I should point out before I go any further, that I loathe the use of the term "X-mas"; I only entitled my entry as such, because it is the title of the article I just read in TIME by James Poniewozik. The article was a debate between which Christmas movie is the best, "It's a wonderful life", or "A Christmas story". I've read the article a few times now, and don't understand why we need this article at all, but he wrote it, and here I am to write about it.He says that while he likes "Wonderful Life", don't we think its just a little bit oppressive? That Bedford Falls was better off with the more interesting nightlife presented when George had never been born, and so on and so forth. Click on the link if you want to read the whole article. In the article Poniewozik contends that : "Christmas Story lampoons holiday greed but delights in it too--there's no platitudinous ending about how Christmas isn't really about presents.".....Really?? I beg to differ
I think Poniewozik missed is the importance, the underlying message of both "Wonderful Life" and "Christmas story", that in all reality, isn't all that underlying to begin with. It isn't about the material, it's about the love, the family, the cohesiveness that the two can bring together when we work at them. Am I reaching here? I don't think so. They both have a certain amount of tragedy interwoven, albeit Capra's is certainly more painfully obvious than Clarks. But in the end, both Families find that whatever happens, no matter if it's Potter trying to destroy you, or the Bumpus hounds eating your turkey, that as long as you have family to rely on, everything is all right. So perhaps I've taken Poniewozik's article a little bit too seriously, but it's gotten me to thinking about how lucky I am to have the family that I do.
In the end, it really is only one mans opinion about two different, yet equally entertaining movies -my two very favorite Christmas movies in fact- but what it tells me is that sometimes even when the truth is staring at you point blank, you don't see the good that lies just beneath the surface.