Must-Watch Midwinter Movies

Well, the spring semester has begun, and you know what that means in Fargo: snow and ice, bitter temperatures and wind, wind, wind.

You’ve worked hard reading syllabi and introducing yourself to professors and classmates this week and you deserve a warm night in. Here are three movies to enjoy this weekend with a mug of tea or cocoa and a snug blanket.

“Wild Strawberries” (1957)

Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman’s masterpiece explores the past and present of an aging doctor, Isak Borg, as he travels to accept a kind of lifetime achievement award.

He feels alienated from his family and is preoccupied with memories of his childhood, youth and dysfunctional marriage. On his way to the award ceremony, he reconnects with his daughter-in-law and befriends three young hitchhikers. These events help him reconcile with his past and regain some happiness and contentment.

This time of year, it’s easy to get caught up in our memories, some of which may be difficult to relive. “Wild Strawberries” shows us the importance of enjoying our present lives without forgetting how our past experiences have made us who we are.

“The Shining” (1980)

Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of Stephen King’s harrowing bestseller examines the psychological degeneration of Jack Torrance, a struggling writer and a winter caretaker at an isolated resort, the Overlook Hotel.

Jack is accompanied by his wife, Wendy, and their son, Danny, who has unusual telepathic abilities.

During their stay, Jack begins to lose control of his behavior and Danny has intense hallucinations that reveal the violent past of the Overlook Hotel.

If you’re into horror and suspense, “The Shining” is especially fun to watch in the winter because of its setting. For those who are easily frightened (like me), keep the lights on and watch with a friend.

“Fargo” (1996)

Joel and Ethan Coen’s Midwest thriller, “Fargo,” is a sometimes ghastly and oftentimes hilarious representation of what the rest of the country thinks about North Dakota.

It follows pregnant police chief, Marge Gunderson, as she investigates an extortion plot initiated by a desperate used-car dealer. Lurid violence ensues as the extortion plot goes south.

“Fargo” is notorious for its characters’ pronounced “dontcha know” accents and its infamous wood-chipper scene. Although it can be suspenseful and intense, for North Dakotans, it’s mainly worth watching because it takes a few common stereotypes about Minnesotans and North Dakotans and intensifies them to a comical, almost parodic extreme.

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