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It’s a dark and snowy night.  A sign declares, “You Are Now in Bedford Falls.”  Not “Welcome to Bedford Falls.”  Nothing about when the Rotary and the Oddfellows meet.  Just the cold, stark, declarative, “You Are Now in Bedford Falls.”  They might as well add, “Abandon Hope, All Ye Who Enter Here.”

A quick montage shows us that all the exterior shots are praying for George Bailey.  We slowly push in on heaven.  Suddenly, the Death Star hoves into view, and the camera dolly narrowly escapes its tractor beam.

We move toward a brilliant constellation which, if you connect all the stars, makes the figure of Bob’s Big Boy.  God and his homeboy Joseph (represented by some annoying flashing lights) are discussing the situation.  “Lot of people praying for a man named George Bailey,” God sighs.

            “George Bailey?” Joseph murmurs.  “Oh, right!  Tonight’s his crucial night.”  You know, you’d think they’d be a little more on top of who’s about to commit suicide, especially if they know about it in advance (Heaven clearly needs a database).  Apparently, they were just going to let him die, until all those prayers started piling up.  It’s a lot like those letter writing campaigns that finally convinced a reluctant ABC to release the first season of The Flying Nun on DVD.  Anyway, the flashing lights that run the cosmos grudgingly agree to send someone down, and check the schedule to see who pulled the crappy Christmas Eve shift.

            It’s Clarence Oddbody.  “I.Q. of a rabbit,” we’re told, “But the faith of a child.  Simple.”  Well, they’re not exactly sending the A-Team, are they?  And just out of curiosity, exactly how much faith does it really take to believe in God when you’re already in heaven?   Nevertheless, they send for Clarence, which leads one to conclude that the Heavenly Host HATES George Bailey.  Or that they regard suicide prevention as a Special Olympics event – you get your wings just for showing up.

            But this was all just a setup for the world’s longest flashback, as Clarence is forced to review George’s life by watching America’s Painfully Quaintest Home Videos.  Let’s start in 1919, where Spunky Young Lad George is hosting Bedford Fall’s annual Self-Castrating Toboggan Days by straddling a snow shovel and riding it down a hill and across a frozen pond.  George’s smarter brother Harry is rightfully leery of these extreme sports, but George taunts him until Harry is forced to board the shovel, bump painfully down the hill, and crash through the ice.

            George goes bobbing for brothers, and saves Harry, but catches a cold and goes deaf in one ear, the little wuss.  Why, I’ve seen septuagenarian members of the Polar Bear Club pull off the same thing with nothing worse to show for it than a scrotum shriveled to the size and texture of a walnut.

            Cut to the drug store, where young Mary waits at the soda fountain for the half-deaf heartthrob to show up and start jerking.  She orders a chocolate sundae without the coconut, which sends George into a rage.

            “No coconut!  Listen, brainless, don’t you know where coconuts come from?”  It turns out that George is sneaking around with a copy of the National Geographic, America’s leading source of porn in 1919, and it’s filled his head with dreams of harems, and indigenous fruit trees.

            Meanwhile, the druggist, Mr. Gower, is lurking in the background, smoking a five cent stogie and getting blasted on grain alcohol.  George snoops in Gower’s private correspondence and discovers that his son is dead, and goes into the back to see if he can freshen the old man’s drink.  Instead, he catches Gower putting poison in some capsules intended for a child.  We can tell this because he’s filling the prescription from a gigantic apothecary jar that says POISON on the label, but I’m sure it’s totally an accident.

            George goes to his dad’s Building and Loan, whatever the hell that is, to ask him if he should deliver poison to a sick child, but dad is too busy getting reamed out by small town plutocrat Mr. Potter.  George shoves the elderly cripple and screams at him, then blithely returns to the pharmacy, where the drunken druggist beats him about the head until his diseased ear begins to hemorrhage.  George eventually works his way around to mentioning the poison, and suddenly, with blackmail hanging over his head, Gower is hugging the kid and kissing his ass.  George, bruised and bleeding profusely, embraces his rotgut-reeking tormentor and promises to keep their dirty little secret.  Amazingly, this will turn out to be George’s healthiest relationship.

