Enjoy one movie or TV show for every stage of your snowbound confinement.
If you live anywhere near America's Frost Belt, chances are you've been spending a lot of time at home in your PJs of late. Whether it's frigid temperatures or record snowfalls keeping you indoors, CityLab is here to help you through each stage of cabin fever, one streaming movie or TV show at a time. Batten down the hatches, folks—and pray that high-speed internet doesn't fail you now.
Stage 1: Regression
Streaming pick: The Interview
Who says snow days are just for kids? Your office is closed, your fridge is well stocked, and you are ready to party. Netflix still has James Franco and Seth Rogen’s buddy-comedy-cum-international-cause-celebre The Interview in its instant-streaming line-up, making it easier than ever to commit an act of patriotism from your sofa. Sit back, relax, and God bless America's penchant for dumb comedies.
Stage 2: Mild Guilt
Streaming pick: Jane the Virgin
Now begins the educational part of this journey: catching up on the movies and TV shows you keep meaning to watch but never do. First up is The CW’s critically acclaimed comedy Jane the Virgin, which stars Golden Globe winner Gina Rodriguez as the titular virgin who gets artificially inseminated by mistake. Bear with the wacky premise—this show is as good as everyone says it is, and not as innocent as it seems. Consistently hilarious, sentimental but never sappy, the show sends up the telenovela genre with a wink and a nod—and a few magical hugs. Bonus: The show is set in Miami, so at least for a little while you can pretend it isn’t below freezing outside.
Stage 3: Mild Anger
Streaming pick: The Babadook
You loved Jane the Virgin, but you're also starting to get a bit twitchy. Time for something with a bit more edge—something like The Babadook, last year’s old-school horror gem by first-time director Jennifer Kent. It seems like the usual creepy kid/haunted house shtick but quickly unravels into psychodrama, with a sly, self-conscious wit and a throughline of unresolved grief as disturbing as the monster itself. Watch with a buddy, for sanity’s sake—you might start to imagine it’s the Babadook outside your door, howling to be let in from the cold.
Stage 4: Thrill-Seeking
Streaming pick: Snowpiercer
Featuring Dickensian overtones, side-scrolling bloodbaths, and Sad Chris Evans—taking a rare respite from his Captain America duties—Korean director Bong Joon-ho's Snowpiercer is an adrenaline rush from beginning to end, perfect for shaking you out of that cabin fever funk. The film takes place in a dystopic future, when the last humans on earth are hurtling across the frozen planet inside a perpetual-motion train divided into the rich, aristocratic front section (led by the scene-stealing, snaggletoothed Tilda Swinton) and the poor, oppressed tail section.
Stage 5: Paralysis
Streaming pick: Groundhog Day
Maybe Snowpiercer hit a little too close to home. You’re beginning to realize that you, too, are trapped in a weather-induced time warp from which there is no escape. Are you watching Groundhog Day—or are you living it? Bill Murray will make the bad thoughts go away. Believe in Bill Murray.
Stage 6: Madness
Streaming pick: The Shining
All snow and no work makes Jack a dull boy. Embrace the darkness.