Every December, Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life plays over and over on television with the intensity of a Jimmy-Stewart-shaped drill boring into your head. This sickeningly sweet staple of Americana is forced upon us, slowly dragging us into its yearly theme of “good outweighs evil” or “everyone matters” or “friends and family are more important than money” or “even if you’re deaf in one ear you can be useful to society” or who knows what all.
Well, guess what kids. I hate this movie — except for one beautiful, touching scene.
When Clarance is showing Jimmy Stewart what life would have been like without him, Stewart runs through what used to be Bedford Falls.
It’s now Pottersville. And you know what? That’s a town I can live in!
Think about it: Pottersville has strip joints, gambling spots and booze flowing from the fountains. The library is open late and the police force cracks down on what matters: They look the other way when it comes to prostitution and spend their time rounding up vagrants and recluses.
And remember Nick’s? That’s the bar Clarance and Stewart get bounced from. Nicks closing statement to the hapless pair, “We serve hard drinks for men who want to get drunk fast and we don’t need any characters hanging around to give the joint atmosphere.” Hear hear! Nick’s is my kind of joint.
In comparison, Bedford Falls is a sleepy town where it appears “boring” is a zoning requirement. The only bar is Martini’s. And the best entertainment apparently comes in the form of high school shindigs on the gym-floor-which-opens-to-a-pool.
Pack up the U-Haul, honey. We’re moving to Pottersville.