

 

© 2008 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.