Wednesday 31 December 2014

Trivia Round-Up: December

You know the drill by now! Here's some fun trivia snippets from all the films we've reviewed this month. It's a festive edition too this time, thanks to our 12 Days of Christmas feature.

I was initially going to note a trivia point about Philip Seymour-Hoffman who died with one week left of filming and so the script was re-written instead of Plutarch Heavensbee being re-cast but I think a lot of people already know this so my actual bit of trivia:
Natalie Dormer ad-libbed 20-30 percent of her scenes, especially when Cressida instructs Finnick and the twins where to stand before filming his speech. When asked how she did that impromptu act, Dormer said that she drew inspiration by paying attention to how Francis Lawrence would converse with his camera crew in-between takes.  Kind of makes me love Natalie Dormer a little bit more!
The scene where Phil picks up the alarm clock and slams it onto the floor didn't go as planned. Bill Murray slammed down the clock but it barely broke, so the crew bashed it with a hammer to give it the really smashed look. The clock actually continued playing the song like in the movie.
Silly, but funny! They just don't make stuff these days like they used to...
Final film of American actress Jill Clayburgh, who died the year before release. She played Annie's mother.
Just before Clark gets locked up in the attic, he pulls out an old present from a hidden slot, and it contains a card that reads "Happy Mother's Day 1983, Love Clark". The first movie, National Lampoon's Vacation (1983) was released that same year.
I love this! Also, you may already know but Rusty in this film is played by Johnny Galecki, better known as Leonard in the Big Bang Theory.
The theater that blows up was subsequently involved in another accident when Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) in Back to the Future (1985), smashes into the front entrance at the end of the film. The theater then burned down with the rest of the buildings in the fire that happened right after the filming of Back to the Future Part II (1989).
John Candy filmed his part in only one day, albeit an extremely long 23-hour day. The story about having once forgotten his son at a funeral home was entirely improvised. His part is obviously inspired by the character he played in Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987) also written by John Hughes.
42 rings are heard over the course of the film, so if Clarence is right, 42 angels have gotten their wings.
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

In the untranslated dialogue with the Dutch girl, Santa Claus asks the child what she wants for Christmas the girl says she wants nothing, telling Santa she got her gift by being adopted by her new mother.
The outside of Gimbels is a digitally altered view of the 34th St. Macy's, a reference to Miracle on 34th Street (1947). Gimbels was Macy's main competition but it is now closed.  This just seemed too fitting to not be included!

Bad Santa (2003)

During Willies brief stay in Miami in the beginning of the film, a shot of the Dude's car (The Big Lebowski) can be seen parked outside of Willies apartment. Undoubtedly, an influence from executive producers Joel and Ethan Coen.

The first feature-length production in which Kermit the Frog's voice was not provided by Jim Henson (who had recently died). Steve Whitmire took over the role.

Die Hard (1988)
Special, extra loud blanks were made for use in the film to add to the "hyper-realism" director John McTiernan was looking for. Unfortunately for Bruce Willis, some of these blanks were used for the scene where he kills a terrorist by shooting him through the bottom of a table where the terrorist is standing. The proximity of the gun to Willis' ear during this scene caused permanent hearing loss for Willis.

Scrooged (1988)
When the Ghost Of Christmas Present (Carol Kane) grabbed Bill Murray's lip she tore his lip so badly that filming was halted for several days.

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
It took a group of around 100 people three years to complete this movie. For one second of film, up to 12 stop-motion moves had to be made.

All trivia is gathered from

Tuesday 30 December 2014

Review: Kramer vs Kramer (1979)

I have heard a lot about this film over the years, but as with other older films, I didn't like the look of it. However, a benefit of being stuck in a hotel room with only German channels and only a few films downloaded on your iPad means that you watch whatever is available and inevitably find a film you like that you never would have expected to enjoy.  This is what happened with Kramer vs Kramer, as it had won 5 Oscars it has been on my radar for a long time and I finally watched it.

