Movie Night at La Casa

We were still fighting colds last night and we used that as an excuse to brew some Keurig coffee (Donut Shop Decaf for her; Caribou regular for me) and stream a couple of movies (Netflix via Apple TV, if you care about things like that. And you should. The technical details are crucial to the whole ambiance thing.). We didn't plan it, but the movies ended up having a common theme.

[Note: There be spoilers ahead. Ye be warned.]

First up was 1981's Wolfen, a "horror/suspense" movie starring a gravelly-voiced and grim-countenanced Albert Finney (yeah, OK, those are his normal acting modes) and a wise-cracking and jive-talking Gregory Hines (uh, same thing, although he does meet an unexpected fate as dinner) who are trying to solve a series of gruesome murders in The Big Apple. As we all know, it turns out to be a pack of wolves (or are they?) who prefer tenement living and derelicts to woodlands and Bambi.

About halfway through the movie it occurred to me that this wasn't the film I was expecting to see; I had it confused with The Howling, a somewhat-better-than-average werewolf movie from - coincidentally - the same year as Wolfen. Same oeuvre, more or less. Common mistake, I'm sure.

What I did not realize is that Wolfen was written by Whitley Streiber, the author of Critical Mass, a novel about nuclear terrorism that I teased a bit in this post last December. Streiber also wrote The Day After Tomorrow and The Hunger, both of which were adapted to movies of varying quality. The latter starred Catherine Deneuve, who should make any top 10 list of sexy actresses, regardless of era. But I digress.

Well, actually, I don't digress; I'm tru wit dis one. (Quick: what movie is that line from?*)

Feeling somewhat unfulfilled by an absence of werewolves, we then chose Frozen (which reminds me of a joke about Presbyterians that wouldn't be appropriate at all at this point), a movie made just last year about three yahoos - a girl and two guys - who get stuck on a ski lift. The fact that it's already made it to Netflix's streaming catalog should give you some insight as to the quality of this production. It stars some Gen Y/Z actor slackers who look awfully familiar, but, then, they do all look alike, don't they?

I guess Shawn Ashmore would be the most recognizable of the cast, as he has a recurring role in the X-Men series. I'm sure it's one of those little Hollywood insider jokes that Shawn's X-Men character is known as Iceman, and in this movie he battles death by freezing.

Well, I'd like to say that Frozen is an undiscovered, under-appreciated gem of a movie, and it does have its moments, but for the most part you're left despairing about the destiny of our nation if kids like this are its future. You know how in the teen slasher flicks the soon-to-be-decapitated and/or disembowled kids always approach the closed closet door, trembling but without the apparent will to resist, and despite the audience's audible warnings, open the stupid door anyway? Those kids were Rhodes scholars compared to these three bozos, for whom logic is as evanescent as ambition.

I actually awoke in the middle of last night thinking, "I can't believe they didn't ..." Sure, that probably says more about me than about the movie, but that's not the point.

Anyway, I mentioned above that these two movies had something unexpected in common, and that was that - well, remember that episode of Seinfeld where Elaine posits that a wild Australian canine devoured a lady's progeny? Well, guess what the leading cause of death in Frozen turns out to be? That's right; nobody gets iced (in the literal sense), but a pack of wolves does turn out to be a troubling complication to being stuck on a chairlift. I think we both know where this is heading, so there's no need to say more. Suffice it to say that by the end of this movie, we were all rooting for the wolves.

Every movie review must provide a reference to another movie in order to establish the credibility of the reviewer (while ironically exposing his inability to come up with anything original), and so I will compare Frozen to Open Water, the 2003 movie about the scuba divers who are stranded in shark infested waters and end up detonating a nuclear device over Las Vegas to extract revenge. OK, I may have embellished that a bit, but I was trying to avoid irony. Anyway, in both movies the protagonists go through the same "bonding through tribulation" phases, sort of. So, I hope that helps.

There you have: our Friday Night At the Movies en la casa. We should have had popcorn.

*Here's a hint: it starred that annoying actor with a recurring role in the Lethal Weapon series. No, that other annoying actor.


Well, here's one member of the 'Frozen Chosen' adding "Frozen" to his Netflix queue.

Thanks for the tip.


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This page contains a single entry by Eric published on January 22, 2011 1:06 PM.

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