Maybe it's because I love all that is Halloween, or perhaps apple cider mends my soul, seeing pumpkins makes me feel peachy – whatever it is, the death of summer doesn't hit home until orange and black are replaced with red and green. An appearance of sweaters and slippers means the white stuff isn't far behind.
Move Over, Band-Aids!
However, just because the world is turning gray, doesn't mean the mind has to follow suit. There's a lot of space between now and TNT's 24 Hour A CHRISTMAS STORY Marathon, and even more space in that dreadful, middle-of-winter leap between fuzzy eared Ralphie and actual Easter bunnies. While there may well be some winter sport enthusiasts lurking about, if you're anything like me, there isn't sledding, nor snow angels enough in the world to compensate for the plummet of spirits that trudging through traffic-fouled snow ushers in.
Rather than seek out a therapist and risk becoming a pill-popping fiend, or worse, a mommie-loving boob, I suggest a more holistic approach to thwarting the Winter Blahs.
It involves hot cocoa.
... and a bevy of hand picked delights that are sure to turn that frost-bitten frown upside down, smack it around and make you wiggle your belly like one happy little hound! (... well, it's what my dog does when she's happy.)
The first item of business in compiling a well-stocked YES Kit (Your Emergency Seasonal Depression Disorder Thwarting Film Kit) is directing attention to Cold Season. This is imperative, as the masses are already sniffling. Once imprisoned in the throes of wadded Kleenex, no one feels like dragging their Rudolph noses to the video store. Unless you're a lucky goon like Zombieboy, and fresh mail is tossed onto the accumulated pile in your foyer via the slot in your front door, just making the trek to the mailbox might be iffy – so you can't sit back and rely on Netflix to get you through.
In choosing the perfect Cold Season weaponry, we must consider the symptoms:
"I'm Sniffily and am Bearing the Cough of a Black Lung Victim"
(ie "I Sound Worse than I Feel, but No One Wants Me Near Them, Regardless")
Stand-alone heroes are the order of the day, then! As you sit on the couch, hacking up grossness, let John McClane
and Snake Plissken guide you through all the other things you could be doing without your friends.
Your life would be this good, too -- if you didn't have a cold.
Possibilities for YES Kit: ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK / L.A., DIE HARD, SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, GODZILLA, MAN WITHOUT A NAME TRILOGY
Avoid: Situation comedy/drama. No everyone-is-gathering-for-the-holiday, or old-friends-reuniting-at-the-summer-camp-from-their-youth. If there's no friend to hand you the box of tissues, the last thing you need to do is watch people with box of tissue toting friends. Such a being probably doesn't exist, anyway.
"Death Warmed Over, and Now It's Boiling Me Alive"
At this juncture of Cold Season, it'd be best to just hook up a television and DVD player in the bathroom and remember happier times. It seems, from my exhaustive research in this matter, that high school comedies are best to combat dehydration and NyQuil addiction. It makes sense. Generally speaking, those high school kids find themselves in drab situations, yet are astoundingly successful at making something spectacular happen.
Possibilities for YES Kit: ROCK AND ROLL HIGH SCHOOL, FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF, THE BREAKFAST CLUB, ONE CRAZY SUMMER
Avoid: Films along the lines of THE STAND, or the DAWN OF THE DEAD remake – if it started off as a little rash, then grew to Ebola-like symptoms, it's only going to inspire you to sound like a hypochondriac in the med center at two in the morning.
Flu viruses aren't the only sour events Old Man Winter kicks in the direction of mankind. Bones have a tendency to snap when mixed with ice and concrete. Lovers often seek out a warmer body. Forgetting what grass looks like is a sordid affair in itself. The key is in waging a multi-pronged defense. Flanks of the YES Kit are as follows:
"I Fell on the Ice and Broke My Ass. Literally."
Broken limbs, burst appendixes – anything can happen when the moon is full, and the land is white... and you forgot to put salt granules on the steps.
Serious healing necessitates seriously good films, because you'll need to be reminded that your pit of despair pales in comparison to the real thing. Hopefully, the YES Kit wasn't tainted in mid-December by wasting The Coen Brothers on a runny nose.
Possibilities for YES Kit: THE PRINCESS BRIDE, THE BIG
LEBOWSKI, RAISING ARIZONA (any Coen Brothers), GHOSTBUSTERS
Nothing says, "DIE, LOVE!" quite like an unhappy camper.
Avoid: MY LEFT FOOT, THEY DIED WITH THEIR BOOTS ON, or that John Wayne movie where his compadres chant encouragingly, "I'm gonna move that toe!" Screw people overcoming great odds – the more attention you give to your cast, the less you'll give to the snow.
"My Heart Hurts – Because He BROKE It!"
Rather than breaking your previously significant other into the thousand pieces you'd like to, try a celluloid cocktail of: Two Parts Slasher Extravaganza to One Part Feel Good Frivol. One must be diligent to keep the heart hurt to a minimum during the cold months, as the scale of reason is all too easily tipped when the world is gray.
As one of my research subjects explained, "anything that features a crazy person tormenting their wife or girlfriend" is a healthy dose of vicarious just desserts. The feel good frivol should help to balance the genocide on love – or, at the very least, provide a reasonable argument against striving to become an emotion-less sociopath who lives in an igloo.
Possibilities for the YES Kit: (Two Parts) THE SHINING, SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE, SLEEPAWAY CAMP PTS 2 & 3. (One Part) THAT THING YOU DO, NEVER ON TUESDAY, CONNIE AND CARLA
Avoid: Any film clocking in around three hours – chances are the filmmakers didn't achieve that running time without a copious amount of the sappy stuff.
"I Want to Move to California – Considering the Way Those People Play with Matches, It's Gotta Be Warmer There."
Moving takes a lot of effort. Rather than touch every single thing you own, twice, let your eyes and ears provide a brief escape. Enter, instead, a world where good prevails, aliens pop out of chests, you can play a video game with your zombified pal, and people sing until dawn!
Possibilities for the YES Kit: SHAUN OF THE DEAD, ALIEN, INDIANA JONES (make it a marathon!), SINGIN' IN THE RAIN, EVIL DEAD II, and any Connery as JAMES BOND
A minor amount of preparation is often all that is needed to avoid full blown catastrophes. Be armed this winter season -- don't let the old man catch you off guard, without SHAUN.
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