Jack Campbell, a successful and aggressive Wall Street stock
broker, lives a happy, single life. On Christmas Eve, he meets an
“angel” who asks, “What do you need, Jack?” Jack replies: “Nothing; I have
everything I want.” Well, the next morning, the “angel” puts Jack in a
“glimpse” of what his life would have been like if he had married his
college girlfriend, 13 years earlier. In this “glimpse,” he and Kate live in
New Jersey (about an hour away from New York City), and they have two
children (Annie is about 5 years old; Josh is still in diapers). Instead of
being president of P.K. Lassiter Investment Company, he now helps his
father-in-law run a retail tire store (he quit his Wall Street job after
“Big Ed” had a heart attack, thereby saving the family’s company).
Jack’s Ferrari and expensive suits are gone; he now has a broken mini-van
and “mall-bought” inferior clothing (he calls them “sub-par”). After he
realizes that there is nothing he can do to get his “real” life back, he
settles into this “glimpse” life, and finds the value of deep friendships,
family relationships, and true love. Although he misses the comfort and
power of his job in “The City”, he realizes that he never stopped loving
Kate (and grows to love his “glimpse” children). He is no longer “confident
and sure of everything,” but eventually he decides that “there’s no place
I’d rather be” than with his family.
acid trip: an overdose
of drugs that make you “see things” that are not real
cocky: acting overly
eggnog: a drink often
associated with Christmas (like Moon Cakes=Mid Autumn Festival)
*to erase: to remove sth,
so that no one can see it anymore
*fidelity: faithful to
one’s obligations (responsibilities), especially “sexually faithful” to
one’s spouse. (A “high fidelity” recording faithfully/accurately gives you
the true way music originally sounded.)
to flush: to quickly
clean or wash away, like the contents of a toilet
*glimpse: a short
experience of or look at sth that helps you to begin to understand it
gonna (oral English):
"going to" (you should never write the word "gonna" because it is not
really a word)
*heart attack: a sudden,
serious medical condition where someone’s heart stops (many people can
survive these attacks if treated quickly)
*internship: the last
step of professional training after you finish college; a company (like
Barclay’s Bank in London) agrees to train you for a year, while paying you a
bit less than you would earn later. The right internship can make a big
difference in one’s career.
*lotto or lottery: a
gambling game (often state-run) where you buy a ticket in hope of winning
money (you get cash for a winning ticket at a place that sells tickets, and
the store owner gets money, too)
*merger: (e.g., Med Tech
& Global); when two companies combine to become one bigger company; some
mergers are “hostile,” i.e. one of the companies does not want to become
part of the other
connotation): innocent but immature; overly optimistic because of a lack
*nonprofit (law firm): a
company created to help needy people (instead of trying to make lots of
money for themselves)
*perk: something you get
legally from your job in addition to wages/salary
a prick (offensive
term): a stupid, unpleasant male who "isn't fun to be around"
*precocious: mature for
one’s age (esp referring to a little child, often in a negative way)
having strong negative feelings toward everyone of a different race,
religion, political viewpoint, etc., esp. when such prejudice keeps you from
listening to anyone with these differences
*to redeem: to get
something good because someone promised that thing under certain
circumstances (e.g., the government promises to give money in exchange for a
winning lotto ticket; you get 5
discount on new
shoes if you “redeem” a coupon from the newspaper). The noun form is
*stock (or shares
of stock): an investment that lets your “own” part of a company (“Do you own
any stock?” “Yes, I buy shares worth $200 every month, as part of my
retirement savings plan.”)
