January is a rough month for movies. It’s a time when all the titles that already hit the major markets in November and December are expanding their releases. It’s a time that’s also considered a dumping ground for plenty of films that we’ll all forget about by the time the summer blockbusters roll around. But nobody ever thinks of January as the time we’ve all been waiting for.

However, there are a few movies that have broken this nasty cycle. While January 2015 is filled with much of the same — we’re referring to Mortdecai, The Boy Next Door, The Wedding Ringer and Blackhat, the latter of which looks like this year’s Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit — there are some noteworthy films you would never have guessed is part of the January circuit because they’re so good. To help disperse the depressing haze that lingers in movie theaters this month, here are 10 great January-released films, dating back to the 1980s.

The Grey
The Grey (2011)
Box Office: $51,580,236

Why It Wasn’t Terrible: It’s Liam Neesons! It’s Liam Neesons fighting those big-ass wolves! The Grey was one of those movies starring the apple of Key and Peele’s eye that wasn’t about somebody getting "tooken." Unless you count Neeson getting "tooken" by Mother Nature. Focusing on a sharpshooter flying a crew of Alaskan oil refinery workers back home after a grueling five-week shift, The Grey shows what happens when we are faced with a do-or-die situation in the wilderness. Dropping on January 2012, it dominated the box office that opening weekend, which also saw One For the Money, Man on a Ledge, Underworld: Awakening and The Lincoln Lawyer screening in theaters. While it went on to become one of the Neeson’s most standout performances, it also earned the respect of critics and landed on many lists of the best movies of 2012.

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