This is the story of Joanna and Ted Kramer and their son Billy.  Joanna decides to leave workaholic Ted, leaving him to struggle to look after their son Billy and manage his highly stressful role as an Advertising Executive.  He manages to organise their lives and get them into a steady routine until 2 years later Joanna returns to their lives and a bitter custody battle ensues.

I really enjoyed this film, it was heartbreaking in so many ways and scarily true to so many homes in this day and age.  The acting is fantastic but i personally would have liked to see more of Meryl Streep, as she is one of my favourites.  Justin Henry is fantastic as Billy, the heartbreak that he portrays when his father tells him he will have to live with his Mother is amazing, especially for someone so young.  This film showcases 3 incredible performances, which is obviously rare judging from it's astonishing success at the 1980 Academy Awards.

I get the feeling when this film came out that is was much more shocking to have a Father single parent, as I would guess (I'm not old enough to have been around, but) many single parents at this time would have been Mothers.  This would have been quite a shock on the world I assume, maybe this is why it had such an impact at the awards.

This is one of those films for me personally, that doesn't have much happen but you are entertained throughout, more recent films that I have found that are similar are Little Miss Sunshine and The Way Way Back, both films that I loved but not a massive amount happened in the film.  Basically, the story speaks for itself, no over dramatics, story padding or special effects required.

Definitely worth watching, even if you don't think it's for you give it a try.

Monday 29 December 2014

Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

As you probably noticed, this was my 'looking forward to' film for October.  I didn't think I was going to get to see it at the cinema because my Dad didn't want to see but luckily I went to visit some friends in Sheffield and they wanted to see it.  Win!  This was my favourite cartoon as a kid (just behind The Flintstones) so I was uber-excited and a little pensive that they could ruin one of my childhood favourites.

This version of the original cartoon mostly follows April O'Neil (Megan Fox) and her desperation to be a real reporter by taking foolish risks that no one else will.  In doing so, she got a glimpse of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle but being so desperate to get a story she tells her boss and gets laughed out of the office.  That is when she meets all four of the turtles and enlists their help to save New York from an evil scientist trying to make money.

Sound familiar, well it should because the story is a combination of every superhero movie so far.  There is nothing original about this story or the lead character.  She is the typical female lead (less maybe the Avengers) of a superhero movie, it's just that in this case the heroes or Turtles so it doesn't become the 'love story' we are so used to (although Michelangelo does appear to have a thing for her).  However, in feeling like they need a love interest they brought in the completely redundant Will Arnett, whose character attempts at humour and being the love interest fail epically.

Speaking of the Turtles themselves, could they be anymore boring.  Michelangelo was by far the highlight of the whole film because he brought some much needed humour to the proceedings, the rest were tired, boring and predictable.  There was no excitement like there used to be in the cartoon and even in the 90's movies.  The CGI may have been better but I'd much rather sit through the 1990 version, at least that kept with the trend of the cartoon and made the turtles fun.  Plus, is it just me or did the new CGI turtles (and Splinter for that matter) look a lot more gross that I remembered, I always knew they lived in a sewer but it never looked like they did until now. yak!

I'm really disappointed to say that although it kept my interest throughout it wasn't great, the story was dull and predictable as were the turtles.

Saturday 27 December 2014

Review: August: Osage County (2013)

Darn my local cinemas. When August: Osage County came out, I was in full swing of my Benedict Cumberbatch obsession. My closest cinema wasn't even showing it, but another near me was. Unfortunately, I couldn't convince my other half to see it with me, and when I finally egged Jenna on to see it with me "Thursday" she said, "I'm free on Thursday!", I found out that it stopped showing after Tuesday. Now, I've finally seen it!

I don't think I've ever seen such a star studded cast before; so many faces that I love are in this film. Meryl Streep plays Violet Weston, the mother of this huge, but troubled family. A crisis brings her sister and three daughters, along with their partners and children, together to comfort each other. However, when you bring any family together under strained circumstances, supressed issues are brought to light, and arguments ensue.

