6 Cold-Weather Movies to Watch During the Polar Vortex

If you happen to find yourself in one of a dozen or so states this week, then you’re “lucky” to be dealing with (yet another) polar vortex. Meteorologists have been capturing our attention, reminding us that some parts of the U.S. are actually colder than the Arctic right now. Minnesota recorded a shocking temperature of -77 degrees, and Chicago was a balmy -23.
Many schools have been closed and people have been avoiding going outdoors at all costs. So what do you do when you’re stuck inside for fear of freezing to the bone in an Arctic chill? Don’t let cabin fever get the best of you. One way to handle the situation is to get some hot chocolate, a warm blanket, and watch other people battle the cold.
We have rounded up a few great (ok, maybe they’re not all “great,” but the ones that aren’t are at least fun) movies that remind us of how lucky we are to be able to stay indoors. These movies are all about the cold.

6. The Day After Tomorrow

Essentially, we have Dennis Quaid and Jake Gyllenhaal running away from cold weather. Of course, it’s more involved than that: a big storm system turns into three separate superstorms that cause things to flash-freeze at temperatures of -150 degrees. But really, it’s just the actors running a lot, with things freezing right behind them. How lucky they are to be able to stay just steps in front of the deadly storm! While this particular movie would probably never be categorized as “great,” it’s definitely a lot of fun, especially when you don’t have to be outside running away from the cold weather in your own neighborhood.

5. Alive

Based on the book by Piers Paul Read, this story follows a rugby team whose plane crashes in the Andes mountains. After being stranded for some time and nearly freezing and starving to death, the survivors of the crash take to eating their dead, frozen friends. If this film should do anything, it should make you happy that you don’t have to eat your loved ones during this polar vortex.

4. Frozen

If you have small children, this might be the movie that you inevitably turn to in the frigid weather. You can all decide why Elsa decided to use her powers to make outside utterly unbearable this week. And you can slowly lose your mind as everyone sings “Let It Go” over and over and over again.

3. Fargo

Since the Midwest is getting hit particularly hard during this polar vortex, it might be most appropriate to watch some Fargo this week. It’s interesting that so many of the movies that take place in the bitter cold also happen to involve death, murder, or crime… and this one is no different. But at least the Coen brothers, with the help of Frances McDormand, William H. Macy, and Steve Buscemi, keep things wildly entertaining as they trudge through the snow.

2. The Shining

Sure, this movie (based on a Stephen King story) is about a haunted hotel and a man who goes completely insane. But it all takes place during a cold winter in the mountains. The horror and insanity culminate in the famous scene in the maze, when Jack (played by Jack Nicholson) chases his family with an ax through the snow. Sitting on your couch to wait until the weather warms up a bit is nothing compared to running for your life in a snowy maze, amiright?

1. Misery

We don’t really need an excuse to watch this incredible film — another based on a Stephen King story. But cold weather is definitely a good reason to turn it on. Poor James Caan gets in a car accident due to an icy road (which we later learn was orchestrated by Kathy Bates). He is “rescued” and “healed” (minus that whole hobbling bit) by Bates, and the two are stuck in her house because of the big snow storm. Cabin fever is one thing. Being imprisoned in a house by a nutjob during a snowstorm is something very different. Be glad you just have cabin fever.