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Practically Speaking

Kyle and her husband moved to Brookfield in 1986. She became active in local politics and started blogging in 2004. Her focus is primarily on local issues but often includes state and national topics, too. Kyle looks at things from the taxpayers' perspective in a creative, yet down to earth way, addressing them from a practical point of view.

7 flick picks for cold winter nights

Just for fun!, Movies & Books, Weather

Here are a few of my favorite winter themed movies. Most are based on true stories; some are pure fluff.  I obtained many of them from the library*. They all make me glad I am snuggled up on the couch under an afghan instead of being out in the elements!

Drama

Iron Will Disney's well acted 1994 family adventure film based on the 1917 dog sled race from Winnipeg, Canada to St. Paul, Minnesota. It is a wonderful story of the steely grit and courage that makes a person a champion. Kevin Spacey plays a reporter and Mackenzie Astin plays the young dog sledder, Will Stoneman. The movie has some very serious, emotionally charged moments, so I would not recommend for young children.

Stone Fox This made for TV movie was much like Iron Will in that it was based on a true story of a young boy, Willy. He must win a dog sled race for the $500 cash prize to save the family farm. It starts Buddy Epsen, Joey Cramer and Belinda Montgomery. I did get this from the children's section of the library in the past, but did not see it there now. Amazon still has it. Good story of courage, but has an emotionally charged ending. (Think Old Yeller)

Never Cry Wolf A very off-beat 1980s Disney movie based on the autobiography of Farley Mowat. In it, Arctic wolves are blamed for the caribou decline. Tyler, a totally untrained biologist, is air dropped into the Arctic to study the wolves. This is a more mature themed movie in that it shows Tyler "marking" his territory (urinating) and has it's Old Yeller moments too. (Hint: Old Yeller dies at the end of the movie.) Tyler's culinary experiments were gross and funny at the same time.

Actor Charles Martin Smith had his work cut out for him in this movie because much of the film is just him and his thoughts and his interaction with the wolves. He did an outstanding job. Brian Dennehy plays the pilot and is superb in that role, and I usually don't like Brian Dennehy.

Eight Below A Disney movie loosely based on a true incident. Unlike the other dog sled movies I mentioned, this one is really about the dogs; it's an Incredible Journey set in the Arctic. It too has its Old Yeller moments though. It is rated PG.

Comedy 

Cool Runnings This Disney movie is a perennial favorite at our house. Loosely based on the first Jamaican bobsled team trying to get to the 1988 Olympics, this movie is pure fun. It is still funny, even after repeated viewings, and suitable for most kids. It is rated PG. John Candy does a great job in his role of coach and trainer and the Jamaican bobsled crew are delightful.

Ice Age 1  I never tire of this 2002 animated movie about the migration during the Ice Age. My favorite character is Sid the sloth (John Leguizamo) with his lateral lisp. Ray Romano is the voice of Manfred, the woolly mammoth. Although it is very funny, the characters choose to act selflessly to help each other in the end. It reinforces good values without being preachy. It is rated PG.  Scrat is an added bonus. Ice Age 2 did not measure up to the first one, but Ice Age 3 looks promising.

Snow Dogs  Cute, fun, delightful! This is another one of those Disney movies that gets a fair amount of play at our house. Cuba Gooding Jr. plays a Florida dentist who finds out he was adopted. He goes to Alaska to settle his late mother's estate and finds he is now the owner of a dog sled team!  He ends up racing the dogs against the champ James Coburn. Great cast, funny story, and a little romance for Cuba to boot. Rated PG. Plot does uncover that there was an affair and pregnancy resulting in Cuba Gooding's character, hence the adoption, but it is disclosed pretty discreetly.

So head out to the library* or video store, pop some popcorn, and hunker down this weekend. 

*If temperatures are really low, you might want to check with the Brookfield library to see if they are open before venturing out. Surprisingly, they closed because of the cold on Thursday (possibly Friday too?) and Friday. Elm Grove was open on Thursday--don't know about today, but I would think so. 

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