            It’s now 10 years later, and George is now 30 years older.  Gower finally pays George off for his silence by buying him a suitcase so he’ll leave town.  Turns out George has been working at the Building and Loan for the past four years so he can save for college, and now Harry is graduating from high school and preparing to take George’s place.  To celebrate his commencement, Harry sexually harasses their black maid, Annie, by chasing her into the kitchen and spanking her ass.  Annie, of course, is as free to decline Harry’s overtures as the Thurmond family maid was to rebuff the attentions of young Strom.

            Anyway, George is leaving for college at the tender age of 38, and it’s a shock for dad, who hopes he’ll come back and take over the Building and Loan.  But George has ambition and high ideals, he wants to erect amazing structures and plan modern cities.  In short, he wants to shake the dust of this crummy little town off his feet and take over Gary Cooper’s part in The Fountainhead.

            George hangs around Harry’s high school graduation dance (he’s sort of the Jazz Age equivalent of Matthew McConaughey’s character in Dazed and Confused).  George and Mary reunite in the gym, reliving those golden days when he called her brainless, then got slapped around until he bled.  Then Harry announces the big dance contest, and George and Mary do the Charleston in a scene that’s only slightly more depressing than They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?

            Unfortunately, they’re cutting a rug at Beverly Hills High School, which has a pool under the gym floor, and thanks to shenanigans, tomfoolery, and a large quantity of homemade gin, they fall in.

            Mary and George walk home, dressed in a robe and a football uniform respectively, pausing to sing “Buffalo Gals” and to vandalize the Munster’s house.  George breaks a window with a rock, and makes a wish that he’ll escape Bedford Falls, see the great wide world, and build bridges and skyscrapers and huge modern dams and do great things for mankind.  Then Mary breaks a window and makes a wish that all of George’s dreams will turn to ash, and he’ll wind up a miserable failure, stuck for the rest of his life in this dismal little burg that he hates.  Because she loves him.

            George gets lyrical and goes off on some weird rant about making Mary swallow the moon, which is clearly a dirty metaphor, but it’s not enough for the old voyeur peeping at them from a balcony, who loudly demands that George give her a little lip and tongue action!  George doesn’t like to be micromanaged, however, and exceeds expectations by tearing Mary’s robe off.

            George’s naked prey retreats to a clump of hydrangeas, while George slowly circles the bushes, tauntingly holding her robe just out of reach.  But the sexual extortion is derailed when George’s dad has a stroke.

            The Building and Loan, which George loathes, will be dissolved unless he takes over, so naturally the chump gives his school money to his kid brother, who goes on to become a football star and to marry a hot blond.  And when Harry finally, four years later, returns to relieve George at the Building and Loan, it turns out that his new wife’s father owns a factory, and has offered a Harry a plum job researching glass.

            Surely George will hold Harry to their agreement, and finally get free of this tarpit-like town.  Nope.  By now it’s clear that George is the single biggest cinematic doormat since Lynn Redgrave in Georgy Girl, and I fully expect that before the movie is over, we’ll see him curled up in a trunk in a head-to-toe latex gimp suit.

            But first we see George’s Uncle Billy deal with the soul-deadening monotony of Bedford Falls by getting so stinking, stupid drunk that he literally can’t remember where his house is.  But George sends him weaving blindly down the street anyway, assuming that once he vomits on the neighbors’ front porch, he’ll be able to stave off the convulsions until he gets home.

            As it turns out, George’s Mom has also had a few too many, because she comes out of the house and kisses her grown son full on the mouth.  George responds by kissing her back and saying “I can see right through you, Mother.  Right through to your back collar button,” which I guess is a roundabout way of confessing that he watches her through his X-Ray Specs when she’s not looking.  Fortunately, Mom sobers up enough to realize that if George doesn’t go out and get laid soon, their house is going to start resembling the royal palace in Thebes, so she tells George to go pester Mary, who’s back from – I don’t know – Spinster School, I guess.

