Snow-covered sisters, nitroglycerine, and fat baby polar bears: Vertical Limit and Alaska (and few snow-movie recommendations)

Cubby, and the less important Thora Birch and Vincent Kartheiser in Alaska

Only don’t, because then you wouldn’t be breathing. This is the first movie poster I’ve seen try to kill someone.

It makes sense to pair Vertical Limit and Alaska: they’re both movies with a brother-sister lead pair about climbing snowy peaks, dead parents, suicidal rescue missions, and incest. What? You don’t remember the incest? OK, OK, so I lied about the incest. Nevertheless, they’re pretty great for shipping brothers/sisters. I saw both movies before I went crazy, so it has been interesting for me to revisit them and see things in a different light.

Unlike my two previous entries, I’m not going to be raving about how great these two movies are. They’re both far from perfect (the word “farfetched” comes to mind), but I have found them entertaining enough to watch  regularly, and that was before I started shipping incest pairings, so now they’re about 10 times as fun to watch. Besides the pairings, both movies can boast glorious landscapes (almost enough to make me watch any movie) and plenty of suspense. Alaska ups its ante with the cutest polar bear cub ever in live action film. Vertical Limit has lots of pretty faces, romance (of a conventional kind), comedy and tragedy, philosophical dilemmas, exploding bags of blood (OK, just one),  and the gratifying death of a self-serving Texan oil billionaire.

I could climb that in my sleep! (And by that I mean: only in my dreams.)

Have you ever wondered what a blown-up bag of blood would look like in the snow? Now you know.

Alaska is the story of teenage siblings Jessie and Sean. After their mother died, their father moved them from Chicago to a small Alaskan town. Sean is highly resentful of this fact, missing not only Chicago, but, naturally, his mother as well. Sister Jessie has coped better, and has gotten into kayaking and exploring with her Native American friend. Their ages are undisclosed, but they both appear to be in the middle of high school. Their father flies supplies (mostly toilet paper, it would seem) in a little, teeny weenie yellow plane, and crash lands one day in the mountainous Alaskan wilderness, where he proceeds to hang precipitously off the edge of a cliff for something like a week. Those in charge of the rescue find nothing, and are about to quit looking (helicopter fuel is expensive). Sean, not wanting to lose another parent, sets out on his own to find his father, but not before he is joined by Jessie, resulting in a downgrade of the mission from idiotic and suicidal to stupid and dangerous. Jessie might have forgotten the matches, but other than that she’s the only one who knows anything about anything.

If I have to kayak through one more set of rapids with this idiot I am going to tear out my gorgeous auburn tresses!

Alaska is a kid’s movie. I wouldn’t let my kids watch it, because I would never want them to emulate Sean and Jessie. You might have guessed that their mission is a success, but in real life? I don’t think so.

Sean and Jessie find fire at a poachers’ camp where they free Cubby, the baby polar bear. I’m not sure how much polar bears are like dogs, but Cubby is just like a dog. He follows them around until he becomes one of the group. After a good talk with Jessie’s Native American friend’s grandfather, Sean figures out that Cubby is his totem spirit or animal guide, or spirit guide, or animal totem, or whatever. All I know is that he’s sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo cute!

Charleton Heston plays one of the poachers! The director’s last name is Heston, so I’m guessing they’re relatives. As if the rescue mission wasn’t dangerous enough, Sean and Jessie have the poachers following and threatening them throughout the film. It makes sense that Charleton Heston would play a character who’s always holding a rifle, but on the other hand, the movie paints poachers in a bad light (of course), so it’s almost like the joke’s on him. As a fan of The Ten Commandments and (especially) Ben Hur, I’ll stop there. Ben Hur is a great movie for shipping brother/sister incest. There’s this one scene…I’m tearing up just thinking about it; it’s so moving. But I will not spoil it for you. Anyway, enough about Charleton Heston, why there should be gun control (I didn’t talk about that? I should have), and lepers.

Pharaoh, Pharaoh, o-oh let my people go…wait, wrong movie

Now, to the shipping. Truthfully, the best thing about the Jessie/Sean ship is more the situation that they’re in rather than their relationship itself. They definitely have a personality-induced clashing and Jessie sometimes pulls out the tough love on Sean, so they sort of bicker – but it’s really sort of second rate, I have to say. Maybe that’s just a testament to mediocre acting/dialogue, or maybe it’s meant to be half-hearted.

