Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Out Cold


John Lithgow and Bruce McGill were army buddies who opened a butcher shop in San Pedro. Now it’s ten years later. John is the worker bee nerd, Bruce is lazy, married to Terri Garr, and unfaithful (so is she, with a real estate agent hiding under the bed). They both loved her ten years ago. She chose badly. He hits her, and keeps a tight rein on the purse-strings.

She hires the sleaziest, dumbest private detective in California (Randy Quaid, perfectly typecast) to get the goods on Bruce for a divorce. At the shop, the freezer door is defective, such that the rod that activates the escape mechanism is apt to fall out on the floor. John and Bruce have a fight which leaves Bruce stunned on the freezer floor, and John walks away into the night. The door swings shut, but doesn’t latch. Then Terri shows up, he verbally abuses her, and she angrily takes the rod and slams the door. Bruce is suddenly, desperately sweet to her again, but she marches out the door.

When John comes back he finds Bruce frozen solid on the floor, with an ice cream bar stuck to his face! He assumes he has killed his friend, and Terri lets him think that. She convinces him they must dispose of the body out in the woods, and they are trailed by Randy … and that’s all I’ll say. The ending was a nice surprise, I didn’t really see it coming, but it was all played fairly, you could have figured it out. It’s handled nicely for comic effect. A minor pleasure, but still a pleasure.