10 under 10 (degrees): The best movies to take the chill off this heat wave
Posted Friday, August 17, 2007 at 3:15 PM Central
by John Couture
So far, so good. It's week 2 and we're still here and we actually have a new list for you. While we are firm believers in the fine art of procrastination, I am really going to make an effort to stick to this schedule. At least until next week.
With Superbad hitting theaters today, we promised you a list of "Supercool" movies. Of course, as is often the case with us, we left that meaning rather ambiguous.
Instead of a list of really awesome, cool movies, we decided to compile a list of movies that will literally chill you to the bone. Basically, this list contains the best movies in which snow plays an important part of the plot.
I mean hell, down here in the South, the thermometer has been North of 100 degrees since mid July. If we can't get relief outside, I'm going to pull the blinds, crank up the A.C. and watch these movies to help create a little nirvana of coolness.
There's always a couple caveats with our lists and here they are. We decided up front to exclude Christmas movies. That is any film that takes place around Christmas or is generally considered a Christmas movie, we didn't even bother to consider it. So, before you bash us for not including White Christmas, which ironically only has snow in it for the last 2 minutes or so, or A Christmas Story, please note that if you bitch about them not being on the list, you will be made fun of for your inability to read this paragraph.
Alright, enough of my preliminary drivel. Let's get to the good stuff. Pull out your winter mitts and put on some hot cocoa as we take a ride on the cool side.
The Empire Strikes Back - OK sure, the Hoth system is only featured for like 20 minutes of the movie, but man what a great 20 minutes. And I mean, it is Empire so it will get you all pumped up after cooling you off. Before you know it you will be experiencing a cold bliss. Think about it, the AT-ATs were the best toys growing up and the Snow Troopers were kick butt. The rebels built their entire base out of snow. Who didn't want to go out in the snow after that and try and build their own rebel base igloo?
Smilla's Sense of Snow - We both agreed that with how wacky our list is (trust me you'll get there), we needed to establish a little bit of critical cred. Not that we really care about such things, but we are movie freaks after all and it's sort of hard to create a list like this and not include either Smilla or The Sweet Hereafter. In the end, we opted for the movie with "snow" actually in the title. But trust us, this is actually a great little movie that sadly didn't get the big audience it deserved. There's a twisting plot and a murder mystery and Smilla? Well, she's the lead CSI of snow.
Hot Dog: The Movie - God bless Skinimax! Long before the Internet was even a twinkle in Al Gore's eyes, late night cable TV satisfied all of our perverse cravings for simple plots and plenty of nudity. Considering that I was 10 years old when this movie came out could explain why I currently have two ex-wives (yes, ladies I am taking applications for ex-wife #3). But honestly, is there a better example of using snow both to terrorize and titulate the human soul? I thought not. Watch with care though, because while the snow and skiing will lower your body temp, the bountiful bikini-clad (don't ask why they wear bikinis on a snow-covered mountain. It's called suspension of disbelief) women will surely counter act the cooling effects.
The Shining - If you want a movie where the snow is as much the villain as anything else in the movie, this one is for you. Whether it's the snow or the remote isolation that does in Jack Nicholson, we're never quite sure. But, that last, final image of him being buried in a blizzard in that maze continues to haunt us to this day. Oops, I hope I didn't just ruin the ending for you.
Edward Scissorhands - Johnny Depp and Tim Burton are a match made in heaven and this is where the magic started. The use of the scissorhands to carve ice sculptures is inspired and that scene where Johnny and Winona are falling in love while the snow, or ice crystals, or whatever is falling down all around them is one of the most iconic images in all of movies.
Alive - Just when you thought our list was going to be all warm and fuzzy, we throw you with a cannibalism curve ball. This film based on the true story of the surviving members of a rugby team whose plane crashed in the Andes literally chills you to the bone. Nothing but grizzly men and snow for as far as the eye can see. So, naturally, with no other alternative, the survivors turn to eating their teammates who weren't as "lucky" as them to survive the crash. Putting aside the Hannibal Lecter menu, this movie will certainly bring you plenty of chills with all that glorious ice and snow.
Better Off Dead - Is there any question as to the cool factor of John Cusack? And this is when he was his best as the lovable underdog loser that everyone gets to cheer for in the end. Not only that, but this movie is one of the more quotable movies of our generation. "I want my two dollars." And of course, the quote that relates most to the list at hand today. "This is pure snow! Do you have any idea what the street value of this mountain is?" And yes, while there is a Christmas scene, this movie wasn't disqualified because you would have to stretch the limit to call this a Christmas movie. Now there's a shocker, two skiiing movies in a snow top ten list.
A Simple Plan - Back when this movie came out, I was tangentially working for Paramount Home Entertainment and I remember seeing the first cut of this movie actually on the Paramount lot in their huge theater, where I learned that their screen is exactly as long as the letters in the Hollywood sign are high. Anyhow, since it was an early cut of the movie it was close to two and a half hours long and I remember walking out of it saying to myself, "Congrats on the Oscar Mr. Thornton. So, it was shocking later on that year (well really the next year) when I was watching the Oscars and saw Billy Bob lose. It wasn't until about a year after that when I rewatched the movie on DVD that I realized that they chopped most of his performance down to get it to two hours. It's a shame because there's some amazing work sitting around a cutting room floor in Hollywood. Oh yeah, there's also plenty of snow in it. White, glorious, pure snow.
Groundhog Day - You know there was no way we'd be able to stay away from a movie set in the town of Gobbler's Knob. I mean is there funnier town name in the history of movies? I think not. Oh yeah and of course, the snow plays the important role of keeping Bill Murray stuck in town to relive the same day over and over and over again. This movie is not only timely enough to enjoy any day of the year, but it also makes for a wonderful little pick me up during the hot and steamy days of August.
Fargo - It's funny because this movie just missed last week's list by one year and here it is topping this week's entry. If you don't think this movie will put you in a Winter Wonderland mood, then check out that cover art. Seriously, it's all snow - and a little blood. This movie is as snowy as you can get and it continues to hold up as time goes by. And that wood chipper scene with the red snow. I mean that's just priceless right there. Although you had to know that this one would be number 1, when they produce not one but two snow globes as promotional items for this movie, you know it's at the top as the snowy best!
Sneak Peek: Next week we will delve into those pecks that give us all the heebie jeebies.