I've learned my lesson: never welcome the snow, because the first year you do, the snow will slam into you over and over again for months -- laughing at your positive idiocy while it torments you with sadistic, stinging snowflakes. Now tonight, as I curl up in the safety of my apartment, I could watch some sort of tropical films, but that would just make me angry. Once you get to a certain point, the weather you dream of is more of a low-blow taunt than a nice escape. So, I'm going to give you two films laden with snow, but with enough bad vibes to make a simple, snow-covered night not so bad. I am, of course, talking about Fargo and The Sweet Hereafter.
To me, that first, ice-scraping bit of the trailer above is bad enough, but the Coen brothers filled their 1996 film with much more than icy torment. By now we should know the story. The film follows a man who gets into embezzlement troubles and decides to hire to goons to kidnap his wife so he can get a sweet, money-filled ransom from her rich father. However, lots goes wrong and what should have been a simple task laden in green, soon becomes a bloody nightmare dyed red.
It's violent, but darkly funny, and while the Coens did wonders with this story, the film's true perfection lies in the cast. This is the film that won Frances McDormand a well-deserved Oscar for her performances as Marge, plus a best supporting actor nomination for William H. Macy. Teamed with bumbling bad guys played by Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare, and a handy woodchipper, it's enough to make the regular snow storms seem fine, and certainly much safer than Fargo.
Those peeps in Fargo, they like to say "yeah." Perfect drinking game fodder!
The little guy was kinda "funny looking."
Welcome to the home of Paul Bunyan.
Siskel & Ebert Review Fargo.
The Sweet Hereafter
It's a bit more sweet and straight-up than the film it's teamed with, but Atom Egoyan's The Sweet Hereafter has its own twists and brow-raising along the way -- done in cold, Canadian snow-style. I remember the first time I watched this, I couldn't get past some of the slow, pensive snow scenes. That being said, even for impatient movie watchers, Hereafter is worth the effort. It will make you ponder, wonder, and muse.
During the dead of winter, a school bus crashes on the way to school and everyone dies but a young girl (Sarah Polley) and the bus' driver. Mitchell Stevens, a lawyer (wonderfully played by Ian Holm), then descends upon the town looking to start up a class action lawsuit, eager to find someone to blame. While the story is that simple, the secrets surrounding it are anything but. Each player has hidden agendas and troubling secrets, each of which threatens to be exposed as the story plays out.
Trivia: Donald Sutherland was originally cast as Mitchell Stephens.
Zoe and the spider.
Courage -- The Tragically Hip, and then, Sarah-style.
Discussions with Atom Egoyan.
From the Pied Piper to Directorial Debuts.