The Curator of Schlock #390 by Jeff Shuster

The Ice Road

Liam Neeson in an automobile. 

Life can be funny. One moment you’re getting assaulted by a bunch of hooligans, the next moment you’re sitting in a Waffle House, eating a Hashbrown Bowl across from a vigilante ninja known as the Revenging Manta. He was sliding pieces of a peanut butter chip waffle through the folds of the purple silk that covered his face. He then sucked a cup of regular coffee right through the fabric, leaving a circular mocha stain behind. 

“Do you ever uncover your face?” I asked. 

“Never,” he said as he maneuvered a sausage patty through the fabric. — To be continued.

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This week’s movie is 2021’s The Ice Road from director Jonathan Hensleigh. It’s a Netflix original movie and a Netflix exclusive so maybe you kids can take a break from binging Stranger Things and watch Liam Neeson as a washed up trucker named Mike McCann. Yeah, don’t expect any September courtships in this movie. You do get plenty of ice and snow and trucks.

Mike McCann is a down on his luck trucker who is the primary caretaker for his brother Gurty, an Iraq War veteran suffering from PTSD and aphasia. A bunch of miners up in Winnipeg get trapped after a methane leak causes an explosion. Turns out the miners had turned off their methane detectors for an extra hundred dollars a month. This was the policy of the company’s corrupt vice-president to get them to drill in unsafe environments. Why? I don’t know. Maybe it saved the company enough money that he could pay for that solid gold hot tub he’d been wanting.

With the miners quickly running out of air, it’s up to a ragtag convoy to deliver wellheads to save them. Jim Goldenrod (Laurence Fishburne) hires Mike McCann and his brother along with a young woman called Tantoo (Amber Midhunter). The company is paying a lump sum of $200,000 to split among the truckers. If any truckers die along the way, that’s more of the pie to divide up among the survivors. What’s the danger? To get to Winnipeg, they have to drive on a road made of ice.

Confused? So was I. Apparently, the river systems in Canada get converted into roads once they freeze over in the winter. The Canadian government checks these roads for safety,  They make sure the ice is thick enough for safe travel. This is the ideal way to get supplies to the more remote communities up there. Still, the idea that some frozen water is the only thing keeping one away from arctic oblivion is hard for me to handle. 

Anyway, along for the ride is a company stooge named Tom Varnay (Benjamin Walker). He’s not there for the money. He just wants to make sure the operation goes smoothly and the miners get rescued. Jim Goldenrod’s engine seizes up and Mike and brother go back to help him out, but things go awry. I really didn’t want to see Laurence Fishburne get dragged to a watery grave by his big rig and if Laurence Fishburne can die so early in the movie, all bets are off. We also learn that there’s a saboteur among the truckers that doesn’t want them to reach their destination. Will they survive?

You can catch The Ice Road on Netflix streaming. You can also catch The Unexplained with host William Shatner on Netflix. Did you ever want to see William Shatner ramble on about The Winchester House or the Chupacabra? Then this is the show for you. When you can recite the tale about the woman who was struck by lightning twice and survived, you’ll be the delight of the next cocktail party that you’re invited to. Trust me.

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Photo by Leslie Salas

Jeff Shuster (episode 47episode 102episode 124episode 131episode 284episode 441episode 442episode 443, episode 444episode 450, episode 477episode 491episode 492, episode 493episode 495, and episode 496) is an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida.