Resorting to frosty movies to cool off

For a third day in a row, the Chicago area endured temperatures of 100 degrees or more. Even at 9 p.m., it’s still too intolerably hot to go outside or cook inside here in Hampshire (88 degrees at 9:07 p.m.).

So my Beloved and I ordered Chinese takeout and watched a nice, cold movie: “Big Miracle.” The movie, starring Drew Barrymore and Jon Krasinski (“The Office”), loosely recounts the international 1988 rescue mission to free three gray whales from the ice near Point Barrow, Alaska.

I just love a sappy, uplifting dramedy usually covered in Walt Disneyesque fingerprints (see also: “Angels in the Outfield,” “Cool Runnings” and “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home”), so “Big Miracle” was a winner for me (note: with a name like “Big Miracle,” you know the ending’s happy).

At one point during movie, the characters are struggling through temperatures of 70 below zero — perfect for vicarious cooling when the weather outside is frightfully sweltering. Bonus: Two of the characters are inventors from Minnesota, complete with Minnesota accents.

Though “Big Miracle” is all upside, it reminded me of other thrill-stocked chillers. Daily Herald movie critic Dann Gire made a top 10 list of ice cold movies last January (click here for that list — it’s a good one). He asked for others, and I sent him the following email:

“Cliffhanger” starring Sylvester Stallone gave me the shivers when it came out in the summer of 1993. Between the heights and the snow (and John Lithgow, prior to his “3rd Rock” antics), I was uncomfortable through the whole movie in the way an action- adventure-suspense flick ought to keep viewers on the edge of their seats.

I liked your list though. The movies you mentioned are probably made better. A Trekker would have you mention the ice-cold prison planet Rura Penthe in Star Trek VI. Made me wish for such a fashionable fur coat (wouldn’t mind being a shape shifter either).

When I was the entertainment reporter for the Middletown Journal back in 1993, I remember giving “Cliffhanger” a great review. I looked all over the internet for that column, but it’s safely tucked away in the printed archives of the Middletown library. Knowing I raved about a non-“Rocky” Sylvester Stallone movie, you might want to take my movie reviews with a grain of salt.

The 2011 version of “The Thing” is another good chiller thriller. If by “good,” you mean “cold and scary.” The Thing is an alien found in the ice in the Antarctic, and the result is anything but uplifting (still, in this weather, shudders might be close enough to shivers to be cooling). We watched that one a couple of week ago, and the horrible image of the human-bug-like creature that is the Thing still haunts me. I thought about pasting an image here, but I don’t want to give you nightmares.

You have any good cold movies to add to the queue?

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3 responses to “Resorting to frosty movies to cool off

  1. My friend Caroline and I went to the original “Thing” when I was in 4th grade. I remember we shared a seat so we could take turns hiding behind each other during the scarey parts. We had nightmares afterwards too. It was done in black and white–very cold and disturbing!

  2. I love Cliffhanger! And I know exactly what you mean about making you feel cold. That scene where he’s in the water under the ice just makes me shiver!

    Smilla’s Sense of Snow is an interesting SF movie with a lot of … snow, but it didn’t affect me like Cliffhanger. The March of the Penguins… now that was a chilly movie!

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