Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Top 5: Snow Movies


If you live in the Triad or thereabouts, it's likely that you woke up this morning and looked out your window to a Winter Wonderland. Or at least the inch of snow that passes for a winter wonderland around these parts.

It's very likely the snow covered your old familiar world and that pristine blanket cast familiar things in a new way. It's also pretty likely that you chose to celebrate the weather with a frolic or a snowball. Maybe a contemplative walk, hand held by that special someone, mind introspected by wintered discontent.
Eschewing the numb fingers and rosy cheeks of healthy outdoor activities as well as any manner of introspection, yours truly spent the day contemplating a list of the Best Films OF ALL TIME Starring Snow!
Without further ado, here is my top 5 Snow Movies list:

5. Citizen Kane
Citizen Kane is considered by many to be the best movie ever made. However, it is only the fifth best movie ever made when one considers the role of snow. The film opens with an old man on his deathbed holding a snowglobe. The old man, Charles Foster Kane, mutters his final word, Rosebud, and promptly dies, shattering the snowglobe. The search for the meaning behind his enigmatic final word provides the impetus for a series of flashbacks and remembrances detailing the dead millionaires life and rise to power. The final scene reveals to viewers that Rosebud was the name of the snowsled Kane played with on the last day he spent with his mother before being whisked away to his life of affluence.

4. Kill Bill: Volume I
When I think of Kill Bill, the first thing I think of is the climactic showdown between The Bride and O-Ren Ishii in a snowy garden. The moments of serene silence juxtapose against the moments of gory swordplay and the result is a calm and deadly quiet. We are left with a scene that wouldn't have worked without the snowflakes. Quentin Tarantino obviously borrowed elements of the O-Ren Ishii character from the Japanese kung-fu film Lady Snowblood which has even more scenes of snowy carnage.

3. The Empire Strikes Back
Though a fan of Return of the Jedi, I recognize the sovereignty of The Empire Strikes Back as the best of the Star Wars Trilogy and the most memorable moments of this film take place at the beginning, on the ice planet Hoth. As if eviscerating a Taun-Taun wasn't enough to secure a place in cinematic history, the film goes on to feature a pitched battle between the Empire, with their AT-AT Imperial Walkers and Star Destroyers, and the Rebels with their meager A-Wings and Transports. I am convinced that the AT-AT are of such superb design that anything associated with their debut is elevated to a higher plane. Therefore the ice planet of Hoth and the snow that blankets it gain AT-AT levels of coolness.

2.Edward Scissorhands
In the Classical sense, Etiology is a term that refers to the mythological explanations for natural phenomena. The story of Paul Bunyan dragging his axe behind him and accidently creating the grand canyon is an etiological explanation of the Grand Canyon. Edward Scissorhands is an etiology for snow. According to this phenomenal film, snow was first created when the eponymous hero began making ice sculptures. For finally explaining things to us better than any stupid scientific theories of condensation or thermodynamics, Edward Scissorhands belongs near the top of our list. However, it's not at the top.

1. Ice Storm
The best snow movie ever made is Ang Lee's 1997 drama about a dysfunctional 1970s suburban New England family. Lee used the blankets of snow to represent the level of propriety which covered the various family members' unhappinesses. He used the cold to represent the emotional distance between them. And he used the ice to represent the dangers which resulted. When the Ice Storm finally comes to town, it's the perfect naturalistic representation of a family's disintegration. The film also stars a young Tobey Maguire and features a cameo by the Fantastic Four.

Hopefully, you enjoyed the snow before it was gone. But either way, you now have these five films to (re)watch. Because after all, the snow will melt, but the movies are forever.


Blogger Joe Scott said...

Poor Snow. That old broad was great in so many classic movies and continues to do good work in films like Snow Angels. However, the Academy has yet to give her a single nomination, let alone an Oscar. If Kate Winslet is the Stanley Kubrick of actresses, then Snow must be the Alfred Hitchcock. I hope the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences addresses at least one of these wrongs in the near future.

7:24 AM  
Anonymous muebles en zamora said...

It cannot have effect in reality, that is what I think.

3:03 AM  

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