January Releases That Don't Suck
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January Releases That Don't Suck

By Daniel Carlson | Seriously Random Lists | January 2, 2013 | Comments ()


January sucks. It's not just the holiday hangover, or the harsh adjustment to the work week after a precious few days off. It's because this is one of the worst months of the year for movies. Major studios are still rolling out their Oscar bait after smaller, award-qualifiying runs on the coasts, so they're too busy to care about anything else. It's tough to brand the month as an experience, too: it lacks the heated buzz of summer, the goofiness of spring, the thrill of those autumn prestige pictures. January just kind of sits there, more something you deal with than anticipate.

The month is usually a dumping ground for movies with smaller budgets and limited potential (last year's The Devil Inside is a perfect example), but every now and then, something inexplicably good, or at least not terrible, slips through the cracks. Not a lot, but just enough, and just infrequently enough, to keep things interesting. Who knows if this January will be worth it (though I've got my fingers crossed for Gangster Squad), or whether we'll forget the first month of 2013 the minute we hit February. While we wait, though, here are some January releases from years past that are worth your time.

The Grey (Jan. 27, 2012)


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The Green Hornet (Jan. 14, 2011)


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Zero Effect (Jan. 30, 1998)


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Waiting for Guffman (Jan. 31, 1997)


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Before Sunrise (Jan. 27, 1995)


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Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (Jan. 5, 1990)


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Fandango (Jan. 25, 1985)


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The Lonely Guy (Jan. 27, 1984)


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Daniel Carlson is the managing editor of Pajiba and a member of the Houston Film Critics Society and the Online Film Critics Society. You can also find him on Twitter.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • Orleanas

    Interesting that most on the list were released during the last weekend in January, so it would seem, that yes, the majority of movies released in January do suck.

  • Nicolae

    I will never understand what people see in Henry. It was just a boring movie where some people were killed.

  • Scratch McGee

    Thank you for the mention of Fandango! It's one I've foisted on others over the years with "It's such a great little flick!" and it just never seems to live up to my hype for them...I've concluded that maybe one needs to discover it on one's own, much as I did, in a VHS copy years ago while on a watch-everything-with-John-Bender-from-the-Breakfast-Club-in-it stint (not recommended)...little did I know it would then lead to a Kevin Costner movie spree...this remains one of his true highlights.

  • Bothari

    Oh my god, Scratch, I did the same thing! I have seen waaaaay too many Judd Nelson movies. I think Blue City might have been the worst. I remember Fandango fondly, though. "I am NOT a weenie!"

  • TheOriginalMRod


  • Fabius_Maximus

    SPOILERS to follow:

    Both The Grey and Green Hornet very much sucked. The latter was just terribly boring.

    The wolves' behavior in The Grey was even more unrealistic than I feared beforehand. They are driving the humans towards their lair the whole time.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    AAAAAAAGH Whither the Spoiler Alert?!? Oh, the humanity!

  • Fabius_Maximus

    With a movie that dumb, do spoilers even matter? I added a warning anyway.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    still searching for that sarcasm font...

  • Fabius_Maximus

    I there a "put foot in mouth" font?

  • Buck Forty

    I just watched The Grey the other night. I didn't think they were herded to the lair, it was just bad luck. The kind you only get in movies. I was more annoyed that it was obviously freezing and Neeson never wore the hoodie on his jacket. Or freeze to death after getting out of the stream.
    But I suppose the film was meant to be about Man vs Beast.
    Maybe they'll get it right for The Grey 2 - The Wolf King Rises

  • Fabius_Maximus

    They were herded. Every time they tried to change direction, wolves were there to prevent them from doing so.

  • alwaysanswerb

    Things I learned from this post:
    Can I Stream It?


  • Nicole

    Seriously - that is a great idea. My only wish is that they had Canada-specific searching because a) no Hulu, b) ITunes and Netflix have different availability here (i.e. - shittier)

  • Uriah_Creep

    It's always good to run into a fellow Canadian sufferer, Nicole.

  • Belkwinith

    FYI - they all suck. Now I am going to go home and bite my pillows!

  • SilverDeb

    The Grey was terrible! I love Liam Neeson but this was just awful.

  • Groundloop

    Aww, Liam Neesons straight JACKED UP 'dem wolves man!

  • Utopian

    You are wrong because science.

  • SilverDeb

    Did you hear the wolves that roared like lions?

  • Uriah_Creep

    I've got your back on this one. Those were some magic wolves.

  • SilverDeb

    Whoever was in charge of sound must have been high . Maybe that is the problem . I watched it sober .

  • Zzzzz

    So happy that someone recognizes FANDANGO. I've loved this film since I first saw it in the 80's on HBO. Hilarious, unique, with a bittersweet ending. Highly recommend it.

  • Mrs. Julien

    Mr. Julien and I were quoting Guffman in the kitchen just this morning, and then we tried to figure out if Corky's hair was meant to be a really bad hair cut, or a really bad toupee. Corky's solo choreography session is the funniest thing ever put to film.

  • BWeaves

    I think Corky's hair is supposed to be a really bad toupee.

    However, my favorite bit was actually at the very end, when Corky is showing off his "My Dinner With Andre" ACTION FIGURES. I snorted popcorn out my nose.

  • Mrs. Julien

    I particularly enjoy his "German" for the Das Boot item "moch, moch, moch".

  • Sara_Tonin00

    And I was just explaining to my 18 year old niece that she can't call herself a theater major until she's watched it.

  • danielwcarlson

    Every few days, my wife and I yell at each other "It was the smell of SALT WATER."

  • Mrs. Julien

    He's teaching me to change my instincts... or at least ignore them.

  • Puddin

    Oh, you're trying that "less is more acting", huh?

  • Blake

    Sorry,The Green Hornet does suck regardless of when it was released (not even Christoph Waltz could save that one).

  • Yes, thank you. I saw that movie for free and still wanted my money back.

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