Despite the fact that not an awful lot actually happens in this film (the biggest part is spent sat at a dinner table), it was amazing how gripped I felt to August: Osage County. No character was left out and I really felt a connection to them all.

It has to be said that even though Meryl Streep was brilliant, Julia Roberts absolutely stole the show. As someone who has never been that bothered by her, she just won my heart, then broke it, and won it all over again. Her ability to portray love but so much anger at the same time was just incredible to watch. It's no wonder that she was nominated for an Oscar for this role, and I'm gutted that she didn't win it.

With such a huge cast, I would talk for hours about each individual character, but I must give an honourable mention now to my two favourite characters, Ivy and Little Charles, played by Julianne Nicholson and Benedict Cumberbatch. Both pretty much forgotten about by the rest of the family, Ivy is the sister who never found love, and Little Charles is the son who constantly disappointed his mother. They were the two characters that I rooted for throughout the whole film. Plus, who can't fall in love with Benedict's little song?

It was a breath of fresh air also to see Benedict Cumberbatch play a character who wasn't super smart and full of himself.

Without spoiling it for anyone, the ending absolutely broke my heart. I just sort of sat still for a few minutes after the credits ended just trying to take everything in. I'm kind of glad I didn't see this at the cinema now or the staff would have had to scoop me out of my seat and carry me out!

I would recommend this film to anyone, even if you aren't a huge fan of dramas. I think anyone could relate to at least one of the characters in this film.

Thursday 25 December 2014

12 Days of Christmas - Day 12 White Christmas (1954)


Ok so here's the thing, I know the heading says White Christmas BUT I didn't get a chance to watch the last movie on the list.  I am now writing this from my dining room table on Christmas Day with a glass of bucks fizz very near by surrounded by the carnage from opening my presents.

I felt like I couldn't leave this space blank so I will just ramble on instead.  For Christmas Eve this year me and my Dad decided to go to the cinema and see The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies in 3D IMAX - what an amazing Christmas Eve it was!!! I loved the film, more than all the others in the series (including the Lord of the Rings trilogy).  I was always going to prefer the Hobbit to LOTR mainly because it's a simpler story with less threads running through it (I still have no idea how Aragon became King in the end!) at least with the Hobbit I understood what was going on.  Few niggles, we will never know what happened to Tauriel between this and the LOTR series because she was made up by Peter Jackson so she has no follow up story, that feels kind of sad.  I feel like I want another set of movies to cover what happened between The Hobbit and LOTR but I don't think that is going to happen.

Anyway, I'll go into more of that when we review this together soon :-)

Further ramblings howeever, regard the trailers that were on when seeing The Hobbit.  It was quite the collection of trailers and got me really excited about the new year and all the films that are coming's going to be an awesome year for movies and Flick Chicks Blog.  The Star Wars trailer was first up, i'm not the biggest fan on Star Wars but I have to admit the teaser trailer has got me somewhat intrigued.  Then Fast and Furious 7, I fought the urge to cry throughout the whole thing so I have no idea how I'm going to make it through the movie.  Finally we had Avenger: Age of Ultron and Jupiter Ascending, i had seen the trailer for the first and obviously can't wait to see it, hopefully it lives up to the first one but I'm not getting my hopes up as sequels are generally a bit of a let down.  Jupiter Ascending, i had heard alot about this film and seen a lot of still shots in Total Film but didn't realise I hadn't seen the trailer.  This looks amazing, I am really quite excited to see it after it was supposed to come out this year but has been delayed.

So thats my rambling done, I'm sorry this isn't a review for White Christmas as you may have expected but there is only so much we can do over the Christmas period.

Have a great day everyone :-)


Wednesday 24 December 2014

12 Days of Christmas - Day 11 The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Nearly at the end of the 12 Days of Christmas and honestly it was a great experience to watch Christmas films that I always meant to watch, however it was supposed to mean that we could post all the reviews and then not have to worry about the blog over Christmas.  The fact that i'm sitting here on Christmas Eve morning in my pajamas writing out this post the theory didn't pan out!!

