Academy for Success
Ep 18 Positive Cinematic Spotlight - It's a Wonderful Life
Welcome back, Wolf Pack, to another Positive Cinematic Spotlight! We are moving into the middle of December and Winter Holidays are discernible just on the horizon. WIth those most merry holidays beckoning us, we are looking at Christmas movies. I would certainly and gladly look at Hanukkah movies or Kwanzaa movies, but I am not aware of any, so if you have any recommendations, I am open to them. Until then, this week we are looking at It’s a Wonderful Life, one of the most viewed and popular Christmas movies ever. Rotten Tomatoes has It’s a Wonderful Life ranked as the #1 Christmas movie, just ahead of the Charlie Brown Christmas Special. For the record, last week’s Christmas movie, Die Hard ranked #14. Christmas movies are typically easy to find positive messages in them, as that is the nature of the holiday. It’s a Wonderful Life’s message about being aware of how important one person can be certainly fits the bill of positive message, and even echoes one of Dr. Melton’s catch phrases, “Know thy impact!” And that is a great take away from It’s a Wonderful Life. Your presence in the classroom is a positive influence on multiple lives. Sometimes, it may seem to be a thankless endeavor, but rest easy knowing that there are multiple people who you have a positive impact on. But I had a suspicion there was more going on in this movie classic. There had to be more for it to get the number of TV time slots it was getting at one point. Ok, so the reason was that the copyright had lapsed and TV companies could air it for free. But it still gets a couple of viewings on public television even after the copyright was reacquired. So what other positive messages does It’s a Wonderful Life have? First, I wondered how George Bailey, played by Jimmy Stewart, had such a positive impact on the town of Bedford Falls. In the movie, he’s described as never thinking of himself, except there are a couple of notable scenes where we see his temper. George is not always a calm oasis in the midst of chaos. He’s shown a few times losing his temper and taking his frustrations out on others. So, how does George get such patience and compassion from his fellow Bedford Falls citizens? George treats everyone with empathy or sympathy. Sympathy gets a bad rap from people saying, “I don’t want your sympathy,” largely, it seems because of the misunderstood definition of “to feel bad for someone,” akin to pitying someone. Really, sympathy is about feeling compassion for others despite not having experience with similar hardships, and we see George display that compassion throughout the movie. When he was a child and his boss, Mr. Gower, makes a mistake at the pharmacy, we are told that George shows Mr. Gower the mistake he made with the medications, and even after Mr. Gower reacts angrily and violently, George never tells anyone, knowing if the small town citizens knew what almost happened, he would likely have lost his position as pharmacist. But George’s compassion and strength of character saves a life and a livelihood, understanding that Mr. Gower had gotten some bad news that day. Another incident of compassion and sympathy was when banks were shutting down in the wake of the depression. As the manager of the Bailey Brothers Building and Loan, George tries to negotiate with his clients who want to withdraw their money. However, the business model for the Building and Loan involves using money saved with them from some citizens to help build houses for others, so there’s nowhere near the cash needed to pay everyone back their money. However, this happened on his wedding day and he had $2000 cash for their honeymoon. He uses that money to give the citizens the money they were asking for. He could have said that they signed an agreement to give the Building and Loan 60 days to get the money they were asking for, but his sympathy for his clients’ concerns led him to come up with another solution.
Duration: 24 min