It’s the middle of the winter, the sun has been chased away by a blanket of gray skies that smothers a landscape covered by bland white snow. It’s cold, slippery, and just plain miserable. What do you do? Put on a movie to lift your spirits! Here’s a list of what works for me to chase away the winter doldrums.
Wait sec…did I forget my keys…?
Head Above Water
Cameron Diaz stars in this light-hearted murder mystery about the much-younger wife of a judge (Harvey Keitel) who inadvertently sinks deeper and deeper into murder and mayhem at their summer beach house. Based on the Norwegian film Hodet Over Vannet, if this seems a little bleak for a pick me up, bear in mind that it is a comedy, a very dark comedy (just imagine if Hitchcock had made a comedy back in the day–no, wait…actually, he did: The Trouble with Harry). Head Above Water is pretty funny, and its warm summer setting helps to take your mind off the chill.
Man, the WWE really went all out this time. It’s a battle of the divas…to the death!
The Mummy (1999) and The Mummy Returns (2001)
Any movie that features the lovely Rachel Weisz (along with the equally lovely Patricia Velasquez) in a wild knife fight scene while clad in skimpy Egyptian bikinis is a must see (at least for me). But both The Mummy and The Mummy Returns are just plain fun, with Arnold Vosloo hamming it up as the titular villain in two imaginative romps that are enjoyable together as a flight of fancy. Avoid the third Mummy film, which lacks Weisz, director Stephen Sommers, as well as the wondrous charm of the first two films.
Wait, that’s it! If we just stay out of the water, the sharks can’t get us! Girl, you’re a genius!
Shark Night involves a bunch of good looking, hot young folks on vacation who meet up with a bunch of killer sharks under the control of rednecks with nothing better to do. Yes, the movie is just as silly as that description makes it sound, and that’s a part of its charm. The hot-bod cast spend the better part of the film’s running time in bikinis (and ladies, there’s equal time for you with the guys here, too), and you’ll spend the better part of the night laughing at the ludicrous plot (plot? what plot?) and the over the top villains. Think of it as being a good (unintentional) comedy.
This PInhead guy wants to show me things? Jinkies!
Scooby Doo (2002)
Daphne and Freddie are badly miscast with bland actors, and the CGI Scooby looks downright creepy in some scenes, but I actually liked the 2002 live action Scooby Doo, which makes for a good winter viewing film thanks to it taking place on a tropical island. Besides, the smart script (which was co-written by James Gunn, who would later go on to do a little film called Guardians of the Galaxy) pokes gentle fun at the original cartoon’s tropes, which a lot of the hard core fans (like me) will pick up on. And Linda Cardellini and Matthew Lillard are both picture perfect here as Velma and Shaggy, respectively. Zoinks!
No need to go see the rodeo whenever Wonder Woman’s in town.
Wonder Woman (2009)
This underrated animated feature stars the voices of Kerri Russell (The Americans) as Wonder Woman, Nathan Fillion (Firefly, Castle) as Steve Rogers and even Alfred Molina (Doc Ock from Spider-Man 2). It’s an entertaining introduction to DC Comic’s First Lady of superheroes that’s fast-paced and visually striking. Here’s hoping Gail Gadot’s take on WW in DC’s upcoming live action films will be equally as enjoyable to watch.
There’s plenty more titles that I can think of, but that’s what I can come up with here and now. The main point is to pass on the heavy message films and just go for whatever makes you happy, no matter how silly it is. Happy winter movie viewing! –SF