This is a term, I admit, I made up entirely. To me, cold movies refer to ones you watch and you “go in cold.” You have no idea what it’s about. Sometimes it’s a wonderful surprise, sometimes it’s a big ol’ disappointment. So they’re more dependent on the viewer’s experience. Any movie can fit this category depending on who you’re talking to. For me, our movie of the week was an awesome cold movie.
In 1993 I was in Michigan with my cousin Scott. He lived there, I was visiting, and we decided to rent a couple of movies. One of them was Mississippi Burning. He raved about it, but didn’t say much about the plot. If you’ve seen it, you know how emotional it can be for the viewer. It covers a time period in our recent history that most of us wish would just go away. Both of the main characters were heroes, but for me it was Gene Hackman who played the real “yeah-you-go-get-’em!” hero. The scene that I used in the image for the nominees post is my favourite scene. That’s all I’ll say, because maybe this will be a favourite cold movie for you sometime.
Seeing as I find watching movies this way so thrilling, here is a list of my top ten favourite cold movie experiences:
10. 3:10 to Yuma — Honestly I didn’t even know Christian Bale was in it. I guess I did know it was a western, but that was it. There is so much I love about this movie. For me it’s one of the best westerns ever.
9. Dallas Buyers Club — With the Oscar buzz it got many knew the plot, but for all I knew it could have been about of group of millionaires in Dallas. It was my first time watching McConaughey and loving his performance (he’s done it again since).
8. About A Boy — I told this story before, but I watched this on an anniversary date with Joy. Still one of my favourite movies of all time.
7. Reservoir Dogs — This movie sold me on Quentin Tarantino. Neither the name nor the poster tells you a thing. It’s hard to watch at points, but it’s a masterpiece of a movie.
6. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind — I didn’t go in expecting a Jim Carrey comedy, but nothing else was known to me. I watched it like a kid seeing his first cartoon. There’s so much to soak in.
5. Memento — What a trip this movie is! I knew it was a mind-blowing sort, but with every passing moment I was glued, trying to figure out what would happen next. Frankly, much of the time I didn’t even know what was going on, but somehow didn’t mind and kept watching with anticipation. The ending doesn’t disappoint.
4. Mary and Max — Just saw this. I would say this is one of the most important movies that no one is talking about. It moved me and taught me something new.
3. My Left Foot — I knew my favourite actor starred in it, but that was it. I couldn’t imagine how a movie about a guy’s foot would be any good. I figured maybe it was some kind of metaphor. Turns out this movie is one that I can guarantee you will love. For so many reasons.
2. Forrest Gump — It’s true. Joy and I went to see it when we were planning on seeing another. We didn’t know anything. One of the best surprises cinema-wise in my life.
1. Predator — This one is number one for a good reason. Think of the Predator character and it’s movies. Most of us are familiar. Now imagine you’re watching a movie having no idea what the “predator” is. I just thought this was a military-themed Schwarzenegger movie like Commando, which I didn’t really enjoy. The movie doesn’t just show you a monster; like Jaws it’s patient. In fact, for the first little while it kept showing you scenes from its point of view. I asked my friend, “Whose eyes are we seeing through here?” Wisely he answered, “Just watch.” And when you do encounter this Predator, it’s still an enigma. It takes a long time before you finally understand what’s happening, and then you’re wrapped! I’m one of the few, I’m sure, who had this experience with this movie.
Congratulations Mississippi Burning. This is your week.
And the Oscar goes to…
Best Actress: Frances McDormand in Mississippi Burning. One of my favourites.
Best Actor: So many great ones represented, but I say let’s go with Richard Harris. Unforgiven was one of his best, but not most well known. Most of us know him as the original Prof Dumbledore.
Best Quote: “You know what Anderson? You’re starting to get so far up my nose, I’m beginning to feel your boots on my chin!” — The mayor character yells this at Hackman’s character.
My top 10 favourite Gene Hackman movies (excluding Mississippi Burning, which is my favourite):
10. Absolute Power (1997)
9. Heist (2001)
8. The French Connection (1971)
7. Runaway Jury (2003)
6. Enemy of the State (1998)
5. The Chamber (1996)
4. Behind Enemy Lines (2001)
3. Superman II (1980)
2. The Firm (1993)
1. Unforgiven (1992)
I haven’t seen Hoosiers or The Conversation, but I have a feeling they’d be on this list if I had.