Jessie and Sean’s relationship isn’t the focus of the film. It’s more about Sean coming to terms with everything – the move, the death of his mother, his relationship with his father. So even though they’re the two main characters, their relationship is more of a background issue.

But there’s still a lot of potential there. The only potential love interest (Jessie’s Native American friend) is hardly that. She kisses him on the cheek, that’s it. It’s perfectly possible that they’re nothing more than friends. (I wouldn’t say that unless it was true.) Sean, our main character, has zero love interests (unless you count Cubby, where all of the time that would normally be directed towards a love interest is sent). There’s not a lot of selection in a small town in Alaska. (I’m considering a move to Alaska myself: favorable sex ratio).

“Do you know what I just noticed, Sean? We’re all alone… There’s no one around for miles and miles…And it’s so cold….”

Jessie and Sean have pretty much only got each other. This becomes even more so the case when they take off for several days to trek through the wilderness together. She cooks, she nurses him after his injury, he shoots down her ideas and she outwits him regularly (it’s like they’re married!). If they weren’t brother and sister (and if it weren’t a kids movie, and hopefully if they were a little bit older), it would end with a roll in the tent. I mostly just like to imagine that, head-fic style. It’s VERY cold, you know (wink wink). That’s the greatest thing for me about this movie: just picturing them in their tent, trying to fall asleep as the fire dies, shivering, and then…I need to write that fanfic.

I’m Thora Birch and I’m so pretty neener neener neener

It doesn’t help that the actors are so good looking. Jessie is played by Thora Birch, someone whom I have always found to have a unique kind of beauty (when her hair is red). My favorite films of hers are Now And Then, American Beauty (where her looks are strongly downplayed) and Hocus Pocus (where she plays an 8 year old). Hocus Pocus is going to get an entry one of these days, because that is a fantastic movie for shipping brother/sister incest (in a when-she’s-grown-up sort of way). That movie is all about brother/sister relationships.

Mad-i-son Men we’re undeniable, so cold we’ll refreeze your popsicle

Sean is played by Vincent Kartheiser, best known for his role as Connor on Angel (a strange character) and as Pete Campbell on Mad Men (no less strange of a character). I’m a girl who prefers her guy short-haired and clean shaven, so Sean’s long locks are not a point in his favor, but he’s still got a way about him.

I can kill you with my brain

Also, the film is from 1996, so the clothes are already funny. It makes me feel old to know that how kids used to dress when I was in middle school is now totally outdated. I don’t even want to remember how I used to dress in middle school.

Now, I don’t know how you came to be on this page. Whether you chased a photo here and ended up reading this, whether you actually did a search for one of these movies and now can’t turn away from the train wreck, or whether you have been hopping around articles on this blog (I amuse myself when I call them “articles”) because you liked something else I’ve written. But however you came here: 1) I’m sorry, and 2)I’d like to help you understand: I don’t know if I’m the only one who watched Alaska and thought, “I ship it.” (If it were newer, and more popular, I know I wouldn’t be the only one.)  As it is, I just try to be there for that person who comes online looking for something like this. Because I used to be that person. And it’s lonely. I have encountered more than a few people like me who will look at any given brother/sister and ship them incestuously more often than not, but for someone who isn’t like that, I’m sure an entry like this is hard to understand. And I’m sure there are even fewer people still who would seek out a movie like this just for the joy of shipping a non-canon brother/sister relationship, but I would. And as I always say, if there is anything I have learned in my years on the internet, it’s that I’m never the only one. But if you’re not that person, I hope you know enough to ignore most of this.

I really like movies about treks, and rescue missions, and sabotaging evil poachers, and family relationships, and Alaska, and snow, and mountains, and when you factor in a baby polar bear, well, it makes for a decent time, even putting incest-shipping aside.

But not a good of a time as Vertical Limit (woo hoo)!

