Because I’ve spent the last week on vacation; and because I haven’t found a worthwhile Canadian Christmas movie to review this year, I decided to fall back on a classic cynical piece, the sort of mediocre movie which speaks to you personally in such a way that you love it, and no one else can understand exactly why. In my case, this film is The Ice Harvest. I wanted to do Strange Brew, but wasn’t able to get ahold of a copy and it had been so long since I’d actually watched the damn thing I don’t think I could have done the comedy duo of Bob and Doug real justice. Instead, ill stick to my favorite not-intended-for-kids Christmas movie.
John Cusack plays mob lawyer Charlie Arglist (Not an alcoholic writer for once. Well, an alcoholic still, but not a writer,) who devises a genius plan to rob his boss of as much cash as he can grab with his partner in crime Vic, played by Billy Bob Thornton, before skipping town for good. The movie takes place on the night of Christmas eve, which sets it up nicely in the satirical “What Christmas has become for us adults” type feel full of one-liners, gunfire, and jokes about how difficult marriage can be.
This is a great one to watch on Christmas if you’re stuck alone, are in for a good set of bitter laughs, and have a large flask of vodka sitting next to you. In retrospect, it doesn’t even need to be Christmas if the other qualifications are filled. Watch an irritated, agitated, “nice guy” John Cusack run from bad guys, the cops, try to get the girl, deal with his crazy partner, drunk friend, and ex-wife’s family in a movie that, while slightly tongue in cheek, delivers a very important message; that nice guys always finish last.
Because it’s a movie I know that a lot of you haven’t seen, I won’t spoil it by writing a lengthy review. It’s not the kind of film you’ll tell your grandchildren about, and maybe not even one that you’ll remember the following morning. But I promise that if you’re anything like me, you’ll laugh your ass off through the majority of the thing at the misfortunes of criminals, gangsters, and “good guys.” And that is the greatest Christmas gift of all.