            On the way, George tries to pick up town slut Violet, but he won’t spring for a motel room and wants to rut al fresco.  But as the designated municipal floozy, Violet has hand, and when George can’t meet her quote, he’s forced to drag his sorry ass over to Mary’s house for a pot luck booty call.

            George and Mary sit in the parlor and pitch passive-aggressive woo until Sam Wainwright, the Richie Rich of Bedford Falls, calls from New York to offer them both a chance to invest in the plastic soybean business.  George explodes!  He doesn’t want any part of marriage, or wealth, or happiness, he just wants to go abroad and mispronounce the word “Venezuela.”  But he’s seduced by Mary, because her Hair Smells Terrific.

            Cut to George and Mary emerging from the church on their wedding day.  Ironically, it’s raining.

            Well, at least George can finally get out of this abysmal, postage stamp-sized town, if only for a two-week honeymoon.   New York, Bermuda, the highest hotels, the oldest champagne, the…Oh oh.  Seems George got married on Black Monday, and the angry mob outside the Building and Loan has all the earmarks of a run on the bank.  Okay, I admit…THAT’S ironic.

            The panicky shareholders demand their money, or they’ll sell out to Potter, but George buys their loyalty with all the cash intended to finance his honeymoon.  Man, Bedford Falls is starting to look that like that Twilight Zone episode where William Shatner’s car breaks down in some sinister small town, and he and his wife are prevented from leaving by a magical napkin dispenser.

            Mary calls George and tells him to come to their new home – the abandoned old house with the broken windows.  Inside, the place is falling down – the stairs are missing treads, the roof is leaking, and though it’s hard to tell from the black-and-white photography, I’m pretty sure someone has written “Piggy” on the wall in blood.

            Cut to George and Mary helping the stereotypically Italian Martini family move into Bailey Park, which is not only the most depressing-looking housing tract ever grafted onto the ass-end of a one horse town, it was also built on top of an old cemetery, so the pools are probably  filled with angry Native American skeletons.

            Then World War II comes along, and everybody gets to be a hero except George, who is reduced to collecting scraps of rubber and blowing a whistle at people who don’t pull their shades all the way down.

            Well, we’re over an hour into the film, and guess what?  We’re still in a flashback.  God tells Joseph to wrap this thing up so we can get to George’s Special Day.  It starts off with Harry getting the Congressional Medal of Honor, and George getting a visit from the bank examiner.  Then lifelong alcoholic Uncle Billy absentmindedly hands the entirety of the Building and Loan’s cash assets to Mr. Potter.  Meanwhile, George gives his last few dollars to Violet so she can go to New York, because she’s peaked as a prostitute in Bedford Falls, and needs to find a street corner with room for advancement.

            George finally decides to stand up for himself by throwing Uncle Billy under the bus.  “One of us is going to jail,” he snarls, “And it ain’t gonna be me!”  He goes home and storms around the house, freaking out the kids and refusing to tell them how to spell “frankincense.”  He grabs the phone away from Mary so he can insult his daughter’s teacher and threaten her husband, then he screams at his kids and throws things around until the big-eyed tykes tremble in fear and begin to weep.  Watching this scene, I couldn’t help thinking…This is the best Christmas ever!  (Admittedly, my family set the bar kinda low…)

            George goes crawling to Potter for help, pissing his last few drops of dignity down his pantleg.  Instead, Potter summons the police, so George runs off to Martini’s bar, where he gets liquored up and prays.

            The teacher’s husband punches him in the face, which George takes as a sign that he should go drive drunk in a snowstorm until he crashes into a tree.  Well, things have taken a dark turn, but thankfully he’s still got his life insurance policy, so he goes to the river to drown himself, too intoxicated to realize that suicide voids the policy.

            George wishes he’d never been born, which I can’t argue with, but it would have been nice if he’d wished it about an hour and forty minutes ago.  But Clarence his guardian angel grants the wish and…voila!  George was never born.  He has hearing in his bad ear, his split lip has healed and suddenly it’s stopped snowing, because apparently Bedford Falls only gets crappy weather because George Bailey lives there.

