Cuddle Up! Ten Best Cold Weather Movies

Tuck into your favorite winter snow-day uniform (Snuggie and slippers!) and enjoy these frosted flicks. Even if it’s a blizzard outside, you’ll feel warmer just by watching these icy classics.

Better off Dead 1985
One of John Cusack’s best teen-love-angst-brooding films, this one sets our hero at a ski resort in Northern California. After many humorous and pitiful attempts at taking his own life post-break up, he vies for the girl’s attention by partaking in a death-defying ski challenge against the handsome, tan bully named (of course) Roy Stalin. This one is a cult favorite among fans of that rash of 80s movies with synth-heavy soundtracks. You’ll love it for the skiing and young John Cusack’s tortured, heart felt character.

Cold Mountain 2003
Though this story spans many seasons, I still put this in the cold winter day category. A sweeping Civil War drama, you’ll find yourself caught up in Ada’s vicissitudes and rooting for Inman on his harrowing trek back to her on Cold Mountain. Also, this film boasts Renee Zellweger at her best.

Alive 1993
If you find yourself shivering this winter, pop on this true story and it will put your chill in perspective. In 1972 the flight the Uruguayan rugby team was taking to Chile crashed in the Andes. I won’t spoil the rest for you, but rest assured, it gets colder and more bleak than you or I could (hopefully) ever fathom.

March of the Penguins 2005
There is no cold that can compare to frigid temperatures the Antarctican emperor penguins endure. These charismatic waddlers migrate, hunt, warm their young in their own fuzzy loins and Morgan Freeman narrates—what more could you ask for in a wintry film? This documentary will thaw even the most hardened of hearts.

The Shining 1980
Easily the scariest case of cabin fever ever, Jack Nicholson goes crazy in a snowed-in hotel, attempting to kill his wife and creepy, psychic kid with an axe. Famous for the line “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”, this is certainly not for young kids (and many spookable adults). Also, never watch this if you are staying in a luxury hotel in the mountains during a bad snowstorm!

The Golden Compass 2007
Not nearly as epic as the book it’s based on, (due to some deliciously controversial religious themes), this film still illustrates the “North” with great beauty. Though there are talking armored polar bears, witches and “Dust” in this parallel universe, the cold, dark arctic is still conveyed here on regular earth.

Winter’s Bone 2010
You can tell just from the title that this is no “let’s ice-skate in the park and fall in love” kind of film. Nominated left and right for Academy Awards, this story is dark and cold as the Ozark night. Certainly not for the young ones, this plotline deals with lots of violence and plenty of meth cooking, all revolving around iron-willed seventeen year old, Ree Dolly.

Ice Age 2002
It doesn’t get chillier than the Ice Age, when this Pixar flick introduces us to a mammoth, sloth and saber-toothed tiger who are trying to migrate south. Certainly light-hearted and funny (okay, I had tears running down my face I laughed so hard at Scrat and his elusive acorn), it’s got enough substance to delight adults as well as the kids.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe 2005
Though Narnia is fictional (right?), its frosted landscape is quite realistic. The perpetual freeze is caused by an ill-tempered White Witch, yet New England or Canada, (or, ahem, the Southern Alps of New Zealand, Weta) could easily stand in for the enchanted land of talking beavers and half naked fauns.

Fargo 1996
Nothing says sub-zero like North Dakota winter, and that’s where this cult classic takes place. Touted for its originality, (Frances McDormand’s cheerful albeit massively pregnant police chief is the protagonist of the story), the frigid Fargo air almost emanates from the screen. Violent, funny and a little twisted, it’s the Coen brother’s best film.

Warmed up yet? Since you’ll certainly be inclined to venture out into the cold after these flicks, be sure to remember for your hotels in New York. From there you’ll be able to take off to any of these wintry settings, (except maybe Narnia…and back in time to the Ice Age…and Antarctica might give you some trouble too).

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