Last Saturday our family took an excursion into the big city. I had been hearing for years about the Christmas Show at the Music Box Theater in Chicago—it’s a double feature of “White Christmas” and “It’s a Wonderful Life” which was right up our alley.
Plus, it’s interactive, which is also right up our alley. Asking our family to not talk during a movie—PARTICULARLY a movie named “It’s a Wonderful Life”—is like asking us to, oh, I don’t know, not breathe.
Which reminds me of the time when B took me to see “Sophie’s Choice” when we were in college. Never mind the fact that the movie was a complete downer, we were on something like our third date, so we had some catching up to do. What can I say? We chatted.
Until the guy behind us told us, about halfway through the movie, to pipe down in some not so friendly terms. Talk about embarrassing. On your third date.
I think it bound us together for life.
I guess that could be a life lesson: be careful about getting shushed with a guy. You just might end up marrying him.
But then again, I’ve also been shushed with a girl. My college roommate, Jennifer and I got shushed in church one time. Also embarrassing.
I’m seeing a pattern here. I’d better shut up about it.
ANYWAY. Back to last Saturday and seeing “It’s a Wonderful Life” at the Musicbox Theater. Let me just tell you that that was one of the most fun experiences I’ve had in a long time. Just walking into the theater was amazing—it’s old and grand and beautiful and dark. It really brought me back to my childhood and the old theater we had in our town where my mom would drop me off every Saturday afternoon while she ran her errands.
Even before the movie started, some carolers came out on the stage and started a singalong. And then, Santa came out and sang with us. I tell you, I felt like a kid again singing those old non-religious Christmas songs. (What do you expect? It was the city. There was nothing religious about this day at all.) It was pure childlike Christmasy fun.
Not only that, but the crowd—those who had been to the Christmas Show before—all came dressed in their Santa hats and jingle bells. I had no idea what that was all about until the movie started. Every time there was a reference to Clarence everybody jingled their jingle bells. And every time Mr. Potter came on, everybody went, “Ssssssssss.”
Oh, it was fun.
And since I’ve seen “It’s a Wonderful Life” a time or twenty, I thought this might be a good time to share with you MY top 10 favorite lines from the movie and why. These may not be the most famous lines from the movie, and they may not be your favorites, but they are some of my favorites. Believe me, it’s hard to narrow all the great ones down to just ten.
Top 10 Lines from “It’s a Wonderful Life”
1. “George Bailey, I’ll love you till the day I die.” I think this might be my favorite line in the entire movie because as young Mary Hatch whispers this sweet sentiment into George's deaf ear she knows, even at age 10, that she loves this boy. I like a woman who knows her mind.
2. “This old thing? Why, I only wear this when I don’t care how I look.” Now Violet, the flirt, flips her hair and kicks up her heel while she says this line. I wish I had about one tenth of her gumption.
3. “Could I have $17.50?” I’ve heard that when the woman in the movie says this line and George leans over the counter to give her a kiss it is completely impromptu. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I like to think it is.
4. “Wish I had a million dollars! Hot dog!” Traditions like this one in Gower’s Drug Store don’t come along that often. Plus, who doesn’t wish they had a million dollars?
5. “Mr. Martini, how about some wine?” Yep, that Mary Bailey is my kind of gal.
6. “That’s what you get for praying.” George, in his moment of desperation, prays for some help and instead gets a pop on the lip. Don’t you ever feel like saying that?
7. “George, why must you torment the children?” This line is spoken quite frequently in my house, substituting B’s name for George’s, of course.
8. “Happy family? You call this a happy family? Why’d we have to have all these kids?” Another line spoken even more frequently in our house.
9. “I’m shakin’ the dust of this crummy little town off my feet and I’m gonna see the world!” That’s how I felt when I left my little farm town for college, and you know what? I have.
10. This year I noticed something that I had never noticed in the movie before (which is what makes this movie so great--you catch something new every time). There’s a sign on the wall in George’s office that says “All you can take with you is that which is given away.” I think that’s a pretty great life motto, don't you?
Now tell me, what's your favorite Christmas movie (and as an FYI, "It's a Wonderful Life" is NOT my favorite one--"Holiday Inn" is my true favorite)? What's your favorite line from it?