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

How Do Movies Show Time Passing?
Someone once said that movies are "pieces of time." A few take place in "real time." Alfred Hitchcock's experiment, "Rope," unfolds in just the time it takes us to watch it, all in what appears to be one seamless shot. But others take place over days, weeks, years, even generations. Slavko Vorkap

posted 8:00:40am Jul. 22, 2014 | read full post »

Boring TV Makes You Fat
A new study finds that boring television leads to mindless snacking and that leads to putting on pounds. So, watch programs that excite and engage you. Or, if the show is boring, turn off the television.

posted 8:00:05am Jul. 22, 2014 | read full post »

Switched at Birth and the End of Life
I'm a big fan of ABC Family's Switched at Birth and have appreciated its complicated characters, honest and heartfelt relationships, and compelling storylines, as well as its unprecedented, in-depth portrayal of the deaf community. Last week's episode may have been the all-time best (SPOILER ALERT)

posted 3:59:49pm Jul. 21, 2014 | read full post »

Comic-Con 2014
It's here!  San Diego Comic-Con begins Wednesday night in San Diego and I'll be there.  This is my favorite event of the year, a chance to find out what everyone will be watching, listening to, playing, and otherwise enjoying over the next few years.  As I always say, this is the Iowa caucuses of

posted 8:00:20am Jul. 21, 2014 | read full post »

Wish I Was Here
My intention was to review Zach Braff's new film without mentioning the controversy he stirred up in funding it via Kickstarter.  My view was that what mattered was the movie itself, and the kerfluffle over how it was all paid for was beside the point.  But it turns out that it is the point.  "Sc

posted 7:21:07pm Jul. 20, 2014 | 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.