The State Theatre has hosted movies in spirit of special occasions, such as recently showing “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy in preparation for the release of “The Hobbit,” but next week will be for an occasion with a different mood: the holidays.
Starting Dec. 17 through Dec. 20, the venue will show a rotation of classic holiday films, such as “Miracle on 34th Street,” “Holiday Inn” and “White Christmas.” The movie extravaganza will end with showings of “It’s a Wonderful Life” on Dec. 21 to 23.
Richard Biever, executive director of The State Theatre, said the venue has shown “It’s a Wonderful Life” every year, but this year he received requests from patrons of the theater to show additional films.
“Mostly it’s nostalgia,” he said. “Most of these audiences have grown up with these films, on video or DVD. Parents pass them on to their children.”
He said because of the age and popularity of these films, it’s like “passing on tradition.” He said some of the films are still relevant to today, such as “It’s a Wonderful Life,” which he said is his favorite holiday pick.
“The parallels to what’s happening now and what that movie is about ï‚¾ people losing their homes,” he said, adding it’s also about the feeling of being alone. “You think you have no friends in the world and suddenly people come through for you because of what you’ve done for other people.”
Biever said there is a big difference between watching these films on the television –— as they are very often shown around this time –– and seeing them on the big screen.
He said there are things people miss when watching them on TV with all of the editing and the addition of commercials. He added that there is a communal aspect to sitting in the theater with the audience and seeing the film together.
Film and Video Senior Lecturer Rod Bingaman said these films have stuck around for so long because it’s what people have grown up watching.
“Christmas and holidays are ones we associate with tradition and a lot of it’s childhood,” he said. “We take comfort in familiar things like Christmas trees and caroling and the trappings of Christmas.”
He said movies like “It’s a Wonderful Life” are in the public domain and they can be part of the holiday ritual for some people.
Bingaman said he thinks these films reflect ideals people still value today.
“I think they sort of echo kind of the themes that we associate with the holidays. They’re about love and importance of family and valuing those types of things,” he said.
He said “It’s a Wonderful Life” is a perfect example of this sentiment with its messages of renewal and hope, adding that it is “progressive in its attitudes.” He said the situations in the movie are not dissimilar from the economic problems that exist today.
He said watching these films in a theater setting is the way the movies were intended to be viewed.
Bingaman said with the distractions of commercials a lot is taken away from the viewing experience.
Rachel Fleming said these films and other classic films are popular because of the happiness they cause and “having family and friends all around you.”
“Everyone’s just happy regardless of how it ends,” Fleming (sophomore-english and history) said.
She said people also see these classic movies because of the aspect of tradition.
“Parents are always excited to get to see them and pass on the idea of watching them to their kids,” she said.
Bingaman said he thinks seeing these films are a good way to escape the hustle that is holiday shopping.
“Sitting in the dark with popcorn and you’ve done some shopping sounds like a good way to escape the stores and get in the holiday spirit to me,” he said.
Each showing costs $6 with $1 going to charity.