Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Still Wonderful

There's been a lot of cranky talk about the planned sequel to It's A Wonderful Life, a movie quite rightly considered a classic. While many people feel that extending the story on a beloved classic is both a cheap attempt to capitalize on that movie's highly esteemed place in the holiday film rotation and just a bad idea creatively, telling a story that doesn't need to be told, I'm not quite so hung up. I'm no film purist; I think both good things and bad can come from such things, and if your inability to enjoy a film due to a lousy sequel exists, it says a lot more about you than it does the movie.

Still, I wouldn't mind seeing how the Baileys and their friends made out in the sequel:

  • Clarence the angel, now with his wings, must accomplish some even more daunting tasks to move up to third class: namely, sober up Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, get to get working, and get Miley Cyrus to wear some clothes.
  • Tired of raising kids and putting up with George's passive-aggressive whining (c'mon, we all know it), she withdraws and gets addicted to amphetamines. She later ends up a Rich Housewife of Bailey Park and cold-cocks Doris Day after an argument about canapes.
  • Bert goes on to make headlines when he breaks up a local rum-running ring run by a local fellow named Heisenberg. It doesn't end well.
  • Janie finally learns how to play that song. 
  • Zuzu grows up to be a Brazilian children's entertainer. With that name, her career options were pretty limited; she didn't have the gams to make it in the cabaret, and she didn't have the skin tone to be a gypsy. 
  • Sam Wainwright ends up going on to resolve a number of various Doctor Who conundrums. How fortunate!
  • After the war, Harry Bailey ends up in Korea, where he kills an estimated 450 enemies with his bare hands. He then manages to profit handsomely from his wartime adventures, where he travels the world, cures polio single-handedly, and marries a succession of extraordinarily beautiful and open-minded women. He then digs up Hitler and punches him in the nose after winning President of the Entire Universe. After twenty years, in his final act of office, he sends George a thank you card along with a basket of fruit.
  • Henry Potter, forever resentful of his wizard brother, withdraws all of his money from the town after George's success and invests it in a series of ill-defined social media startups. They were destined to fail, what with the internet not being invented yet. He should have stuck with banking.
  • Uncle Billy, living every moment of his waking life teetering on the edge of disaster, finally finds the wonders of Xanax. Unfortunately, he also finds the wonders of the OTB and still ends up in the nuthouse, George Bailey never been born or not.
  • And, of course, George, ever the eternal optimist, grows his savings and loans to rival Potter's, only to lose it all in a housing bubble. But the story has a happy ending; instead of a guardian angel, George finds out that he's simply Too Big To Fail. That's a Christmas miracle, indeed.

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