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The Ice Harvest
DVD disk
Mar 3, 2006 By: Matt Hosack
The Ice Harvest order
Director:
Harold Ramis

Actors:
John Cusack
Billy Bob Thornton
Connie Nelson

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Two fellows walk into a bar, ones got the brains, the others got the balls. They just robbed their mob boss you see and they did it successfully. Enter an ice storm that hinders their escape. So what do they do with their time? The truth is, not much.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
The tagline for THE ICE HARVEST is Thick Thieves. Thin Ice. Little did I realize how well this line describes the movie. Its more FARGO but without the Coen Brothers wit. I was more or less expecting a comedy but got a dark film noir with indie undertones. For whatever reason, this just didnt gel with me. The film is set during Christmas Eve, yet characters are killing each other and have the foulest of foul mouths. Come to think of it that sounds pretty good on paper, but the idea I think got lost in the translation. Im a huge fan of Ramis, Cusack, Thornton, and Platt and I think they all try but theres just something wrong with THE ICE HARVEST that I just cant put my finger on. It should be a good flick with this kind of talent but it comes off decidedly average.

I think the biggest problem with the film is Ramis efficacy of his stars. Hes totally relying on Cusack and Thornton to produce something from nothing and to their credit there are moments of creative fun but they just barely break the ice. So, what can you expect to see? Aside from a hot Connie Nelson and some occasional decent T&A, youll just see a burned out Cusack running around town hammered with his flask. Believe me, its not as fun as it sounds. The good comedy comes when Cusack hooks up with a drunk Oliver Platt but sadly, this is only once in while. As for the climax of the film, youll see the twist coming from miles away. In the end, I think THE ICE HARVEST was a decent attempt at an Elmore Leonard type story with some bankable stars. The trouble is, it cracked the ice a little too much and sank the film.
THE EXTRAS
Alternate Endings: It was interesting to see these two different endings but I didnt really care for them. Cusack eats it in both scenes and its too much of a downer for my tastes.

Outtake with Billy Bob Thornton: This offered up a few chuckles as Thornton does his SLING BLADE character during a serious scene.

Cracking the Story: The films writers get together at a bar and talk about the writing process as well as how much fun it was to bring to life these messed up characters. A lot more fun than the film.

Beneath the Harvest: Whats really weird is that I enjoyed these special features more than the movie! This EPK shows Ramis and the cast in a more relaxed, fun state. Brief but fun.

Ice Cracking: Analysis of a Scene: This examines probably the best scene in the film involving ice, a man in a chest, some guns, and Billy Bob Thornton. Some fun was had.

Audio Commentary with Director Harold Ramis: This is kind of a different Ramis than the younger Ramis. One thing that remains is that his commentary is still pretty decent. Hes so into the project at hand that you become convinced that his stuff is good.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
To sum things up, Ramis and co. try to pull a fast one on us by attempting a Tarantino that comes off as a FARGO. While the films affable stars try their best, it mainly comes off as bland and uninspired. Still, there might be enough laughs and T&A to warrant a rental. If anything, the DVD itself is great. God, I miss the days of CADDYSHACK.

>>Final Decision: Avoid like the plague
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