Category Archives: Archived Movies

SNOW DAY

Though not as awful as it might have been, this Nickelodeon
Movies production is a slight, formulaic comedy of the sort
that one might expect to find on the kiddie cable channel.
It’s a junior-league John Hughes movie about the events that
befall the members of a Syracuse, New York family on the day
of a near-miraculous surprise blizzard which closes down
schools and businesses. Daughter Natalie (Zena Grey) and her
buddies Wayne (Josh Peck) and Chet (Jade Yorker) foil the
efforts of oddball snowplower Chris Elliott to sweep the
streets clean to allow school to reopen the next day; dad Tom
(Chevy Chase), an older-style TV weatherman, one-ups his hated
rival, slick Chad Symoonz (John Scheider); workaholic mom
Laura (Jean Smart), forced to remain at home, bonds with her
youngest child (Connor Matgeus); and older bro Hal (Mark
Webber), smitten with highschool beauty Claire (Emmanuelle
Chriqui), is threatened by her bullying ex-boyfriend (David
Paetkau), only to learn, in a truly Hughesian lesson, that his
real soulmate is his long-time pal, tomboyish Lane (Schuyler
Fisk).

There are occasional bright moments in the episodic script, but
they’re few and far between, and entirely too many flatulence
bits and clumsy slapstick are present for the picture to have
much appeal to anyone beyond the age of twelve or thirteen. It
has to be said, however, that the adolescent members of the
cast are generally winning and personable, and Chase and
Elliott don’t seem overly embarrassed at the indignities their
roles force upon them.

Natalie’s refrain throughout the movie is that “Anything can
happen on a snow day.” The unhappy truth, however, is that the
occurrences during this one prove just too pat and predictable
to afford any surprise or much amusement.

CUP, THE

Buddhist monasticism gets roughly the same kind of treatment
that the Catholic priesthood did in “Going My Way” in Khyentse
Norbu’s pleasant but unremarkable “The Cup.” Set in a house
inhabited by Tibetan refugees near the Indian border, the movie
tells the story of how one rambunctious novice (Jamyang Lodro),
who’s addicted to soccer, persuades the preceptor or novice
master (Orgyen Tobgyal) and abbot (Lama Chonjor) to allow the
members of the community to pool their resources to rent a
satellite TV on which they can all watch the World Cup finals.
A bit of political commentary is inserted by way of the fact
that one of the teams in competition is from France, which, as
it’s occasionally pointed out, supports Tibetan independence
from Chinese control.

There are moments of real charm in “The Cup,” and a few truly
touching sequences as well; but for the most part it’s content
to glide along on a cloud of whimsy, presenting the denizens
of the community like cuddly teddy-bears. One doesn’t get any
real sense of the religious life of the monastery, or the
belief system that undergirds the ritual and prayer, any more
than one does with Bing Crosby’s Father O’Malley. Instead the
story concentrates on a few novices, portraying them as rather
typical mischievous scamps of the “Dennis the Menace” variety,
and thereby loses the possibility of creating a real contrast
between the traditionalism represented by the abbot and
preceptor and the changes being forced upon the community by
political necessity and technological advancement.

Still, though “The Cup” lacks depth or resonance, it’s amiable
enough, and its cast of non-professionals gives it a nicely
realistic ambience. And, I’m happy to note, very little
attention is given to the televised games themselves; the
focus remains, as it should, on the monks, so at least there’s
no Rocky-style rah-rah conclusion to contend with. The modest
finish is characteristic of a picture which isn’t overwhelming
but manages to remain mildly sweet without becoming saccharine
or heavy-handedly sanctimonious.