On East Coast snow days, there is no greater fear among students and employees alike that snow plows will clear roadways and transportation will work. In honor of Winter Storm Hercules (so auspiciously named by the Weather Channel), it seems fitting to recall the 2000 film Snow Day, largely viewed as total shit and made by Nickelodeon. In spite of its critical panning, Snow Day is not without its merit, especially when you’re stranded at home looking for something resonant to watch.
Set in Syracuse, New York, Snow Day centers around the simple aim of Natalie Brandston (Zena Gray) to prevent the villainous snow plowman, Roger (Chris Elliott, you know, of Cabin Boy fame), from whisking away the snow with his vehicle. Because all rules go out the window when there’s inclement weather, Natalie uses every trick in her power to stop him–eventually commandeering the snow plow herself to put more snow back on the roads. Though her older brother, Hal (Mark Webber), is more concerned with finding a way to win the affections of a popular girl named Claire (Emmanuelle Chriqui), he does his best to aid Natalie in her plan. Meanwhile, Hal’s best friend, Lane (Schuyler Fisk, daughter of Sissy Spacek), tries to stifle her emotions for Hal as she helps him attract Claire’s attention.
Although largely considered a frivolous film, the direction of Chris Koch (who is a Nickelodeon veteran from working on The Adventures of Pete & Pete) and the script of Will McRobb and Chris Viscardi (also responsible for the brilliant writing on …Pete & Pete) explore the deeper themes that tend to occur when rules and convention are thrown out the window during a crisis situation.
And then of course there’s Chevy Chase as demeaned weatherman Tom Brandston, who must endure the sadistic whims of his superior while his work-obsessed wife, Laura (Jean Smart), is forced to stay home and watch their son. Highlighting two sides of the work-related coin, McRobb and Viscardi touch on the fact that even after you’re out of school, you still pray to any higher power to get out of doing the things you’re forced to–unless you’re that workaholic American anomaly who doesn’t know how to function without busying yourself.
With Natalie triumphant in the end, the students’ rightful snow day is preserved. Because, no matter how advanced snow plows become, we should all be entitled to the occasional snow day once in a while. And also Iggy Pop and Pam Grier cameos during said snow day.