The Nightmare Before Christmas is the first ever stop-motion feature film that follows Jack Skellington (Chris Sarandon and Danny Elfman - Voices) who although has had a very success Halloween decides its not enough and visits Christmastown.  He realises Christmas looks more fun that Halloween so decides to bring some Christmas joy to Halloweentown.

I genuinely can't tell you if I like this, it has actually messed with my head a little bit.  I love the concept of the story but i'm not 100% it comes across as well as the synopsis would suggest.  The music and the score however are fantastic, really catchy and I found myself tapping my foot and humming along on numerous occasions.  The animation, although a little dated now is still incredible and the detail that has gone into every scene, there is always something happening in the background that just shows how much detail and effort has gone into this production.

Unfortunately for me, for me the story didn't resonate, I know a lot of people who LOVE this film and won't go through Christmas without it but I just couldn't fall in love with it and honestly I don't understand why.  The first 40 minutes or so I found really boring and it only seemed to become entertaining once Jack started delivering 'shrunken heads' to children on Christmas morning.

None of the characters really stood out to me (even Jack) and for me the story was somewhat lost in the mass of characters, songs and scene setting.

I managed the whole film by listening to the music and watching all the detail in the production but I don't think I would ever watch it again.

Tuesday 23 December 2014

12 Days of Christmas - Day 10 Scrooged (1988)

I am a huge fan of Bill Murray so I was really looking forward to watching this for the first time for the 12 Days of Christmas series.

Frank Cross (Bill Murray) is a mean television executive who has no issues firing someone for questioning him 2 days before Christmas.  That is until he is visited by the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future to show him the true meaning of Christmas (sound familiar?!). 

I really really really wanted to enjoy this but unfortunately I was disappointed, Bill Murray was great (as always) but the film was  obviously predictable as we all know the story.  If you are going to use a well known story to base your film around you need to have a clever twist or new take on the story to make it interested, this did not have either.  My biggest issue with it was the lack of humour, it thought it was supposed to be a comedy but I didn't even crack a smile let alone laugh.

The ghost of Christmas present (Carol Kane) I think was supposed to be funny, but she was so irritating I struggled to even watch let along laugh at her character.  Even Bill Murray couldn't save this one for me, sorry to anyone who watches this religiously at Christmas but I think any take on A Christmas Carol is a dud for me.

Much prefer a unique Christmas movie to repeats of the same old story over and over again. 

Monday 22 December 2014

12 Days of Christmas - Day 9 Die Hard (1988)

Who in the world hasn't seen Die Hard, well actually me, until now!!  I have seen some of the sequels but never the original and I don't even know why.  Luckily it popped up in Total Film's Top 12 Christmas Films which gave me an excuse to watch it.
John McClane (Bruce Willis) is a New York cop estranged from his wife who moved to Los Angeles for a job.  For Christmas he heads to her office party (with limo driver xxx (xxx) in tow) but before he can enjoy the festive season he has to foil the plans of money grabbing terrorist Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) and save his wife and all her colleagues single handedly. (if anyone can do it, it's Bruce Willis!)
I didn't expect to enjoy this as much as I did, Bruce Willis is at his acting peak (recently saw A Good Day to Die Hard and his acting abilities seem to have taken a bit of a nose dive in recent years) he is brilliant hard man with the best one liners ("Yippie-ki-yay, motherf*cker" being my all time favourite!).  Alan Rickman is great as the evil Hans Gruber, his calm fa├žade is brilliant right up until you notice the panic in his eyes as his plan starts to fall apart.
I know a lot of people consider this to best action movie ever made and I kind of wish I had seen it around the time it was released before the numerous formulaic copycats got hold of it.  Unfortunately I have already seen countless movies with this formula (including some of this ones sequels) so it doesn't have quite the same impact on me.  However, I did love it, the first 20 minutes of action worried me a bit because I just wasn't feeling it but then it picked up and I was gripped.  I now feel like I should watch the rest of the set in the right order!!
Its hard to fault this movie, great action, awesome bad guy, perfect good guy and one-liners that make you punch the air in excitement.  Even if you didn't get to see it when it originally came out, see it now!!

