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Deconstructing December: It's a Wonderful Life... or is It?

Oh sure, George Bailey, you have a nice house, some cute kids and a beautiful wife, but is that what you really wanted? It's not, according to a piece Wendell Jamieson wrote for the New York Times in 2008. You wanted adventure, excitement and education, but no - you had to fight for the common man lest "the Potters of this world" have their way. Not on your watch they won't. And what did it cost you? Just everything you've always wanted, that's all. Meanwhile you're little brother, Harry is running around being a war hero, going to college (on your dime, no less), and taking a job out of town. Aw, who needs this crummy little town anyway? Might just as well jump off a bridge...

This article appears as part of a series. Visit Deconstructing December to see more.

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  1. This is great. I've always hated this movie and couldn't explain why. This seems like the best excuse. Or at least it is complicated enough that people will be sorry they asked me "why?".

  2. How can you hate a movie with J-J-J-Jimmy Stewart?

  3. I inexplicably love the movie, beside all the issues he brings up in the article, the structure always feels contrived. Most of the film is exposition. Why do we need to be hit over the head with backstory for an hour before we move onto the action? But when he realizes he's got her robe in his hands and she's hiding unclothed behind a bush - he may deserve an Oscar for that single scene. It kills me every time, "This is a very interesting situation!"