In second grade, when it’s 1991, your favorite movie is supposed to be Home Alone. Or Beauty and the Beast. Or The Goonies. Which I still have never seen. Which people hate me for.

But no, I was the child bellowing at the top of my lungs how It’s a Wonderful Life, The Three Musketeers (1948) and Rio Bravo were my favorite movies. Thanks, dad. Anyhow, this is one of those early hangers-on that really sticks, and truly deserves to. It’s become a Christmas mainstay, but I believe you can watch it any time of year. Yes, the title may be saccharine and there is a cheese factor associated with it. But Jimmy Stewart is the man in his portrayal of George Bailey. This movie makes me emote like no other. Of course, the scene at the end (no, no spoiler warning. The statute of limitations on IAWL is up!) when George is told he’s the richest man in the world is heartwarming and tearjerking. But when George and Mary realize that they have the money to help keep the bank open — their honeymoon money — well that just about melts me in a puddle every time.

Parents, start your kids early on this one. It’s not an old-people movie. It’s pure joy.

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