A woman and man ice skate together on a frozen outdoor lake.
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Cool Off — Vicariously — with These Wintry Movie Picks

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While Angelenos are still fanning themselves a week after the official end of summer, it’s time to turn to movies to help cool off a bit. Instead of cranking the air conditioner all day, here are 10 movies packed with a winter atmosphere that will have you curling up in a blanket no matter what it feels like outside.

Cool Runnings (1993) (Disney+, iTunes, Vudu, Amazon Prime)

Four men sit fully-clothed in an empty bathtub practicing bobsledding.
Leon Robinson, Doug E. Doug, Rawle D. Lewis and Malik Yoba compete as four Jamaican bobsledders in “Cool Runnings.” Source: Into Film.

The wild real-life story of Jamaica’s first Olympic bobsled team makes for delightful entertainment in this live-action Disney film. Originally conceived as a much more serious sports movie, “Cool Runnings” turned out to be a witty treat for family audiences, as well as one of the most uplifting winter sports movies around.

Dead of Winter (1987) (iTunes, Amazon Prime)

A woman wearing a plaid coat stands in a hallway decorated with picture frames, a look of concern on her face.
Mary Steenburgen stars as a struggling actress roped into a terrifying situation in “Dead of Winter.” Source: IMDb.

Cozy and chilling at the same time, this twisty, wintry mystery stars Mary Steenburgen as a struggling actress hired to audition for a role at an isolated house in upstate New York — only to get much more than what she bargained for. This movie is the perfect choice when you want to watch something a little spine-tingling late at night to beat the heat.

Edward Scissorhands (1990) (Amazon Prime, Vudu, iTunes, Google Play, YouTube)

Johnny Depp is a scientist-created human being in “Edward Scissorhands.” Source: Streatham Wine House.

A classic winter movie set in Florida? Yes indeed, though you’ll have to watch Tim Burton’s gorgeous fairy tale fantasy to find out why, as fabricated man Johnny Depp is transplanted to suburbia, where his unusual hands get him in all kinds of trouble. If the snowy ending doesn’t melt your heart, check your pulse.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) (Netflix, Vudu, iTunes, Google Play, YouTube)

A man and a woman sit on a stoop, engaged in a deep conversation.
Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet play conflicted lovers in “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.” Source: Amazon.

Soaked in a winter atmosphere to its core, Michel Gondry and Charlie Kaufman’s brain-teasing blend of sci-fi, romance, breakup drama and comic surrealism centers on Jim Carrey’s attempts to wipe away painful memories of ex-girlfriend Kate Winslet with a new scientific process — which turns out to be a very bad idea.

Fargo (1996) (Sling, iTunes, Vudu, Amazon Prime, Google Play)

Frances McDormand is a small-town police chief in “Fargo.” Source: Mobile Kino.

One of the Coen brothers’ most beloved and wildly quotable films deservedly nabbed two Oscars for its snappy screenplay and Frances McDormand’s unforgettable performance as a pregnant cop who’s the moral center in a crime story that goes off the rails spectacularly. “Fargo” went on to spawn a highly entertaining FX TV series and changed the way we look at wood chippers forever.

Groundhog Day (1993) (Netflix, Vudu, iTunes, YouTube, Amazon Prime)

Two men in winter coats stand outside a diner.
Bill Murray is a bitter TV weatherman stuck in a never-ending loop in “Groundhog Day.” Source: Categoria Nerd.

Bing! One of the greatest Hollywood comedies ever made also happens to be prime chilly weather viewing as cynical weatherman Bill Murray is stuck in a time loop in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, on a certain day in February. Even if it’s sweltering outside, you’ll want some mittens and a scarf handy for this one.

Grumpy Old Men (1993) (HBO Max, YouTube, Vudu, Amazon Prime, iTunes)

Jack Lemmon and Max Goldman are rival neighbors in “Grumpy Old Men.” Source: Play it Again, Dan.

A comedy so obsessed with cold weather they should’ve provided parkas at the theater, this buddy film/romantic contest involving Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau made the frequently paired actors an unexpected box office powerhouse again. You’ve never seen so many ice-themed pranks in one movie.

Happy Feet (2006) (Amazon Prime, YouTube, iTunes, Vudu, Google Play)

In this animated musical comedy, Elijah Wood voices a baby penguin. Source: Review Flow.

From director George Miller, who brought you the “Mad Max” series, comes — an adorable, Oscar-winning animated musical about Antarctic penguins. Prince was such a fan he even contributed an original song to this tale about an unusual young penguin whose gift for tap dancing instead of singing puts him at odds with the rest of the population.

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) (iTunes, Vudu, YouTube, Google Play, Amazon Prime)

Diana Rigg plays James Bond’s love interest in “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.” Source: Screenmusings.

Still the gold standard for wintertime action films, this movie remains one of the finest James Bond adventures ever, and is still being imitated today in films like “Inception” and “Spectre.” Toboggans, skis, helicopters, ice skates and stock cars collide in this breathless spy classic that also serves as an unexpected and powerful love story for 007.

The Preacher’s Wife (1996) (Vudu, iTunes, YouTube, Amazon Prime, Google Play)

A woman leans against a store window with a shopping bag as a man talks to her, both smiling.
Whitney Houston and Denzel Washington star in “The Preacher’s Wife.” Source: Showbiz Cheat Sheet.

The late Whitney Houston delivers one of her most charming performances in director Penny Marshall’s sweet-natured remake of the Hollywood classic, “The Bishop’s Wife.” On top of that, she has crackling chemistry with Denzel Washington, and if “Lovecraft Country” hasn’t given you enough of a Courtney B. Vance fix, he’s great here as always as the desperate preacher who learns some valuable life lessons from a visiting angel just in time for Christmas.

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