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)
The Green Hornet (Jan. 14, 2011)
Zero Effect (Jan. 30, 1998)
Waiting for Guffman (Jan. 31, 1997)
Before Sunrise (Jan. 27, 1995)
Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (Jan. 5, 1990)
Fandango (Jan. 25, 1985)
The Lonely Guy (Jan. 27, 1984)