Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Ice Harvest

posted by rkumar
D
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Profanity:Constant extremely strong and vulgar language
Nudity/Sex:Explicit sexual references and situations, including strippers and pornography
Alcohol/Drugs:Characters drink and get drunk, drive while drinking, and mix pills and alcohol
Violence/Scariness:Frequent explicit violence, including guns and knives, characters injured, tortured, and murdered
Diversity Issues:None
Movie Release Date:2005

This is a rancid lump of coal in the toe of the Christmas stocking of the holiday movie season. Perhaps inspired by the unexpected success of last year’s anti-feel-good Bad Santa, this has that movie’s star, Billy Bob Thornton, as a pornographer named Vic who conspires with Charlie (John Cusack), a mob lawyer, to steal $2 million from mob boss Bill Gerard (Randy Quaid) on Christmas Eve. Now the trick is getting out of town without killing themselves on the icy roads or killing each other out of suspicion, frustration, or greed. There is also a strip joint manager named Renata (Gladiator’s Connie Nielson), lit like a 1940’s film noir femme fatale, and a subplot about an incriminating photo of a local politician engaged in some hanky panky with a bored-looking stripper, as well as Charlie’s perpetually drunk friend (Oliver Platt).

Not exactly Tiny Tim saying “God bless us everyone” or Santa wishing “Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night,” is it?

There’s nasty-fun and there’s nasty-nasty, and then there’s nasty-just-plain-depressing, and this ugly mess straddles the second two categories. We may all need some relief from the relentless cheeriness of the holiday season, and there is some cathartic liberation in seeing characters who are so unabashedly unconstrained by societal norms. Because there are some understated wisecracks and Christmas carol classics (including the one from Alvin and the Chipmunks) on the soundtrack, this is supposed to be clever and meta and ironic. But it isn’t.

It is dumb and micro and moronic. Thornton, Cusack, Nielson, and Platt do their best and there are some darkly comic moments, but ultimately it is as stale and unappetizing as last year’s fruitcake.

Parents should know that this is a movie that bases its humor on its vile soullessness, which is intended to be wickedly charming. This means that the movie’s “good guys” and its bad guys are crooks and killers. Everyone uses very strong, crude, and nasty language and everyone engages in very strong, crude, and nasty behavior. Characters smoke and drink, get drunk, drink and drive, and mix alcohol and pills. They lie, cheat, steal, torture, and kill each other.

Families who see this movie should talk about whether it is all right to steal from crooks. If you become a crook, does that make you less willing to trust others? If you become a crook, does that make it harder to find trustworthy people to work with? They might also like to talk about how this story echoes some of the themes portrayed less darkly in the books and films by the same author, Empire Falls (which echoes the “Witchita Falls” theme of this movie) and Nobody’s Fool.

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy three other crooks-at-Christmas movies, The Ref, the original We’re No Angels (remade with Robert DeNiro and Sean Penn in 1989), and Trapped in Paradise.



Previous Posts

Black or White
Writer-director Mike Binder sure likes to get Kevin Costner drunk. As in his uneven but impressive "The Upside of Anger," Binder once again has Costner playing a man who is a little lost and a usual

posted 5:58:45pm Jan. 29, 2015 | read full post »

Black Sea
Two comments made by characters in this film summarize what it is that makes submarine stories so instantly compelling. "Outside is just dark, cold, and death," says one. "We all live together or

posted 3:51:06pm Jan. 29, 2015 | read full post »

Interview: Ira Glass Talks to "Boyhood's" Richard Linklater and Ellar Coltrane
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/D6mwbnSIk4c" frameborder="0"] "Boyhood" writer/director Richard Linkater and star Ellar Coltrane talk to "This American Life's" Ira Glass about making the film over a twelve year period that began when Coltrane was six years old.

posted 9:59:48am Jan. 29, 2015 | read full post »

Super Bowl Commercials 2015: Highlights and Previews
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/P6K0siUb5Ts?rel=0" frameborder="0"] Which one are you looking forward to?

posted 9:41:33am Jan. 29, 2015 | read full post »

For the First Time at Sundance: A Panel on Faith and Films
The acclaimed Sundance Film Festival, where ground-breaking films and indie favorites often premiere, will have its first-ever panel discussion of faith and films this week. “Hollywood reflects soci

posted 3:37:53pm Jan. 28, 2015 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.