allegedly with Bo and Ryan | Episode 10
On this week’s episode, Bo and Ryan start a very Christmassy part 1 of 2 series where they explore the many crimes committed in your favorite Christmas movies.
Allegedly… with Bo and Ryan Podcast E10| Transcript
Bo: [00:00:00] You may think, is it illegal to dump raw sewage into a storm sewer? Well, if you’re asking that question, congratulations, you’re a moron, because, of course, it’s illegal.
Ryan: [00:00:13] Welcome to allegedly with Bo and Ryan, the only entertainment and law podcast that brings you the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth … Allegedly.
Bo: [00:00:23] I’m Bo Bowen.
Ryan: [00:00:24] And I’m Ryan Schmidt.
Bo: [00:00:26] You’re listening to “Allegedly with Bo and Ryan.” We’re coming to you from our law offices in beautiful historic Savannah, Georgia, where we’ll be chatting about pop culture, hot legal topics in the news, and doing our best to change the way people think about the law and lawyers.
Ryan: [00:00:42] But first, a little about us. Bo loves Christmas so much he actually lives in a life sized gingerbread house year round.
Bo: [00:00:50] And Ryan still believed in Santa until last year when the cookies and milk he left out for Kris Kringle went tragically untouched for over a week.
Ryan: [00:01:00] Together, we are Savannah’s consummate renegade legal titans.
Bo: [00:01:03] And the only corporate entertainment lawyers in the free world who have never lost a single case … allegedly. Well, welcome to a very Christmass-y Episode ten, Ryan. Let me guess. You’re going to tell me something that comes in groups of ten. What?
Ryan: [00:01:22] That’s absurd. Why do you think I would do such a thing?
Bo: [00:01:25] Come on. I know it’s killing you. We now have as many episodes as what, Ryan?
Ryan: [00:01:33] Ten Lords-a-leaping.
Bo: [00:01:35] Oh, my God. I guess I should have seen that one coming. Well, why don’t you tell everyone what we have planned for them today? Ryan, The first of, what I think is going to be in our first, actual two-part episode of “Allegedly with Bo and Ryan.”
Ryan: [00:01:53] Absolutely. We’ve got some some holiday episodes planned for y’all. Well, you know how much we love ripping on legal issues in film and television here on the show. I thought it’d be fun to look at the legal issues and some of the world’s most adored Christmas movies.
Bo: [00:02:06] So in other words, you’re putting Santa Claus on trial.
Ryan: [00:02:11] Well, not just Santa. I mean, everyone’s fair game here: parents, children, elves, reindeer. We’re coming for you. And for good reason. It seems like more crimes are committed and excused in the spirit of the holidays in Christmas movies than just about any other genre.
Bo: [00:02:28] Oh, 100%. Absolutely. In fact, when I started putting a list together for the show, I knew immediately we’re going to need two episodes to do this justice.
Ryan: [00:02:39] Wait a minute. So you’re telling me you made a list?
Bo: [00:02:42] Yeah.
Ryan: [00:02:43] And did you check it twice?
Bo: [00:02:46] Oh, yeah. Yes, I did. And I’m putting you on the naughty list for all the Christmas puns you have sprinkled into this episode.
Ryan: [00:02:54] Fair enough. But we’re nowhere near done with that, just to let you know.
Bo: [00:02:57] All right. Well, I think we’ve got a pretty solid list of Christmas movies where, in real life, pretty much everyone would have gone to jail. So why don’t you kick things off for us, Ryan? What’s what’s one of your favorite Christmas movies that you believe contains some legally dubious activity?
Ryan: [00:03:19] So maybe. Maybe I just have Arnold Schwarzenegger on the brain because we saw him last month. But do you remember “Jingle All The Way?”
Bo: [00:03:26] Of course.
Ryan: [00:03:27] Well, that movie has a whole bunch of issues. Right? For those who haven’t seen this 1996 classic, Arnold Schwarzenegger plays this workaholic mattress salesman named Howard Langston, who in an attempt to make up for being an absentee father and husband, promises his wife that he will get their son the “it” toy of the season: the Turbo Man action figure. And Howard, of course, waits until the last possible minute. It’s Christmas Eve, his wife says: “you got the toy. Right?” And it kind of shoots over to him, his eyes go huge. He’s like, “What?!” And so the whole the whole rest of the movie unfolds where he, just like many other ill planning parents, go out and try to get this Turbo Man action figure. So as you can imagine, the movie follows the absurd lengths that Howard goes to get this Turbo Man, and why I love this movie so much–much like many other physical comedies in the eighties and nineties–the movie gets its laugh from seriously injuring others and destroying property.
Bo: [00:04:39] Yeah, they kind of seem to be a theme.
Ryan: [00:04:43] And what’s interesting about this movie, and surely Arnold does commit a lot of crimes in this movie, but he’s actually not the biggest offender. Right? So Arnold may be this action star, but he’s actually the more docile and reasonable character in the movie, or at least at first. That’s because of the character played by Sinbad, Myron the Mailman. Do you remember remember this character?
