Aussie filmmaker Michael Gracey made a very big splash with his feature directorial debut on this 2017 blockbuster, which overcame mixed reviews to become the fifth-highest-grossing live-action musical of all time. Critics mainly took issue with how much artistic license the movie took with the real-life saga of P.T. Barnum, played by Hugh Jackman, but audiences clearly were swept away by the sheer spectacle and engaging cast, which also includes Zac Efron, Michelle Williams and Zendaya. The song “This Is Me” was nominated for an Oscar.
Small-town guy George Bailey (James Stewart) defers one big dream after another to stay home, marry a local girl (Donna Reed) and run the family business. Facing financial ruin, he’s pulled from suicidal despair by angel Clarence (Henry Travers), who shows him how terrible the world would have been if he’d never lived. Lionel Barrymore also stars in director Frank Capra’s 1946 classic.
Kicking off its annual “24 Hours of a Christmas Story” seasonal marathon, TBS reprises (with sister channel TNT) this holiday favorite from 1983, which stars Peter Billingsley as Ralphie, the little boy who yearns to find a Red Ryder BB gun under the Christmas tree. It’s about parents, little brothers, bullies, decoder rings, double dog dares and most of all, the workings of a youthful mind. The writing by Jean Shepherd (who also narrates) captures it all perfectly. Darren McGavin and Melinda Dillon also star.
David Niven stars as busy bishop Henry Brougham in this 1947 tale directed by Henry Koster. Brougham is attempting to get a new cathedral constructed, to the detriment of his marriage to Julia (Loretta Young). Dudley (Cary Grant) is an angel just trying to help the bishop realize what, and whom, he has before it’s too late. As he gets to know Julia, Dudley begins to fall in love with her — definitely not part of his job description.