Thursday, July 22, 2010

Battle Of The Oscar Stars: Best Picture 1938

The addiction of Netflix Instant streaming is starting to heavily effect my consumption of movies. Why is that you ask?  While the new technological capability does offer thousands of movies to watch at ease, even more tempting are the numerous television series that are also offered for free. Discovering and then subsequently ending up loving all these shows has pushed me away from movies for the last month.

Pushing Daisies, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, and Friday Night Lights are just several of the series that I had not given a chance while they were on the air (one is still airing, I should have watched Friday Night Lights sooner) but now count as some of my all time favorites. More on that later...

As the "watching all Best Picture winners" continues to roll on, I was lucky enough to discover that the winner of 1938 was available to stream through Netflix (sometimes I feel like I am a walking sandwich board for this company, I mean isn't Netflix great). So, I pulled myself away from dreamy Lee Pace and Texas footballers for a couple hours and watched You Can't Take It With You.

 The last time I saw this story in action was sitting through a dreadful high school production of the play. For many obvious reasons this film, adapted from the Pulitzer prize winning play by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, makes the story more enjoyable than I remembered. Maybe it's just something that kids shouldn't try to recreate?

The film follows a taste of life with the Sycamore family in New York City. They are an eccentric bunch who get by in life, not with the success of money, but with the success of enjoying life with the people around them. One such joy in life is experimenting with fireworks, which at one point nearly kills everyone.

Anyway, the main part of the story is that one daughter falls in love with the man she works for, Tony Kirby (played by Jimmy Stewart). Problems arise when the two families must have dinner together and the Sycamore's do not meet the standards of the wealthy Kirby's.

Those who love Its A Wonderful Life, will be thrilled in finding many of the same folks in this film. Besides Stewart, Frank Capra directed, and Lionel Barrymore plays the patriarch of the Sycamore family. Others from both films play smaller parts throughout. Look out for all of them, it will be like a really nerdy party game.

You Can't Take It With You was made eight years before, but both films have a lot in common, and not just based on the people involved. One scene in particular will make anyone think of George Bailey and his family. Frank Capra just knows how to tell stories and make them classics so that people keep coming back year after year.

So if you too can tear yourself away from obsessively watching television shows, than watch this movie. You'll just walk away with that good, happy feeling.

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