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HOLIDAY SNEAKS | The Ice Harvest

No comfort, not even the cold kind

November 06, 2005|Martin Miller

HOLLYWOOD Christmas movies are typically a lot like Santa Claus -- fat and jolly. But this season's holiday offering from Harold Ramis -- the director of such seminal pop culture comedies as "Groundhog Day" and "Caddyshack" -- is neither. It's thoroughly bleak, utterly grim and fairly bloody.

"The Ice Harvest" is like nothing else in Ramis' vastly successful and largely lighthearted Hollywood career as an actor, writer and director. The film, based on a novel by Scott Phillips, is an anti-Christmas tale with something to say about the holiday and the human spirit -- namely, there isn't any, at least beyond regrets, greed and lust. Set in a mob world of darkened bars and neon-lit strip clubs, the movie's characters are mostly motivated by their various body parts, which on occasion become separated from their owners.

The film features the all-star cast of John Cusack, Billy Bob Thornton and Randy Quaid, all of whom audiences are probably more accustomed to laughing at or with instead of cringing at. But as Ramis states in the film's production notes: "There's nothing that's written as a joke in 'The Ice Harvest'; no one's trying to be funny."

He isn't kidding.

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