Saturday, December 31, 2011


So, how did I end my year of movies?

I subscribed to Netflix.  I had done the DVD in the mail thing a few years ago, but after getting movie channels I decided to cut the expense.  Plus we'd had a movie sitting on our entertainment center for almost a month gathering dust.

But I was bored and wanted to find some old episodes of some TV shows.  In my research I found that most episodes are on Hulu or Netflix.  So I announced that I would be signing up for Netflix streaming to my husband. 

"I thought there weren't any good movies on streaming."

"It's better now."

So I spent the afternoon while he was napping watching "Hot Tub Time Machine", episodes of "How I Met Your Mother" and "Glee".  I started to watch the Swedish version of "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo".  I am slightly tired and didn't feel like reading a movie. 

We had gotten an XBox as a family Christmas present.  I heard that you could watch Netflix through the XBox and watch them on your regular television.  I called my son in to set it up.  He is much faster with that. 

My husband was hesitant about it.  The searching didn't come naturally and he couldn't find a movie immediately.  Then it happened.  I talked.

"You know they have "Rockford Files" on here."

My husband was sold.  They show "Rockford Files" every afternoon and my husband watches it almost every day.  He has it set on our DVR.  Soon he found "Columbo"

As we speak we are watching an episode featuring Johnny Cash and Boss Hogg. 

I have created a Netflix monster.

Friday, December 30, 2011

"When Harry Met Sally" 1989

"When Harry Met Sally"

This has to be one of my favorite romantic comedies.  The best part is that my husband will willingly watch it.   Since tomorrow is New Year's Eve and this movie culminates on New Year's Eve, I thought it was a perfect time to write about it.

The first time we see Harry and Sally they are driving from Chicago to New York together.  The dialogue in this movie is awesome.  Most is Billy Crystal's delivery. 

Harry Burns: You realize of course that we could never be friends.
Sally Albright: Why not?
Harry Burns: What I'm saying is - and this is not a come-on in any way, shape or form - is that men and women can't be friends because the sex part always gets in the way.
Sally Albright: That's not true. I have a number of men friends and there is no sex involved.
Harry Burns: No you don't.
Sally Albright: Yes I do.
Harry Burns: No you don't.
Sally Albright: Yes I do.
Harry Burns: You only think you do.
Sally Albright: You say I'm having sex with these men without my knowledge?
Harry Burns: No, what I'm saying is they all WANT to have sex with you.
Sally Albright: They do not.
Harry Burns: Do too.
Sally Albright: They do not.
Harry Burns: Do too.
Sally Albright: How do you know?
Harry Burns: Because no man can be friends with a woman that he finds attractive. He always wants to have sex with her.
Sally Albright: So, you're saying that a man can be friends with a woman he finds unattractive?
Harry Burns: No. You pretty much want to nail 'em too.
Sally Albright: What if THEY don't want to have sex with YOU?
Harry Burns: Doesn't matter because the sex thing is already out there so the friendship is ultimately doomed and that is the end of the story.
Sally Albright: Well, I guess we're not going to be friends then.
Harry Burns: I guess not.
Sally Albright: That's too bad. You were the only person I knew in New York.

Meg Ryan runs hot or cold for me.  This role was made for her slightly ditzy and uptight image.  Which is probably why I find her serious roles hard to watch. 

The second time they meet, five years have passed.

But the question of genuine friendship between the sexes is still on the table.

Harry Burns: Would you like to have dinner?... Just friends.
Sally Albright: I thought you didn't believe men and women could be friends.
Harry Burns: When did I say that?
Sally Albright: On the ride to New York.
Harry Burns: No, no, no, I never said that... Yes, that's right, they can't be friends. Unless both of them are involved with other people, then they can... This is an amendment to the earlier rule. If the two people are in relationships, the pressure of possible involvement is lifted... That doesn't work either, because what happens then is, the person you're involved with can't understand why you need to be friends with the person you're just friends with. Like it means something is missing from the relationship and why do you have to go outside to get it? And when you say "No, no, no it's not true, nothing is missing from the relationship," the person you're involved with then accuses you of being secretly attracted to the person you're just friends with, which you probably are. I mean, come on, who the hell are we kidding, let's face it. Which brings us back to the earlier rule before the amendment, which is men and women can't be friends.

