90. Tangled (A-)
91. The Fighter (B+)
92. The Red Shoes (A+)
93. True Grit (A-)
94. Chicago (A+)
95. It's A Wonderful Life (A+)
Going to a more Christmas-y film, this was the ideal day to finally watch the Blu-Ray that I bought back in January. Really, what can you say about this one? It's a classic, it's been imitated or parodied by every other TV show at one point (the other half chose to do A Christmas Carol
instead). It's one of my all-time favourite films, with great performances, particularly from Jimmy Stewart (and Lionel Barrymore, making the case for him being the best actor who never got to portray Ebenezer Scrooge, due to an injury keeping him from playing the role in the 1938 film version) - and the technical aspects hold up surprisingly well (the characters don't age much, but that's to be expected, and frankly, the black-and-white disguises it a lot better than if this movie had been made in colour twenty years later). Unlike a lot of other movies that run purely sentiment, the film adroitly balances sentimentality with some pretty deep despair as George's world comes crashing down, before he's saved.
And while people tend to focus on the final half hour (which is, after all, the movie's big narrative twist), a lot of the earlier stuff is also important, particularly these days. This was for an audience that had lived through the Depression, and Capra pits Bailey's earnest working-man capitalism against Potter's relentless greed. After the 2008 market collapse, there were a lot of people who linked George's Building & Loan logic to the subprime mortgage meltdown, but while that may seem persuasive on the surface, it's really a completely absurd comparison - the traditional business setup of the Building & Loan is so different (and so much more reliable) than the insane convolutions of the 21st century stock market and lending business that it really just illuminates the extent to which the Mr. Potters of the world are safely ensconced in the corridors of power.