The new NBC sitcom "The Good Place" is set in the heavenly version of the afterlife: dead souls who led virtuous lives (and, by mistake, some who didn't) are greeted with the houses of their dreams, true soulmates, calorie-free frozen yogurt, and more delights.
Fictional portrayals of the afterlife -- heaven, hell, purgatory, and more -- offer a font of opportunities for storytellers to explore morality, pleasure, and suffering. "Ghost," starring Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, and Whoopi Goldberg, might not be an AFI Top 100, but the way it portrays demonic poltergeists who drag killers into hell could be a go-to for stern Sunday school teachers. Frank Capra's "It's a Wonderful Life," which is number 11 on that revered American Film Institute list, features Angel Second Class Clarence Oddbody sent from the stars above to teach Jimmy Stewart's character about the true vices and virtues of the world. "What Dreams May Come" won an Oscar for Best Visual Effects that showed us director Vincent Ward's visions of heaven (picture Claude Monet) and hell (think Fra Angelico).
What are your favorite fictional portrayals of the afterlife and why? How about "The Sixth Sense," "Scrooged," or "Beetlejuice?" What did they get right and wrong? (That's a trick question.)
Andy Klein, Film Critic for KPCC
Claudia Puig, Film Critic for KPCC and "The Wrap;" she tweets @ClaudiaPuig