Finally the third time they meet, they find a balance they can live with.

Harry Burns: You know, you may be the first attractive woman I've not wanted to sleep with in my entire life.
Sally Albright: That's wonderful, Harry.

It is great to see their relationship develop without them realizing they are perfect for each other.  The other friendships they have are realistic and I love the scene where Harry and Sally set each other up with their best friends only to be ditched when sparks fly.

I love their run to the cab without a glance back.  Next thing you know they are moving in together and getting married. 

There are so many great moments.  I won't bore you with recaps of all of them.  They have all seeped into my dialogue.  I can't say the words "some day" without the dramatic hand gesture. 

Sally: He just met her... She's supposed to be his transitional person, she's not supposed to be the ONE. All this time I thought he didn't want to get married. But, the truth is, he didn't want to marry me. He didn't love me.
Harry: If you could take him back now, would you?
Sally: No. But why didn't he want to marry me? What's the matter with me?
Harry: Nothing.
Sally: I'm difficult.
Harry: You're challenging.
Sally: I'm too structured, I'm completely closed off.
Harry: But in a good way.
Sally: No, no, no, I drove him away. AND, I'm gonna be forty.
Harry: When?
Sally: Someday.
Harry: In eight years.
Sally: But it's there. It's just sitting there, like some big dead end. And it's not the same for men. Charlie Chaplin had babies when he was 73.
Harry: Yeah, but he was too old to pick them up.

Then of course...

I love that they call their best friends as soon as they are apart and recap the whole situation.  But the only thing it does is make Jess and Marie glad they aren't out there anymore.

Marie: Tell me I'll never have to be out there again.
Jess: You'll never have to be out there again.


I love that these two are separated by their own stupidity, not some contrived situation or obvious wrong person.  It is just them being real.  It feels more emotionally true than most romantic comedies because we've watched them develop and change. 

There is a great moment where you see hope on Harry's face and Sally straightens herself up, trying to keep from getting hurt.  And then there is Harry's great speech.

Harry Burns: I've been doing a lot of thinking, and the thing is, I love you.
Sally Albright: What?
Harry Burns: I love you.
Sally Albright: How do you expect me to respond to this?
Harry Burns: How about, you love me too.
Sally Albright: How about, I'm leaving.
Harry Burns: I love that you get cold when it's 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you're looking at me like I'm nuts. I love that after I spend the day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it's not because I'm lonely, and it's not because it's New Year's Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.
Sally Albright: You see? That is just like you, Harry. You say things like that, and you make it impossible for me to hate you.

And then they live happily ever after.  Even then you see that they have made little adjustments for each other.

[last lines]
[voiceover as last documentary couple]
Harry Burns: The first time we met, we hated each other.
Sally Albright: No, you didn't hate me, I hated you. The second time we met, you didn't even remember me.
Harry Burns: I did too, I remembered you. The third time we met, we became friends.
Sally Albright: We were friends for a long time.
Harry Burns: And then we weren't.
Sally Albright: And then we fell in love.
[on sofa as last documentary couple]
Sally Albright: Three months later we got married.
Harry Burns: Yeah, it only took three months.
Sally Albright: Twelve years and three months.
Harry Burns: We had this - we had a really wonderful wedding.
Sally Albright: It was - it really was a
Sally Albright: beautiful wedding.
Harry Burns: [overlapping] It was great. We had this enormous coconut cake.
Sally Albright: Huge coconut cake with a - with a - tiers and there was this very rich chocolate sauce on the side.
Harry Burns: Right, cause not everybody likes it on the cake, cause it makes it very soggy.
Sally Albright: Particularly the coconut soaks up a lot of excess and you really - it's important to keep it on the side.
Harry Burns: Right.

