An old man is alone at Christmas. Alas.
The Nicest Person In The World gave us this on video a couple of years ago, and waxed rhapsodic about its Christmassy charms.
We love Christmas movies, and I force Mr. Otter to watch It’s A Wonderful Life every year, and cry at the end. Otter is so appallingly sentimental. So we were sure we’d like it.
But it was given to us after Christmas, and that was the year we moved to a much smaller house and put 2/3 of our stuff (including all videotapes) into storage. And last year we moved to our current domicile, and rescued all our poor sad whimpering possessions. Including the videotapes.
But for some reason we never watched it last Christmas
So this year, when we saw The Nicest Person In The World for Thanksgiving, we promised her we’d watch it FIRST on our list of holiday viewing. Even before we let ourselves see Love Actually for the umpteenth time.
And so we did.
Jimmy Stewart is an old man, a janitor in what looks like an apartment building, and he lives in the basement with his cat George (who is a calico, so is almost certainly female. What’s up with that?) and is so lonely he has fantasies of meeting strangers and directing the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
Yes, you heard me. In fact, this (very short, 1/2 hour) movie is a production of the Mormon church. This was a surprise to me and to Mr. Otter, but we do try to keep an open mind.
Anyway. We’re watching this, and I turn to Mr. Otter and say, Please tell me that he’s not going to have these pathetic lonely fantasies of being part of someone’s Christmas and then it’ll turn out he’s died all alone. Please tell me this doesn’t happen.
And he said, I seem to remember reading the blurb on the back…I think that is what happens.
So we watched it, and cringed…and thank goodness, we were wrong.
On the other hand, it didn’t make us like it any more. It’s very short and kind of beats you over the head with the whole ‘be kind to the wierd old people around you, they need love too’ thing. Although Jimmy Stewart is good as always, he really doesn’t have much to work with here, it’s very short and there is no time for depth. The Mormons get to sing several times, and there’s a little ballet thing.
This whole thing screams out, WE WANT TO MAKE A FAMOUS CHRISTMAS SPECIAL! and not having the Norelco Santa available, they did this instead. And they really shouldn’t have.
Now, I have to say, the Nicest Person in the World is not the only one who loves this movie…it’s now out on DVD, with a lot of other stuff along as padding because it’s so short. The reviews on IMDB go on and on about how good it is and how much it means to people who love it and blah blah blah.
But seriously, Stewart notwithstanding, go see one of those other wonderful holiday shows. This one is just not much of a much. Sorry, Nicest Person in the World. We were weighed in the balance and found wanting…or maybe this movie was.