Friday, November 27, 2009

Youth is wasted on the wrong people

First off, I want to thank all of the wonderful people who voted on the poll. It was pretty much a landslide really. Fred of the '30s won hands-down. Thanks again for voting! New poll this weekend is Mr. Errol Flynn. So, go vote on which swashbuckling classic is your favorite!

Well, it's getting close to the holiday season now that we're getting Thanksgiving under our belt. I know Christmas music and holiday films may still be a little premature to some people, but today is for discussing Old Hollywood's influence on New Hollywood and this comparison is related to Christmas (however, if I post it on Christmas there may be some controversy). You ready?

Okay. This may seem like an odd comparison, but here goes. A few weekends ago, I watched 17 Again (2009) and I have to confess that I found some definite echoes of It's A Wonderful Life (1946). Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that 17 Again is like the great Capra classic, I'm simply stating that there are significant echoes. Hear me out:

In 17 Again Mike O'Donnell (Zac Efron) gives up his dream to go to college in order to marry his impregnated girlfriend. Now, an adult (Matthew Perry), he regrets his decision, wishing he could go back to high school and start all over again. He meets a mysteriously omniscient janitor (Brian Doyle-Murray) and, on a drive home, sees the janitor standing on a bridge. He gets out of the car and rushes to save the guy's life, then gets sort of sucked into a vortex and suddenly is back in his 17-year-old body again. Now, he has the chance to regain apprecation for his family and understand what is really important in life.

Most people have seen It's A Wonderful Life, but for the sake of argument, I'll outline the similarities. George Bailey gives up his life-long dreams for the sake of others, then grows up to regret what he has lost. He never does get to travel (a point that I always get frustrated with, every time I see the movie) and he is always stuck in Mandrake Falls with the Building & Loan company that he never really wanted. He gets his second chance by jumping off a bridge to save a suicidal man, who turns out to be his guardian angel (Henry Travers). George Bailey's transformation is drastically different than Mike O'Donnell's; however, he learns to appreciate his family and friends and understands that he is, in fact, much wealthier than he believed.

Do you believe me now? Hopefully. I really liked 17 Again, I thought it was a very cute and very funny movie. Again, I'm running on the assumption that most people have seen It's A Wonderful Life, but if you haven't, I highly recommend it. The last ten minutes make me cry with happiness every time.

If you have any good ideas for comparison/contrast, please let me know!

Also, let me know what you think of this one. Do you agree? Disagree? Are you impressed by my wonderful insight? Or appalled by my audacity to compare a Zac Efron flick to a Capra classic?


  1. I liked 17 Again too! And I think those were great comparisons- I'd not really made much of a connection.

  2. Dude! That's not just a comparison- that sounds like a total rip-off! [or maybe "homage" is a better word?] I always enjoy your paralleling of movies.

  3. Interesting. I haven't seen the Zac Effron flick.


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