Part of what makes the holidays so enjoyable, particularly to me, is that the songs, movies and other media bring me back to a simpler time, one that made sense and one that put others ahead of self.
Most of the current generation doesn’t get that, though.
Even my daughter, who I cherish, can’t seem to get her mind around the fact that just because something is old means that it’s no good.
I’ve even had conversations with folks here at the paper about Christmas things, and was amazed that the standard fare was ignored. The phrase was, “I would never watch a black and white movie.”
We, of course, were discussing that most American and quintessential Christmas movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
I like the old movies, especially the ones that resurface around the holidays and carry a heartwarming message. I also note that movies today tend to have borrowed and been based heavily on the standards of the past.
It’s a shame that what was once considered timeless has actually become forgotten, passed over for something new and flashy and color and full of preposterous action and computer graphics.
So to you I bequeath this list of movies that need to be revisited, and their message understood. They’re my favorites.
•“It’s a Wonderful Life.” A little dark in that George Bailey’s wish was to not have been born, but it’s a charming tale of the effect we have on the world around us, even though we may not see it at the time.
For the millennials, it’s the ripple or butterfly effect, and you really can’t get that from Facebook or Instagram.
•“A Christmas Carol.” There are so many variations of this particular movie, based, of course, on the work of Charles Dickens. Having read the story, I can say that many of them are extremely faithful to the original.
My particular favorite of the traditional pieces, though, is the one featuring George C. Scott. I’ve watched all the versions, those featuring Alastair Sim, Patrick Stewart, Kelsey Grammer and even Reginald Owen, but Scott pulls off crotchety like no one else.
There are numerous other versions that are based on the story, such as “Scrooged” with Bill Murray, and they are fine, but I likes me some tradition with my traditional holidays.
•“The Bells of St. Mary’s.” Bing Crosby and Christmas belong together. I like “White Christmas,” which of course is roughly the same as “Holiday Inn,” but there’s a charm to Crosby, and I always wanted to dial O for O’Malley.
These, though, are my top two. I make it a point to watch them every year.
•“Scrooge.” I remember this film coming out, and watching it in the theater at Zaragoza Air Force Base in Spain, where I was living at the time since my father was in the Air Force. I was mesmerized by it, and it solidified my enjoyment of musicals, and to this day, when I’m really appreciative of something, I’ll sing the main song “Thank You Very Much.”
•“The Bishop’s Wife.” Hands down, my favorite holiday movie ever, mostly because it focuses on the true meaning of Christmas, the birth of our Savior. Santa is OK as a lark, but this one brings home what truly matters, and truly should matter to us all.
I’ve heard it was remade by Denzel Washington and Whitney Houston, called “The Preacher’s Wife,” but I haven’t mustered the courage to watch it. Maybe I’m reversing the trend; hating the new in favor of the old.
Nothing wrong with the old, though.
Tony Farkas is publisher of the Madisonville Meteor.