You're trapped inside by the polar vortex. What better time could there be for binge-watching classic films about the weather?

There are two philosophies to building a viewing list: Misery loves company — i.e., movies that involve people battling bitter cold — or escapism, in which you can bask vicariously in the heat. Here are five suggestions for each:


"Grumpy Old Men" (1993) While this Minnesota-made buddy comedy celebrates many aspects of winter — including ice fishing — a scene in which Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon get in a fight and try to use a frozen fish as a knife deftly captures mother nature's version of flash-freezing.

"Mystery, Alaska" (1999) Long before there was Hockey Day Minnesota, Russell Crowe starred in this comedy about a small town that hosts a nationally televised hockey game on a frozen lake. Watch the home team stretch out the national anthem to ridiculous lengths to — literally — ice their opponents.

"The Day After Tomorrow" (2004) This disaster movie stars Dennis Quaid and Jake Gyllenhaal fighting for their lives as a new Ice Age sweeps across North America. You can almost feel your teeth chatter. In fact, the movie won several awards for its special effects.

"Alive" (1993) A rugby team's plane crashes in the Andes, forcing the survivors to do whatever they can to stay alive as they trek through the snowy, frigid terrain in search of help. Based on a true story, it stars Ethan Hawke and Vincent Spano.

"The Shining" (1980) Not to give away the ending, but the shot of an icy Jack Nicholson has become a celebrated symbol of winter's wrath. A story of a man slowly going crazy while tending to a remote hotel that's closed for the winter, it's the ultimate cabin-fever tale.


"Cool Hand Luke" (1967) Any discussion of the sweatiest movies ever made includes this drama set in a steamy Southern prison. Paul Newman won an Oscar for his starring performance, with George Kennedy picking up the supporting actor award.

"Rear Window" (1954) A heat wave is a major plot point in this classic Alfred Hitchcock thriller. Because everyone has their windows and drapes open trying to cool off (this was before the proliferation of air conditioning, remember), James Stewart spots some very suspicious behavior in a neighbor's apartment.

"12 Angry Men" (1957) The tension builds along with the temperature in this classic drama set in a jury deliberation room, where the fan doesn't work and the windows won't open far enough to let in a breeze. Director Sidney Lumet's all-star cast was led by Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb and E.G. Marshall.

"Do the Right Thing" (1989) Tempers grow short when a heat wave washes over a racially stressed neighborhood in this Spike Lee drama. Although ostensibly a minor scene, the image that stuck with many viewers involved the creative use of ice cubes in a love-making episode.

"Barton Fink" (1991) The Coen brothers won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival for this very dark comedy about a Broadway playwright (John Turturro) who is lured to Hollywood in search of fame and fortune, only to discover that the film industry can be a living hell.