A winter’s tale

It’s that time of year again – when the days are much shorter and the nights much longer. Darkness seems to both greet us in the morning and send us off to sleep at night. But that doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. There is at least one positive aspect to derive from the winter season besides the imminent approach of Christmas and New Year’s Eve, and that is the fact that it’s the perfect time for cozy movie nights. Whether an old childhood classic like Home Alone is your favorite, or you’d rather plow through more than twelve hours of watching Frodo from The Lord of The Rings, you can rest assured knowing that the possibilities of winter movie madness are endless. All you need is a computer/TV, a comfortable place to enjoy the view from and some really good snacks.

Fargo (starring William H. Macy, Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare)

Synopsis: Jerry Lundegaard is a car salesman from Minnesota with one pressing problem; he needs money, and lots of it. He becomes so desperate that he hires two criminals to kidnap his wife so that Jerry can demand a ransom from his wealthy father-in-law. The plan seems to be simple and efficient, until police officer Marge Gunderson is put on the case. Little by little, she begins to find the trails leading up to Jerry, who is in a sea of trouble.

The slightly bizarre but lovable mix of satire and comedy is enough to make you like the movie. Add the background of the cozy-looking winter landscape that is Minnesota and the unmistakable accents, and you’ve got yourself some grade A entertainment.

The Harry Potter series (starring Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson)

Synopsis: The movie series follows the adventures of the young wizard Harry Potter and his two best friends, Ron Weasley and Hermione ­Granger, at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Throughout the series, Harry and his friends go on a quest to try to defeat the evil and dark wizard Lord Voldemort, who killed Harry’s parents when he was a baby. Myst­ery, magic, love and every­thing in between is ­what these eight movies offer.

Haven’t most of us wondered or fantasized about being a student at Hogwarts? Long candles floating around impeccably in the dining hall, talking paintings decorating the long hallways and fireplaces warming the rooms… what could be better? Oh yeah, the fact that it’s literally magical. Harry Potter is a fundamental part of many people’s childhoods, and even though some of us may be shy to admit it, Harry Potter will probably continue to be a movie-staple during our adulthood as well. So grab a blanket, put on a cup of tea and hunker down on your sofa; there are eight movies just waiting to be re-watched.

The Lord of The Rings Trilogy (starring Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen and Orlando Bloom)

Synopsis: The Lord of The Rings tells the story of the young hobbit Frodo, who inherits a magical ring from his cousin Bilbo. He soon learns that the ring’s original creator, the evil Sauron, is desperately searching for it. The ring holds a myriad of evil power that has the ability to cause wild and terrible mayhem, and the only solution is to destroy it in Mount Doom. And so, Frodo and a couple of companions set out on the long journey, determined to reach the end despite tremendous obstacles. The two sequels are a ­continuation of the first film and show the entire trip from unknowing beginning to unbelievable end.

Even though it’s not set in winter-time, the trilogy is still a classic and world- ­renow­ned series that surely needs no ­introduction and can be ­watched in any weather. A bit of warning to the restless ones: these movies are long. ­ Very long.

The Holiday (starring Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz)

Synopsis: Iris writes columns in a newspaper in London and is unhappily in love with a colleague. Across the Atlantic in Los Angeles, Amanda is making a living by creating movie trailers. After both women’s love lives take a turn for the worse, the unlikely pair meet on a website offering house exchanges, and decide to swap homes for a few weeks. Suddenly, Amanda finds herself living in a small cottage in the middle of English winter while Iris soaks up the sunny benefits of life in California. As the days go along, Amanda and Iris discover new territories, new neighbors and new chances to start over.

This romantic comedy is a charming story that will melt its way into many hearts. Mixing British with American and warm LA-sun with wintery London-cold, it has a healthy dose of all things awesome.

Groundhog Day (starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell)

Synopsis: When local weatherman Phil Connors travels to Pennsylvania with his producer and camera man to film the annual Groundhog Day festival, he finds himself unable to get away from it. A sudden blizzard forces the crew to spend the night in Penn­sylvania and Phil wakes up the next morning to find that he’s re-living the day he thought had just ended. Everybody goes about Groundhog Day exactly the same way, with Phil being the only exception. And so, day after day, he is experiencing the same things all the time, seeing the same people everywhere – and no one but him is aware of it.

After reading many lists about “classic winter movies”, it became clear that Groundhog Day was pretty much on every single one of them. Evidently, this film is considered by many to be a typical and enjoyable winter tale. So why not give it a try? Lots of humor and lots of snow provide great amusement.

The Polar Express (starring Tom Hanks)

Synopsis: On Christmas Eve, a young boy falls asleep hoping to hear the bells on Santa Claus’ sleigh. Soon thereafter, he awakens to the sound of the Polar Express outside his window, and he gets on the magical train to the North Pole. What follows is the journey of a lifetime.

Not only is this a wonderfully fitting film to watch when the snow starts falling and the degrees start dropping, but it is also a visually stunning piece that will without a doubt get you into the holiday spirit. Grab a ticket and hop aboard!

Home Alone 1&2 (starring Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern)

Synopsis: In the hectic morning rush of getting to the airport on time, the McCallister family is in such a hurry that they forget their son Kevin completely, consequently leaving him home alone for the first time in his life. As the neighborhood clears out for the holidays, two burglars go on a crime spree of the houses, and Kevin is determined to keep them out of his. In the sequel, Home Alone 2, he is once again left by himself – this time when he accidentally gets on the wrong plane and ends up in New York.

These winter-themed comedies offer a great indulgence to those of us who used to be a tad jealous of the fun that young Kevin had at home – when he wasn’t being chased by thieves, that is.

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