Winter Films Worth Leaving Your Home

By  · Published on November 23rd, 2016

Dear FSR

Braving the snow for that theatrical experience.

At some point in your life, you’ve likely been faced with a question that has no solid answer. Some people may take such a puzzle to a trusted confidant, a friendly pastor, or the esteemed annals of Yahoo! Answers. But will they have the expertise needed to solve your most pressing film predicaments?

Think of Dear FSR as an impartial arbiter for all your film concerns. Boyfriend texting while you’re trying to show him your most precious Ozu? What’s the best way to confront the guy who snuck that pungent curry into your cramped theater? This is an advice column for film fans, by a film fan.

Dear FSR,

Winter is here and I’m ready to hibernate for a full four months until things thaw out. That means DVDs and streaming are going to be my best friends, as they are every year. But are there any new releases coming that are theatrical must-sees? I guess what I mean is, are there any film reasons to leave my house for the winter?


Snug in Saskatchewan

Dear Snug,

As Jon Snow and his wolf-infested family once led up to and then ultimately said, “winter is here.” And trust me, I know just how tempting it is to be a blanketed homebody for months at a time. I write for a living, after all. Aside from exacerbating seasonal affective disorder depression, staying indoors all winter would prevent you from seeing a few movies I’m very excited about and your friends, whom you’re likely more excited about than I am.

I might not know the exact dates these movies come out in your area, but these are a few reasons to brave the elements, frost trolls, and wildlings:

Moana – November 23

What better way to escape the cold than the common, if usually costly, juxtaposition of a tropical vacation? Some people go to Cabo or the Bahamas, maybe even have Florida homes for the winter. Moana, the newest Disney “princess” film and progenitor of Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miranda and The Rock’s delightful bromance, is a repeatable chunk of Pacific Islander escapism for a movie ticket’s price. Its cultural politics are something to mull on and its songs are gorgeous, melodic reminders.

La La Land – Limited Release December 9

Writer/Director Damien Chazelle’s follow-up to his breakout Whiplash, this obsessively crafted musical takes everything you love about a Hollywood-set meta-movie like Singin’ in the Rain and adds brightness and emotional depth for a modern take on music and love – all starting in the warm punchline-prone Los Angeles winter. A movie of compromises, Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling belt addicting and affecting tunes while their romance and careers tumble and spin with the same deft choreography as their modern tap dances. And don’t worry, it’s spectacular for all ages. If you like musicals, romances, or movies that love movies, this one earns your love with every highly coordinated number.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – December 16

There are few things more satisfying than sharing a Star Wars movie on opening night with a theater packed with nerds. Eyes wide to take in every inch of rebelliousness and explosions, we share a cultural connection in science fiction when the outside world truly seeks to divide us. And, with a scrappy group of freedom fighters going against an imposing tyrant, there’ll certainly be a lot to talk about in the snow-covered way home from the showing. Time will tell if there’ll be another Christmas gift workhorse like BB-8 that comes out of this one, but if there’s one thing George Lucas knows, it’s merchandising.

Monster Trucks – January 13

Ok, hear me out. What follows is a verbatim synopsis from Wikipedia: “Looking for any way to get away from the life and town he was born into, Tripp, a high school senior, builds a Monster Truck from bits and pieces of scrapped cars. After an accident at a nearby oil-drilling site displaces a strange and subterranean creature with a taste and a talent for speed, Tripp may have just found the key to getting out of town and a most unlikely friend.” Paramount, with a good nose for failure, is taking a $115 million writedown on the film, meaning on their accounting sheets, they just projected this movie’s value has tanked by 92% of its budget before it’s even come out. This is all to say that if you don’t see this bizarre (likely) trainwreck of a movie in theaters, you’ll never see a trace of it again.

John Wick: Chapter Two – February 10

The follow-up to one of last year’s most surprising successes, Keanu Reeves is back as John Wick as we move into the month of Valentines. Mine would go to the stunt coordinators and choreographers that moved so smoothly into directing these flawless action vehicles. Seeing a bearded, hyper-competent Reeves shoot down baddies with gunslinging judo is a treat for myself that I’d like to savor on the biggest plate possible. I respect the filmmakers, I respect their preparation process, and I respect the kind of movie they want to make. Giving them money is like paying taxes. It’s just the responsible, right thing to do.

Yours in theater blanket-bringing,


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Jacob Oller writes everywhere (Vanity Fair, The Guardian, Playboy, FSR, Paste, etc.) about everything that matters (film, TV, video games, memes, life).