Sunday 21 December 2014

12 Days of Christmas - Day 8 The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

I was so glad to see this film on the list that Jenna sent me when we discussed doing this 12 Days of Christmas project. I’m a huge fan of the Muppets but admittedly, I hadn’t seen The Muppet Christmas Carol since I was a child. This was actually the version of A Christmas Carol that taught me the story, and so for years I thought everyone else was just copying the Muppets!

If you’ve ever watched another Muppets film, you’ll know what to expect here. And if you haven’t, who are you, what are you doing here and please, go and watch one now! The legendary Alfred, sorry, Michael Caine plays Scrooge in this version, and the Muppets themselves replace the other characters. What makes this version so great is Gonzo plays Charles Dickens, and with Rizzo the Rat’s help, they tell the story to the audience, breaking the 4th wall.

There is something in this film for everyone to enjoy. Kids will love the Muppet characters telling such a classic tale, but I learnt while I watched this that adults will have just as much fun. There were so many jokes that would have gone straight over my head when I was younger, things like the family of rates that work in Scrooge’s finance department complaining about the cold ‘We’re freezing our assets off!’ as just one example. I may have laughed out loud at that. I love terrible jokes.

Of course, no Muppets film is complete without a host of catchy songs to sing along to. I had ‘One More Sleep Til Christmas’ stuck in my head instantly and I’ll spend the remaining days till Christmas singing it!

Ok so my opinion on this film will probably be met with shock, horror and annoyance...that will just be from Allie!!  I tried I really did BUT I do not like the Muppets, I did when I was a kid but now I don't find the films funny or entertaining but irritating and predictable.  I managed 20 minutes or so of this before I turned it off, therefore I won't score it as that seems mean but no no no this film is not for me Christmas or no Christmas!!

I don’t know if this will join my list of Christmas films that I watch without fail every year, but when the time comes, my children will be subjected to it for sure.

Saturday 20 December 2014

12 Days of Christmas - Day 7 Bad Santa (2003)

At out latest movie night me and Allie decided to move forward with our Christmas titles for the 12 days of Christmas, last night was Bad Santa.  I can't believe I haven't seen this before now!!

I swore blind that I had seen this only once before, but that it was when it came out so I couldn't really remember anything about it. The first 5 minutes convinced me that I absolutely did not watch this with my family when I was 14!

Bad Santa is NOT your typical Christmas film, Willie (Billy Bob Thornton) is a conman who every year gets a job as (the worst) department store Santa where he and his partner Marcus (Tony Cox) scope out the place.  In Christmas Eve when the store is closed, they rob the place and leave without a trace onto another town and another department store.  Problems arise however, when Willie's drinking becomes out of control and he builds an unlikely friendship with 'The Kid' who believes he is actually Santa.

I was really surprised by this and wish I had watched it sooner, I feel like it may become a tradition to watch over Christmas every year.  Although it is certainly NSFD, NSFT or NSFP (worth remembering if you're thinking of introducing your kids to a new Christmas film, don't!!) it a rally funny in places and Billy Bob Thornton is great as the miserable drunk who develops a bit of a conscience (who can forget the Advent Calendar scene!).  This should maybe be on the Trivia post at the end of the month but, I read that BBT was actually drunk through most of the filming, not sure whether it was method acting or a genuine problem, either way it worked for the film.

That advent calendar! And poor old Grandma! I can't remember laughing so much at a Christmas film. Some things were just subtly hilarious and really tickled me, who can imagine Santa throwing an empty bottle of liquor at a car and smashing the windscreen?

