In all the Yuletide sentimentality and hard-earned feel-goodery associated with Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life, viewers of the film often overlook one important fact: George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) is kind of a dick. He snaps at his besainted wife Mary (Donna Reed), yells at his kids and complains about his drafty old house and the shackles of fatherhood. Sure, he's on the brink of ruin thanks to his forgetful Uncle Billy and that hateful Mr. Potter, but through the years we see George continually chafe against Bedford Falls and his familial obligations. But the trick that the film pulls is that even though you may not always like him, you always end up rooting for George -- and for the goodness of humanity that is at the film's core. The Webster University Film Series screens the holiday classic at 7:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday (December 23 through 25) at the Winifred Moore Auditorium (470 East Lockwood Avenue; 314-968-7487 or www.webster.edu/filmseries) Admission is free.
Dec. 23-25, 2011