8. The Ice Harvest (2005)
Director: Harold Ramis
Stars: John Cusack, Billy Bob Thornton, Connie Nielsen, Randy Quaid, Oliver Platt
Billy Bob Thornton returns in yet another dark comedy, this one co-scripted by Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Russo and three-time Oscar winner Robert Benton, based on Scott Phillips' novel of the same name.
It's Christmas Eve and mob lawyer Charlie Arglist (John Cusack) and pornographer/entrepreneur Vic Cavanaugh (Billy Bob Thornton) have a reason to celebrate. They've collectively siphoned off $2 million from mob boss Bill Guerrard (Randy Quaid) and are ready to split up the money and make new lives from themselves. But they've gotten word that Guerrard has caught on to their thievery and all of the roads in and out of town have been closed because of an ice storm. Cue the crime caper madness!
Even with its A-list pedigree of cast and crew, The Ice Harvest somehow remains a criminally underseen film. Merging the best of what film noir, black comedy, and crime thrillers have to offer, its layered plot (which includes the intersecting story lines of a female strip club owner, a naughty politician, a drunken yuppie, a mob enforcer, and a couple of ex-wives) keeps the action moving but never predictable. The Ice Harvest puts new twists on characters we've seen a million times before, and redefines the scope of what a holiday movie can be in the process.