Name: Adam Bernard Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome. See my complete profile
I consider it the mark of a great film when, within the 90+ minutes of its run-time, I become invested in the lives of the main characters. When I attended the 2010 SOHO International Film Festival screening of Ice Grill, USA I found myself invested in not just the main characters of the film, but in EVERY character in the film. This was due to a combination of brilliant acting and a script that respected the viewer’s intelligence by not feeling the need to lead us through the plot as if we were on a leash.
Ice Grill, USA revolves around the life of Auggie Logan (played by Connor Fox), a poor kid from the Atlantic City area who is pretty much down and out, but at the same time doesn’t seem too concerned about his situation. That is, until he needs money. This was the first moment when the subtlety of the writing became evident. There was no “we need money now” type of line, or moment of extreme obviousness, he simply saw a piece of jewelry he wanted to buy for a girl and realized he didn’t quite have the money to get it. The jewelry wasn’t grossly expensive. Heck, it was being sold out of the trunk of a car. The price tag, however, made him realize the current lifestyle he was living wasn’t going to allow him to ever make those kinds of purchases, which is what he thought he needed to get the girl he wanted.
At that point Auggie had two potential avenues he could go down to make money; he could accept the job interview his brother had been offering him, or the offer he had from a friend to meet up with a local drug dealer. By accepting BOTH offers Auggie ended up finding himself catering to VIPs in the casinos AND becoming a major player in the local night club drug scene. Pulled in multiple directions, Auggie would find neither gig would turn out to be exactly as advertised and the girl he was hoping to woo was also leading a double life of her own, just not in quite the same way.
Much like The Sopranos, none of the main characters are completely innocent as even the “good guy” is selling drugs, but after a number of interesting twists I found myself rooting for Auggie while at the same time hoping another character would, how can I say this eloquently, buy the farm, and I don’t mean purchase real estate. Yes, I was rooting for a character to die, that’s how good the acting and writing was (I was actually sitting right next to the actor who played that role and I was tempted to say “I really hope you die, man,” but didn’t because that's the kind of comment that could easily be misconstrued).
There was a seriousness to a lot of Ice Grill, USA, but it was broken up beautifully with moments of laugh out loud humor. The news story about the three time drug offending athlete, the descriptions of the different druggies that frequent the club, a fairly insane job interview, and the infamous urine supplier, all worked to lighten the mood at just the right times.
I truly enjoyed Ice Grill, USA and look forward to seeing it again. I spoke with someone in the crowd who mentioned it was the third time they’d seen it and that they’d traveled all the way from Delaware to NYC just to catch this screening. That alone shows there’s something really special about this movie.