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I Liked Scrooge Better Before: 3 Christmas Movies I Hate

If you can't afford all those kids, stop having them, Cratchit. You're lucky you have a job.

by
Kathy Shaidle

Bio

December 27, 2012 - 7:00 am
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Yes, I admit it:

Every time Clarence gets his wings, I cry.

But I cry at the end of every movie, and by “every movie,” I mean Galaxy Quest.

Proof that received wisdom is 99% wrong:

Frank Capra gets a bad rap as a shallow sentimentalist who produced little more than “Capra-corn.” In truth, his films are almost as relentlessly, corrosively cynical as Billy Wilder’s.

The difference is, Capra tended to tack on over-the-top happy endings, the conclusion of It’s a Wonderful Life simply being the most familiar to millions — due to a paperwork glitch.

But I know I’m not the only one who thinks the message of It’s a Wonderful Life is just awful.

Here’s one take:

That’s why, in the last scene, George looks at his friends with terror. He’s happy to be alive, but he’s disillusioned, wised up in just the worst way. He finally knows the world as it really is, what his friends are capable of, the dark potential coiled in each of them. (…)

Simply put, George has been cursed with knowledge, shown the truth of the world — seen hidden things. It’s the sort of vision that makes a person go insane.

My objections are more, well, “objectivist.”  Thwarted architect George Bailey is the anti-Roark.

As elucidated by Michael Graham:

Smart, ambitious George gets stuck at the modest Building and Loan back in Hickville when his brother marries into a cushy corporate gig and his father dies. After years of dreaming of going off to college, traveling the world and becoming a top engineer or architect, his life is spent scraping by, and helping others do the same.

Somehow the movie — like the Occupiers of today — tries to turn that into a virtue. Despite his wife and kids, George turns down $20,000 a year so he won’t have to work for that “evil banker,” Mr. Potter.

Occupy Bedford Falls!

Indeed. Loyalty to one’s home town is one of those human traits that baffle me. Why does an accident of longitude and latitude inspire your undying passion?

(Batman, I’m looking at you…)

George Bailey should’ve told everybody to drop dead and gone off on the adventures he’d been dreaming about since childhood.

The story of America is the story of hundreds of thousands of individuals who waved farewell forever to their loser, backward families in the Old Country and struck out on their own in the New World.

(And if he was bound and determined to stay in Boringtown, the very least he could do was fix the damn knob on the staircase.)

Also?

There is has to be a debate as to who the true villain of this film is: Potter or Uncle Billy.

But hey, at least I’m not this uptight Protestant guy:

I have to say that there are too many negative things in It’s a Wonderful Life—things like the language, the sexual content and the worldview—for me to be able to enjoy it as fully as I should be able to enjoy any movie I watch for pleasure.

He doesn’t approve of all the cigarette smoking, either!

Wow, what a Scrooge…

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