stock broker: someone
who buys and sells stock for others, earning a percentage of the cost as his
fee (EF Hutton is a famous financial firm)
stock trader: a person
or company that makes money by buying and selling stock, and sometimes by
convincing corporations to merge
*suburb: the area around
the outside of a city (many suburbs are really small cities) where people
live, often driving to work in a nearby city
wanna (oral English):
"want to" (you should never write the word "wanna" because it is not
really a word)
*wrinkled: a synonym for
“elderly”, referring to the lines or folds that show age on an older
Phrases or sayings:
tunnel vision: the
tendency to consider only one part of sth. instead of all parts
*you blew it: you missed
the chance for something good
*talk turkey: to talk
seriously about details, esp. in business
*in a nutshell: in
an old flame: a former
girlfriend or boyfriend; a past love
a gift with ten zeros:
*to deal with (dealt
with): to handle or solve sth like a problem or need
*to screw up: to make a
news at 11:00: used as
if one is giving a headline for the evening news program, as if to say “they
should talk about this on the TV news”
(1) Talk about the
things that people wish they could “do over” or “do differently.” (Make a
(2) Use examples from
the film to illustrate how Jack treats people (neighbors, people at his
company, friends, customers, children, others).
(3) Work with your
partner to think of differences between Jack’s life in the “glimpse” and
(4) As you consider your
first job after college, what factors will be most important to you?
(5) With a partner, come
up with five ethical principles you could see in the movie: for example, “It
is not good to make your child the last one to be picked up, otherwise it
will hurt his feelings." (Annie tells Jack to pick her up at school earlier
and not let her be the last one left.)
(6) With a partner, come
up with five business or economics principles you could see in the movie:
for example, “Offering consistent customers some discount may bring a good
return to your business." (As a tire retailer, Jack offers an old customer a
certain percent discount).
(7) The last scene in
the movie shows Jack and Kate talking in the New York airport. We are left
to imagine for ourselves what the final outcome will be. What do you think
will happen next?
Sentences/dialogs from the movie:
(some are from
sections are particularly important.
Jack [after Kate says she has a “bad
feeling” about Jack going to London for a year]: Look, we’re at the airport.
Nobody ever thinks clearly at the airport. So we should just trust the
decision we already made. You’ve been accepted into one of the best law
schools in the country. I’ve got this internship at Barclay’s Bank.
We have a great plan, honey.
Kate: You wanna do something great,
Jack? Let’s flush the plan! Let’s start our lives right now, today. I
have no idea what this life is going to look like, but I know that it has
the both of us in it, and I choose “us.” What we have together, that’s what
makes us great.
Jack: I love you. And one year in
London is not going to change that. A hundred years couldn’t change that.
2. Jack: Let me see the [lottery]
Black Angel [talking to Jack, but he
has been pointing a gun at the prejudiced store clerk who won’t
redeem his ticket]: Was I talking to you?
Jack: Maybe I'll buy it from you. You
know, make a little business deal.
Black Angel: “Stupid ass white boy in
$2000 suit gets capped [murdered] trying to be a hero,” news at 11:00.
That’s what you wanna see? DO YOU WANNA DIE?
Jack: No. Look, I’m talking about a
business deal. I buy the ticket from you for $200. I take it to a store
where the guy behind the counter doesn’t have a death wish [doesn’t want to
die]. I just made myself a quick $38. It’s just a business deal.
Black Angel: All right. [talking to the
clerk] You blew it, B. This ticket was real. Come on, Jack, let’s get
out of here. [Note: In America, the government gives money to the store if
they redeem winning lottery tickets.]
3. Kate [waking up, the first morning of
Jack’s “glimpse”]: Jack. Strong coffee. [i.e., “go make strong
4. [Jack is very frustrated after no one in
NY recognizes him, and he learns that Mr. Mintz is now the president of
Black Angel: You brought this on
yourself. “I’ve got everything I need.” Does that sound familiar?
Jack: You mean, ‘cause you thought I
was cocky, I'm now on a permanent acid trip?
Black Angel: The way you intervened in
that store last night… You did a good thing there, Jack.
Jack: Please just tell me what’s
happening to me in plain English, without the mumbo-jumbo.
Black Angel: This is a glimpse,
Jack: A glimpse of what?
Black Angel: You’re gonna have
to figure that out for yourself…
Jack: I just want my life back. Now,
what’s it gonna take? You wanna talk turkey? Let’s talk
turkey. How much money?
Black Angel: It doesn’t work like that.
You’ve got to figure this out for yourself.
Jack: I don’t have time for this right
now. I'm in the middle of a deal!
Black Angel: Well, you’re working on a
new deal now, baby.