Bo: [00:05:07] Absolutely.
Ryan: [00:05:09] So throughout the movie, Myron is kind of like the nemesis of Arnold. These two are out there trying to get a Turbo Man action figure for their kids. And it is just ruthless out there. Everybody is trying to get that last, last one on the shelves.
Bo: [00:05:27] Well, yeah, You got to remember, this is pre-Amazon internet shopping days.
Ryan: [00:05:31] Right. Yeah. No, no. Black Friday, no Cyber Monday. You know, no “one-click” and it’s there. Way ahead of things. No, this is you’re going to the store and if it’s not there, you’re shit out of luck. So in the spirit of Christmas, Myron, played by Sinbad, commits multiple batteries, among other crimes, so he can snag a Turbo Man for his kid. So, as you know, battery is the unlawful use of force upon another person that causes injury or some offensive contact. Throughout this movie, Myron commits multiple batteries when he, first, violently shakes and chokes a woman in line at toy store, smashes his mailbag over Howard’s head. Later, he maces Howard in line to get a lottery ball to potentially win a turbo man. And he attacks and ties up an actor so he can appear on a parade float. But all those crimes actually pale in comparison to when Myron makes a bomb threat. Ok. So after the cops are calling him for breaking into a radio station and threatening a DJ for one of these toys, a whole bunch of cops descend on on the radio station, of course. And in response, while he’s surrounded by cops, he pulls out a package and says: back up, this is a homemade explosive device. And he uses this threat to get the cops to drop their weapons so he can escape and evade arrest.
Bo: [00:06:54] Wow. Comedy gold.
Ryan: [00:06:58] Right. So the stunt itself would likely land Myron in federal prison for decades for aggravated assault. Right. And he uses the Internet, interstate commerce, and federal mail system. So, you know, there’s some federal crimes there, but it gets better: the package actually ends up being a real bomb that detonates.
Bo: [00:07:18] Good lord.
Ryan: [00:07:20] So so now you got Myron on conspiracy, domestic terrorism charges, and probably attempted murder.
Bo: [00:07:27] So I’m guessing that his excuse of you know, “when I told you all it was a bomb, I didn’t really know it was a bomb,” probably isn’t going very far.
Ryan: [00:07:36] Right. Exactly. So in the end, Myron is being hauled off by the police. There is some justice here, right? So that’s good. But Howard, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character, who has pretty much matched, Myron, the whole movie for like, you know, he he hits him, he hits him, kind of back and forth batteries, gets off completely scot free. He even punches a child and a reindeer in this movie. So Merry Christmas.
Bo: [00:08:03] Oh, my God. Well, I mean, I could imagine back in the day before there was online shopping man. I remember seeing the footage of the Black Fridays. I mean, they’re bad now, but back then, I mean, that was a whole other level.
Ryan: [00:08:18] Oh, you needed that Cabbage Patch Kid doll.
Bo: [00:08:21] So what about you Ryan? I mean, I mean, it always seems like we talk about every year: what’s the hot toy? Was there, when you were a kid, what was there a toy that you just had to have some Christmas?
Ryan: [00:08:31] Oh, absolutely. It was the Stretch Armstrong toy. Oh, you remember this?
Bo: [00:08:38] Absolutely. I used to love Stretch Armstrong.
Ryan: [00:08:41] So I just remember the marketing geniuses at Hasbro whoever made Stretch Armstrong made it look so fun. He stretches, he pulls, he comes back. He’s just the man, right? And so I couldn’t shut up about Stretch Armstrong. I needed to have him. To the point where like my teachers, my cousins, everybody was pulling my parents aside and saying, you need to make sure that he gets Stretch Armstrong for Christmas because I can’t deal with it if he doesn’t. So Stretch Armstrong, as you know, is perfectly built for what they claim. You’ll stretch them and it’ll always come back. Right? And that’s definitely true for like a five year old with a five year old’s wingspan. The problem here was and you probably see where this is going.
Bo: [00:09:22] I see where this is going.
Ryan: [00:09:23] So I’m playing with him, stretching him for a couple hours. It’s great He’s doing exactly what he’s supposed to do. Well, then it’s Christmas morning, Christmas Day. My cousins come over and they both say: let’s let’s see the limits of this stretch. Armstrong. Right? And they each grab onto a limb and they both run in opposite directions in my front yard.
Bo: [00:09:46] Oh, boy.
Ryan: [00:09:47] Suffice to say, Stretch Armstrong never shrunk back.
Bo: [00:09:50] Oh, my God. Fun times. You know, I remember. I’ll tell you one thing I remember about Stretch Armstrong. Of course, again, you’re back in the day when if you were curious about something, you couldn’t just look up a YouTube video, you know: “what’s inside a Stretch Armstrong?” and immediately get the answer. No, no. The only way you could do it back then was actually cut open a Stretch Armstrong.
Ryan: [00:10:13] So he’s saying that you like, took off some limbs of a Stretch Armstrong?