Happy New Year! 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

"Dinner For Schmucks" 2010

"Dinner For Schmucks"

Yesterday my husband chose this movie as his morning in front of the television.  I assume that he napped through some of it.  We went to see this movie in the theater.  It got pretty mixed reviews but I thought it was humorous.  It was originally a French film and I understand that in that version, they never even go to the dinner.  They just sit around and talk.  The French make some weird movies.

It is a little different.  But the headboard is quite similar.

In the French version the idiot makes things out of matchsticks and the "Tim" character has a wife and a mistress.  That is cool in France I guess.   In the American version it is taxidermy mice and Tim has a stalker and a girlfriend.

There are a lot of fun scenes.  Paul Ruud plays the straight man being pulled into chaos by Steve Carell. 

I had a dream last night with Steve Carell in it.  My old HR manager was hosting a Regis/Kelly type talk show.  My niece was her co-host and was for some unknown reason dressed up like a Rio dancer.  When Steve Carell came out to talk to them, he insisted on dancing with her.  She had the moves. 

It was very surreal. 

Not my niece here by the way.

Zach Galifianakis plays an IRS agent.  He looks up tax records.  This is totally illegal.  I know someone who works for the IRS.  They have very specific rules about taxpayer information.  They can't look at anyone they know, might know or anyone who lives near them.  There were agents that got fired a few years ago for looking at the tax returns of famous people.  This dude would not be able to do this.  He would be so fired. 

It is a cute movie.  Not exactly laugh out loud funny, but enjoyable.  Did you notice the picture of the "Amazing Kreskin" on Zach's desk?

But that IRS thing bugs the crap out of me. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My Husband and the Great Vacation

My husband is on vacation this week.  He has a lot more vacation than I do and tends to take a couple of vacations a year where I go off to work and he is home with hours to fill.  The week between Christmas and New Year's is one of his favorite vacation times.  I have shared this with him in the past, but with my current retail career, I don't have a lot of vacation time, so he is on his own. 

My husband goes into his vacation with the best intentions.  He will lay out a series of tasks he would like to fulfill.  Now two of his vacations fall during peak times, one is MeatFest, which I will post about sometime in the future.  The other is New Year's Eve. 

New Year's Eve in my family has evolved over the years into our current tradition. 

We gather at my in-laws' house and have a seafood feast.  Some years back my husband, who is a most excellent cook, decided to give lobster bisque a try.  We had fallen in love with it at Emeril's in Las Vegas.  Our first trip I ordered the bisque and he ordered the gumbo, an oversight he still regrets. 

It took a couple of years and gallons of heavy cream to master, but he has done it.  It is like heaven in a bowl.  I am salivating in anticipation.

It starts with a trip to the "Green Mile" for lobsters.  We pool our Christmas money and my husband picks them out of the tank.  I love lobster, I just can't choose them.  There is just something about pointing at a living creature with intent.

"You will die so I can enjoy your delicious flesh in melted butter."

I just can't do it.  Once they are dead, no problem.  Let's eat!

So this is his goal for the week.  It is quite an undertaking to make bisque for ten or fifteen people so I don't hassle him...much. 

It is hard to get an email at work from him in the middle of the day like the one I got today.

"Decisions, decisions, "Dinner For Schmucks", "Sixteen Candles", "City Slickers 2" and "Dumb and Dumber" are all starting at the same time."

This is my husband's typical week of vacation.  He is a guy who loves to relax.

Monday: Sleep late, take a nap.  "It's only the first day of vacation, I need to relax."

Tuesday: Get up a little earlier.  Take two naps.  "It's only Tuesday, I have all week to do stuff!"

Wednesday: "Vacation is already half over!  I need to rest some more!!"

Thursday:  "Well, vacation is almost over, but I better do something on my to-do list."  Install shelf in kitchen.  Recover rest of day by napping extra. 

Friday:  "It's the last day of vacation.  I haven't napped enough!!!!" 

He then spends the weekend mourning the end of his vacation by watching football while napping.  He can somehow hear when I just press the guide so it is inevitable that I find a reason to go to a movie.

