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Going My Way

Going My Way

What he said:

He

Going My Way was the winner for Best Motion Picture in 1944. It is the tale of a young, progressive priest – played by Bing Crosby – who’s sent to a struggling parish to help get it back on its feet.

Father Fitzgibbon (Barry Fitzgerald) has been at Saint Dominic's for 45 years of his life. He has poured his heart, soul, and most of his life into the parish and local community. But Saint Dominic’s has fallen on hard times. Because of that, the local bishop has decided to send over community relations and fundraising specialist Father Chuck O’Malley (Bing Crosby).

Father O’Malley reminds me a lot of a few priests I knew growing up. They were generally younger priests who liked helping people, sports (which is huge to a kid) and were generally down to Earth guys. In fact, I often found myself wondering why they were priests to begin with. They didn’t fit the mold, but that was a good thing. They seemed like regular guys who happened to be priests.

Anyways, unbeknownst to Father Fitzgibbon, Father O’Malley is actually there to replace him. Father O’Malley chooses to not tell the elder priest out of respect, but he eventually finds out anyway. This greatly hurts Father Fitzgibbon and he is initially very disappointed, however his love of his parish is so great he eventually jumps on board.

With the help of some old friends and some local street kids turned church choir, Father O’Malley is able to make some significant strides in turning Saint Dominic’s around. However, he’s faced with one final challenge and you’ll have to watch to see if he – along with Father Fitzgibbon – is up to the task.

This isn’t a big or grand movie, despite the fact it won an Academy Award. But it is a light and funny little movie with a warm message.  

Rating: Thumbs up

This movie review was given the He said, She said seal of approval on May 5, 2011.

What she said:

She

It’s funny how today, nearly 70 years later, Going My Way, is actually still pretty relevant.  The movie tells the story of a failing Catholic church, Saint Dominic’s, which is behind on its mortgage, dealing with troublesome youth, and losing membership.  Feels like 2011, eh?  Anyway, the Bishop sends in young Father Charles “Chuck” O’Malley, played by Bing Crosby, to turn the place around.  His unorthodox ways ruffle the feathers of the head pastor, Father Fitzgibbon, and cause a bit of chatter, but Father O’Malley’s charm, laid back personality, and heavenly voice help to save Saint Dominic’s.

The film seems so applicable today—however, I know a lot of you youngins out there won’t like its classic feel and styling.  It’s a bit long, and you’ll notice it, because it’s filmed very traditional to its period.  There’s some nice humor, which will still resonate, but for those who like slapstick, action, and snazzy camera work, this movie isn’t going to do it for you.  The storyline is heartwarming though.  Father O’Malley gives the parish purpose, and brings the town together by injecting enthusiasm and understanding.  It’s also always nice when Bing Crosby sings.  I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that there are very few priests with a Crosby-style voice.  My years as a Catholic parishioner have revealed that they are mostly tone deaf.  But it’s nice to believe that there is a Father O’Malley out there, serving as a positive role model for youth and giving those who have lost their way faith and caring. 

The movie won all kinds of awards in its day.  I’m sure today’s audiences won’t view it the same way, but I pretty much enjoyed it.

Diagnosis: Thumbs up.