For Brian.

Last night I read Richard Roeper’s 10 Sure Signs a Movie Character is Doomed & Other Surprising Lists. One chapter made me think of you. I’d like to share it with you here.

5 reasons why George Bailey isn’t such a wonderful guy in It’s a Wonderful Life.

1. When George learns that Uncle Billy has lost the $8,000, he roughs up the kindly, absentminded old fellow, grabbing him by the lapels (that’s assault and battery right there) and screaming, “Where’s that money you silly stupid old fool? Where’s the 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!”

Great. The guy’s going to sell his own uncle down the river for a perfectly innocent mistake.

2. After the money is lost, George goes home and terrorizes the entire family without explanation. When dear sweet Mary asks what’s wrong, he bellows, “Everything’s wrong! You call this a happy family? Why did we have to have all these kids?”

Some family man. The first sign of financial crisis and he’s lamenting the birth of his children.

3. Continuing his streak of verbal abuse, George berates Zuzu’s teacher over the phone, calling her “stupid, silly, [and] careless.”

4. When Mary asks, “George, must you torture the children, too?” his response is to run out of the house and head for the nearest bar, Martini’s, where he behaves rudely and slugs down drink after drink before getting punched by Zuzu’s teacher’s husband and staggering out of the bar and into his car.

I smell a DUI!

5. Sure enough, the inebriated George forgets to turn on his headlights and is soon swerving through the streets of Bedford Falls before crashing into a tree. And what does this drunk driver do when the homeowner comes running out to see a car on the front lawn? He leaves the scene of the accident.

So when the story comes to its happy ending and George says, “Attaboy, Clarence” while the townsfolk sing “Auld Lang Syne,” consider George’s life after the movie. He’ll have to take up another collection to cover his legal expenses on charges of driving under the influence, improper lane usage, reckless driving, criminal damage to property, and leaving the scene of an accident.

I guess Mr. Potter put it best when he said, “And a Happy New Year to you–in jail!”

Tee hee. (Of course, I think we all know that I don’t mind George beating up on Uncle Billy. But that’s not really the point, is it?)

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