Monday, December 7, 2009

Nickel Movie Night: December 10th

By: John Buchinger, Associate Director of Education

When I moved to Cooperstown four years ago my son gave me one of those folksy wooden signs with a heartfelt quote. It said “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Now I am not the kind of guy for whom wooden crows, and country candles and blue geese rally work, but the sentiment was an acknowledgement of my love for the Frank Capra classic that debuted in 1946.

For those of you who have just landed here from another planet this iconic Christmas classic follows the life of reluctant home town hero George Bailey as he struggles with the demons of living out life on the big stage of the world or on the small one in his hometown of Bedford Falls. The action of the film surrounds the loss of a large bank deposit by his business partner, Uncle Billy, that threatens to ruin George and his life. Facing financial ruin, shame and imprisonment, he throws himself from a bridge on a snowy evening, only to be saved by his guardian angel Clarence. Clarence grants George’s wish that he “had never been born.” And in a Dickensian turn, George is taken back and shown how life would be in the small town if his wish came true. After seeing the dark flip side of a world without George Bailey he begs for his life back. In the end George finds out he had a pretty wonderful life after all, and is brought back to his life and his family and finds that the town he has done so much for comes to his aid, saving George and saving Christmas.

I watch this film every year. I watch as he saves his brother from drowning. I watch as he eats a meal with his father and sacrifices his future to save the family business. I watch as he opens his arms and asks for “A big One.” I watch as he reluctantly woos his future wife in one of the most romantic scenes ever committed to celluloid, and I watch as he is reunited with his family, the most important and essential part of who he is, despite the chance of ruin and imprisonment. This is an important movie for me. Not because I am in the banking industry, or because I am a huge Capra fan, but because I have a family. Christmas is always a time of joy but also a bit of darkness that sometimes leaves us doubting. Many of us have metaphorically peered down into frothing waters when faced with hardships and have been tempted just to give in to despair.
But this time of year is a time to look around and take in the full picture of life. It is a time to see the joy in the everyday, to recognize the little connections that make all our lives better. On December 10th, we will celebrate the season and everyone’s wonderful life with Nickel Family Film Movie Night. We will screen this classic film and even enjoy a short live version of a select scene from some local actors. Pack up the kids, and join us at The Fenimore for an evening of family fun!


Le Loup said...

Well hardly 18th century, but a good post just the same. Thanks for this post.
Le loup.

Carolyn said...

Great to hear that you are showing the movie on the big screen! If you need a fun, uplifting song to play before or after the screening, I wrote one called George Bailey, about the man and the movie. Would love for you to take a listen via my website or watch the youtube video below.

Thanks and happy holidays!
Carolyn Sills

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