Unlike Alaska, Vertical Limit puts a very strong emphasis on the relationship between its lead brother-sister pair so even though they don’t spend the majority of the movie together (as Jessie and Sean do), we get a lot more of that sibling relationship richness. And seeing as how an incest slant on a brother/sister relationship is rarely canon, the incest shipper is forced to take satisfaction in the next best thing: a narrative that treats the brother and sister as if they are love interests in every way except for them actually “getting together” (and in these wonderful cases, that is something one can easily imagine happening after the credits roll). While Alaska flirts with being an example of such a narrative, Vertical Limit comes MUCH closer.

Spoilers to follow!

Peter and Annie (and their father, not pictured) rock climbing in the desert and being flirty: We’re a great couple. And a winning couple, by the looks of it.

The movie opens with adult siblings Peter and Annie rock climbing with their father in gorgeous, desert-y Utah. Peter is played by Chris O’Donnell, not a guy I sit around lusting after, but all around a very pleasant presence. (Just a side note: no one seems more American to me than Chris O’Donnell. I watched Circle Of Friends, in which he plays an Irishman, and I laughed at first because I just couldn’t imagine it, but his last name is O’Donnell, I realized. He must have done well enough; I don’t remember laughing while I watched the movie. Not because of that, anyway. Ignore me.)

He has nice, short hair during this opening sequence (I think I already mentioned that I’m kind of obsessed with hair styles…they have a ludicrously disproportionate affect on my estimation of someone’s attractiveness), looking just like Robin (of Batman and Robin, not of Tunney). But his hair gets unfortunately longer for the rest of the film. I guess he needed it to keep him warm.

I’m drowning in my own fluids and I still look cute!

Robin Tunney plays Annie. I’ve always liked her a lot. I don’t know why – she’s just one of those actress that I find extremely pleasant. I was very upset when her character Veronica Donovan (Lord, what a fantastic name!) died on Prison Break – I was in denial for a long time. Unfortunately, she really was dead (unlike Sarah, who came back from what should have been her permanent end no less than two times – two times too many, in my opinion). She’s just pretty darn adorable. Even when she was playing that edgy needs-attention-in-a-wrist-slitting-way girl on Empire Records I couldn’t help but think “Aww, she’s so cute”.

An accident among the amateur climbers above them results in a situation in which all three are dangling from the rock face, supported by one cam (a device that sort of hooks into the rock face), which most likely cannot support them all. Annie is on top (*resists lame sex joke*), then Peter, and their father at the bottom. Unfortunately, Daddy doesn’t have a knife (how inconvenient, and by that I mean totally convenient plotwise) so he has to order Peter to cut him off to save him and Annie, screaming at him that he’s going to kill his sister.

It’s not done lightly, but Peter does cut the rope, and their father plummets to his death. It’s a great scene, pretty well done except for the totally fake looking CGI bird flying around at the beginning (but to be fair, it’s an old movie). Annie had been against the sacrifice, begging Peter not to do it. And when Peter and Annie meet up again three years later, although they are civil to each other, we learn that things are not well between them.

Peter has retired from climbing, and now works for National Geographic, photographing snow leopards in mountainous Pakistan. After an accident with one of his coworkers, he is forced to return to the base camp on K2 (the second-highest mountain in the world, after Everest), where, coincidentally, Annie has just arrived as part of a team accompanying Elliot Vaughn (a Texan oil billionaire and climbing enthusiast) up to the summit as part of a publicity stunt for his new airline. He’s going to wave at the inaugural flight as it passes over head. Not gonna lie, that’s pretty awesome. Climbing with a deadline, we quickly learn, is a big no-no. We also learn that “the mountain owns” Elliot Vaughn due to his failure to reach the summit a few years earlier, and he’s obsessed with reaching the top

I would totally live here. There is running water, right?

Bill Paxton plays Vaughn, who reminds me a little too much of Bill of Big Love, I have to say (sorry Bill, I know you’re supposed to be a good guy). Vaughn’s despicability lies very deep, hiding behind an excellent public manner. He’s never villainous, exactly. He’s never wrong, but he’s also never right.

“No, I didn’t just bump my head: these are here all of the time.”