Tony Cox is so funny throughout, his one-liners are great (and apparently many were improvised as jokes on set but were kept in because they were so funny!) and it was great to see some dearly departed actors in roles I hadn't seen them in before (John Ritter and Bernie Mac).

The mood changes rapidly in parts, Jenna and I sat and predicted how the whole thing would end, in between laughing at how awful Willie was at being Santa and being grossed out by The Kid's snotty face. We were nearly right, but there are some very dark moments in this (and horrified children!)

There is nothing PC about this movie and that is probably part of it's charm.  A definite winner for the Christmas cynic and even for the lovers for something a bit different, a re-watcher for me...

I absolutely, whole heartedly loved this. Billy Bob Thornton is fantastic, and if you watched the Fargo TV show this year, he plays pretty much the exact same character, which just made it funnier for me, almost as if the events of Bad Santa existed in the same fictional universe!

Friday 19 December 2014

12 Days of Christmas - Day 6 Elf (2003)

How can Christmas ever go by without watching this bit of movie gold.  I actually hated it the first time I watched it, but I learnt to love it for what it is. I had a funny experience seeing this in the cinema. It was my brother's 8th birthday and my Mum and I took him and a group of his friends. What's wrong with that you ask? It was the middle of January. To this date I don't know why it was still showing!

Buddy the Elf a normal sized human is raised in the North Pole as an Elf but his size wreaks havoc on the small community.  Soon he is sent to the US to find his real father but finds it harder to fit in, in the real world than he anticipated.

This is by far the silliest, most random, off the wall Christmas movie going but that is what I love about it.  You have to watch it with no expectations and try to switch your brain off completely so you just see the funny side of it all.  I'm not a huge Will Ferrell fan, in fact I usually hate films he is in (don't shout at me but I really dislike Anchorman, I think its massively overrated and not in the least bit funny!) but this tugs on my Christmassy heart strings and some of the one liners in it are amazing. "Santa's Coming? I know him" probably more about how it's said than the actual lines haha!

I love Will Ferrell already, but it's definitely the over the top 'ness' of it all that makes Elf so funny. It's so quotable as well, I really can't help but shout 'I know him!' when the name Santa is mentioned!

The story is ok, but it is overshadowed by Ferrell's overpowering verbal and physical comedy, much of the time the story is forgotten over an elaborate comedy sketch.  For me, that may be what makes it likeable, it's extremely easy to watch, you don't even really need to follow the story just enjoy gag after gag.  The escalator scene being my personal favourite:

Not the greatest story on Earth but certainly an entertaining jaunt perfect for watching while wrapping presents or with family (safe for kids as well as Dad, the train and planes!)

This is one of my personal favourites and I hope I can find to watch it this year before the big day!

Thursday 18 December 2014

12 Days of Christmas - Day 5 Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

I’d heard of Miracle on 34th Street before Jenna told me it was on the list. Great, I thought! That’s the one with Matilda in, I’m looking forward to that. Nope, Jenna says, we’re watching the original. The one from the 40s. Ugh! I have never, up until now of course, seen a black and white film. I’ve just never had the interest, really. I decided I could make an exception for Christmas.

Miracle on 34th Street circles around the Thanksgiving Parade at Macy’s in New York. Their Santa is discovered to be blind drunk, and is replaced by the very man who found him, who calls himself Kris Kringle. Kris does wonders (miracles, even!) for Macy’s but soon lands himself in trouble when concerns spread about his mental health. Santa isn’t real they all said, and this Kris fellow seems to be convinced that not only is he real, but he is Kris himself! Entwined with this story is a secondary arc of a little girl who has been brought up to know that fairy tales are nothing more than tales, and so she doesn’t believe in Santa.

Once I got over the fact that widescreen didn’t exist back then, and stopped pressing buttons on my TV remote trying to fix the screen, I soon forgot about the lack of colour and enjoyed the film for what it was. I even marvelled at how good looking John Payne was.  I thought the same...swoon!! I reckon my Granny probably fancied him too when she was younger. I’ll have to ask.

When I think about it, Christmas films these days aren’t much different to this one, they all have the same themes and morals, although culturally they differ. Could you imagine letting your child watch a parade from the window of a man’s house you barely know these days? This really shocked me, I hadn't seen this film before so when the housekeeper (?) said she's across the hall in that mans apartment, I nearly had kittens!!  Definitely some culture changes in the world since came out...

I’m really glad I watched this original before any of it’s remakes you know. I can be ‘that gal’ who sits there muttering about how many changes they made, and how the original is far superior! Seriously though, for a film I really didn’t think I would enjoy, I was surprised. I got a little bored throughout the court scene as it was just too long, but I thought the ending was perfect and really brought a smile to my face.  I preferred this ending to the 1994 version, the way Gailey wins the court room battles is much more logical than in the 90's version, which now seems a little disappointing.  I was very tired by the time I got to the end of this movie but I still clapped and grinned at the happy ending.

I was surprised how much I enjoyed this, I have always avoided black and white films (I know I shouldn't) but this was great.  I don't know if anyone else notices this though, scenes in black and white films seem to end quite abruptly in comparison to more modern films.  They seem to be half way through a conversation and the scene will close, I find it very odd.

I initially didn't Maureen O'Hara's character, what kind of woman refused to let her child believe in Santa and fairy tales, that's just a crappy childhood there if you ask me!  Obviously, she grew on me as she came to believe in Kris Kringle which was nice to see, although I didn't really understand why Fred Gailey (John Payne) would be so interested in her when she is a boring workaholic with no imagination. 

I might not watch this again, but I think it’s a film that everyone should see at least once around the Christmas season.

I think I'll be watching this every Christmas from now on because I really did love it.


Wednesday 17 December 2014

12 Days of Christmas - Day 4 It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

You may remember this film was noted in my Against the Crowd Blogathon post (if you missed it, check it out here) so this was never going to be a good review.

The story of George Bailey (James Stewart) a kind Businessman who has spent his life running his fathers business to ensure the town stays out of the clutches of ruthless businessman, Mr Potter (Lionel Barrymore).  When his Uncle Billy loses $8000 of the companies money, George is at risk of losing his business and going to jail and decided his family would be better off if he were dead.
I have nothing technically against this film, I think my Dad just hyped it up so much over the years that when I finally got round to watching it, it was a bit boring and slow.  I found all the characters extremely annoying, particularly the children to the point that I didn't really care if they were happy or not!  George, who you are supposed to sympathise with is a selfish wet fish, he would seriously consider leaving his wife and children to fend for themselves.  I fully understand that depression can be crippling and leave you unable to think rationally but it still makes me more angry than sympathetic.  He has quite obviously been unhappy with his life for a long time for this to push him to the brink of suicide but he appears unwilling to ask for any kind of help instead just giving up.

I am fully aware that had he asked for help and the town helped him out, it would have been a much shorter film and even less interested but it's just something that bothered me throughout.

One memorable element of the film was James Stewart, although I didn't like his character that doesn't mean to say he didn't do a good job.  His subtle gestures really made the character come to life, one thing I noticed what his ability to 'fake' smile while running the business and helping the town instead of seeing the world.  In one smile to a customer or local townsperson he can portray  George's years of disdain at being stuck in Bedford Falls just by the sadness in his eyes.

I found the whole film to drag and ended up being quite forgettable (if my Dad didn't shove the DVD box in my face from 1st December onwards!). It is not entertaining by any means, if there was any humour present, I missed it and it just moved so slowly.  Maybe, I have been brainwashed by the fast paced, CGI packed movies of my time and can't appreciate a classic anymore (this theory will be tested with my first viewing of White Christmas this year!)

My annoyance at the introduction to main part of the movie may have ruined the rest for me.  Maybe I'm just overthinking it - either way not a movie for me! Sorry!