The Ice Harvest (2005)

Billy Bob Thornton and John Cusack in The Ice Harvest

One of the rare Christmas movies to mix black comedy and noir, this one also stars Billy Bob Thornton. Here, he plays the devious partner of Charlie (John Cusack), a shady lawyer who stages a Christmas Eve robbery, stealing $2 million from the local mob.

The partners-in-crime have to get out of town, but complicating matters is the seductive strip-club owner (Connie Nielsen) Charlie wants to run away with and his troublesome, alcoholic best friend (a scene-stealing Oliver Platt). The body count begins to rise as Charlie’s Christmas Eve gets progressively worse.

Despite its lack of commercial success, The Ice Harvest, a refreshing change-of-pace for director Ramis (best known for broader comedies like Caddyshack and Analyze This), is a must-see for fans of wintry crime tales like Fargo and for those in the mood to see one of the worst Christmas Eves in the history of cinema. (It doesn’t hurt that the script was written by Pulitzer Prize-winner Richard Russo.)

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