Joining Vaughn and Annie is pro Tom McClaren, played by Nicholas Lea. I just LOVE Nicholas Lea, so I had to mention him in detail. Nick (that’s right, I’m calling him Nick) is probably best known for playing Alex Krycek on The X-Files, even after all these years. I’m so happy that in four posts I’ve managed to mention The X-Files twice! I love Nick because I love Krycek, and I love Krycek because I love Nick. I think Krycek might have been my favorite character on The X-Files, in some ways. He didn’t have as many hang-ups as everyone else. Always a bad guy, but never quite evil. Nicholas Lea is now on V (that rhymes), which is very exciting for me. It sounds like he’s hooked on vampire blood (True Blood joke – it would have been funny if you had gotten it), but of course I’m referring to that TV show about aliens. Despite it being almost a decade since The X-Files ended, he doesn’t look like he’s aged a day. (If you’re ever at his house, slip up the attic and look for a painting, will you?) Everyone should watch V, by the way. Plot holes abound, but it’s very fun. It’s reminds me of True Blood in another way: our main girl Erica is just swimming in love interests, including her ex-husband (Nick Lea’s character).

Team Vaughn sets out, but quickly encounters unforecasted disadvantageous weather. Vaughn insists that they press on – resulting in many deaths; and Tom, Vaughn, and Annie trapped in an underground ice cave, complete with gaping chasm. While Vaughn and Annie aren’t injured, time is still of the essence due to the conditions of being at that altitude. Apparently breathing without extra oxygen at such an elevation without regularly drinking lots of water results in pulmonary edema: your lungs fill with liquid, and you drown in your own bodily fluids. Personally, if I thought I wasn’t going to make it, I’d strip down and climb into a bed of snow and go to sleep because hypothermia sounds better than that s%*t.

Peter, not wanting to lose Annie after having just lost their father, and probably also hoping to atone for the sacrifice of his father, is desperate to save her. The odds are against the mission: there’s barely enough time to reach the three survivors before they run out of water and “dex” (something they inject to help them fight the edema – it’s dexamethosane, a steroid), plus no one knows exactly where they are, and they’re buried, not just under snow, but also under rocks and ice because of an avalanche related to the storm. Now, how do you run out of water in an ice cave? Well, I don’t know, but I guess just melting the ice in your mouth will lower your body temperature too much. That’s my guess, because it’s never actually explained and I think they’re taking for granted the average viewers knowledge of such things.

No one at base camp wants to go on the rescue mission. I’m still not sure why Peter is able to wrestle up so few volunteers, because most of the people at the base camp are climbers, and they’re there to climb the mountain, right? So I still haven’t figured out why they wouldn’t want to do it after the $500,000 reward, but that’s how it is.

Peter, so adorably and shippably desperate, finally rounds up a rescue team. First on the team is Skip, the guy who’s been helping him get supplies, and who I gather is in charge of base camp. Skip helps Peter set everything up, and volunteers to go out of the goodness of his own heart.

If you don’t want to feel inadequate, it’s best if you never know about Monique.

Monique is a sort of secretary and nurse at base camp, working directly under Skip. She joins the mission for the money, although it kind of seems like she was thinking about it even beforehand. Monique is played by the very gorgeous Izabella Scorupco (she’s Polish, if you were wondering about that name). You might recognize her from Reign of Fire. She’s kind of perfect looking, so I kind of hate her in a friendly way. She’s got great coloring – blond in the best way.

Two of the best characters in the film are the British brothers Malcolm and Cyril. They’re introduced as doofuses, but they have a crowning moment of awesome when they call everyone out on their cowardice for not joining the rescue mission. They remind me a lot of Fred and George from Harry Potter, only raunchier. They provide the comedy relief…until they die. Painful for everyone involved, including the audience, Cyril dies first, and watching Malcolm deal with it is just brutal. But beautiful. Most action movies/disaster movies like Vertical Limit have a character or two die, just to show you its serious, but Vertical Limit racks up quite the body count. Everyone on Vaughn’s team dies early on except for him, Annie, and Tom – including Ali, whose cousin Kareem joins the rescue mission. Kareem perishes along with the brothers. Rounding out the team is Montgomery Wick, who knows how to climb fast and is Hell-bent on revenge against Vaughn (who let his wife die during Vaughn’s last climb while he took all the dex). Wick insists that Skip go back to base to help from down there.

It’s OK that we’re crazy because we get to be crazy together.

