The Plot

Jefferson Smith (Jimmy Stewart) is called upon to fill a spot in the U.S. Senate. Naive and hopeful, the other fat cats in Washington attempt to corrupt by any means possible, but awwww shucks Mr. Smith just gosh darn doesn't give a flab.
Yes, it looks like a boob. We got it the first time Mr. Stewart!

My Thoughts

I could not stand Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. In fact, it took me about four different tries to get through the whole thing, which feels a lot longer than it is. It's not that I don't respect it; on the contrary I understand its place on the list. HOWEVER, it's "aww shucks" sentiment and constant "America RULES" sentiment not only got old quick, it got old really quick.

As an unabashed fan of It's a Wonderful Life, I love Jimmy Stewart, and he plays his usual schtick here. However, it feels like the movie went super overboard trying to give out its message, not to mention they really beat you over the head with his naivete. In essence, I wanted to smack the main character in the face for the duration of the film (save for the few moments when he was actually pretty convincing and badass). The other Washington villains could be in any cartoon with how over the top their evil came off, and the movie itself is just so...boring. I think I'm probably showing off my age here, because I'm sure a lot of people hold this in high esteem (especially the American Film Institute). I wanted to like it, I really did; I just couldn't manage to.

I will give it up for the production itself, because I just absolutely love how old movies were shot. When Mr. Smith arrives in Washington to awww shucks his way into the evil politician's hearts, he is at a train station. Outside of some props, the leads, and a few extras, behind them is a giant screen of B-Roll train station footage. Although it looks insanely tacky now, that's actually pretty damned inventive; it cuts down on the budget and back in the infancy of film, it probably looked super realistic. I just love it.

Look, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington deserves a spot on the AFI list, if only for the Senate Room stuff which has become legendary in the film world. As a 23 year old with a cynical view on the world, though, it didn't win me over in the slightest and it's wholesome gee wiz attitude was more annoying than endearing. But what do I know?

My Personal Grade: