The weather outside sure got frightful in an instant, didn’t it? Kind of makes you want to wrap yourself up in a blanket, sit down by a fireplace and watch holiday specials on TV, doesn’t it?
Buck up, Minnesotans. There are plenty of offbeat, memorable yuletide offerings to be had at local theaters, and the plows should have the streets cleared up before too long, plenty of time to gather up your impounded beater.
Monday, Dec. 10 & Tuesday Dec. 11: Bad Santa (Trylon Microcinema)
My colleague Sara Boyd would disagree, but I say Bad Santa is the foremost Christmas comedy classic of the last decade. Directed by Terry Zwigoff (Ghost World) and written by Glenn Ficarra & John Requa (who appear to be following the same career trajectory as the Farrelly brothers, given their far softer recent movies I Love You Philip Morris and Crazy. Stupid. Love), Bad Santa is to Christmas movies what no wave diva Cristina’s “Things Fall Apart” is to Christmas music: a no-holds-barred attack, albeit one whose withered heart still beats something resembling some form of twisted sentiment.
Monday, Dec. 10 through Thursday, Dec. 13: Wuthering Heights (St. Anthony Main)
You’ve seen the Bernard Herrmann opera, now catch the latest cinematic adaptation of Emily Brontë’s dark and bracing, turbulently romantic classic, the book more high school boys hate than any other book ever written, if memory serves. Directed by Andrea Arnold and starring Kaya Scodelario and James Howson as Catherine and Heathcliff, it should wash out all memory of the MTV adaptation from a few years back, if not the Monty Python version.
Wednesday, Dec. 12: Andrew Bird: Fever Year (Trylon Microcinema)
Sound Unseen’s offering this month is a return engagement, but a much beloved one. Andrew Bird: Fever Year played at this year’s Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival. Directed by Xan Aranda, it shows Bird plunging headfirst into a taxing 165-engagement tour schedule to the ultimate detriment of his health, though he regards the perpetual fever he experiences from the ordeal as some peculiar form of evolutionary grace. (Someone introduce this man to Terrence Malick.)
Thursday, Dec. 13: The Long Kiss Goodnight (Theatres at Mall of America)
All month, the Mall of America is saluting the holidays with an oddball series of action flicks written by Shane Black. This week sees probably the most underrated in his, as zee French say, oeuvre: 1996’s The Long Kiss Goodnight, his mea culpa to both Hollywood suits and his then-wife Geena Davis for the previous year’s Cutthroat Island. Foursquare without being hopelessly retrograde (which, let’s be honest, most of Black’s far more beloved Lethal Weapon movies clearly are today), the sleeper cell antics make Goodnight a time capsule of Clinton-era terrorism pseudo-paranoia and a bonafide sleeper, and it’s never not entertaining to see Davis (here boasting Claire Danes’ asymmetrical blonde cut) angling to depose Sigourney Weaver from her throne.
Thursday, Dec. 13: White Christmas (Heights Theater)
Remember when I wrote last week that because of “climate change, we’re all dreaming (and only dreaming) of a white Christmas”? Well, looks like I spoke too soon. The Heights Theater said that their screenings of White Christmas last weekend met with sparser than expected crowds owing to our new winter wonderland. Ironic, right? Because of that, they’re playing a special make-up screening of the movie for everyone who couldn’t find their way over the river and through the woods. Because if there’s one thing you want more of, it’s too much of a good thing.