Winter comes with two faces. One of them smiles and gives you an excuse to wrap up in blankets, put a ring on Netflix, and spend the rest of your cold days in comfort. The other face of winter smiles, too, but it's got eyebrows that narrow in bitter determination. It's the face that shoves cold up your nose and between your fingernails. It's the face that says, "Fight me. I dare you."
But lucky for us, fireplaces and movies exist. When that bothersome second face appears outside your window, close the shutters and turn on your preferred source of digital intake. Sometimes you need to watch someone else have a worse day than you to make yourself feel better, so here are six dreary movies that will lift your cold-weather spirits.
1. The Revenant (2015)
If there's ever a film that showcases that ugly side of winter, it's The Revenant. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, #TheRevenant takes you on a journey drenched in blood and snow. After DiCaprio's character Hugh Glass is brutally attacked by a bear, his hunting party leaves him for dead and kills his son. He drags himself out of his grave — literally out of his grave — and fights the wilderness to get revenge. The Revenant is brilliantly difficult to watch, fascinating and strangely hopeful.
How does Leo have a bad day? When it's so cold you have to cut open your horse and climb inside to stay warm, the sun doesn't shine so bright.
2. True Grit (2010)
Most #Westerns are stew pots of shoot-'em-up action. They dress in sunshine, walk on dust, and feed off the blood of innocent townsfolk. But True Grit is a different kind of Western movie. Based on the acclaimed novel by Charles Portis and adapted to the screen by the #Coenbrothers, True Grit is a revenge story told through the eyes of 14-year-old girl Mattie Ross. The aesthetic of the film is much more innocent than its rough cast of characters, but just as effective. Stunningly dark cinematography, a score that incorporates an emotional hymn, and incredible acting make True Grit a unique Western experience with righteousness running thick in its veins.
How does Mattie have a bad day? You know those times when it's the crack of dawn and you need to go hunt your father's killer, but you can't get Jeff Bridges out of bed?
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3. Inception (2010)
Let the DiCaprio bonus round begin. Christopher Nolan directs this iconic science-fiction thriller about dreams, being trapped in dreams, creating dreams, escaping dreams, stealing things from dreams, oh God, are you in a dream right now? That's how #Inception will make you feel. But push past the hopeless disorientation and existential angst and you'll find a genuinely moving story about a man who just wants to see his children again, almost as much as you never want to see that horrible face of winter again.
How Leo has a bad day, Round 2: Is he ever awake?
4. The Babadook (2014)
I've found something scarier than cold that smiles as it stabs you. #TheBabadook is one of the most terrifying films of the decade, thanks to a story revolving around a troubled little boy, a troubled mother, a book that refuses to be thrown away, and a monster that's here to stay. The Babadook is the kind of movie that makes you become one with your blankets. It makes the hair on your arms curl. It also creates a clever plot woven tight with emotion. One thing's for sure: After watching The Babadook, the cold won't seem so bad.
How does this troubled mother have a bad day? It's as simple as, "Whether it's in a word or in a look, you can't get rid of Mister Babadook."
5. The Sixth Sense (1999)
Running from the same river as The Babadook, #TheSixthSense is a classic that never stops twisting. The mystery thriller stars Bruce Willis as a child psychologist with a strange patient — a boy who's always scared, has dark visions, and says the most unsettling things. The Sixth Sense locks you in an intense situation and forces you to question reality, because this is a story where the world is not what it seems. It is, by far, M. Night Shyamalan's best film.
How does Bruce Willis have a bad day? Well, it's more like a bad life.
6. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Settle your affairs and accept the inevitability of your death, because this is the movie that will suck the life right out of your soul. Often rated as the most realistic portrayal of war in modern film, #StevenSpielberg's Saving Private Ryan is a masterpiece of emotion and grit. #TomHanks gives a heartbreaking performance, the cinematography is as filthy as a battle, and the effects are painfully realistic. Saving Private Ryan is a movie that pushed the limits of how shocking and effective war films could be. It's sure to make you forget the cold.
How does Tom Hanks have a bad day? When he isn't beside soldiers who are holding their guts in their hands, he's trying to steady the never-ending tremor in his hand.
Don't listen to winter when it makes dares. Fighting the cold just isn't worth it. Take my advice and spend your bitter winter days indoors watching dark movies. They drag you down to the horrible places you're trying to escape — sometimes farther than horrible — and then bring you back up, stronger than before. Don't let the mean-spirited face of winter take a stab at you, because the medicine you need is only the click of a power button away.
What's your favorite dreary movie? Let me know in the comments.