It’s A Wonderful Life To Die Hard.
This Christmas classic is an action flick with a heart of gold.
George Bailey, played by Jimmy Stewart, is trying to survive his first Christmas after his divorce. His wife Mary (Donna Stewart), who had the better lawyer, got the kids and the Building & Loan that had been in George’s family for ages.
Shortly after the dissolution of their marriage, Mary sold the Building & Loan to the Nakatomi Corporation, who moved the business to their flagship building in sunny Southern California.
Mary got a high paying job as part of the deal, even though she no longer needed the money, and relocated to Los Angeles with the kids.
George stayed behind in Bedford Falls, where he joined the police department and tried to forget about how much his life sucked now that his wife and kids were gone.
Then out of the blue, Mary calls and invites George to fly out to the coast for her company’s Christmas party. He’d get to spend Christmas with the kids, have a little fun, maybe get a tan.
But he really wanted to see his kids on Christmas.
And being around Mary would be a nice bonus.
George is greeted at the airport by his driver, Argyle, played by Bruce Willis in his first movie role. The odd pair quickly bond on the drive to Nakatomi Plaza, as George bares his soul to Argyle about how much his misses his old life.
Once at the party, George realizes that Mary has really hit the big time. She is a powerful executive, who is highly respected by her employees, and doesn’t seem to miss her old life or her ex-husband one bit.
George escapes to the bathroom to contemplate how crappy his life is compared to Mary’s, and to berate himself for letting Mary, the greatest thing to ever happen to him, get away.
As he splashes cold water on his face, George wishes aloud that he could have the chance to prove himself worthy of Mary’s love and win her back. He’s do anything for the chance.
That’s when a toilet flushes and Clarence (Reginald VelJohnson), emerges from one of the stalls. Even though dressed as a cop, Clarence explains that he is a guardian angel sent to help George with his Christmas wish.
George thinks Clarence is just some crazy California dude who’s smoked too much weed, but then he hears automatic gunfire echoing through the corridors.
George realizes that he not only needs to save Mary, but that this is also his opportunity to prove that he is worthy of her. So he strips down to his undershirt, takes off his shoes, and sets off with Clarence to spread a little Christmas cheer.
Mary recognizes Mr. Potter and quickly realizes that this has to be a continuation of the weird grudge the old man has against the Bailey family.
Even though the Building & Loan no longer belongs to the Baileys, and Mary is no longer married to George, Mr. Potter wants to destroy them both to bring himself some much needed Christmas joy.
And so the game of cat and mouse begins.
When Mary sees Mr. Potter freaking out, she knows that only George could get under the old man’s skin that way. She starts singing “Buffalo Girls Won’t You Come Out Tonight” and fantasizing about reuniting with her ex.
If only they can both survive.
It comes down to a dramatic face off between George and Mr. Potter. George doesn’t want to shoot a man in a wheelchair, even though Clarence is egging him on to do so.
Potter reveals that he doesn’t really need the wheelchair and comes at George like a wild man. As he is beating the life out of George, Potter tells him how he intends to marry Mary and become an evil stepfather to George’s kids.
That sets off something inside George Bailey, and with ample goading from Clarence, he fights back, kicks some serious Potter ass, and then utters the movie’s most famous line…
“Yippee ki yay, Mr. Potter!”
At that point, George empties the clip of his sub-machine gun into Potter’s ancient, wretched body and sends him flying out the window of Nakatomi Plaza.
The old bastard falls to his death.
George is reunited with his kids.
Clarence gets his wings.
Argyle moves to New York to become a cop.
Christmas is saved, and everyone but Mr. Potter lives happily ever after.
What’s your favorite Christmas movie (real or imagined)?