"Oh yeah, another big red-letter day for the Baileys!"
November 18, 2013 3:39 PM   Subscribe

In the tradition of A Christmas Story 2 and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie's Island Adventure comes the latest news out of Hollywood: Variety reports 'It's A Wonderful Life' Sequel in the Works!

"Karolyn Grimes, who played George Bailey’s daughter 'Zuzu' in the original, will return for the 'Wonderful Life' sequel as an angel who shows Bailey’s unlikeable grandson (also named George Bailey) how much better off the world would have been had he never been born."

"No casting decision for the lead role of Bailey’s grandson will be made until February but producers have also begun discussions with original cast members Jimmy Hawkins, who portrayed Tommy Bailey, and Carol Coombs,who played Janie Bailey, to reprise their roles as well."

Bonus: 6 Insane Sequels That Almost Ruined Classic Movies
posted by Atom Eyes (68 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
I feel like that is the plot for like twenty different parodies of "Wonder Life." I'm less stunned by the sequel idea than I am by how blatantly unoriginal the idea is.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:41 PM on November 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Pazuzu more like. What the fuck?
posted by Artw at 3:43 PM on November 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


…an angel who shows Bailey’s unlikeable grandson (also named George Bailey) how much better off the world would have been had he never been born.

The ghost of sequels future?
posted by TedW at 3:48 PM on November 18, 2013


I dunno, Potterville looked pretty hopping if you ask me.
posted by The Whelk at 3:49 PM on November 18, 2013 [7 favorites]


No. No. No. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:53 PM on November 18, 2013 [11 favorites]


BAD LIBRARIANS
posted by Artw at 3:53 PM on November 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


I have a cat named Zuzu, and now I worry that people will think I named her in honor of this awful, awful idea.
posted by mudpuppie at 3:54 PM on November 18, 2013


Jesus. This sounds sub-Lifetime. Maybe George Bailey II (a never-better Joey Lawrence!) can signal his reformation by helping a single mother (Leslie Bibb) learn to trust her heart again.
posted by Iridic at 3:55 PM on November 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


It should be about how after the end of the first one everyone who had gathered at the Bailey house went across town and lynched Potter for being such an evil ass. They all agreed to a vow of silence and so the crime was forgotten. Now, decades later, a descendant of another branch of the Potter family who finds she has inherited Potter's fortune due to being the only family member left travels to Bedford Falls and begins uncovering the horrible truth.
posted by Sangermaine at 4:01 PM on November 18, 2013 [21 favorites]


"No casting decision for the lead role of Bailey’s grandson will be made ...

I know of a George B. who's free ...
posted by octobersurprise at 4:04 PM on November 18, 2013


Ms. Grimes had a booth at a Portland, Oregon collectibles show last month. Hawking her autobiography and "It's a Wonderful Life" memorabilia. Not too surprised she's involved in a sequel.
posted by jgaiser at 4:04 PM on November 18, 2013


I'm gonna wander around being menaced by a bunch of neon signs.

CASH-INS! ***Cultural vandalism!*** ILL CONCIEVED NOTIONS Cheap Shots! (w/animated shot glass) BAD IDEAS!
posted by Artw at 4:07 PM on November 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


Incidentally, I finally watched the original for the first time yesterday night. It's a great half of a movie, but once you get to Christmas Eve the whole thing falls off the rails.

That said, this sequel makes even less sense.
posted by chrominance at 4:08 PM on November 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Now, decades later, a descendant of another branch of the Potter family who finds she has inherited Potter's fortune due to being the only family member left travels to Bedford Falls and begins uncovering the horrible truth.

I like where you're going with this! Throw in some genetic mutation by way of cross-species breeding and solstice-themed ritualistic human sacrifice and you've got something. Sort of a "Shadow Over Innsmouth" meets The Wicker Man kind of thing.
posted by Atom Eyes at 4:10 PM on November 18, 2013 [7 favorites]


Every time you hear a cash register ring, a jackass gets his wings.
posted by Daddy-O at 4:18 PM on November 18, 2013 [16 favorites]


They should just call the sequel Christmas. George Bailey is the new Michael Myers. Reborn again and again and again to terrify the residents of Bedford Falls. Only, instead of killing them, he just keeps breaking windows in abandoned houses, prank calling the local school teachers, and running into the trees in people's front yards. HE CAN'T BE STOPPED!!!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:25 PM on November 18, 2013 [7 favorites]


If you're going to twist it to make it dark, MAKE IT FUCKING DARK.

"Karolyn Grimes, who played George Bailey’s daughter 'Zuzu' in the original, will return for the 'Wonderful Life' sequel as an angel who shows Bailey’s unlikeable grandson (also named George Bailey) how it would not have made any difference whatsoever to the world had he never been born."

"Karolyn Grimes, who played George Bailey’s daughter 'Zuzu' in the original, will return for the 'Wonderful Life' sequel as a disturbed woman who believes herself to be an angel who tries to show Bailey’s unlikeable grandson (also named George Bailey) how much worse the world would have been had he never been born. The woman's delusions of meaning and divine love send George into a spiritual crisis, for his entire adult life has been defined by the agonizing silence of God. George screams into the uncaring cosmos. To no result."

"Karolyn Grimes, who played George Bailey’s daughter 'Zuzu' in the original, will return for the 'Wonderful Life' sequel as an angel who shows Bailey’s unlikeable grandson (also named George Bailey) that while life is futile, meatball sandwiches are amazing. They open a sub shop together."
posted by Harvey Jerkwater at 4:30 PM on November 18, 2013 [9 favorites]


"Karolyn Grimes, who played George Bailey’s daughter 'Zuzu' in the original, will return for the 'Wonderful Life' sequel as an angel who shows Bailey’s unlikeable grandson (also named George Bailey) her tattoo of Elvis."
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:33 PM on November 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


"...as an angel who shows Bailey’s unlikeable grandson (also named George Bailey) how much better off the world would have been had he never been born."

I can sort of see the genius in this. George Bailey Junior has pissed away the assets of the Building and Loan Association on asset backed securities and bankrupted everybody who trusted his family. Knowing the con is over, he goes on one last coke and booze filled Christmas Eve binge, and has the time of his life. That is, until a voice entices him out of the sweaty embrace of his hired prostitutes and over to the inexplicably open hotel room window.

"George, come here..." Was that a bell?
posted by Kevin Street at 4:37 PM on November 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Karolyn Grimes, who played George Bailey’s daughter 'Zuzu' in the original, will return for the 'Wonderful Life' sequel as an angel who shows Bailey’s unlikeable grandson (also named George Bailey) a pitch session to a group of studio executives for the worst sequel ever imagined, at which everyone present, including George, is suddenly killed when a two-ton bell crashes through the meeting room window. The crane operator who was supposed to lift the bell to display atop the studio office building is named Clarence, and he and the angel go out for drinks afterward."
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:59 PM on November 18, 2013 [7 favorites]


So, if I'm understanding the gist of this correctly, Karolyn Grimes' job in this one is to convince George Bailey Jr. to ask God to retroactively abort him? Right? Cause if he's getting a do-over, shouldn't the angels start with someone a little more Hitlery?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:01 PM on November 18, 2013


I'm curious about A Christmas Story 2. I notice that in the trailer, every time they say "A Christmas Story 2", they make a point of stating that it is the official sequel. Are ... are there a lot of unofficial ones?
posted by kafziel at 5:01 PM on November 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


But is it canon?
posted by planetesimal at 5:03 PM on November 18, 2013


Every year I struggle with why/whether I like this movie. It doesn't make any goddamned sense, its main message seems to be "Sometimes you just have to martyr your dreams to protect your loved ones from horrible forces that can't be stopped," apparently "librarian"="never had sex" (which frankly, given how hot-to-trot and sought-after Mary was, I seriously doubt), and also, why the hell would a tiny town in the middle of nowhere become a mini-Vegas anyway?

All of which points toward this not being a real what-if but angelic propaganda to keep George from offing himself.

It's fascinating and infuriating and only has the tiniest bit to do with Christmas but I will probably watch it every year till I die, trying to puzzle it out each time. I think its weird power will survive any attempts at crappy sequels.
posted by emjaybee at 5:04 PM on November 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


I can't wait for the updated scene where Nick lays down the law.

If they can work that in somehow, I won't be too fussy about the rest of the flick.
posted by lampshade at 5:07 PM on November 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


There was a very short lived cartoon version of "The Little Shop Of Horrors" in the early 90's that had the same premise. I was an it's a wonderful life parody where the moral was everyone was better off because the main character had never been born. There's a bit of dialogue that's seared into my mind.

