There’s no doubt that January has become something of a cinematic cesspool that offers nothing worth seeing in theaters. We’ve already presented a good deal of evidence that proves just how bad the first month of the year can be. But like most bad reputations, sometimes it’s easy to over-generalize and overlook the not so bad. Sure, January isn’t a Mecca of good movies, but not every release is dead on arrival as has become the widely accepted belief. Sometimes you luck out and get something worth spending two hours in a dark theater for – especially if you’re a fan of science-fiction, horror, and action. We’ve gathered together a list of some January movies that were legitimately good — and a few we want to defend as being not nearly as putrid as most would lead you to believe.
Before Sunrise (1995)
Richard Linklater’s third feature film remains one of the greatest romances ever put to screen, largely because it’s also one of the most realistic. It’s a kind of Rorschach test that reflects whatever experiences you bring to it – that time you fell in love abroad, that quick burning love that got away, that first date that you didn’t want to end. No formulaic romantic comedy conventions here, just an ode to the power of conversation to intimately connect one person with another. For all the justified praise Before Sunrise gets for its genuine romance, it also deserves credit for being a dead-on snapshot of people in their early-twenties – something the sequel’s more cynical (but no less apt) take on thirty-something disillusionment underscores.