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 411mania » Movies » Columns

Ten Deep 11.01.12: Top 10 Weather Movies
Posted by Mike Gorman on 11.01.2012

"Top Ten Weather Movies"

Wild weather is on everyone's minds this week, whether you have been watching the results of Hurricane Sandy on the news or sadly, if you are dealing with the aftermath yourself directly. The topic this week was definitely inspired by this week's events as weather is a fascinating, chaotic animal that can be gripping to watch and frightening at the same time; mostly because it is something we cannot control and can barely predict.

I also thought this might be a great time to encourage you to do your part to help those that have been directly affected by this wild weather. You can visit the Red Cross Relief Page For Hurricane Sandy and find ways to get involved. One great idea is to think about donating the money you might spend on something fun this week, like a movie ticket or a new Blu-Ray. I hope you will!

This week's Ten Deep showcases weather in all of its forms from the scary to the magical, and even a few stops on the whimsical side.

10. Storm of the Century

Storm of the Century was the first movie (mini-series) script that Stephen King wrote exclusively for television, and not print form first. It told the story of an island in New England paralyzed by a storm in the winter of 1989 and subsequently visited by an evil that would chill them to their cores. In this mini-series the weather is not just a background item but an active participant in the story. The storm crafts the mood and alters the settings these characters are used to in ways that are very memorable. The evil man who appears in the storm, Andre Linoge, presents the residents with a deal that will cause them to question their own humanity. Below is a glimpse of his machinations at work. The scene is a dream he imposes on all of the residents, a possible glimpse of their future.

9. Twister

Twister brought storm chasers into the mainstream and tapped into a primal fascination that we all have with the power of weather. Many of the films characters take their interest a bit too far in the name of science and discovery, as if often the case. Their antics though are quite thrilling as are the special effects that permeate the film. The story might not be the strongest and the science is more than likely not exact, but there is something exciting when you see those cows fly through the air.

8. White Squall

White Squall is the story of the tragic sinking in 1960 of the Albatross, an educational sailing vessel. It is alleged that this was caused by a "white squall," a very powerful storm at sea. The film is at its best when we see how the students and Captain of the ship must come together to fight for their very existence.

7. The Day After Tomorrow

Long time readers know that I have some kind of unexplainable sick obsession with The Day After Tomorrow. When it shows up on TV, usually FX, I feel compelled to watch it. The actual events of the film are a bit farfetched and its message is definitely a bit ham-handed, but the potential of weather to wreck that kind of havoc is gripping. Could I survive in a library if this were to happen? I don't know, hopefully I will never have to answer that question for real. The film's score definitely amplifies the tension. Check out the movie's theme here:

6. Groundhog Day

This one is not necessarily about a specific weather moment as so many on this list are, but is instead about what happens to a man whose job it is to predict the weather when the universe decides he needs to learn a lesson. The film's humor definitely takes a shot at the field of meteorology and its precarious success rates. Watch here as our hero finally starts to crack after reliving the same day over a few too many times.

5. Ice Age

The entire premise of this one is based on the weather taking a nasty turn, though this time the plot is a bit more lighthearted. Ice Age takes an event that we consider inevitable (well, it did happen already!) but places some truly unique animated characters into the middle of it all. The story and its heroes were so likeable that somewhere around a half dozen sequels have resulted. One of the great things about this series is the teaser trailers, usually starring Scrat. Here is one of my favorites.

4. Alive

Alive tells the true story of the soccer team that found themselves surviving a plane crash on the side of a frozen mountain. Here weather is definitely an adversary who plays a big role in many of the more… shall we say, interesting and desperate decisions they are forced to make. This is truly a story of survival at all costs. Below is one of the scenes I feel definitely portrays the utter desolation and isolation the characters experience.

3. The Shining

Stephen King and snow again make the list but this time is for one of his true classics, The Shining. That unforgettable winter for the Torrance family at the Overlook Hotel is permeated with weather in many ways. King crafted the story to present the weather as one of the ominous characters that they will encounter. It cuts them off from the rest of the world and turns the gorgeous hotel into a deadly trap. There is a moment towards the end when Wendy and Danny are escaping Jack's rampage, and then head out into the snow. This scene stays with me because in it the snow is simultaneously beautiful and full of dread. Below is another scene that is clearly unforgettable:

2. Perfect Storm

The Perfect Storm combines a lot of the great aspects of other weather related films in, for lack of a better term, a perfect storm of movie magic. There is of course the titular storm that grows in intensity as the tension in the film rises eventually becoming omnipresent. But there is also an emotional tale about the people trapped within the storm. The film does a great job establishing its characters and the situations that surround their lives, this makes it much easier to believe that they would make the choices they do later in the film that places them in harm's way. The movie does not pass judgment on them by any means but instead attempts to bring understanding to a circumstance that is undeniably painful.

Here we have one of the film's most tragic and breathtaking scenes, the arrival of the giant wave.

And lastly…

1. The Wizard of Oz

At the top of this week's list sits The Wizard of Oz, and you may be wondering how on earth I came to this conclusion. While the weather here is of the magical, unbelievable sort it is one of the most prominent elements of the film and serves a distinct purpose. Without that funnel cloud, Dorothy would never have been set off on her journey. I also find the special effects used to create the cyclone phenomenal for the time they occurred. The storm from Wizard of Oz is a pop culture icon unto itself and deserves this moment of appreciation.

Here is the storm in its entirety:

This week I brought you storms of all kinds, but I ask that you remember the real storm that happened this week in the Northeast US. Consider donating what you can to the Red Cross relief efforts. Thank you!

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