Welcome to Pottersville. Young George Bailey is beaten until hes bleeding from the ear. Later, played by Jimmy Stewart, he shakes his uncle by the lapels, berating the stupid old fool like a scene from a film noir. He despairs, Im at the end of my rope! I wish Id never been born! Long before American Beauty, Frank Capra gave us the original midlife crisis movie, Its a Wonderful Life, with Stewart in the Kevin Spacey role. Life has passed George by, and hes trapped by career, mortgage, and marriage. Despite Capras 1946 postwar optimism about family, community, and the bountiful promise of the suburbs, you still cant shake off Georges dark vision of reality. This U District holiday tradition has now reached its 37th year. Runs Fri., Dec. 14Thurs. Dec. 27.