On New Year's Eve week, he will make bisque and also creme brulee so I am a little more forgiving of his leisure.  And this year he did do some cleaning on Tuesday for our family party so I didn't hassle him too much when I discovered he hadn't even ventured to the porch for the mail. 

By the way he chose "Dinner for Schmucks."

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

No Real Post Tonight.

Unless you are willing to count this as a post.  I got home, had to dust and vacuum and then had family over for a delayed Christmas celebration. 

It is now my bedtime and my son reminded me that I needed to do my blog post. 

It was a great night. 

A lot of family.

Too much food.

And my dog handled a two year old very well.  Even though said two year old squealed "A DOG" many times and tempted him by carrying crackers through out the house. 

He also saw the "Star Wars" trilogy on our shelves and announced "GEORGE!"

Poor kid.

OK, I am counting this as a post.  Have a good night.  I am going to bed.  4 AM comes pretty quick. 

Monday, December 26, 2011

"Jerry Maguire" 1996

"Jerry Maquire"

This movie is a chick flick disguised as a sports movie. 

Some ten years or so ago, I took a screenwriting class.  It was a local adult learning thing.  They held it at my old junior high and it was actually in my eighth grade home room.  This in itself was a surreal experience.  I had written a couple of screenplays and I wanted some inspiration to improve and possibly network. 

The guy running the class had written a period piece about a woman named Ada that had something to do with math or early computers or something like that.  There was a woman who swore she had financing and a firm committment from Anthony Hopkins, aka Hannibal Lector for a movie to shoot on location in Europe.  There was a kid, maybe seventeen or eighteen who had just seen the movie "Crash" and was quoting a line by line remake only set in Iowa. 

I felt like my own research had taught me more than this class, but I'd payed my seventeen dollars and would stick  it out for all four classes.  One night I traded scripts with the teacher.  I went home and did a serious review of his script.  It lackked conflict and had odd bookends to the story that were set in a modern college class that just didn't make sense.

He checked mine for grammar and told me not to use the F word quite so much.  When I asked him what he thought of the story, he admitted he'd only gotten about ten pages in because he was very busy. 

What does this have to do with "Jerry Maguire" you ask?

This man loved Cameron Crowe.  He said the that a good movie sets up the whole story in the first ten minutes.  He showed the first ten minutes in class.  Granted it was the most engrossed the class was for the entire four weeks, so maybe he was right about one thing.

Ironically this movie contains a lot of F words. 

When this movie came out I remember reading an article titled "Who Is Renee Zellweger?"  It was all about big movie stars acting opposite relative newcomers.  Of course Renee blew Tom out of the water on this movie. 

It does drive me crazy that her dress changes from shot to shot during their date.  Just watch the kitchen scene where he picks her up.  It is insane that they let this happen.  I thougth Cameron Crowe was a bit of a stickler about this stuff.

I didn't find the kid that cute either.  He was kind of annoying.  But he did look like he could be Renee's kid. 

I also adore Kelly Preston's tiny part in this movie.

I wish she would do more of this hard edged character.  I love her control.  She would be great in a weekly Showtime series. 

Avery Bishop: There is a sensitivity thing that some people have. I don't have it. I don't cry at movies, I don't gush over babies, I don't buy Christmas presents 5 months early, and I DON'T tell the guy who just ruined both our lives, "Oh, poor baby." But I do love you.

It is a good first ten minutes.

[first lines]
Jerry Maguire: So this is the world, and there are almost six billion people on it. When I was a kid, there were three. It's hard to keep up.

There is great set up and you see Jerry change over the course of the movie.

Plus Cuba Gooding Jr. won best supporting actor for his role.  And he danced. 

Said thank you a few hundred times.

Then he made "Boat Trip".

So sad . But a good movie.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

My Christmas!

It was Christmas at my house!  (And other people's houses too, I suppose.)  I made my annual cream puff tree to bring to our family Christmas.  The Santa and his reindeer salt and pepper shaker stayed home. I have collected salt and pepper shakers in the past.  There is one problem with collecting something.  Once you tell people that you collect salt and pepper shakers they start to give them to you.  That is all they give you.  I have them lining every shelf in my dining room and on window sills throughout the living room.  I am ready for any occasion with the right S&P shaker.

My son, who did all his Christmas shopping in about an hour on Christmas Eve morning, read my blog.  So I got a Barnes and Noble gift card.  My Nook is very happy.  I have to review the upcoming books to see what I can find.

My husband got some Templeton Rye from our son.  He just walked into a convenience store and saw it, not knowing  what he was getting.  He was going in to buy lottery tickets and texted me. 

"Do you think Dad would like some Templeton Rye?"

"Sure.  If you can find it." 

"They have it here.  Should I buy it?"

This whiskey is actually quite sought after.  They only make a few small batches a year and sell it in limited quanities.  After I posted the picture on Facebook I heard stories of people making deals with store clerks and reserving months in advance.  My son just walked into a convenience store and there it was.  Any surprise we have him buy the lottery tickets?

Also, doesn't my husband look like a celebrity spokesman?  He is so photogenic.

What did I get?  I GOT A MAJOR AWARD!!!!!  My husband actually wrapped this present and had it ready to go weeks in advance.  This is not his usual M.O. 

He did a great job.  I have to find a five watt bulb somewhere to get the full effect.  Then this baby is going in my front window so everyone can see MY MAJOR AWARD.

So I hope you all had a great Christmas.  It has been fun writing about Christmas movies for the last month.  Now I can look forward to the Golden Globes and Oscars. 

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

"It's A Wonderful LIfe" 1946

"It's A Wonderful Life"

This is it.  It is my absolute favorite Christmas movie.  I love this movie.  

I must warn you as you read this, I have taken some prescription pain medication. 

This movie starts in Heaven.  A lot of people are praying for a man named George Bailey. 

They have an hour to tell AS2, Clarence what he needs to know about George Bailey

It starts with a little boy with big dreams.  He is playing with his friends on a frozen lake and they sledding down a hill on shovels.  It is all good natured boyhood fun until George's little brother, Harry falls through the ice. 

Of course he saves him but he loses hearing in one of his ears.  But our George is an industrious boy and at age 12 already has a job at the local pharmacy.  He serves sodas and ice creams to all the cute girls, including little Mary Hatch.  She's going to love him till the day she dies.

There he saves another life, a little boy who almost gets poisoned by the druggist, Mr. Gower.  It isn't Mr. Gower's fault, his son was killed in the war and he just got the telegram. 

Soon George Bailey is all grown up.  He's been waiting patiently for Harry to graduate from high school and take over his job at the Bailey Building and Loan so he can see the world.

George Bailey: I'm shakin' the dust of this crummy little town off my feet and I'm gonna see the world. Italy, Greece, the Parthenon, the Colosseum. Then, I'm comin' back here to go to college and see what they know. And then I'm gonna build things. I'm gonna build airfields, I'm gonna build skyscrapers a hundred stories high, I'm gonna build bridges a mile long...

But before he can take off he decides to go to the senior dance at the high school.  Next thing he knows he is dancing with a very grown up Mary Hatch.

They Charleston right into the swimming pool.  It was under the dance floor.

While they are walking home there is romance in the air and a full moon.

 George Bailey: What is it you want, Mary? What do you want? You want the moon? Just say the word and I'll throw a lasso around it and pull it down. Hey. That's a pretty good idea. I'll give you the moon, Mary.
Mary: I'll take it. Then what?
George Bailey: Well, then you can swallow it, and it'll all dissolve, see... and the moonbeams would shoot out of your fingers and your toes and the ends of your hair... am I talking too much?

 Next thing you know George wants to kiss Mary and she ends up naked.  It is really quite innocent, but George is ready to take advantage but she is in a bush.  As he teases her , a car pulls up to let him know that his father's had a stroke.

So George gives up a trip to Europe that he paid for and takes over the Building and Loan.  He turns things over the board of directors and tries to leave for college.  He is almost gone when Mr. Potter insults his father and his life's work.

George Bailey: Just a minute... just a minute. Now, hold on, Mr. Potter. You're right when you say my father was no businessman. I know that. Why he ever started this cheap, penny-ante Building and Loan, I'll never know. But neither you nor anyone else can say anything against his character, because his whole life was... why, in the 25 years since he and his brother, Uncle Billy, started this thing, he never once thought of himself. Isn't that right, Uncle Billy? He didn't save enough money to send Harry away to college, let alone me. But he did help a few people get out of your slums, Mr. Potter, and what's wrong with that? Why... here, you're all businessmen here. Doesn't it make them better citizens? Doesn't it make them better customers? You... you said... what'd you say a minute ago? They had to wait and save their money before they even ought to think of a decent home. Wait? Wait for what? Until their children grow up and leave them? Until they're so old and broken down that they... Do you know how long it takes a working man to save $5,000? Just remember this, Mr. Potter, that this rabble you're talking about... they do most of the working and paying and living and dying in this community. Well, is it too much to have them work and pay and live and die in a couple of decent rooms and a bath? Anyway, my father didn't think so. People were human beings to him. But to you, a warped, frustrated old man, they're cattle. Well in my book, my father died a much richer man than you'll ever be!
He impresses them so much that they give George an ultimatum,  Stay and run it or the Building and Loan is done.  So of course George stays and his little brother Harry is sent to college in his place.

Harry does great at college, he becomes a football hero, brings home a pretty wife and a job offer in Buffalo.  It is the last nail in the coffin for George.  He is stuck in Bedford Falls.

So after the reception, he treks by Mary Hatch's house, nudge ever so subtly by his mother.  Mary tries to seduce him with song and her artistic pursuits.  When that doesn't work, she tries jealousy.  While in the phone with his old friend, Sam Wainright, they end up so close you can't avoid the sexual tension.  This scene had to be edited for censors due to the hotness.

 A little anger and frustration turns to making out.

George Bailey: Now, you listen to me! I don't want any plastics, and I don't want any ground floors, and I don't want to get married - ever - to anyone! You understand that? I want to do what I want to do. And you're... and you're...
[runs out of words, sees her crying]
George Bailey: Oh, Mary, Mary...
Mary: George... George... George...
George Bailey: [kisses her intensely] Mary... Would you?... Would you?...
Soon they are married.  Of course they choose to get married at a bad time.  The banks start to crash as they are leaving town with $2000 for a honeymoon.  Even today that would be a nice budget for a  honeymoon.  But again, George has bad luck.

There is a run on the bank and Uncle Billy panics and locks the doors. 

When the crowd turns ugly, Mary steps up offering their honeymoon fund to the town to tide them over.   They make it to closing time with two dollars to spare.


George Bailey: [the staff celebrates closing the building and loan company with only two dollars remaining, to stay in business] Get a tray for these two great big important simoleans here.
Uncle Billy: We'll save 'em for seed.
George Bailey: A toast! A toast! A toast to Mama Dollar and to Papa Dollar, and if you want to keep this old Building and Loan in business, you better have a family real quick.
Cousin Tilly: I wish they were rabbits.

Soon Mary and George are settling into an old house.  I love the honeymoon with the record player/rotisserie.  There are night clothes on the bed and George's face is priceless.  They are soon popping out the babies and settling into married life. 

He is almost tempted by Mr. Potter who decides if he can't put him out of business, he will buy him out.  I love when George is almost seduced until he shakes Potter's hand and pulls away as if he'd touched something dirty. 

When the war starts, Harry goes off to become a war hero while George's bad ear keeps him home.  Soon it is Christmas Eve and Harry is coming home.  George is on top of the world.  Then Uncle Billy screws up. 

Busy bragging up his war hero nephew he unknowingly hands Mr. Potter an $8000 deposit. 

This starts to spiral out of control.  When he tells George that he lost the money and a bank examiner shows up, there is major trouble in store for George.

George Bailey: [yelling at Uncle Billy] Where's that money, you silly stupid old fool? Where's that money? Do you realize what this means? It means bankruptcy and scandal and prison! That's what it means! One of us is going to jail... well, it's not gonna be me!

All the built up rage and frustration is unleashed. 

He yells at all his kids and Mary.  He even yells at little Zuzu's teacher. 

He calms down for Zuzu but breaks her flower and has to tuck the petals in his coat.

He is so desperate he leaves the house and goes to Potter for the money. 

Mr. Potter: [to George Bailey] Look at you. You used to be so cocky. You were going to go out and conquer the world. You once called me a warped, frustrated, old man! What are you but a warped, frustrated young man? A miserable little clerk crawling in here on your hands and knees and begging for help. No securities, no stocks, no bonds. Nothin' but a miserable little $500 equity in a life insurance policy.
[Potter chuckles]
Mr. Potter: You're worth more dead than alive! Why don't you go to the riffraff you love so much and ask them to let you have $8,000? You know why? Because they'd run you out of town on a rail. Well, I'll tell you what I'm going to do for you, George. Since the state examiner is still here, as a stockholder of the Building and Loan, I'm going to swear out a warrant for your arrest. Misappropriation of funds, manipulation, malfeasance...
[sees George runs off]
Mr. Potter: All right, George, go ahead, George! You can't hide in a little town like this!

George tries to drown his sorrows at his local watering hole.  His breakdown at the bar is incredible.  He is almost turned around when he gets punched in the face. 

He wrecks his car and ends up on a bridge.  He has his insurance plan on him and thinking terrible things.

Then Clarence shows up.

To get George's attention he drops into the water ready to be saved because he know George will do the right thing.

As he and George dry out, he explains his mission.

Clarence:Clarence Oddbody, AS2.
George Bailey: Oddbody... Hey, what's an AS2?
Clarence: Angel, Second Class.
[the bridgekeeper, overhearing it, falls backwards in his chair]
When George says that the world would be better off if he'd never been born, Clarence goes into action. 

When George heads back to town, he finds himself in Pottersville. 

The bar is different.  Uncle Billy is in the insane  asylum, Violet is a whore and Harry died when he was nine.  And then there is poor Mary.  She is a spinster and a librarian.

The horror!

And she is wearing glasses!  Apparently being with George Bailey is good for your eyesight.

Finally he returns to the bridge wanting all his life back, good and bad.  It starts to snow and he is back.  He runs through town joyously.

George Bailey:Merry Christmas, movie house! Merry Christmas, Emporium! Merry Christmas, you wonderful old Building and Loan!

Finally he reaches home.  There are cops and bank examiners and his kids.  But while he was having his nervous breakdown, Mary has been busy.

She has been canvassing the town begging letting everyone know that George is in trouble.  Soon the town is filling his living room and the Building and Loan is saved.

They solve all his financial problems.  Then Harry crashes the party after flying through a snowstorm to get there.

Harry Bailey: A toast to my big brother George: The richest man in town.

Then the bell on tree rings and George knows that Clarence is going to get his wings. 

[last lines]
Zuzu Bailey: Look, Daddy. Teacher says, every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings.
George Bailey: That's right, that's right.
George Bailey: Attaboy, Clarence.

So, reasons I love this movie.  It is awesome.  The performances are natural and I love Jimmy Stewart.

When we bought our house it had a wiggly newel post that we've never fixed.  It makes me think of "It's A Wonderful Life" every time I put my hand on it.

Now, there are some things that bug me. 

Harry Bailey is living this charmed life and doesn't seem to care that his brother is barely getting by.  He just runs off and lives his life as he wants to. 

George is almost out several times and even when he is told to stop, he goes ahead and stays even though he could have left.  No one is keeping him there but himself.

In 1977 Marlo Thomas did a gender swap version where she did the Jimmy Stewart role.  It is not good. 

It just doesn't feel like Christmas til I see this movie.  It is great.  And this post is very long.  Thanks for hanging on.   And Merry Christmas!!