Thursday, December 18, 2008

"You see, George,
you've really had a wonderful life."

My all-time VERY FAVORITE Christmas movie (and, in fact, one of my very favorite movies in general--in my Top Ten, for sure) is "It's a Wonderful Life." My Dad--who is quite the movie afficionado and considers it one of his very favorites too--introduced me to it when I was maybe 12- or 13-years-old. It was always a tradition to watch the movie during the holidays so, as an estimate, I'd guess that I've seen it at least 25 times.

Today, watching "It's a Wonderful Life" is now a tradition in our family too. We pick out a night when we can all sit back, pop some popcorn, and enjoy the classic film together...laughing, and crying, and crying some more (although we've seen it countless times and we know exactly how it's going to end!).

You can't imagine, though, how wonderful it is to see the movie on the big screen in one of the grandest movie theatres anywhere!

Last night we watched "It's a Wonderful Life" at the Alabama Theatre in downtown Birmingham. The Theatre was built in the 1920s by Paramount Studios as a way to showcase their movies; the owners filed for bankruptcy in 1997 and, soon after, it was bought by the historical commission and returned to its glory. Today, the velvet drapes and gold gilding and beautiful box seats and Wurlitzer pipe organ transport you to a time when going to the movies was truly an "event."

The girls had never been to the Theatre before and they were amazed at how big and majestic itwas. Delaney asked something like, "Why can't all movie theatres be like this?" and I kinda wondered the same thing myself.

And the movie?

The movie, as always, was well...wonderful...and I laughed and cried and cried all over again--for the 26th time or so.

The girls loved it (well, except for Sydney, who fell asleep shortly before Clarence the Angel arrived. She told me today that we were going to have to watch it again at home so she could "see how it ended.")

What makes the movie so great? Well, it's got wonderful acting (the actors just seemed perfect for their roles; and Jimmy Stewart said himself it was his favorite of all his movie roles) and witty and incisive writing, and lots of sweet humor and, of course, a sentimental (but, oh so true!) message.

This morning, on the way to school, the girls and I were still quoting lines from the movie. And talking about how great it was.

If you haven't seen the movie lately, I urge you to rent it or buy it and see how fantastically it holds up over the years. And if it doesn't make you believe in the value of your life and make you count your blessings, I'd have to say you're quite the Scrooge (which means you really need to watch it! :-)

And speaking of movies...which holiday movie do you love? I'd love to hear about whether you have any movie-watching traditions during the holidays. Maybe I can find a new film to love!

On that note...have a wonderful evening...and remember that "No man is a failure who has friends."


Adrienne said...

How beautiful! I love that movie!

hippo chick said...

First of all, let me say that the theatre is beautiful. I remember going to a movie theatre much like that in downtown Erie, Pa with my Aunt Letty as a young girl. We would dress up, wear our gloves and best shoes and ride the bus downtown to go to the movies on a Saturday afternoon.

What ever happened to dressing up? Jim and I go to the Philharmonic every other year at Christmas. We dress up and I wear my {hand me down} mink. We see family's with their little ones in velvet dresses and Mary Janes - and across the aisle guys in jeans, tee shirts and ball caps. It takes something away for me.
Okay enough of my soap box.

Now, I have to admit I've never watched "It's a Wonderful Life". I have started it a couple of times, but never watched. Maybe this year, I'll do it.

My favorite Christmas movie is "The Christmas Story" which I'm about to post about.

~hippo hugs~

Gin said...

I love that movie too!

Becky Welch said...

How fun!! I wish we had something like that here! I love that movie. My favorite may have to be White Christmas or Miracle on 34th Street . . . I have lots of favorites!

Faye said...

Absolutely gorgeous Theatre!!! Wow, you must have felt like Royalty :)
It's a Wonderful Life is my all-time fav C-mas movie too!! I have watched it every year forever! I own it and have dragged many into watching it with me. Somehow all but one of my guys would rather have a root canal done, but I have my sisters and Mom and one son who love this movie as much as me.

Monogram Queen said...

Oh wow, Oh wow, Oh wow! I love that theater! I have never saw this movie but I think my Mom has it and i'm going to borrow it!

Cheryl Wray said...

Adrienne--It is the BEST!!!!

Pam--What wonderful memories you have of the movie theatre! We have become more "casual" over the years, haven't we? I still liking getting to dress up and I think it's important for our kids to do it sometimes too. Okay, now...You have GOT to run, not walk, and get that movie and WATCH it!!!! Please, for me? LOL

Gin--I love it!!

Becky--There are lots of great Christmas movies, but this one is my fave! :-)

Faye--I LOVE that you LOVE the movie so much. It's so great! (I guess you can tell I like it. LOL)

Queen--The theatre is just gorgeous!! It makes me realize I should go there more often to watch movies.

Kathy said...

WOW! That movie theatre is GORGEOUS! I would LOVE to watch movies there! Although, I don't think I would be able to focus on the movie much, because I would be too busy staring at everything around me! LOL!

I LOVE It's a Wonderful Life! Thanks for reminding me to pull our copy out. I had planned on watching it a few weeks ago, but forgot.

Ms.L said...

oooh wow! What a perfect venue for that movie. I am in awe:)

Cheryl Wray said...

Kathy--The theatre really is gorgeous and something I don't take advantage of enough. They have all sorts of cool film series, and also have concerts and special performances there. Hope you enjoy watching It's a Wonderful Life (glad I reminded you about it)!

Ms.L--It is a great place!

Phats said...

You know I have never seen this movie, does that make me odd? Don't answer that! haha and I love Christmas, I need to check it out. My all time favorite Christmas movie is Christmas Vacation I even watch it when it's not Christmas haha I love that movie

Phats said...

BTW you, gary, and the kids have a great Christmas!

Gretchen said...

Lurve this movie, Cheryl. Also, last year, our church presented (all 3+ hours!) it as a dessert theater play. We had an amazing cast, and it was awesome.

Great picture of your girls, too. Chuckling at the cell phone with thumb in "ready position". :)

Beautiful theater, too.

Anonymous said...