Armies: bringing unstable explosives to the farthest reaches of the globe to better serve you

The deaths of Kareem, Malcolm, and Cyril all result from mishaps with the nitroglycerine explosive which the team took along to blast down into the ice cave.

Tom’s in bad shape. When I used to watch this before becoming an incest shipper, I always used to ship him with Annie, even though he died (that’s known as an iceberg). She took such good care of him, and Vaughn holds Annie’s life over Tom the way way Annie and Peter’s father held her life over Peter. When she figures out that Vaughn killed him (so as to not waste supplies on a man who was never going to make it), she attacks him, even though she could barely stand.

(Vaughn and Annie use Tom’s blood to signal the rescuers, which is totally awesome!)

Monique, Peter, and Wick reach Annie and Vaughn before they die, but complications of the rescue result in a dangling situation similar to the one at the very beginning of the movie, with Wick cutting himself and Vaughn off to save the others.

Although there is a ridiculously high body count, the deaths are nicely paired off. Kareem suffers at the loss of Ali, but then he dies too. Malcolm suffers the death of his brother, but then he dies too. Wick suffered the loss of his wife, but then he got his revenge and died too. Vaughn just deserved it.

I don’t know why I spent so much time on plot. Onward, to the not-but-should-be-incest!

Peter and Annie are totally perfect for each other. They look perfect together, they’ve got names that go perfect together. It’s all just perfect!

They’re having a lot of fun together at the beginning when they’re climbing in Utah. It’s obviously something they’ve done plenty of times in the past. They’re clearly a family that has a lot of fun together. Climbing is important to all of them, and they’ve all spent a lot of time together climbing and talking about climbing. They’re a family of climbers.

They play a game where someone sings several lines of a song, and the others have to guess the track title, artist, and year. I know this scene is just a set-up to show how well Peter and Annie got along before the accident, but there’s a really good chemistry here and they’re almost a little flirty with each other.

When their father is asking Peter to cut him off, he uses Annie as the trigger. He says she’ll die if he doesn’t cut the rope. Now, it’s time for your shipping goggles! Get those babies on. Are they on? All right. I’d (like to) say that Annie was the real clincher. Peter definitely wouldn’t have cut the rope if it had been just him and his father. And he wouldn’t have hesitated to cut himself off if he thought the cam wouldn’t hold the two of them. I feel confident saying that.

Oh the glorious awkwardness!

I love the way they are when they first meet after we do the time jump.

Peter stiffens (*resists erection joke*) when he’s on the helicopter headed towards the K2 camp and he learns that Annie is there. We’ve already seen that he has a copy of a Sports Illustrated that she was on the cover of in his tent at the photography camp. I’m sure he must have brought it there to have with him. And I know for a fact those guys get hellaciously bored, so I’m sure he’s read the article about her a billion times. He starts asking questions about Vaughn when he learns that she’s part of the team climbing with him.

Annie somehow spies him out the window of her tent (eyes like a hawk) when he’s deboarding the helicopter and totally freaks out. (The years haven’t been kind to her hair – that was NEVER a good look on anyone ever).

He goes to see her and she doesn’t say anything just walks into a private room of the giant base camp tent so they can do their greetings alone. They’re so awkward, like ex’s. I love it. They’re just like ex’s. They kind of smile, but conversation falters. And it’s not like this is the first time they’ve seen each other since the accident happened, or even since the funeral – the dialogue indicates that’s not the case. So this is a sort of permanent awkwardness. They clearly have a lot to resolve in terms of what happened with their father and how that affected their relationship, but this isn’t only about that, if you ask me. They are way too awkward for that. Especially given the fact that they’ve already seen each other since it happened.

And she does the look away thing! The thing I tried to describe that Tom does in Aliens in the Attic. She does it!

I’m definitely not trying to say that we are supposed to come away from this scene thinking that they’re “more than siblings”, but I do think there is acting fail here and they come across more like exes-who-subconciously-want-each-other-back than estranged siblings.

Annie explains that she is taking care of Vaughn’s film crew on the climb, and Peter asks a perfectly harmless question about Vaughn, but Annie knows immediately that what he actually wants to know is if they’re a couple. I love it, because not only is Peter inquiring about her love life (in a circuitous way), but Annie knows immediately that that’s what he’s doing.  It plays out exactly like a conversation between two exes.