"Aren't you supposed to be showing me how miserable everyone would be?"

"Hey, if everyone made the world a better place, it'd be perfect by now."

The thing was, the protagonist wasn't bad; he was just taking up space that if unoccupied would have lead to things being better. Which is so much worse than what seems like a slightly warmed over version of "A Christmas Carol".
posted by Grimgrin at 5:08 PM on November 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


are there a lot of unofficial ones?

Yes. There's an entire p0rn franchise, starring Randy, Flick, and Red Rider. And of course, the Funpusses!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:09 PM on November 18, 2013


Are ... are there a lot of unofficial ones?

Not a lot of them. Only one, as far as I know. I remember it airing on Showtime as "It Runs In The Family" though was later retitled "My Summer Story" for home video. It was never explicitly defined as a sequel prior to home video release in its marketing. But it being a Jean Shepherd work, with the same narrator, the same family, the same hillbilly family next door, but a wholly different cast, it had pretty much all the hallmarks of a cash-in sequel. I haven't seen it since I was probably 13, but I remember enjoying it quite a bit.
posted by mediocre at 5:10 PM on November 18, 2013


Of course, my opinion of the "unofficial" sequel may have been influenced by my intense teenage crush on Mary Steenburgen. A celebrity crush that no matter how many people I talk to ever about it is ever met with anything but cross-eyed, what-the-fuck-is-wrong-with-you looks.
posted by mediocre at 5:20 PM on November 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


You are talking to a bunch of weirdos. Mary Steenburgen is eminently crush-worthy.
posted by Atom Eyes at 5:24 PM on November 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


Seriously? I always dug Mary Steenburgen. Totally get it.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:24 PM on November 18, 2013


MetaFilter: Your crush on Mary Steenburgen is totally understood here.
posted by mediocre at 5:29 PM on November 18, 2013 [9 favorites]


Mmmmm...Steenburgery...
posted by umberto at 5:33 PM on November 18, 2013


This sounds like something that won't actually get out of development. God willing.
posted by ob1quixote at 5:36 PM on November 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Hopefully, it will be directed by Zack Snyder.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:37 PM on November 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


You know, like the idea of The Hangover IV: In Space! (Come on, it would totally be worth it just for the smash cut/shock reaction shots of the "Wolfpack" waking up weightless/Bradley Cooper making a Skype call to Earth "It happened again.") there is something crazy appealing to me about the idea of a dark'n'grittified It's A Wonderful Life sequel done by Zach Snyder. Get HuronBob over here.
posted by mediocre at 5:45 PM on November 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is the plot of the Beavis and Butthead Christmas special.
posted by drjimmy11 at 5:47 PM on November 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


Also. "It's A Wonderful Life" is one of my favorite films ever, but a few years ago it occurred to me that angels, who in the world of the movie exist and actively intervene in Earthly affairs, bend over backwards to make sure George is OK, but let World War II and the Holocaust go on completely undisturbed.
posted by drjimmy11 at 5:49 PM on November 18, 2013 [10 favorites]


'It's A Wonderful Life' Sequel in the Works!

Hollywood should go die in a fire. Let it burn, so that something creative and original can take its place.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:02 PM on November 18, 2013


Every year I struggle with why/whether I like this movie.

We were just talking about it here! There are two things I like about it. First, it says that ordinary boring schmucks that nobody knows are still important, and do things that matter, and have dignity. Second, it *tries* to be supportive of basic working-class sensibilities, echoing the "ordinary little people matter" but that falls a little flat for me because George owns a fucking bank.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:35 PM on November 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


OK, this sort of thing is usually terrible, but wait until my sequel to Akira Kurosawa's Ikiru comes out! Kanji Watanabe's son takes on the developers who want to bulldoze his father's playground, and the yakuza seeking revenge for their loss of face in the first movie!

It will be action-packed and life-affirming all at the same time!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:49 PM on November 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hopefully, it will be directed by Zack Snyder.

He doesn't understand that George Bailey does not kill.
posted by anazgnos at 7:24 PM on November 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


It doesn't make any goddamned sense, its main message seems to be "Sometimes you just have to martyr your dreams to protect your loved ones from horrible forces that can't be stopped," apparently "librarian"="never had sex" (which frankly, given how hot-to-trot and sought-after Mary was, I seriously doubt), and also, why the hell would a tiny town in the middle of nowhere become a mini-Vegas anyway?
All of which points toward this not being a real what-if but angelic propaganda to keep George from offing himself.

Hear, hear. When I first actually bothered to pay attention to the movie, I was fascinated by the first half and rolling my eyes at the second. The entire point of George's life is that (a) he wants to leave town, and (b) GOD WON'T LET HIM LEAVE TOWN. Sure, he's given a nice wife who adores him and a house and a bunch of kids for his trouble as compensation and he's popular (hence why it's a wonderful life), but literally, dude is not allowed to fucking leave or die because if he wasn't there, evil takes over. That's hardcore destiny shit right there.

As for the librarian: I'm assuming that Mary was never attracted to anyone else and thus became a sad librarian (or a secret lesbian, who knows) without George.

As for the mini-Vegas: I dunno, that shit seems to happen in the state of Nevada a lot.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:36 PM on November 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


George owns a fucking bank.

Potter owns the bank. The Baileys own a building and loan that they run pretty much like a credit union. One that, because of the Baileys' commitment to supporting their town, was occasionally at risk of going out of business and was never hugely profitable. He lives in one of the draftiest, leakiest, most run-down houses in town, one that had been abandoned for years when he bought it. Hell, even the stairway railing's perpetually broke.

George himself is as broke as that railing, always one bad day away from economic ruin long before his uncle lost that cash. Hell, George helped work to put his brother through college, and could never afford to go himself because his asshole brother never returned the favor.

I mean, he's got it better than the Martinis and the poorer families there, but there's literally no watching of that film that supports the idea of him being anything more than middle class, and even that not by much.
posted by middleclasstool at 7:47 PM on November 18, 2013 [9 favorites]


Also, there is no need for a "dark" remake. The original film is bleak enough as it is, everything up to right before the end. Literally the only lighthearted thing about that story before Auld Lang Syne is Clarence flapping around in his undergarments and ordering rum punch. Take him out of it, and everything else about that movie is hard and bleak and tiny, tiny victories against an unending diarrhea tide of greed and small-mind shitfuckery, a bleak enough landscape of failure to make Jimmy fucking Stewart want to throw himself off a bridge. The only way that film gets darker would require a scene where George is forced to watch rage-infected chimps beat a baby to death with its own severed leg.
posted by middleclasstool at 7:54 PM on November 18, 2013 [11 favorites]


George is the one honest banker that just wants to help the community. I think the message is that helping your family and friends is hard and sin is easy. But in the end human relationships matter more than money.
posted by Kevin Street at 7:56 PM on November 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


The Baileys own a building and loan

...which is a kind of bank. Sure, he's not well-off. But he's a not-well-off owner of capital.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:18 PM on November 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I cannot process my rage at It's a Wonderful Life because I am still too gobsmacked and angry at the Cousin Eddie thing. No no no indeed. I will always contend that Christmas Vacation, despite the violations of the continuity/timeline of the kids' ages, is just as much of a subversive blast as the original Vacation.
posted by Ber at 8:41 PM on November 18, 2013


Isn't this basically Scrooge?
posted by BrotherCaine at 9:16 PM on November 18, 2013


Feh, forget those other movies, someone clever should make the one that asks: What if George had jumped?


I mean, besides him obviously ending up in H-E-double-hockey-sticks?
posted by droplet at 10:35 PM on November 18, 2013


Clarence flapping around in his undergarments and ordering rum punch.

A flaming rum punch.
posted by emcat8 at 10:46 PM on November 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Probably the best of the parodies to date is still It's a Soaraway Life.

I don't fully understand the logic of making something that will always be compared negatively to the original, which is at this point practically part of the Christmas liturgy of the middle class. I mean, I get that the idea is to capitalize on a brand, but this is more a miscalculation in the "New Coke" vein.

Has "belated, hip sequel to beloved popular classic" ever worked? Critically-minded ironic rewrites of classics sometimes work in literature, but those aren't trying to become hugely successful mass-market products, at least not first and foremost.
posted by kewb at 3:44 AM on November 19, 2013


It should be about how after the end of the first one everyone who had gathered at the Bailey house went across town and lynched Potter for being such an evil ass.

Done as an SNL sketch in the late eighties.
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:27 AM on November 19, 2013


It's a Wonderful Life is supposed to be dark. That was all right when it was made; today, we expect our holiday movies to be treacly, but people didn't have that expectation as deeply set then. I discussed this in a long comment about the film a few years ago, and I'm linking it here rather than repeating myself.

It's definitely my favorite film of any kind, not least because of its complexity. It does not need to be remade, and certainly not with a crap plot like that. But what bothers me more than the attempt to piggyback on a classic (because it will not be successful) is the fact that with a production team of that experience and talent, they can't make a new classic. What has happened to imaginative production? Why does everything, everything have to be derivative?
posted by Miko at 6:26 AM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


So according to Karolyn Grimes' wiki page, she was an active actress from 1945-1952 (from age 5 to age 12). She stopped acting, moved to Missouri, went to college, married, had kids, became a medical technologist.....

So why the hell would someone who acted in a total of seventeen movies as a child well over sixty years ago, be in any way, shape or form considered some sort of "expert" on It's a Wonderful Life?!? She is quoted as saying she 'read over 20 scripts, but none of them were any good" --- how in the world is she qualified to say what makes a movie script good? (And the fact that she approves this script proves my point: no, she is not qualified.)

Doesn't the Capra family or the production company of the original --- whoever owns the copyright --- have any say here?
posted by easily confused at 6:57 AM on November 19, 2013


Married with Children used more or less this plot decades ago, with an angel Sam Kinison attempting to show Al Bundy that the world would have been worse off without him. Instead, they find the world would have been a better place and everyone Al knew would have been happier had he never been born. Al decides to return to life to keep his family and friends as miserable as he is.

It's a Bundyful Life, Pt. I
It's a Bundyful Life, Pt. II
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:06 AM on November 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


We all realize this sequel is going to be a comparatively low budget thing and that they cast Zuzu as a gimmick, right?

The comparison to A Christmas Story 2 seems about right. This is not going to headline the multiplex near you or anything, in all likelihood.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:09 AM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


A little Googling shows that "Hummingbird Productions," the company making this is based in Nashville and more typically shoots things like Prilosec commercials with Larry the Cable Guy in them. Given where they're from and their budget, I'm wondering if this is going to aim at the burgeoning Christian film market where things like Kirk Cameron in Fireproof have made modest returns.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:18 AM on November 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


Doesn't the Capra family or the production company of the original --- whoever owns the copyright --- have any say here?

AICN points to a critic's twitter posts suggesting that this is basically the insane ravings of a couple of goofballs who haven't made a movie in 25 years, and who mistakenly believed that the original was in the public domain. And that IAWL's rights are so hopelessly tangled up that derivative works are pretty much impossible.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:19 AM on November 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


This dream is over!
posted by The Whelk at 7:32 AM on November 19, 2013


Also. "It's A Wonderful Life" is one of my favorite films ever, but a few years ago it occurred to me that angels, who in the world of the movie exist and actively intervene in Earthly affairs, bend over backwards to make sure George is OK, but let World War II and the Holocaust go on completely undisturbed.

FIXED POINT IN TIME.
posted by Atreides at 7:37 AM on November 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


why the hell would a tiny town in the middle of nowhere become a mini-Vegas anyway?

Ask Branson, MO.
posted by dnash at 7:51 AM on November 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Given where they're from and their budget, I'm wondering if this is going to aim at the burgeoning Christian film market where things like Kirk Cameron in Fireproof have made modest returns

I bet you're onto something.
posted by Miko at 7:53 AM on November 19, 2013


I've always felt the original was plenty dark enough. Consider that the ultimate message of the film is that, without the presence of a single individual, everyone is basically a craven, horrible, self-absorbed person with no human feelings whatsoever. Not exactly a "feel-good" premise.
posted by kinnakeet at 10:12 AM on November 19, 2013


why the hell would a tiny town in the middle of nowhere become a mini-Vegas anyway?

Ask Branson, MO.


Not to mention Las Vegas itself.
posted by TedW at 11:21 AM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


why the hell would a tiny town in the middle of nowhere become a mini-Vegas anyway?

1. Military base
2. Three-shift manufacturing plant
3. Railroad junction
4. Today we all have cars and so we just make big box store compounds in nowheresville towns instead, and rather than Girls! Girls! Girls! we have Hooters and Outback Steakhouse.
posted by Miko at 11:51 AM on November 19, 2013


Halloween Jack: "Done as an SNL sketch in the late eighties."

Here it is.

With Shatner!
posted by Chrysostom at 4:04 PM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]




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