            Also, the town is now called Pottersville, and it’s a swingin’ place.  Martini’s bar has live music, is packed with B-girls, and is run by Sheldon Leonard.  And we learn that every time a hard-faced bartender in a sleazy dive throws a few greasy, wrinkled dollar bills in a cash register, an angel gets its wings.

            Old man Gower shows up, even drunker and stinkier than he was in the flashback, but Sheldon has the good sense to hose the reeking hobo down with a seltzer bottle.  Seems the druggist did 20 years hard time, because without George to interfere, his kid-poisoning scheme went off without a hitch.

            George goes home to the Amityville House, only to find it re-abandoned.  Bert the cop tries to arrest him, but is distracted when Clarence bites him on the hand.  Sadly, Bert was allergic to angel venom, and goes into anaphylactic shock.

            We cut to George, who is on his knees in the graveyard that he once turned into a crappy postwar bedroom tract, while Clarence chirps, “You see George, you’ve really had a wonderful life.”  Now, ordinarily I’m against elder abuse, but seeing as how George is going to jail anyway…

            But the last piece of news is so awful that Clarence isn’t supposed to reveal it.  Mary is…is…an OLD MAID.  She never married!  And she’s just about to close up the library!

            We see Mary, dressed in a mannish suit and sporting a fedora, and realize that –Whew! – it’s okay.  She’s not an old maid, she’s just dating Alice B. Toklas.  Oddly, though, George’s existence was apparently the only thing keeping Mary from developing astigmatism, because suddenly she needs glasses.

            George goes back to the bridge where he tried to kill himself, and begs for a mulligan.  Suddenly, it’s snowing again, his mouth is bleeding, his car is once again wrapped around a tree, and he is overcome with joy.

            George goes home and finds the authorities ready to take him in.  Also present is his huge brood of kids that we never really get to know, but for once he seems happy to see them.  Then Mary arrives, and she knows him, and can see without glasses, and isn’t a lesbian anymore.  It’s a Christmas miracle!

            George stands by the tree while all the supporting players troop past and dump their spare change on a card table.  Oh.  I guess THAT’S the Christmas miracle.  Mr. Martini empties his jukebox and his cash register and gives all his money to George, but Mary still demands that he serve everyone with free wine as well.  Well okay, your highness.  How are you fixed for socks and underwear?

            Suddenly Harry is undead and shows up to make a sappy toast, and everyone sings a premature chorus of Auld Lange Syne.  Then George bumps the tree, causing an ornament to tinkle, and daughter Zuzu lisps, “Teacher says, every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.”  Since we got the impression earlier that Zuzu attends the local public school, All I can say is, Madelyn Murray O’Hair needs to get on the stick.

            Oh.  And Merry Christmas you wonderful old Blog and Loan!  Merry Christmas everyone!

36 Responses to “It’s A Wonderful Life (Sort of. Compared to Suicide)”

But what about the petals? Zuzu’s petaaaaaaaals?

(What the hell kind of name is Zuzu anyway?)

By the time I got to Zuzu and her damn petals, I was running out of liquor, so I started hitting the Fast Forward button a bit. (DAMN, you people are hard to please!)

I like your version much better, Scott, especially considering that I’ve never once been able to get through that movie in its entireity — it’s just too fucking retarded, I can’t do it.

Extra points for the Alanis Morrissette joke. Not to mention the LoBianco gag. Tasteless, of course, but to sick fuckers like us, a classic.

“Sadly, Bert was allergic to angel venom, and goes into anaphylactic shock.”

And I thought that I was the only one!

“We see Mary, dressed in a mannish suit and sporting a fedora, and realize that –Whew! – it’s okay. She’s not an old maid, she’s just dating Alice B. Toklas.”

Best. Part. Of. All.

And don’t knock spinsterhood… it’s working rather well for me.