Bo: [00:10:19] Well I didn’t, but I do remember being at a friend’s house and we were both like, what is inside this thing? Let’s get the scissors. And no, we tried to cut, cut. So finally my friend just starts stabbing it like Jason from Friday the 13th, you know, and then this this I just remember this clear gel just kind of seeped out from the inside. You know, the stuff of nightmares.
Ryan: [00:10:45] Merry Christmas. Yeah, definitely non-toxic.
Bo: [00:10:48] Maybe. Maybe we should get back on topic a little bit.
Ryan: [00:10:51] Sure, Sure.
Bo: [00:10:52] I mean, let me talk about my all time favorite Christmas movie.
Ryan: [00:10:57] All right, let’s hear it.
Bo: [00:10:58] It’s “It’s a Wonderful Life.” So if anybody hasn’t seen it, first of all, shame on you. It’s an all time classic Jimmy Stewart performance. He plays George Bailey. He’s a very honorable man, spent his entire life giving of himself to the people of Bedford Falls. Now, George, and [they] make it clear in the movie, always wanted to travel, always wanted to see the world, but he never had that opportunity because if he did, there’s an evil old man named Mr. Potter who would basically take over the entire town if George ever left. Now, I’m pretty sure Mr. Burns from The Simpsons is based on Mr. Potter.
Ryan: [00:11:42] Sure.
Bo: [00:11:43] It’s got to be. But anyway, so in the movie, the only thing that prevents old Man Potter from ruining everyone’s life is George Bailey’s little, tiny, modest “Building and Loan” company, which was founded by his generous and loving and sweet father. Now, the reason it’s so important is because George, through this “Building and Loan,” he’s able to give people money to help them so they don’t have to turn to Mr. Potter for everything.
Ryan: [00:12:14] Right.
Bo: [00:12:15] All right. Well, that’s when things get dark. All right. So on Christmas Eve, George’s Uncle Billy loses $8,000 of the business’s money, when intending to deposit it the bank, by accidentally handing it to Mr. Potter in a folded up newspaper. Mr. Potter finds it, realizes what he is. Immediately hides it from Uncle Billy in the hopes of shutting down the “Building and Loan.” Well, the bank examiner finds the shortage that night and actually issues a warrant for George’s arrest. All right. He realizes he’s been charged with theft, fraud, whatever it is, he’s going to be sent to jail. The company is going to collapse and Mr. Potter is going to take over the town and he just falls into this deep depression. All right. He knows he’s got a huge life insurance policy. So he decides everyone is going to be way better off if he’s dead and he actually tries to jump off a bridge and commit suicide. It gets a little dark.
Ryan: [00:13:21] Yeah. Merry Christmas.
Bo: [00:13:22] Well, that, my friend, is when God intervenes. He sends this moronic angel named Clarence down to earth to help George. You may think I’m being harsh. Watch the movie. He’s a moron. So he shows George what everybody’s life would be like if he had never existed. And which, trust me, it’s uniformly: everyone’s life is way worse off without George in it. And then there’s this, of course, big tear inducing happy ending. It’s one of the all time greatest Christmas movies. Maybe Jimmy Stewart’s best performance. There are, however, some legal issues involved.
Ryan: [00:14:05] Yeah.
Bo: [00:14:05] Okay. So first, George has a daughter. I thinks he’s got four children with his wife, Mary. One of his daughters is name Zuzu. I’m not making that up. Okay. When a bell rings in their house, Zuzu looks at George and tells him: Teacher says every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings. Sweet, right? Well, I’m immediately like, Really, Zuzu? Your teacher told you that? Because if that’s a public school, that’s a pretty clear violation of the separation of church and state. I mean, I’m calling the ACLU now. All right, Moving on from that, perhaps a little more seriously, there’s a flashback scene in the movie where George is a boy and he’s working for a pharmacist named Mr.Gower. Now, Mr. Gower is upset due to this phone call he’s just received. And young George notices that he actually fills a prescription with deadly poison. Now, George doesn’t want to deliver it, but Mr. Gower is upset. He’s getting angry and he knocks the crap out of George and orders him to take it. You know? Well. He finally backs down when George tells him what happens. But I see three issues here. First of all, Mr. Gower absolutely would have been guilty of manslaughter if George had delivered that poison. For that matter, if George had delivered it knowing it was poison, despite the fact he’s not the one that filled the prescription, still, he also would have been guilty of manslaughter. So those charges luckily get averted. But what didn’t get averted is that Mr. Gower is absolutely guilty of child abuse for hitting George and should definitely go to jail after that scene. But that gets me to the main legal issue in this movie to me. All right. The most serious crime occurs, I think, when Uncle Billy accidentally hands old Man Potter rhe $8,000, which I’m assuming, by the way, everyone acts in the movie, that’s the equivalent of like $8 Million today.
Ryan: [00:16:21] It must be.
Bo: [00:16:22] Okay, So now, as I said, Potter just keeps it instead of giving it back. Now, let’s break this down, Ryan. So at the moment, Uncle Billy accidentally hands Mr. Potter the cash in a newspaper, Mr. Potter is still unaware of it. I think you’d agree no crime has occurred at that point.
Ryan: [00:16:43] Yeah.
