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5 Must-Watch Movies for While We’re All Trapped Inside This Winter

Tailoring what one watches or listens to based on the environment around them arguably heightens the viewing or listening experience. Think about it—that's why some people like listening to melancholic music when they are feeling sad. It's why some people binge watch every Thanksgiving episode of Friends once November arrives. And it's why some people (like myself) wait until the weather outside gets cold before watching films that embody winter through their snowy settings.

Whether we like it or not, winter is here. To make it more enjoyable (or even just tolerable), I suggest cozying up inside with popcorn, your candy of choice, and these must watch winter movies:

1. The Revenant (2015)

I know the movie is two-and-a-half hours long and can get somewhat boring in between the action scenes. I get that. But Leonardo Dicaprio did finally win his first Oscar for his role in it. Plus, according Vanity Fair, he actually ate raw bison liver for the role. Given that, one has to watch it (out of respect, of course). The Revenant secures a spot on my Winter watchlist because of it’s cold, unforgiving, frontier wilderness setting. This film’s revenge plot is expertly executed, the visual effects are stunningly surreal, and the (Academy Award winning) cinematography is visually stunning.

Favorite scene: the final fight between Hugh Glass (Leonardo Dicaprio) and John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy).

2.  The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

The Grand Budapest Hotel  is arguably one of Wes Anderson’s best films. If you haven't seen any of Anderson’s uniquely styled, aesthetically appealing, and nostalgia evoking movies, this is a good one to start with. It earns a spot on my winter watchlist because, again, of its snowy, wintery setting. Movies set in cold climates may get a reputation for being rather melancholy. However, while the characters go through their fair share of obstacles and tragedies, The Grand Budapest Hotel incorporates a good amount of humor.

Favorite scene: M. Gustave's (Ralph Fienne) prison break. 

3. I, Tonya (2017)

While I, Tonya does not necessarily take place exclusively during winter, the act of ice skating is one I associate enough with winter to include it on my winter watchlist. The movie offers a brutally real depiction of domestic violence, abuse, and the pitfalls of having a “white trash” reputation. The movie allows the viewer to become emotionally invested in the character of Tonya Harding and may even challenge one’s previously held beliefs about her.

Favorite scene: Tonya Harding (Margot Robbie) landing the triple axle. 

4. Groundhog Day (1993)

Let's all get on the same page by understanding that any movie starring Bill Murray should be added to your watchlist. The man is a national treasure. His role as a weatherman trapped in a never ending cycle of the same day exemplifies Murray’s ability to portray a depressed man at his wit’s end while still somehow being hilarious.

Favorite scene: Phil Connors (Bill Murray) driving off with Punxsutawney Phil, the groundhog.

5. The Shining (1980)

The Shining is probably the best known case of “cabin fever.” Husband and father Jack Torrance gets a job as the winter caretaker for a hotel. As winter progresses, things at the hotel get stranger as we watch as Jack falls deeper and deeper into insanity. This film is a work of director Stanley Kubrick, who is often cited as one of the greatest directors in cinematic history. That alone makes it worth watching. Also, even after watching the movie many times, one is always able to find something they had previously missed.

Favorite scene: Wendy Torrance (Shelley Duvall) finally knocking her husband down the stairs with a baseball bat.

Noelle Hardman

Washington '21

Noelle is a senior double majoring in Communications and Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Washington.
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