And fuck Zuzu and her petals — what the fuck kind of name is “Zuzu” for a kid, anyway?!?!?! I bet that she grew up to be a stripper who used a cockatoo in her act, like in “Confederacy Of Dunces.”

Um, you did miss the insane gag of a bank going bust and the depositors dumping their pennies on ol’ George to rescue it. Which seems sorta cute and sentimental except if the building and loan went bust during the depression. If the damn movie had been set then (and a lot of the viewers had painful memories of the era), they woulda butchered George and had a community feast the likes of which wouldn’t be seen on the silver screen until Weekend. And by the way, the note about old men’s testicles? “a scrotum shriveled to the size and texture of a walnut” – that description was a little too…tactile.

“Well, they’re not exactly sending the A-Team, are they?”

Why? Why did George Peppard have to die? Because I would pay one million dollars to see THAT movie.

Zuzu’s a nickname for Susannah, just to be boringly factual.

Merry Christmas, guys!

Ironically, it’s raining.

Now cut that out! Dammit.

The angel venom bit is my very favorite. Not enough to make me actually want to watch this damned thing again (which apparently I could, because it’ll only be on another hundred times this week. Folks, it’s over. Move on.) I’ll never understand what Lister sees in the movie.

For the record, you can actually get life insurance that is not invalidated by suicide. It costs a bit more, and generally won’t pay out for it in the first five or ten years, but it can be a good choice if you know there’s a decent chance of it happening that way. Consult your insurance agent.

For the record, you can actually get life insurance that is not invalidated by suicide. It costs a bit more, and generally won’t pay out for it in the first five or ten years,

I think some states limit the length of a suicide exclusion clause. My life insurance policy (I’m in Illinois) only excludes coverage for suicide if it occurs within two years of when the policy was taken out. I didn’t request that the suicide exclusion be limited that way, and somehow I doubt the insurance company did so out of the goodness of its corporate heart, so I’m guessing that it did so because the law required it to.

I didn’t request that the suicide exclusion be limited that way, and somehow I doubt the insurance company did so out of the goodness of its corporate heart, so I’m guessing that it did so because the law required it to.

I wonder if they Catch-22 you on it though?
“sorry, you inquired about the suicide clause on your policy, now we don’t have to pay out since you signed up just to collect that”

The only memory of that movie I have is the sledding scene and the pool scene, so I have to take your word for it or watch the damn thing. Did Harry really spank the maid? And not telling on a crazy guy who plans to poison unsuspecting children is a good thing? WTF?

My partner and I did indeed inquire about suicide coverage, specifically. We went through an independent agent, though, so it was more like asking the realtor if it would be okay with the home owner association if we opened a petting zoo than asking the HOA itself. You get some idea of what’s likely to go on when you do ask, without anyone knowing specifically who it is that’s asking. The agent was working, theoretically, for us, and not for the insurance company, and therefore had no incentive to rat us out.

I suspect what happens is they assume that if you’re planning on offing yourself for the payoff, that during the exclusionary period you’ll probably rethink things, and to balance out the minority who won’t, you all get higher premiums with that sort of policy. They didn’t insist on therapy or anything, but we didn’t make a big deal out of it.

The vast majority of people who are chronically depressed never do kill themselves, and for an industry which exists to calculate risks, they probably consider the possibility that any given policy holder will kill him or herself as a long term plan statistically insignificant. (Whereas people who are planning to kill themselves anyway might be willing to buy a policy and make a couple payments to get their survivors a payoff in the short term.)

The reality is, they are extremely likely to make a ton of money off this policy anyway, because the value is low, the premiums are relatively high, and the exclusion period (five years in our case) means they get a pile of money to invest and earn off of before they would ever have to pay.

Really, the health insurance company is more likely to screw you to the wall if you try to ask specific questions about coverage issues before signing on. “Whaddaya mean do we cover surgical abortion? What have you got planned?”

And HW, I’m with you. I couldn’t believe George was supposed to be the hero of that thing. What an asshole.

You know, the famous short “A Case of Spring Fever”, which has essentially the same plot as It’s A Wonderful Life (Except with a grizzled imp in the Clarence role and the George Baily role shared between a frog-faced man and all springs everywhere) actually came out several years before Capra’s Christmas classic.

Could A Case of Spring Fever be the first true big screen adaptation of Phillip Van Doren Stern’s seminal Christmas tale?

On the drugging druggist: How could George be sure he wouldn’t go through his plan anyway or just try some other method? I don’t think blackmail would work in this case, since it sounds like the druggist is acting out of grief-induced insanity and wouldn’t worry that much about the consequences.

LMAO. And I love the original, but I’ll recommend your version for a laugh. BTW, Zuzu was the name of a popular brand of gingersnap cookie at the time. At one point, Baily addresses her as “my little gingersnap.” THAT’S what kind of name it is.

BTW, Zuzu was the name of a popular brand of gingersnap cookie at the time. At one point, Baily addresses her as “my little gingersnap.” THAT’S what kind of name it is.

damn insidious product placement

OK, this is blasphemy. IAWL is cloying, self-pitying and saccharine enough to cause a root canal.

Also I never really liked Jimmy Stewart – even in the Thin Man sequel where he was the murderer, he was well, odd.

He had that Russert Pumpkinhead smugness that I just can’t abide, even in black and white. How’s THAT for hating Amerika?

Since the majority of us seem to agree with you, I don’t think hating IaWL rises above the level of “mild outgroup sniping at the dominant culture”. Certainly it’s not blasphemy. Blasphemy would be telling us how much you dug “Zardoz”.

Christopher writes: Could A Case of Spring Fever be the first true big screen adaptation of Phillip Van Doren Stern’s seminal Christmas tale?

It would have been even more so, but for the fact that the infamous “19th hole” scene was cut from the movie.

In it, after smarmily whipping his pals at golf, Frogface and his new pal Coily get hammered at the club bar, where Coily, a mean drunk as it turns out, amuses himself by disabling the springs in the cash register and cackling iritatingly whenever the barkeep tries to punch up a sale.

Finally the bartender has had enough: “Dat does it– out you two pixies go, troo da window or troo da door!”

Mayhem ensues.

It’s many years since I saw IaWL (which, damn me as you will, I actually kinda liked), but IIRC the pharmacist wasn’t deliberately poisoning Rxs; he was blind as a bat and didn’t realize he was filling an Rx from the wrong canister.

It’s many years since I saw IaWL (which, damn me as you will, I actually kinda liked), but IIRC the pharmacist wasn’t deliberately poisoning Rxs; he was blind as a bat and didn’t realize he was filling an Rx from the wrong canister.

Well, yeah he was blind–BLIND DRUNK! No free ride for him!

Even if he was just blind. I mean, dammit. My uncle is narcoleptic and was exceptionally bitter when we got his license taken away after the second near-accident. But if your disability means you cannot do something that could kill people if you get it wrong, you suck it up. Your rights do not include killing people.

I know it’s not fair, but hell, people learn to live with it. And anyone around you who is aware that you may be about to kill someone has a duty to do what they can to stop you. Enlightened self interest, if nothing else. The prescription they fuck up could be your own.

Yeah, I know, I’m quite the scold. But it’s part of being a grownup. I have very little use for people who can’t do that, be they fictional characters or real live presidents.

If George Bailey had gone to college, he’d have come home as Bush the Elder.

Full disclosure: I’ve never yet liked a movie that was described as “heartwarming”. It’s possibly a genetic thing.

Y’know what the description “heartwarming” for a movie means to me? “Get a handful of Prilosec, yer gonna need it”.

If George Bailey had gone to college, he’d have come home as Bush the Elder.

Would that make ZuZu Dubya?

Scooped by ciocia! Well, I can add that I have a lovely period Nabisco print advertisement framed (someone tore it out of an old magazine and sold it); it’s from the early 1900s. It shows lovely tinted illustrations portraying some dozen Nabisco products, including Saratoga Flakes and Cocoanut Dainties AND ZuZus. I love that thing.

