Friday, December 16, 2011

Feed the Fish

Having lived my entire life in the north, I adore movies which are set in northern climes, particularly small towns during the winter. There aren't a lot of them. Grumpy Old Men is my favorite, which I watch each December. This year I discovered a new favorite, a movie I saw on Netflix Instant called Feed the Fish. It is a gentle romantic comedy. The story is this: Joe Peterson, played by Ross Partridge, the author of a very odd but successful children's book is suffering from writer's block. His girlfriend is annoyed with him. He has conversations with his goldfish. The fellow isn't in good shape. He comes home one day to find the goldfish bowl on the toilet, empty. Joe's girlfriend's brother encourages him to come to Wisconsin where he is going to participate in the Polar Bear Plunge on Christmas day (a real event in which people jump into frigid Lake Michigan!). There are a few 'quirky' perhaps outrageous moments like the badger bite in a particular body part, but somehow the movie is so quiet and understated and sweet that it doesn't have the same impact it would in sillier, more offensive movies.

The theme is one I love, that of a person being healed by a country setting and its people. Joe joins a choir because the baritone has suddenly died, he becomes smitten with the kind local girl who is a waitress and a hockey player named Kif, played by Katie Aselton. In Norse mythology Kif is the wife of the god Thor, and is associated with the earth. Joe strikes up a friendship with an older man who happens to be her grandfather, played by Barry Corbin, familiar to fans of Northern Exposure. Tony Shalhoub co-produces and plays the local sheriff, father of Kif, and the movie was written and directed by his nephew, Michael Matzdorff. His brother and sister are also in the movie. They hail from Wisconsin so the movie is a kind of homage to the land they love. The movie is set in Door County Wisconsin, one of the prettiest places I've ever seen.

This is a contribution to the Fa La La La Films section of The Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge.


  1. Nan, a lot of what you say about "Feed the Fish" reminds me of "Lars and the Women", a film I have posted a review about some time ago on my blog:
    The wintery setting, the person that needs healing and makes new friends, the quirky bits, and the overall quiet sweetness to the whole movie. I am glad such movies are made - and watched and reviewed on our blogs!

  2. It's a lovely movie, Librarian. I so enjoy reading about films people like.

  3. I'll see if they have this at the library.

  4. I hope they do, Ann. I ended up buying it and also How About You for my Christmas collection!

  5. Sounds like something I might like, Nan. Have to be in the mood, though. I'm adding it to my Netflix instant queue.

    I feel quite like a movie anarchist since while you've been watching these nice quite life enhancing films, I've been watching rock'em/sock'em thrillers. What's wrong with this picture? (Oh, and Tommy and Tuppence too, of course.)

  6. Oh, Yvette, in between the nice ones, I've seen Vera (English detective), and my usual tv shows, like Castle, Rizzoli & Isles, and Person of Interest. :<)

  7. You had me interested pretty much from the get-go, Nan, but, then the mention of the Polar Plunge (Chicago has one, too) and then Door County . . . well, I'll just have to see this..

    When our daughter Katy was looking at colleges, we were driving along MN along the Mississippi. It was a very cold, dismal October day. I had a taste for a slice of pie and a cup of coffee, mentioned it, Kate concurred. She no sooner said "me too" than a sign went by. Home of Grumpy Old Men. Ha! It was the actual town of Waubesha where the movie was filmed. We looked at each in silent agreement. The car turned itself around, and we found the Anderson Hotel, an ancient establishment that had the best pie one could ever imagine. Your mention of Grump Old Men brought that to mind. Sorry for rambling. Off in search of some pie.

  8. Nan,
    Oh, it makes me happy that you love "Grumpy Old Men" too! It is so funny! I have not heard of this movie so I am glad you told me about it.
    This actor,the one who played "Monk" on TV, did you ever see the movie, "Galaxy Quest"? He was in that. It has a lot of other stars in it, Sigourney Weaver, Tim Allen, Alan Rickman (English, you know I love him!)... check it out! Hope you are enjoying this time up to Christmas, dear Nan! :-)

  9. Sounds really good Nan. I like movies in that setting too and Door County is one of the most beautiful places! We had a fish boil while we were there and that was grand fun.
    I think you will like 'The Helen West Casebook' at netflix also. It is taken from a character in a series of books written by Francis Fyefield. I looked for Vera a while back and didn't see it now it is there and in my que!

  10. This sounds like a lovely movie to see. I haven't gone back to Netflix. Perhaps I will now. Thank you for this recommendation, Nan.

  11. I moved to Milwaukee three years ago. We watched this movie last year. I liked it because it so captured Wisconsin!

  12. Oh - I'll have to rent this husband loves Tony Shalhoub!

  13. Lucky you, Penny, to have seen the town. It is really like a lot of little towns are, or were, around here - sort of like the Main St on the cover of the Bess Streeter Aldrich book. I love the houses of the men in that movie. I'm quite, quite sure you will enjoy Feed the Fish.

    Kay, it is funny, but also very warm-hearted. I can't count how many times I've seen it.
    I haven't seen Galaxy Quest, but I was a big Monk fan.
    If you like AR, did you see The Song of Lunch on PBS last month? I haven't yet, but I DVRed it.

    Peggy, I put Helen West in my queue. I've just seen the first Vera. Brenda Blethyn was excellent, as always. The story was a bit dark and twisted, but I'm going to watch more because Vera's character is so interesting and complicated.

    Kay, I put up with the prices because there's no other way I could see all the British tv shows I love, or independent movies like this. For example, right now I have at home, The King's Speech and Pie in the Sky.

    Class factotum, I've always been interested in Wisconsin; for one reason because my beloved Gladys Taber grew up there.

    Debbie, I do too!

  14. Hello, thank you for this wonderful blog! I do love "Winter Solstice" a book by Rosamund Pilcher - i re-read it every christmas time and it is a real pleasure every time! I have heard about a movie by this book, but i don't know more about it.

  15. Wilmo, thanks for coming by and leaving a note. I like Winter Solstice too except for the tragedies at the very beginning.


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