When Vaughn arrives, he greets Annie warmly, and Peter is totally jealous. The face he makes is a jealous face, I’m telling you!

This is the face of a jealous man

The filmmakers were probably just aiming to make Peter look prophetically skeptical of Vaughn, but at this point in the movie, Peter has already been told that Vaughn is “a bloody good climber”, and all the evidence points to him being a likeable guy, if a little ostentatious. Everyone seems to think he’s pretty great except for Peter (and Montgomery Wick, who knows that Vaughn killed his wife). He gets a little distressed later because he doesn’t think that Vaughn is going to be a responsible climber(due to the publicity stunt), but the first time he sees Vaughn and Annie together and makes that face, he doesn’t know anything about it. So jealousy is actually the best explanation.

Peter goes to visit her in her tent that night. Sounds sexy, right? Plus several of the other tents only feet away are a-rocking, if you know what I mean. Even if we’re not supposed to draw a parallel, we’re still dealing with the fact that in this scene, Peter and Annie are surrounded by people having sex.

Peter doesn’t even announce his intention to enter, he just unzips the door and goes right on in. She sort of ignores him until he draws her into a conversation about their father. She has clearly been avoiding the subject in the past, but he wants the fences mended. It was pretty brave of him to open that can of worms, but it’s evidence of how much he wants to be close to Annie again. She’s been climbing like a madwoman and he’s been living more-or-less alone in a hermit hovel – they haven’t been leading real lives since their estrangement. They certainly haven’t committed to other company.

As team Vaughn is leaving the next day, Peter and Annie have a moment where they look at each other across the crowded camp.

Some enchanted morning, across a crowded camp…

He’s so adorably worried about her from the second that learns about the climb, even though he doesn’t have any more reason to be worried than he normally would have. When the weather starts to turn just slightly, he barges into Vaughn’s tent to make sure the team has turned back. They haven’t, so he gets on the radio and starts yammering. He basically ends up taking everything over, even though he doesn’t have any authority at all.

I try to only point out things that I find suggestive (no matter how thin the case for that might be), or things that would have been suggestive if they had gone differently, etc. I don’t spend much time on what I consider to be pretty standard sibling behavior, whether typical siblings are often put in that situation or whether it’s extraordinary. For example, if a brother tells his sister that she looks pretty after she has spent hours dressing up for a dance, I don’t really find that remarkable. Or if the brother dies and the sister is heartbroken – well most sisters would be. It’s not remarkable.

Peter hurls himself across this ravine and locks on to the opposite cliff. That’s how much crazy he is.

So, as impressive and amazing and wonderful as it is that Peter puts together and risks his life on this dangerous rescue mission, I’m not going on and on about it, because it’s no less than what I would expect. All the same, it is an incredible testament to his love for her that he make a suicidal jump across a ravine and risk the lives of five other people (four of whom do indeed end up dying on the rescue mission). He’d go up there alone and dig her out with his fingers – he makes that clear.

After the fatal incidents with the nitroglycerine, Monique joins Wick and Peter’s team. She’s presented as a love interest for Peter, though there aren’t very many scenes dedicated to to their relationship. One of her fingers breaks, so Peter has to straighten them. He gets her talking to distract her. Then he asks her if she’s been sleeping with Skip. She gets angry, and that’s when he does it. Smart man.

With the accent this blogger would be easy pickings for Skip

But she answers honestly: she’s been sleeping with Skip for two years. I never would have shipped Monique and Skip before in my shallow youth. He wouldn’t have seemed good-looking enough, most especially not young enough, but I can appreciate him more now. And he’s got an Australian accent.

Monique criticizes him as having money troubles (the camp is going bankrupt – though it’s not necessarily his fault); and sexist – but aside from a joke about procuring a Swedish hooker for Peter amongst other necessary supplies (which I thought was pretty funny), he never comes across as anything but a really stand-up guy with a lot of respect for Monique. He even volunteers for the rescue mission when no one else would – everyone else who does go (except for the brothers) has either a personal stake or money coming out of it. I actually think that Skip is a much better match for Monique, and it’s a far more fun ship than her and Peter, even taking Peter/Annie out of the equation. Peter’s just too nice and straightforward for Monique.

Wick keeps the radio away from Peter, all part of his revenge scheme though, I’m not sure it’s ever really clear why he has to. If he hadn’t, we might have had more scenes of Annie and Peter talking on the radio, but the one we did get was pretty great. She knows she’s dying – she estimates she only has three hours left. Peter isn’t hearing it. But the remains of the rescue team is camping, and they’re still five hours away. Don’t ask me why they stopped to sleep. I mean, I don’t doubt that they needed it, but honestly, they didn’t have time for that.  Is it because they can’t climb at night?

Peter packs his stuff up right away, and is joined by Monique, who had listened to their conversation over the radio – rather nosily, if you ask me. Again, I know it’s not supposed to be interpreted this way, but Monique shuts off the radio after the conversation, and rolls over with a very serious look on her face, and she’s supposed to be sad because it sounds like Annie is going to die, but it plays like she’s just found out the man she’s in love with is in love with someone else and she overheard it on accident. I know I’m ridiculous, but that’s how it played. If you didn’t know the context, you would have thought she was jealous.

This is the face of a man who would do anything to save his sister

That dying bitch had better keep her frostbitten hands off my man! (Ha.)

This looks so fun it might even make advanced pulmonary edema worth it!

Annie and Vaughn are still alive when Peter and Monique get there. But they majorly botch the rescue, and (of course) Wick arrives at the exact right moment to save them all from plunging to their abyssal doom. That he got there within seconds of them dying I can handle, I mean, this is a movie after all. But how did he get there so fast? Monique and Peter had quite the head start and I don’t doubt they were going as fast as they could.

Back at the base camp, Annie’s unbelievable will to survive (so she can have make-up/gratitude mm-mm with Peter?) is described, but never explained, so I’ll go with my explanation.

Monique and Peter speak (their faces very close) about her condition, and Peter starts to head impatiently towards Annie, but Monique stops him and kisses him. I don’t doubt he enjoyed the kiss – I mentioned Monique is gorgeous and awesome, right? – but she was 100% the instigator and his mind is 100% on Annie in this scene. If this kiss was removed from the movie, Monique and Peter’s burgeoning relationship could be spun down to absolutely nothing without much trouble, which just goes to show how secondary it was. Perhaps she was just thrown in for better appeal to shipper audiences (that’s why they always try to show a kiss or a sexy scene in trailers, no matter who small a part the romance plays in the overall plot), or perhaps it was put in to offset the incest shipping (nice try…). Either way, it’s far from integral.

The scene between Peter and Annie at the end is so adorable.

As the pictures show, he was leaning down very close, his arms on either side of her. It’s sort of a possessive position. I think him pulling up a chair beside her would be a lot more normal. There’s really no need to get all up in her business, unless you just want to be close to her…

These are the arms of a man who wants to hold you tighter

She recites word for word what Peter had said when they were joking around at the very beginning. Word for word, eh Annie? After three years? Someone remembers that flirty moment pretty well. And just to remind you, they were so cute at the beginning! They’re so perfect for each other. Climbing is very important to both of them. I don’t think they could ever be with someone who didn’t climb. (You’ll notice that Monique climbs! Although she says she is going to quit. Which is perfect because Skip is going bankrupt, so he kind of has to quit.)

So, conclusions: Peter and Annie are unbearably cute together (are you tired of reading me writing that?) and perfect for each other.

I don’t doubt that Peter loved his father very much. He’s stopped climbing after the incident. (Or maybe he only likes climbing with Annie…) But instead of looking at Peter’s cold decision making (one dead or three dead, as his dad puts it), I like to think that Peter is just willing to risk anything and anyone for Annie. He cuts his dangling Dad off to save Annie. And then he risks the lives of five other people to rescue her when everyone says it’s impossible and suicide. And isn’t that so? Of the six person rescue team, only two make it back alive. It’s all very Saving Private Ryan. This is the philosophical dilemma I mentioned above. Maybe Peter is just reckless and ruthless and would do anything to save his sister.

(I like that the movie never comes out in support of Peter’s decision or against it. Like in real life, there is no right answer.)

I always cry (lightly) when Peter visits the memorial at the end. Poor Tom was the only one who died and either didn’t deserve it or wasn’t paired with someone they loved very much.

