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Survival Cinema for the Snow

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Snowed in? Here are some films to get you through the storm.

Each year, the fear of snow puts citizens in a frenzy. Not all of them, of course. Minnesotans, Coloradans, and Vermontans are used to this. Instead of plowing roads, these states usually just compact the snow down to drive on with snow tires that they never take off for the rest of the season. It’s just the East Coast south of Massachusetts where the people lose their minds if they think they have to stay home for 24 hours.

In light of this insanity, here are some films that can get you through the boredom of the storm, give you pointers on survival, and bluntly show you that, yes, it could be worse.

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Alive

Director: Frank Marshall

Starring: Ethan Hawke, Vincent Spano, Josh Hamilton

So you think you have it rough? You stocked up on milk, eggs, and water in case you get snowed in and need to survive on your own for a day or two? If you watch the survival film Alive, you’ll adjust your outlook and thank your lucky stars that you live in a populated area during a snowstorm.

Based on a true story, Alive takes us through the story of a Uruguayan rugby team when their plane crashed in the Andes Mountains on October 13th, 1972. Struggling to survive in the hopes that a rescue team finds them in time, the survivors of the crash are left to decide between life and death by staying, traveling away from the wreckage to find help, and whether to starve to death or eat their deceased companions.

It kind of puts your annoyance at having to eat canned soup and pasta for a few days in perspective.


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Groundhog Day

Director: Harold Ramis

Starring: Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, Chris Elliott

Maybe a snowstorm isn’t so bad. It can make you turn back and enjoy life: over and over and over and over again. This is the premise for the comedy Groundhog Day.

A jaded weatherman, Phil Connors, goes on his annual trip to Punxutawney, Pennsylvania in order to cover nature’s own meteorologist, the groundhog. When a blizzard that Conners forecasted would miss his area of Pennsylvania forces him to turn around from his trip home and stay in Punxsutawney for another night, Connors finds himself in an infinite loop in time, reliving Groundhog Day again and again. It’s like taking a mulligan for a hundred years or so in order to enjoy life and get the girl.

We could only be so lucky that a snowstorm can make this happen.


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The Shining (1980)

Director: Stanley Kubrick

Starring: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd, Scatman Crothers

Cabin fever can be a real thing when you’re cut off from civilization, but being cut off from civilization isn’t being unable to drive down your street to the nearest convenience store three blocks away. It’s being stuck in a giant, empty hotel in Colorado with your family during the winter, like in Stephen King’s book turned psychological horror, The Shining.

In The Shining, Jack Torrance plays the caretaker of the Overlook Hotel. It’s a sweet gig: no one but his wife and son to annoy him as he writes the great American novel. It turns slightly less sweet when his son starts talking to ghosts in the hotel, and Jack starts seeing them himself as his psyche slowly deteriorates, leading him to start drinking again and hunt down his family with an axe.

So when you’re feeling a little bored playing UNO with the family for the twentieth time because the cable is out, try to stay away from sharp objects for a few hours more.


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The Thing (1982)

Director: John Carpenter

Starring: Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, Keith David

Even being snowbound in Colorado isn’t the worst thing that can happen to you. At least, in theory, you could start walking and eventually come across civilization, or at least a few other people as miserable as you are. The same can’t be said about the team in John Carpenter’s The Thing.

In The Thing, a group of American scientists in Antarctica are doing what Americans do in Antarctica: studying snow. Unfortunately, excavations unleash an alien with the ability to assimilate living creatures and mimic them for survival. with no hope for rescue or escape, the group must survive each other’s suspicions and figure out who is real and who is that freaky alien so that they can destroy it and go about hanging out on a frozen continent in peace.


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Frozen (2010)

Director: Adam Green

Starring: Emma Bell, Shawn Ashmore, Kevin Zegers

Snow isn’t all bad. It can lead to some fun sports, like skiing! But what if a resort doesn’t like being open during the peak of ski season? That is when events such as those in Frozen ensue.

In Frozen, a guy goes skiing with his best friend and girlfriend. After hustling a chair-lift operator to let them ski without a lift ticket, the three get stuck on a chair-lift while on their way to one more run before the mountain closes for the week. Because, obviously, ski resorts close when there’s just too much snow. For the rest of the film, the three friends do their best to survive sub-zero conditions, thirty-foot falls, and blood-thirsty wolves in the hopes that they can get back to their car, hope that the battery hasn’t died, and go home.

So the next time there is a blizzard and you’re wishing that you could be stuck at a ski resort, think twice.

About Author

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Patrick began collecting a library of VHS tapes, DVDs, and CDs when he was young, and continues to build a library that could easily double as a video store and/or a revitalized Tower Records.

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