Sunday, August 2, 2009

Colder Than Cold

Last night I watched New in Town with *Renee Zellweger and Harry Connick Jr. It was a sweet story (if a bit plodding and predictable) about a corporate cutthroat who comes to downsize and then close a small factory, but ends up saving the factory and being saved herself in the process. A lot of the humor is good-natured poking at the culture of cold climates, particularly Minnesotan, don'tcha know.

My home town was pretty darned cold. We had what seemed like a lot of snow. But it was nothing like this! Garrison Keillor is fond of pointing out that one benefit of cold climates is that they tend to weed out whiners. Another, I believe, is that a character-building winter gives us a deeper, more profound appreciation for the beauty of the other three seasons.

One of the special features on the DVD was a sort of "The Making of..." The cast mostly discussed the challenges of working in this bitterly cold climate: it was filmed in Winnipeg during a particularly vicious winter. Harry Connick lamented, "Ah'm from N'Oleans. We don't even have ice in our drinks!" The temperature -- not the wind chill! -- was often -50º. The cameras often stopped working at -40º so that slowed production even more. Renee's character was usually in very high heels and suits with short pencil-skirts. They were all good sports, laughing about it later, but I'm sure it couldn't have been much fun at the time.

Other special features focused on the art of scrapbooking, and homemade pudding. Overall, I'm not sure if I liked the movie better than the special features. And with the two of them together, well, I recommend it -- especially to you poor folks in places that are experiencing blistering heat!

*I might have liked it better with a different actress. I like the idea of Renee: the girl who, even when whippet-slim, has a big, round face, the girl who is not a classic beauty but finds success in Hollywood anyways. I just don't care much for her acting, and I kept wondering how the story would have looked with Sandra Bullock or Janeane Garofolo or almost anyone else.

More winter fun: Crying Wolf, Winter Getaway, Now That's Snow!

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