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Seven memorable movie winter snowstorms.

Seven memorable movie winter snowstorms. (photo)

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Right now, much of the east coast is effectively snowbound. Since we’re all stuck here in front of our computers while the rest of the country, here’s seven memorable on-screen snowstorms to wile away the long hours.

“The Fatal Glass of Beer” (1933)

A Canadian Mountie walks into W.C. Fields’ cabin, with a big gust of fake snow following. “Is it still snowing?” Fields asks, before proceeding to accompany himself on auto-harp on a song about a young man who goes to the city, starts drinking and learns a valuable lesson about not breaking other people’s tambourines. Later Fields says “I reckon, guess and calculate” his incarcerated son is soon coming home. Still later he goes out to milk the elk. This a slow-moving but winningly bizarre meta-parody of the now obscure Yukon melodrama, oft compared to Monty Python for its sheer strangeness. Fields’ indomitability in the face of cold weather is inspiring.

“Odd Man Out” (1947)

A memorable usage of symbolic snowfall as impending death, this fascinatingly incoherent Carol Reed movie finds wounded Irish nationalist James Mason wandering around Belfast, hallucinating with increased severity until the world starts being as strange as what he’s dreaming. As the snow falls and the time to flee the city decreases, Mason ends up being kidnapped by an insane painter fixated on capturing the dying man’s eyes as he dies, in a memorably excessive sequence.

“The Cardinal” (1963)

Otto Preminger’s long, social-issue-y “The Cardinal” is actually better than you’d think. A big, splashy three-hour movie adopted from a hot-topic bestseller with no lasting value, “The Cardinal” marches through all of its Big Issues — abortion! racism! Nazis! — with a fearlessness and commendable indifference towards good taste. At one point, during darkest winter, Cardinal Tom Tryon (later a horror writer) comes to visit old friend Father Burgess Meredith. But he’s not dying in the snowstorm because of his penitential, bread-and-wine diet — he’s dying because of multiple sclerosis. This is one surprisingly tough-minded movie, though the eight-minute edit below does a good job of making it look hypnotically terrible.

“Airport” (1970)

After producing most of Douglas Sirk’s ’50s Hollywood work and the first Doris Day-Rock Hudson pairing, Ross Hunter’s final big bang was this opulent if unwieldy blend of the old-fashioned “Grand Hotel” style melodrama (“seven different stories,” as the trailer helpfully spells it out for us) with a disaster movie, with blustery George Kennedy trying to figure out how to clear off a snowed-over runway for a plane with all kinds of problems, not least that Van Heflin’s planning to blow it up. Everyone’s seen “Airplane!,” but this straightfaced original has its own special kind of entertainment value still: the airport of 1970 looks suspiciously, tantalizingly opulent.

“The Dead” (1987)

John Huston’s final film is generally considered the remotely successful attempt to put James Joyce on screen, boring in on one of his most compact stories and translating it with scrupulous but lively fidelity. The memorable final soliloquy (unfortunately unembeddable) comes intact, visualizing how “snow was general all over Ireland” as an elegiac state of mind — it tends to drive most people to tears.

“Edward Scissorhands” (1990)

The teen-emo movie to end them all, with kabuki-faced Johnny Depp as the boy whose scissorhands let him carve topiary and ice with equal skill, with the flakes that fly off his statues forming enough snowfall for a whole town. “Edward Scissorhands” gets a bit more embarrassing as I get older, but it’s endearingly angst-ridden — once you can groove with the heavy sentiment, it’s a good time.

“The Ice Harvest” (2005)

Of course, for an utter lack of sentiment you could turn to this curious neo-noir, with John Cusack clearly enjoying destroying his own image as he swears vigorously, solicits sexual favors, vomits and kills people. Alongside him is a more-foul-tempered-than-usual Billy Bob Thornton and Oliver Platt as a hilariously bluff drunkard. The movie’s not as smart as it wants to be — it’s just as snowy as “Fargo” but a lot nastier, just as violent but a lot less elegant about it — but it’s still enjoyably misanthropic low-stakes winter fun.

[Photo: “The Ice Storm,” 20th Century Fox, 1997]

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Rev Up

Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.

Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.


Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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