Being in the mood for a little holiday cheer, Judy and I decided to watch a Christmas movie. The Ice Harvest figured to be just what we needed.
It's Christmas in Wichita, and Charlie (John Cusak) and Vic (Billy Bob Thornton) have just stolen a couple million bucks from Guerrard (Randy Quaid). They figure it's a perfect crime. All they have to do is behave normally for one night, and the next morning they leave town with the money.
Who's to hold the money until they leave? They haven't discussed that. Vic makes it clear that he's the guy. Charlie leaves and tries to act normally. Doesn't work. First thing you know, he's ordering drinks with umbrellas in them at his topless bar. Then he sees Guerrard's best boy looking for him, and that's bad news. He goes to a restaurant to talk to Vic and meets up with Pete (Oliver Platt), who's married to Charlie's ex-wife and living Charlie's ex-life, a life he's desperate to get out of.
Things hum along with everybody double-crossing everybody else until there's a last man standing. The movie doesn't end like the book, and whether that's good or bad is something you'll have to decide for yourself.
I found the movie very funny and entertaining, if a little slow at the start. It's also plenty violent. The movie's comedy is all of the dark kind. Cusak is great, and he makes you believe a guy who owns a topless bar and is a mob lawyer can be a good guy at heart. This isn't easy, considering some of the things he does in the course of the movie, but Cusak pulls it off. Thornton plays one of his patented roles, rotten to the core but covering it up very well until the chips are down. Oliver Platt is hilarious and nearly steals the movie. And then there's Renata (Connie Nielsen). Did I mention her? She looks like a cross between Jessica Rabbit and Lauren Bacall.
If you're looking for a different kind of holiday movie, this one should do just fine. Check it out.