Bo: [00:16:44] Just a misunderstanding. Well, here’s where the trouble comes in. So Mr. Potter actually owns this bank, and he goes into his office and he unfolds the newspaper and discovers the money. Well, meanwhile, it’s showing Uncle Billy in the front, you know, he’s attempting to make the deposit and, horror, finds he’s lost this money. And so you actually have this scene where Mr. Potter sees the money and actually begins to return to the lobby to to bring the money back. Well, he opens the door. He sees Uncle Billy searching frantically. He kind of puts two and two together and realizes that the loss of this money is going to ruin George Bailey and his “Building and Loan” company. So, you know what he does? Closes the door, keeps the $8,000. Now, at that point, I would posit that Mr. Potter is 100% guilty of theft at that point.
Ryan: [00:17:45] Yeah, absolutely.
Bo: [00:17:46] Well, it’s all about mental state, right? So. So think about it like this: So let’s say let’s say that you and I have an employee that we owe 2000 a check for $2,000 and we accidentally make a mistake. And when inputting it into the computer and we accidentally pay that employee $200,000. So …
Ryan: [00:18:12] That’s a big mistake.
Bo: [00:18:13] It’s a big mistake. So it’s in their account. It was a mistake on our part. The employee didn’t do anything wrong now. Once the employee sees that that mistake was made, that doesn’t give them the right to be like, “welp, finders keepers!” you know, and go buy a house. I mean, that’s just not the way the law works. Georgia actually has a law, “theft of lost or mislaid property,” that if you come into possession of something that of value that you know is not yours, that you know, you is inadvertently made its way to you, you have an actual legal duty to give it back. And if not, it’s actual theft. So I think in this case, this is a clear example. Mr. Potter should be in jail for theft of lost or mislaid property.
Ryan: [00:19:07] Yeah, it makes a lot of sense.
Bo: [00:19:09] So. All right, well, I’ll stop talking about movies from the 1930s.
Ryan: [00:19:15] Well, let’s go into the 2000s.
Bo: [00:19:18] So, your turn. What’s another one that you like?
Ryan: [00:19:20] All right, so my wife and I watched this movie every single year. And for coming out only in 2003, I feel like this movie has already earned a holiday classic stamp and pretty pretty quickly. Of course, I’m talking about “Elf.”
Bo: [00:19:33] Oh, absolutely.
Ryan: [00:19:36] And as you know, the story of Elf follows Buddy, the Elf who is an orphan who somehow makes his way into Santa’s bag and on the sleigh and back to the North Pole. And he’s raised by elves, and he thinks he thinks he is an elf up until the time when he’s an adult, and he comes to find out who’s actually a human that just happened to be up in the North Pole. He wants to go back to New York City to find his biological dad. And, you know, everything comes from there. You’ve got this fish out of water, this elf out of the North Pole, and he’s in New York City. And it’s it’s a great. It’s a great movie. But it left a bunch of legal questions unanswered, especially knowing we were going to do this episode and watching it the other night. So I will first start to say there were some like civil law in some family law issues that I saw kind of pop up at first, not besides just the typical crimes. So the movie makes clear that it was a complete accident that baby Buddy crawled into Santa’s bag and ends up in the North Pole. Right. You just, he’s a baby, gets out of his crib. Santa has no idea. It happens. It happens. I mean, it happens. But what what was Santa’s legal obligation upon this discovery? Right. Santa just does nothing and keeps him. And it’s not like he wouldn’t have had a way to return Buddy to the orphanage. This is a guy who has a list of everyone where they live, what they want for Christmas, if they’ve been good or bad. Are you trying to tell me he didn’t know where Buddy came from?
Bo: [00:21:15] Seems a little more serious than keeping $8,000. Let’s keep a baby.
Ryan: [00:21:20] Child abduction. So that’s a crime, right? Of course. But now we get into some civil issues. So he. He just he’s like, eh, I’ll just give him to Papa Elf, Right? And Papa Elf is like, I never had a family. Cool. But who is actually the legal parent of Buddy the Elf? While it’s shared that Papa Elf raises him in the North Pole, how was this adoption legitimate? Right? Unless there was some claymation judge up in the North Pole that pulled some strings offstage.You know. There’s just. There’s just nothing there. And. You know, he’s got his biological dad, too, and his biological dad didn’t even know what he existed. He’s told for the first time, hey, you know, you dated this woman way back in the seventies, and here I am. And he has no idea. Right? So, legally speaking, Buddy has no legal parent. You know, absent some type of legitimation action by Walter, his biological dad, but he’s just kind of a free agent.
Bo: [00:22:24] Yeah, I guess. I guess the adoption agency would have custody or the orphanage, right? I mean, technically, legally.
Ryan: [00:22:32] But what they want him, like, after 35 years and he thinks he’s an elf? Probably like: ehh, you know, let’s just call it a loss. Lastly, the movie kind of brushes off some of Buddy’s serious trespassing, you know, And it’s made cute and fun and light because he’s Buddy and he doesn’t know any better, but trespassing nonetheless. And as you might remember, he moves into the department store Gimbels, where he actually lives, for a period of time without anybody knowing. So trespass, of course, is entering or remaining on private property without permission. And while he’d be free to remain on that private property during normal business hours, any effort to be there after close would be unlawful. Right. So Buddy mentions in passing that the store, once they find out, is actually awarded a restraining order against him. But there seems to be zero consequence for him showing back up for his violation of that order and continued presence in the store. Wow.
Bo: [00:23:31] Who knew? Ryan, So many legal issues raised by Elf.
Ryan: [00:23:38] You know, I mean, I’m thinking about just doing a whole dissertation on it, really.
Bo: [00:23:41] I mean, are you telling me that there’s no crime in those pants that Buddy wears?
Ryan: [00:23:48] Fair enough. And if you actually see, there’s that Netflix documentary that came out last year, it was like “The Movies that made the” so and so. And there was a holiday edition actually gets into a really funny issue that, legally, the production ran into while they were filming. They they based the whole look on it by the old like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer movies and all that. Well, they didn’t know if they actually had any rights to use those likenesses while they were filming this whole movie. And they’re just kind of like: let’s hope the lawyers figure it out.
Bo: [00:24:20] Well, fair enough. Good stuff, man. I’m never going to watch Elf the same.
Ryan: [00:24:25] Nor should you.
Bo: [00:24:26] So. Well, I want to talk about, of course, one of everyone’s favorites, “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” Yes. All right. Now, I know I gave a summary of the plot of “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Yeah, I’m not going to do that with “Christmas Vacation.” Basically, it’s Chevy Chase at his most Chevy Chase-iest. Chevy Chase plays, of course, Clark Griswold, who wants to give his family a perfect Christmas and chaos ensues. So now, Ryan, let me ask you, when I say the phrase “criminal mastermind” who pops into your head.
Ryan: [00:25:12] I mean, probably like Al Capone.
Bo: [00:25:15] Okay, fair enough. I mean, for me, I’m thinking like, from fiction, I’m thinking like Keizer, Suzy, Michael Corleone, Professor Moriarty, you know those guys. But I’m here to tell you that Clark Griswold breaks more laws than any of them.
Ryan: [00:25:35] No way.
Bo: [00:25:36] And and he’s not the only one in the movie either. Let me let me run first through some of the crimes committed by other people in “Christmas Vacation.” All right. First, the grandmother straight up murders a cat. Played for laughs, but murders a cat.
Ryan: [00:25:53] I’m going to challenge you because that is “Summer Vacation.” That’s not “Christmas Vacation.”
Bo: [00:25:58] That is Christmas vacation. You go back and look …
Ryan: [00:26:00] Oh, you’re right. She does murder a cat. She brings the cat as a as a Christmas present.
Bo: [00:26:05] That’s right. Cruelty to animals for the win.
Ryan: [00:26:08] Okay. Yeah, you’re right. They they they murdered a dog for laughs in the other move.
Bo: [00:26:11] Okay, next you’ve got the neighbor, Margot. Admittedly horrible human being, but straight up punches her husband in the face. Clear-cut battery and domestic abuse. Go directly to jail.
Ryan: [00:26:25] Yeah.
Bo: [00:26:26] All right. And let’s not forget about good old cousin Eddie. All right? Now, Cousin Eddie, played by Randy Quaid, who somehow manages to be even more offensive and insane in real life than the over the top, an offensive and insane character he plays in the movie, which is pretty amazing.
Ryan: [00:26:49] It truly is
Bo: [00:26:50] So but pretty much all movie long. Any time Cousin Eddie steps outside. He could immediately be arrested for public drunkenness.
Ryan: [00:27:00] Yes.
Bo: [00:27:01] Yes. Right. So beyond that, there’s also the matter of him straight up kidnapping Clark’s boss. All right, which I would and will argue that he did at Clark specific direction, but that he would absolutely still be legally responsible and get at least ten years in prison for this. But to me, easily the most disturbing and grossest thing that cousin Eddie does is dump the chemical toilet from an RV directly into Clark’s storm sewer. All right. Now, you may think, is it illegal to dump raw sewage into a storm sewer? Well, if you’re asking that question, congratulations, you’re a moron. Because, of course, it’s illegal. There are almost a dozen environmental protection, health codes, other laws that he’s violating. In fact, in Illinois, this film set in Chicago, there is actually this not a joke. There is actually a law that specifically says it is illegal to dump a chemical toilet into a storm sewer.
Ryan: [00:28:18] It’s called the Cousin Edie Act.
Bo: [00:28:20] I think it might be not a joke. You could actually serve one year in jail and pay a $25,000 fine for doing it. Wow. So the great thing about that, though, is this actually happened in real life in Chicago. Believe it or not, I don’t know if you remember this, may be before your time, but there was a very famous incident in Chicago in 2004 when a tour bus belonging to the Dave Matthews Band actually dumped 800 pounds of human waste from the buses Black-water tank off a bridge and into the Chicago River.
Ryan: [00:29:00] Yes, I do remember that.
Bo: [00:29:01] Yes, you heard that right. 800 pounds of human waste. I mean, my lord.
Ryan: [00:29:09] Well, also known as Dave Matthews’ entire discography.
Bo: [00:29:13] Oh, my God. Ouch. Now, Ryan. Dumping 800 pounds of human waste into a river would have been bad enough. I mean, they’re polluting the river, blah, blah, blah. But it just so happened that at that exact moment, an open air passenger sightseeing boat was passing directly underneath the bridge.
Ryan: [00:29:42] No.
Bo: [00:29:43] Suffice it to say, not a pretty scene. So welcome to Chicago, folks. Ultimately, I think the band had to pay like a $300,000 fine. The bus driver got criminally charged. I mean, that’s not a small deal. So let me just say to Cousin Edie, not cool.
Ryan: [00:30:06] So what was there just like a button on that bus? And he was like: ehh screw it, boom.
Bo: [00:30:09] Well, I don’t know. It was it was not a pretty scene, I can guarantee you. Well, that brings us to the world’s greatest criminal mastermind, Clark Griswold himself. Now, this is what gets me. This dude is supposed to be the the hero of this movie. The good guy. The guy you’re pulling for. Yet he breaks more laws than pretty much anyone in the history of cinema. All right, Let’s not forget he threatens to assault his neighbor with a chainsaw. He … What else? He’s definitely responsible many times for criminal damage to property. He shoots a gutter through the neighbor’s window. He basically takes out the whole side of their house…
Ryan: [00:31:04] Right.
Bo: [00:31:04] … with a tree. I mean, that’s definitely felony level criminal damage to property. All right. Now, talking about trees, think about even the beginning of the movie. All right? He goes out on someone else’s property to cut down his Christmas tree. Right? First of all, criminal trespassing. Right. All right. Second of all, theft. Third wrongful tree cutting is actually a crime in Illinois. So. But he does it in there. Then on the way home, he speeds and goes nuts in his car with his children in the back seat. So now you’ve got numerous moving violations, not to mention child endangerment.
Ryan: [00:31:46] Sure.
Bo: [00:31:47] So pretty much any scene you put on in this movie, think about all the electrical code violations. Think about he he actually causes a power surge that takes out the city’s entire power grid. Ryan?
Ryan: [00:32:04] Yes.
Bo: [00:32:04] How many code violations are you going to get here?
Ryan: [00:32:07] Too many.
Bo: [00:32:08] I mean, remember the one scene where he’s got literally like dozens and dozens of extension cords plugged into the wall? I’m going to say that’s probably a fire hazard and violating some codes there.
Ryan: [00:32:20] Oh, yeah, 100%.
Bo: [00:32:22] So there’s another scene where he intentionally writes a bad check and he brags about it. That’s check fraud. That’s a bank fraud and …
Ryan: [00:32:32] You’re right. He does!
Bo: [00:32:34] … Yes. And then, given the amount, it’s actually a felony level. He’s facing three years in prison just for this check kiting scheme. So, I mean, this dude, man, OK, how about this? Clark’s dog actually mauls his neighbor, Margot, when she comes through the door. I remember that. Yeah. Now, you may think, Well, he had no control over that. Illinois actually has a strict liability dog bite law. So if your dog attacked someone else, you are responsible regardless of intent. Mark up another crime for the crime boss. So, look, this dude commits dozens of dozens of crimes throughout this movie. But. But I’ll skip to the most serious one. I would argue that Clark is 100% responsible for Cousin Eddie kidnapping his boss. Absolutely would be charged as a co-conspirator. He even says to the police, This is all my fault. So you’ve got a confession, right? So, I mean, Eddie, think about it. He’s got no motive to kidnap this guy other than Clark ordering the job, you know? So throw it another ten years in the pen for kidnapping. I mean, this dude is going away for a long time.
Ryan: [00:33:55] No kidding. Wow. I’ll never watch that movie the same way.
Bo: [00:34:01] Well, good. Nor should you. But what you got up next?
Ryan: [00:34:07] So there’s actually one movie that puts the crime right in the title. I’m talking, of course, about “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”
Bo: [00:34:17] Now, you talking animated or real life or live action.
Ryan: [00:34:21] I’m talking about the Ron Howard-Jim Carrey version. Okay. But I would I would posit that a more legally accurate but less marketable title would be how the Grinch Committed conspiracy, trespass, burglary, domestic terrorism, and will no doubt be sued by the Whos for intentional infliction of emotional distress after he attempted to steal Christmas.
Bo: [00:34:40] Oh, I like it. Catchy
Ryan: [00:34:41] Yeah. I mean, you know, Dr. Seuss people didn’t like it, so they they they moved on from that.
Bo: [00:34:48] They probably just couldn’t find anything to rhyme with it. Exactly.
Ryan: [00:34:51] Exactly. So the Jim Carrey version at least puts a little bit of an origin story on the Grinch. Right. After being bullied for being different, the Grinch’s heart grows three times too small and he ultimately moves out of Whoville to sulk in a cave with his dog, Max. The story goes that he hates the Whos and Whoville so much that he wants to steal their joy. So he comes up with his plan to not only ruin their Christmases, but essentially wipe it out of existence. You know, everybody knows the story of the Grinch. Of course, on Christmas morning, The Whos do not seem to fret. The missing decorations and presents. Because the spirit of Christmas just poetically is inside of them all along, though.
Bo: [00:35:39] Of course.
Ryan: [00:35:40] It is. I’m calling BS on that. Right? If someone tried to pull that in real life, people would be pissed.
Bo: [00:35:47] Okay.
Ryan: [00:35:49] So the Grinch in the movie, he just does all this kind of stuff. He goes into the post office, he he steals packages, he misdirects them, sends them different places. That’s mail fraud, that’s burglary, that’s theft, that’s vandalism. Then he goes and he actually shows up at this Christmas jubilee, which the mayor is hosting, and he shaves the mayor’s head hair right off of his head. Right. That’s assault. You know? And then he goes on to steal a villager’s alcohol. He sets fire to the town. Christmas tree arson. He steals a micro sized car because the big one, I guess he didn’t want. And then he crashes it so badly that it actually explodes, you know, So now you’ve got dangerous driving, arson and theft. And that’s some serious legal trouble that he’s got himself, all in the span of a few minutes, in like one little “you’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch”
Bo: [00:36:45] [Bo Laughing]
Ryan: [00:36:47] I mean. You Know? It’s all like you wrapped up in 3 minutes. He’s done all this shit. But, that’s not the name of the movie. It’s not how we terrorized the town. It’s how we stole Christmas. So throughout the course of the movie, the Grinch actually burglarized every single home in Whoville. He makes it explicitly clear, talking about a criminal intent standpoint, he makes it explicitly clear that he is entering these homes with the actual intent of stealing every last remnant of the holidays.
Bo: [00:37:18] Yikes.
Ryan: [00:37:19] So not only does he have that criminal intent, but then he actually follows through with it with the theft. So if he committed these crimes in the state of Georgia. Right. He would be looking at a sentence of up to 20 years for each home he broke into.
Bo: [00:37:34] Oh, boy.
Ryan: [00:37:35] And although he ultimately returns all the gifts at the end, once his heart grows three sizes larger, right, that evidence would at best just lessen what kind of sentence you had. It wouldn’t have any effect on his criminal culpability.
Bo: [00:37:49] No, it would not. If you don’t believe it, next time you get arrested for bank robbery, just try the defensive. Hey, I’ll give it back.
Ryan: [00:38:02] But my biggest gripe with how the Grinch Stole Christmas is: Why is he such a dick to his dog, Max? Right?
Bo: [00:38:08] Oh, boy.
Ryan: [00:38:09] Just be better.
Bo: [00:38:11] Yeah, that does raise some animal cruelty issues there.
Ryan: [00:38:15] So that’s what I got Bo for this for this week’s episodes. But what about.
Bo: [00:38:19] You? Well, you know, I’m going to end with the big one. The one that every single time we said we’re going to talk about legal issues raised by Christmas movies, everyone said the same thing. “Home Alone.” Yes. So now, if you were the one person in the world who hasn’t seen it. “Home Alone” tells the story of eight year old Kevin McCallister.
Ryan: [00:38:45] Wait. Should we put a spoiler alert on this?
Bo: [00:38:47] Yes, absolutely. Now, Kevin is accidentally left home alone at Christmas when his apparently 185 member family flies to Paris. Well, two burglars realize that Kevin is home alone and try to break into his house, at which time Kevin takes upon it, takes it upon himself to defend his home. Now. I told you before, Ryan. I think Clark Griswold is a criminal mastermind. Now. Kevin McAllister, on the other hand, he’s a freaking psychopath. He’s basically eight-year-old Jigsaw. I mean, I am not kidding you. But before I get into why Kevin McCallister is a super villain, let me just first quickly touch on some of the other people that break laws in this movie. All right. First and foremost, how are there zero prosecutions for child neglect or abandonment? I mean, come on. His parents flew to Paris and left an eight year old home alone. It’s in the title. I mean, not only that, there’s like two or three other movies. So apparently it’s like part of a pattern for this family. It’s insane. And not once do they get arrested for this. It blows my mind. So. In Chicago, where this movie is also set, Chicago child abandonment is a class four felony. So I hope you enjoy spending the next three Christmases in prison, Mr. and Mrs. McAllister. Now, I know they’re going to raise the defense: It was an accident, we didn’t mean to. But did a light bulb not go off? When you’re at the airport and you realize you have an extra unused boarding pass? Sorry, not buying it. So now, next, of course, you’ve got the actual criminals in the movie. Harry and Marv.
Ryan: [00:40:48] Yes.
Bo: [00:40:49] The wet bandits. All right. Harry starts breaking laws in the opening scene of the movie. All right. He’s already impersonating a police officer and knocking on the McAllister’s door to scout out their house to rob it later. All right. So within seconds of the film starting, he’s already getting convicted for impersonating a police officer and conspiracy, conspiracy to commit burglary. All right. So later, they attempt to break into the McCallister home, but they’re foiled when they’re scared off by Kevin. But even though they failed, they’re still both guilty of attempted burglary. Well, they rack up multiple other counts of burglary. When they break into other houses in the area, they make it clear, and let’s not forget, they’re the wet bandits, which means that they clog everyone’s sink and let water flood their house. Well, you know what that is, Ryan? Wanton destruction of property. Another serious criminal charge. Yeah. So later. If you remember, they’re guilty of reckless driving when they almost run over Kevin in the middle of the street. They’re also guilty of stalking because they follow him so they could see where he lives Now. Then you get to the main part of the movie where ultimately they do break into Kevin’s house. All right. Well, look, they’re breaking and entering. They’re committing burglary, criminal trespass, grand larceny, not to mention a ton of criminal damage. Finally you get to the end where Harry and Marv actually catch Kevin. They intimidate him with verbal threats, and it’s clear that they are about to inflict serious bodily harm or death when they are stopped by the neighbor. So let’s throw in a few more counts of assault and attempted murder. I mean, these are some bad dudes. They are facing decades in prison, yet somehow managed to already be out just in time for “Home Alone 2.”
Ryan: [00:42:54] So convenient.
Bo: [00:42:55] So that my friend brings me to Kevin McCallister, a terrifying delinquent, far more sinister than the wet bandits. Let me recount some of this little dude’s crimes.
Ryan: [00:43:11] Yes, please do.
Bo: [00:43:12] Now, first of all, beginning of the movie, he straight up assaults his brother, Buzz attacks him physically. All right. The second Buzz is gone. He knocks Buzz’s shelf off the wall. So you’ve got destruction of property. He steals Buzz’s money, so you’ve got plain ole theft, All right. He scares the pizza delivery guy when he comes to the door. Makes him think someone is firing at him with a machine gun. Guess what? That’s assault. If you remember, shoplift a toothbrush. Kind of accidental. Doesn’t matter. Still shoplifting. But now let’s get to the really good stuff.
Ryan: [00:43:55] Yeah, that was just that was huge. Just getting his feet wet.
Bo: [00:43:57] Yeah. Yeah, That was an appetizer. Yeah. Now I’m going to talk about Kevin, the psychotic maniac. Right. When he realizes the burglars are coming for him, he decides he must defend his home. Right. Okay.
Ryan: [00:44:14] Cue the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
Bo: [00:44:17] Now he causes first a third degree burn by heating up the doorknob. He shoots one of the burglars with, I think it was a BB gun, pellet gun.
Ryan: [00:44:28] With marbles in it I think
Bo: [00:44:28] Something. He shoots one of them with some type of gun through the cat flap. Well, then he does it again when the other burglar puts his head through the cat flap. So you’ve got one minute into the attempted robbery. He’s already guilty of possession of a firearm and multiple counts of assault and battery. All right. Now. It’s at this point that I’m thinking now maybe he should just call the police. But not Kevin McCallister. No, no, no, no. Instead of simply calling the police when he knew for a fact two burglars were about to break into his house, Kevin decides instead to rig his house with death traps. Right. I mean, he drops full paint cans onto their heads, which easily could crush someone’s skull. At least fracture their skull. All right. He rigs a flamethrower. Ryan, I mean, for God’s sake, surely there is a law out there about setting someone’s head on fire?
Ryan: [00:45:34] I sure hope so.
Bo: [00:45:36] And look, you can’t just say he was defending his home. It was all okay. I mean, remember when he makes it out to his tree house? Yeah. And then he sits there and he waits for Harry and Marv to make it halfway across the rope when he cuts it down, hoping to send them plummeting to their death. I mean, again, attempted murder. So, long story short, Kevin McCallister should be facing multiple charges of battery resulting in grievous bodily harm and many other crimes that could he could face at least a year in jail or more for each attempt. And don’t tell me that he’s a juvenile, so he shouldn’t be tried as an adult.
Ryan: [00:46:22] Ok
Bo: [00:46:22] Again, rigged his house with death traps. That’s a pretty adult thing to do. So, man, I suppose in the end, though, it was all just in good fun. Tis the season, I guess, right?
Ryan: [00:46:36] You mean kind of like tis the season to hire the greatest lawyers south of the North Pole.
Bo: [00:46:42] Exactly, Ryan. Which is why, of course, we’re the most successful lawyers in the history of human jurisprudence…
Ryan: [00:46:50] Allegedly. Well, that’s our show for today. Tune in next week where we’ll be bringing in part two of the Christmas movies that break obscene amounts of laws. Thanks for listening to the legal mastery of the highly intelligent and easily most attractive true legal outlawyers in Savannah. And remember, the only lawyers in the free world have never lost a single case … allegedly, to continue to receive free edge-of-your-seat legal anecdotes, mind blowing takes on hot topics and a general master class in awesomeness, please go to bowenschmidt.com/podcast and look for …
Bo: [00:47:22] Dude. There’s this little button called subscribe. All the cool kids are doing it.
Ryan: [00:47:27] Fair enough.