Tom: “You miss me even more when you look at my picture, don’t you? Damn I am fine. Was fine, I mean. Crap.”

So, check out Vertical Limit if you haven’t seen it or if it’s been a long time because shipping Peter and Annie is extremely entertaining and surprisingly rewarding.

Now, Vertical Limit and Alaska are both what I refer to as snow movies. I’d better explain this concept because it’s a little inscrutable.

Just kidding, obviously.

A lot of Christmas movies are snow movies, for obvious reasons, but there are a few movies that aren’t Christmas movies but that are snow movies that I would totally love to take this time to recommend. People often get in the mood to watch different genres of a film – a film noir, a comedy, a period piece, whatever. Sometimes I get in the mood to watch not a specific genre of film, but a specific location or setting. Snow is such a setting. Sometimes I also like outer space, or Africa, or boat. You get it. So, if you’re like me, and like snow movies from time to time, check out these when the craving hits you:


One of my favorites is Smilla’s Sense Of Snow. It’s all there in the title. This movie I’ve always found very compelling and a little disturbing. It’s a thriller/mystery. The death of a little boy is shrouded in questions, and Smilla undertakes the inquiry. The relationship between Smilla (Julia Ormond) and Gabriel Byrne’s character is kind of strange, but also strangely hot. They make two original sorts of character, and therefore an original pair. Two thumbs up from me, and from Siskel and Ebert, I’m pretty sure (just in case you’d rather trust them, and if that were the case I wouldn’t blame you.) The film also takes place in Iceland and Greenland, which is kind of unusual. Also, Smilla is a lot of fun to say. Especially if you try to say it as someone who spoke Icelandic would.

And now for something totally different: Eight Below.

If you’re a lady, it’s totally worth it just watching cute dogs and Paul Walker. How much Paul Walker’s character loves his dogs makes him even hotter. The love story is lame, unless you mean the love story of him and his dogs. But his best friend is funny. And the score is actually quite good. It’s really not too bad of a film, and like I said, there’s lots to look  at aside from the snow. And lots to imagine. I think my go-to fantasy for this film is a romantic aurora borealis-lit dog-sled ride with Paul Walker.

I have two others. I’ve only seen these two films once, and I may never see them again, but they were pretty good the first time. They’re just the types of film that would not necessarily bear a repeat viewing.


Marketed internationally as Liquid Paper. Poor translation. (Don’t ever let me make a joke again.)

The first is Whiteout, with Kate Beckinsale. I’m not sure how I feel about her as the type of lead who has to basically carry the entire film on her shoulders, but I think she does alright.

But it’s a good thing she’s got Gabriel Macht to help her out. I wish he’d help me out. You may not recognize Macht, but he has been in The Spirit, and Because I Said So, but he was wonderful in A Love Song For Bobby Long, which he only makes even more fantastic than it already is.

Whiteout is a whodunit. I thought it was kind of obvious whodunit, but not to obvious as to make it a bad movie. What’s far more interesting is the Antarctic location and learning about living in such a place.

The one time you actually wish your vampires were lame and didn’t kill everyone

And lastly, 30 Days Of Night. I generally stay away from horror films because usually almost everyone dies in a standard horror film, and I hate that. I can deal with character death, but not in horror movies where it means nothing. Where it’s all about shock value. And they never scare me, so they’re usually a waste of my time. But 30 Days Of Night is a good one. Josh Hartnett and Melissa George play the leads. I like Josh OK.

The David Anders-Julian Sark-Melissa George-Lauren Reed pyramid of sexy passion

And Melissa George is a rare beauty. (Though not that rare because she bears a remarkable resemblance to Billie Piper. Together they are a rare beauty.) She’s an excellent actress, but she’s so pleasant to look at that she could be the worst actress ever and it would hardly matter. She (Lauren) and Sark (David Anders) made the hottest couple ever on Alias. Check out the fanvids on youtube if you don’t want to take my word for it. Or if you very wisely want to see them in action for yourself.


out. *blows you a kiss* Peace!

Powered by The Boston Pops’ Celtic Album, Crystal Light, and fear of a large spider in the corner stalking me.

This entry was posted in Action Adventure Movies, Family/Kids' Movies, Horror Films, Movies, Movies That Should Have Incest, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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