I’m a day late and a dollar short, here, but finding out the FBI thought “It’s” was Commie-Rat Propaganda (for GOD’S sake) elevates it a bit in my eyes:


Despite a bit of unchecked misspelling in the first sentences (“cosumerist?”) of the article, Wise Bread also provides certain valuable services–like explaining the end of “Trading Places” in small words I can understand–so I may be in love.

Blogger Will Chen likes “It’s,” though, so I don’t think he’d dig WOC’s review…

I’m coming late to the party here, but even reading about this movie brought on a diabetic coma I didn’t come out of until yesterday. Then I had to spend some time curled up in a ball in the corner whimpering…

It’s A Wonderful Interpretation. You made me remember some icky bits I had managed to forget. Thanks a heap. One thing I read somewhere this year (senility prevents me from recalling who or where) said that if that SOB had actually stayed dead we might have been spared suburban sprawl and mile after mile after mile of soulless suburbia. Just another reason to hate angels…

The more I think about it, in addition to loathing this movie it’s the mere sound of Jimmy Stewart’s voice that grinds down my last good nerve. He WHINES so. Bleargh.

Thanks for the great job on this, though. It definitely belongs on Vol. 2 of BLTBM.

I loved this post. Hilarious! And I always loved the alternative ending done on Saturday Night Live years ago. The townspeople figure out that Potter was the big fat jerk who stole the $8000 from that drunken moron Uncle Billy. The mob goes after Potter and beats the hell out of the warped old bastard. THAT’S satisfaction!

Great post!

Years ago we had a local band named “Zuzu’s Petals”.

Hey, remember those scenes that have Potter in the Bldg. & Loan?? Well, how the hell does his flunkey get him & that humongus wheelchair up those stairs????? And while George & Clarance are out doing their acid trip, Mary is out looking for cash, and leaves all those kids home by themselves – child abuse?? And the house is full of strangers???

I still love that movie.

I said it and I’m glad.

[...] But even after my compelling, impassioned, and persuasive argument, you still think you’d hate It’s a Wonderful Life, then maybe you’ll like this description of the movie better than mine.  (Warning:  much worse language than you get here.) [...]

Great piece. I still love the movie though. But… do some of you actually believe that Gower was intentionally poisoning? He was so drunk he didn’t realize what bottle he’d picked up. He seemed awfully surprised when he realized. I’m just sayin…

I still love the movie, but your take was hysterical and very well done. Bravo, sir!
And Merry Christmas!

Thank you for the re-post ala Twitter. I never liked this movie and you’ve nailed many points why!

Here’s my question; why didn’t Potter’s henchman Lurch rat Potter out to George? He saw the whole thing and said NOTHING!
I still like SNL’s sequel from the ’90′s when Uncle Billy remembers Potter had the money and the whole town goes and kicks his ass.

The ending of this movie always bugs the hell out of me. If the funds are missing, then someone, presumably George or Clarence, would be charged with embezzlement. The fact that the townspeople are giving him money doesn’t change that. But the bank examiner goes, “Yeah, all that money’s missing. Someone *should* go to jail, but everyone seems to like this guy so what the heck.”

I guess it’s a case of “too nice to fail” or some damn thing.

And George and Mary need to get the ACLU after that teacher.

[...] Bobo and Krugman By mgpaquin Roger Cohen is off today.  Bobo, in “The Sidney Awards,” tells us to turn off a “Wonderful Life” and read the best essays of the year.  Well, Bobo, I never turn on “A Wonderful Life,” but I may read one or two of the essays.  (For the definitive take on “It’s A Wonderful Life” here’s Scott at World-O-Crap.)  Prof. Krugman, in “Tidings of Comfort,” says imperfect as it is, the health care reform bill, which will likely become a law, will make America a better country.  Here’s Bobo: Every year, I give out Sidney Awards to the best magazine essays of the year. In an age of zipless, electronic media, the idea is to celebrate (and provide online links to) long-form articles that have narrative drive and social impact. [...]

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