Capra Classics at Belcourt

"It's a Wonderful Life" and five other Capra Classics play at Belcourt in December.

“It’s a Wonderful Life” and five other Capra Classics play at Belcourt in December.

There are many reasons my spirit needs refreshing this holiday season, and here comes the Belcourt to my rescue with a series of Capra classics. It kicks off with the quintessential “It’s a Wonderful Life,” during which I’ll do my best not to perform each part. Next, they’ll have “It Happened One Night” starring Claudette Colbert as a runaway debutante and Clark Gable as her amorous yet grumpy suitor–it’s a great romantic teaser.  They’ll have heart throbs Jean Arthur and Gary Cooper in “Mr. Deeds Goes to Town.”  Jimmy Stewart performs a successful filibuster and earns five stars for patriotism in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” “Lost Horizon” was not memorable for me, but I’m willing to give it another shot.  The crown jewel of course is “You Can’t Take It With You” with Lionel Barrymore, Jimmy Stewart, and my gal Jean Arthur. It’s a morality tale that will put all your holiday money woes to shame.

Viewing Capra’s films now, I want to call him naive, dangerously optimistic, clueless of troubles that Americans would face. But he made his films during the Depression, when people needed a tonic to boost their spirits and give them something to hold onto. In Capra’s cinematic world, all men and women are essentially good, and class conflicts can be assuaged with a battle between harmonicas. It reminds us of how cinema often reflects the culture and spirit of the people, for at it’s best, it shows us what we need most.

Belcourt often makes a signature drink for these events, and I wonder what they’ll come up with… (“I’ll have a mulled wine, heavy on the cinnamon, light on the cloves!”)

After viewing all six films, I’ll feel like Frank Capra whispered to me, “Friend, you are a divine mingle-mangle of guts and stardust. So hang in there! If doors opened for me, they can open for anyone.”

“It’s a Wonderful Life” will run Dec. 19-25. The rest will run in times TBA Dec. 26-Jan.1.

Hee Haw!

Friday’s Movie Night

Friday, June 13th at 9:30, see Swedish director Lukas Moodysson’s We Are the Best! at Belcourt, followed by a post-screening discussion with Jennifer Fay, professor of film studies and director of the film studies program at Vanderbilt. It tells the story of three tweens in ’80s Stockholm who form a punk band. The film is based off of a graphic novel by Moodysson’s wife. Critics are dizzy with praise over it. Here’s the trailer!

Finding Vivian Maier: Through Thursday Only

If you haven’t made it over to the Belcourt to see Finding Vivian Maier yet–and it’s been tough with NaFF, the craft fair, Quilt Week, and so many other amazing spring art things to do around here–please GO. It’s playing through Thursday only, and then it’s gone!  It’s delightful, moving, and complex, and it might make you think about your own perceptions about art, artists, and the people who carry on in the background of your life each day.

My friend Laura Hutson wrote this great article about the film for the Scene.

And here’s the preview.

It’s hard to choose a favorite, but this one ranks pretty high with me. Find you own here.

Photo by Vivian Maier. Get the full story in "Finding Vivian Maier."

Photo by Vivian Maier. Get the full story in “Finding Vivian Maier.”