Post-holiday slump? Here are 7 deep-freeze flicks that feel your pain
Movies that will make you feel pretty damn glad you're hibernating on the couch.
The holidays are over, but winter is still here. It's so easy to get caught up in the snow-filled festivities of December, but now that even New Year's celebrations are in the rear view mirror, it may be freshly dawning on you that we have (at least) a good 3 months of hivernal horror to survive. You needn't suffer alone. While you're hibernating, there are plenty of classic movies that feel your frozen pain. So curl up on the couch, sip a hot chocolate and watch these on loop until you can see grass on your lawn again.
Nothing says "February sucks" like Groundhog Day. A day where we pray to an animal in hopes that winter is soon over and there is no greater winter woe than having to live that same day over and over again. The weather in Punxsutawney is perfectly bleak and Bill Murray is at his most surly as he chatters his teeth, steps in puddles and sheds scorn on anyone who shows him some small-town happiness. Mercifully, the ending shows us there is always light at the end of the tunnel, especially if you date Andie MacDowell. The beloved film has recently inspired a musical, causing Bill Murray to Groundhog Day himself.
The Shining may be the ultimate snow day movie. Anyone who has spent the entire day at home with a blizzard at the back door has felt themselves slowly going crazy, so it's hard to not relate to the Torrance family as they succumb to the erie isolation of the Overlook Hotel. And if you've ever been caught in a snowstorm, there's no more accurate scene than the final chase through the snow-filled maze ending in the wintery demise we all fear. The movie (and the original Stephen King novel) are perfect time killers; filled with enough subtleties, allegories and hidden meanings that it continues to spin wild conspiracy theories, from how it's a confession to a faked moon landing, or even how it can be considered a classically Canadian tale.
A lighter-fare film for sure, but no less harsh a depiction of winter. If you've ever gone on a tropical winter vacation, you know the dread of getting hit with the cold again, so you can imagine the (based on a true story) Jamaican bobsled team's (and peak John Candy's) shock in greeting a classic Calgary winter at its most blistering and beautiful. And because life always imitates art, the actual Jamaican bobsled team has their sights set on Pyeongchang 2018, the 30th anniversary of their Olympic debut, to finally clinch the gold.
If you want your comedy a little darker (but still cold), Fargo is the film for you. A pregnant police officer unravels a string of homicides on the barren winter backdrop of small town Minnesota (and its accents). The showpiece of the film is the less-than-fashionable winter wardrobes that each character possesses (from flap hats and flannel to fur-trimmed leather coats) which will remind you how ridiculous we often look when we bundle up. If you want to get deeper into this winter murder-land, the successor TV show is now in its third season – filmed around Calgary and even giving local business a boost.
Wow, they sure film a lot of winter movies in Alberta. Here, Banff National Park stands in for the Alaskan town of Mystery, where an amateur hockey team ends up playing the New York Rangers. There's plenty of outdoor hockey scenes to make you want to grab your stick and bare the elements, but the movie must be seen by Canadians for its brilliant cameo. Mike Myers pops in as Donnie Shulzhoffer, a hockey commentator that's a parody of every Canadian sports broadcaster of the past 50 years (including that Cherry guy).
Grumpy Old Men
Walter Matthau's perpetually scrunched up face is a fine allegory for a harsh winter season. This movie boasts an all-star cast that are in the winter of their own lives (alongside Matthau is Jack Lemmon, Burgess Meredith, Ann-Margret and Buck Henry) in the war between two equally annoying neighbours/rivals/best friends. Both men are obsessed with the skin-shivering activity of ice fishing, which is captured perfectly in a Minnesota winter (at this point, it's safe to assume Minnesota is the cinematic equivalent of Alberta). Poetically, all problems are solved and amends made once spring arrives (which leads to the much warmer sequel, Grumpier Old Men).
No matter how bad the weather is outside your door, you will never feel as bad as the characters in The Thing. The 1982 film has it all, filmed in B.C. close to the Alaskan border, there's almost-constant snowfall, darkness and blistering winds, not to mention supreme isolation, paranoia and surreal horror as a team of remote researchers must deal with an alien being that imitates life forms around it before turning into a deadly creature. It's one of the most influential horror movies of all time and many of the practical special effects still hold up today. But through the madness of this film, the greatest winter casualty is something that strikes fear into the heart of all men; Kurt Russell's partially frozen icicle beard.