I read a column recently that discussed the merits of the movie It’s A Wonderful Life. I’m one of those guys who wouldn’t feel the Christmas season was complete without an annual viewing of the beloved holiday classic.
It was just another movie when it was first released shortly after the end of World War II. But it has since acquired a certain cult status.
That’s not to say It’s A Wonderful Life doesn’t have its detractors. A few years ago, some professor from Harvard spent a whole semester analyzing the movie (glad to hear our tax dollars are being spent wisely). His conclusion: It’s A Wonderful Life is a tragedy that epitomizes how empty and bleak life can be when you end up marrying your high school sweetheart and living in the same town you grew up in. The professor’s study concludes that George Bailey is the most sad and lonely of all characters — a bitter, unfulfilled shell of a man who deeply regrets the choices he has made and the empty, tragic life he has lived.
“I cry when I see it,” the professor concluded.
To me, the real tragedy is the sad and pitiful analysis by the sad and pitiful professor. His life must be devoid of all the things that make my life rich and wonderful. I suspect that the Harvard professor bears a striking emotional resemblance to the movie’s villain, Mr. Potter. And he likely leads as bleak and empty a life as the financially rich but emotionally bankrupt Mr. Potter.
No wonder he cries when he watches It’s A Wonderful Life.
Speaking as a guy who did marry his high school sweetheart, I would like to inform the professor that my life has been many things — but never a tragedy. Like most lives, it contains all the elements of a good story. I have a large extended family so there certainly has always been a steady stream of love, as well as lots of drama. It’s often been a comedy of errors. My life has had its share of villains and heroes — with me playing both roles at different times and different places. There have been successes, failures, greed and misplaced values. And it’s had its fair share of tragic events, including financial ups and downs, illnesses and deaths.
But never has it been a tragedy.
It’s A Wonderful Life is a celebration of small town values — family, faith and friends. And at the end of the day we are all George Baileys — just so-called ordinary men and women who are happily living our ordinary lives.
I hope you take the time to watch the movie.
I hope you have a Merry Christmas.
And I hope that you, like me, have a wonderful life.
Opinions offered in If I Were King are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Tri-County Times or its staff. Email the King at email@example.com. Some content adapted from the internet.