“It’s A Wonderful Life” is a beloved Christmas classic. So, I felt uneasy going into this review. Fantasy, drama, Frank Capra, what’s a bitter girl to do?
I took a deep breath, turned the sucker on and sipped my hate juice. All engines are a go, we have liftoff!
It starts with traditional Christmas imagery - upbeat music, greenery, bells, trees and snow but the Christmas part of the film takes a while to fully reveal itself.
George Bailey, whoever he is, is suicidal! Cue an outrageous image of constellations blinking as “angels” speak about poor George’s plight. My first thought was aliens, which is cool because I like aliens. However, I heard talk about wings and angels so … Jesus. The big white hype. I couldn’t shake the image so I kept thinking about angels from outer space. Now that’s a movie I could get behind.
Anyway, apparently God’s greatest gift is life but he makes angels like Clarence Odbody wait 200 years to get their wings so they can “see” all by themselves. Weird.
Then we meet George. Clarence sees George as a young lad saving his brother’s, Harry, life and losing hearing in one ear as a result. He also saves his boss, Mr. Gower, from the electric chair when he’s distraught with his son’s death. George’s Tinder profile heading would be “Sassy With A Big Heart.”
What’s up with the way George speaks as an adult? Is it a parody of the time? Did people talk like this? Another thing … he’s a recent graduate from high school but he’s damn near 40. He looks old as fuck. Then he goes to his younger brother’s graduation party and … everyone looks old! Maybe it’s because all they did was drink, smoke and dance. The good old days! Lemme get a Pall Mall and a Gin Gimlet. Thanks, doll.
Yadda, yadda, swimming pool, yadda, yadda, Mary finally gets her man Georgie Porgie Pudding and Pie, yadda, yadda, random robe, yadda, yadda, George’s dad dies. Tragic. What’s Mr. Potter’s problem? He is such a dick. Wait, does George have a lazy eye? The aliens are back. George postpones his travel plans to run his father’s business, Bailey Brothers’ Business & Loan, along with his crazy Uncle Billy.
Mary goes to college and George stays - did he forget about her? Anyway it doesn’t matter because George and Mary get married after she returns even though he said he didn’t want to get married. How romantic. They tried to honeymoon but townspeople were like, “George, give me my money” and George was like, “OK.” Hey Dirty, baby I got your money, don’t you worry.
So, George tries to better the town with affordable housing and his ridiculous nature. Mr. Potter hates him more - he’s the Mr. Burns of Bedford Falls, N.Y. George’s brother Harry, remember that bitch, was in World War II and got the Medal of Honor for being badass. He’s coming home to be lauded, on Christmas Eve 1945 (OK, here’s the Christmas shit), and crazy Uncle Bailey loses an $8,000 bank deposit to Mr. Potter. What a dumbass. I Googled it and apparently $8,000 back then is $106,303.37 today so yeah, that’s some coin. Uncle Bailey is a silly, stupid old fool with a pet bird. Not a cool bird like a parrot. It’s like a big Raven or something. Weird. Could you imagine losing a large amount of money so foolishly - especially as a plot point in a beloved Christmas classic?
So, George apologizes to his family and tries to get Mr. Potter to save his hide - cue memorable quote, “You’re worth more dead than alive.” Then George gets wasted, as any red-blooded American would. He stumbles around and his guardian angel saves his life, especially since George was seriously contemplating suicide - remember from the beginning of the story? Could you imagine stumbling around your hometown wasted and some Irish looking guy being like, “Hey (insert your name here) I’m your guardian angel.” What the fuck! I would hope my guardian angel, if I had one, wouldn’t look like Captain Jim Brass from “CSI.”
Yadda, yadda, George wishes he’d never been born, yadda, yadda, this ain’t the genie from “Aladdin” and Clarence takes George down the twisted world of his longing to be not born.
Yadda, yadda, life ain’t like what it was because George Bailey wasn’t able to support the narrative. George is aghast and wants his life back, even though it is bleak. Yadda, yadda, cue credits.
I know it’s a Christmas classic but I always feel uneasy about giving an ending away so I won’t. So, George tried to get people’s money back and he wasn’t running a Ponzi scheme, apparently.
I was left wondering about Mr. Potter, that dumb old bitch. Why didn’t he redeem himself? If this were a fairy tale, he totally would have become a better person or died like the Queen in “Snow White” - yeah, that bitch totally died. However, maybe he was such an asshole he never could possibly have redeemed himself, like Ace Merrill in “Stand By Me.” Once a dick, always a dick.The story arc is similar to “A Christmas Carol.” So, there’s that. Did I feel Christmas-y after watching this? No. I enjoyed George Bailey’s daughter commenting on Clarence, the guardian angel, saying, “Every time a bell rings an angel gets its wings.” So, Clarence got his wings after 200 years of torment. Way to go, God. Merry Christmas.
- Dolores Price