Like most of the East Coast, I found myself unable to leave my house this past weekend as Blizzard Jonas dumped record snowfall on Philadelphia. While for many, this snow-in was an opportunity to spend quality time with family or ensure that the “be like (your name here)” meme well overstayed its welcome, I used this opportunity to catch up on comics, TV, and movies. If you too plan to spend your next weather-mandated Big Day In staring at a screen, here are a few suggestions to make the most of your blizzard experience:
A cult hit and a personal favorite, Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro’s apocalyptic comedy romance is guaranteed to imbue your snowy ordeal with some much-needed whimsy. Delicatessen is the timeless story of an ex-circus performer (Dominique Pinon) who takes a job as a handyman in an apartment complex during an apocalyptic food shortage. Unbeknownst to him, the landlord, the owner of the titular delicatessen (Jean-Calude Dreyfus), stays in business by killing new handymen and selling their meat to the other tenants. The butcher’s daughter (Marie-Laure Dougnac), however, falls in love with the doomed handyman, and will do anything she can to make sure her love doesn’t end up on the chopping block.
A much grimmer-sounding movie on paper than in motion, Delicatessen is one of the most joyful movies I’ve ever seen. Like its central lead, the film searches for the beauty and humor in dire circumstances, and often finds it in wonderfully oddball places. Channelled through Jeunet’s kinetic, borderline-cartoony style, it’s funny, gross, and at times pretty darn romantic. Whether you’re surviving a snowstorm or a cannibal apocalypse, it will make that survival all the easier.
Any classic season of “The Simpsons”
Part of the appeal of a snowstorm is getting an excuse to curl up in your favorite blanket
(possibly with your favorite person) and revel in cziness when the weather’s at its nastiest. For me, classic seasons of The Simpsons are the television equivalent of that favorite blanket. My staple of sick days spent on the couch, there’s undeniable comfort and warmth in quoting along with lines from old favorites and rediscovering gems you haven’t seen in some time. If you’re not one of the devoted (but still somehow have access to a backlog of classic Simpsons) take this opportunity to understand what your peers love about the show and actually understand half of what I’m saying in face-to-face conversation. My poison of choice this weekend was season 6 (“A Star Is Burns” and “Itchy & Scratchy Land” are some highlights), but really anything between seasons 2 and 10 should to the trick (and we’ve made the case for season 1 before).
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
“Will,” you might very well be saying to me right now, “this is actually the worst choice. There are very few movies that I can think of that would be worse viewing for being stuck in a snowstorm than John Carpenter’s The Thing.” On that count you might actually be right, but hear me out here: this is all about perspective.
John Carpenter’s seminal sci-fi horror about an Antarctic research team snowed-in at their base with a grotesque shape-shifting, identity-stealing alien monster might not be high on your list when you yourself find yourself stranded in a blizzard, but I want you to take a look a moment and look around. Maybe you’re snowed-in with friends, family, and loved ones. Maybe you’re with some roommates who are okay, except for when Allan leaves individual socks in the living room even though you keep telling him to stop. The point is, you’re snowed-in with people who ultimately support you and have your back. Sure, you might get into an argument over thermostat adjustment because you’ve been stuck together for hours and you want to be warm not living in a goodamn sauna! Seriously, turn that down right now, I swear to god! But at the end of the day, you have each other, and none of you are being pursued by a terror from the cosmos.
That The Thing has some of the best practical effects ever filmed and is one of the best cinematic examples of Lovecraftian horror is notable too, I guess. Mostly the togetherness thing.