Baby, it's cold outside. Maybe you've got the post-Thanksgiving blues, maybe you're just snowed in by feet upon feet of climate change. But don't be afraid, don't you give it a second thought! You just settle in tight for a month of new shit on Netflix, forget the stuff we're leaving behind, and I guarantee it'll get us all the way to Christmas.
December 1, A Monday
- American Beauty (1999)—Kevin Spacey and Chris Cooper fight over Wes Bentley, mainly about which one loves him more and in what way, while Annette Bening completely rules. Remember her in that movie? She's wound a little tight, I would say.
- A Knight's Tale (2001)—Heath Ledger, Rufus Sewell, Shannyn Sossamon, Paul Bettany, Laura Fraser, and Mark Addy. Chaucer helps a hot young squire fake being a knight to impress a lady with attention-seeking, bonkers hairdos.
- Almost Famous (2000)—Frances McDormand loses her children to the 1970s. With Billy Crudup, a dazzling Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Kate Hudson in her only worthwhile performance, and Cotton Spokeswaif and former Mrs. Cutie, Zooey Deschanel.
- Bewitched (2005)—Nobody knows what the fuck they are doing in this mid-career fuckup by Nicole Kidman, also starring Will Ferrell, Shirley MacLaine, Michael Caine, Jason Schwartzman, and a rueful Kristin Chenoweth.
- Jewtopia (2012)—is called that; stars Tom Arnold.
- Knights of Badassdom (2014)—is called that, but stars Ryan Kwanten, Steve Zahn, Peter Dinklage, Summer Glau, and Lisa P herself, Margarita Levieva. It is one of those movies where they are just LARPers that happen to look like Ryan Kwanten, and then guess what magic is real.
- Madison (2005)—Jim Caviezel, Bruce Dern, and Mary McCormack have boat problems in 1971. Based on a true story about boats.
- Out of Time (2003)—The last thing you want to do is run out of time when you're solving a murder! We're going to need Denzel Washington, Eva Mendes, Sanaa Lathan, Dean Cain, John Billingsley, and my dear Robert Baker, recently recovering from his appearance as a soldier on a very terrible Mulaney.
- The Out-of-Towners (1999)—Steve Martin, John Cleese, the Canadian Mark McKinney, Goldie Hawn and her oily monster spawn Oliver Hudson remake a movie they have no goddamn business worrying about remaking. "Get outta town with that," is what you should say to this movie when it arrives on Netflix Monday.
- Troop Beverly Hills (1989)—Shelley Long stars with Craig T. Nelson and Audra Lindley in one of the fundamental films of our era. When was the last time you watched it? Because I know when the next one will be, and it is at ASAP o'clock.
December 3, A Wednesday
- Oculus (2014)—Karen Gillan and future hottie Brenton Thwaites use a magic mirror to figure out where their ghost mom Katee Sackhoff went. It's nowhere good, I'll tell you that much.
- Son of God (2014)—In this sequel to The Bible, Roma Downey presents the story of Jesus as if it's historical, concrete fact rather than a powerful myth that can provide spiritual meaning and comfort.
December 5, A Friday
- Bill Burr: I'm Sorry You Feel That Way (2014)—The next Netflix Original standup special finds comedy insider Bill Burr providing a fresh take on zombies, romantic comedies, and those darn Millennials.
December 6, A Saturday
- American Horror Story: Coven—Watch Ryan & Brad as they attempt the Seven Wonders of showrunning: Precious masturbates in front of a minotaur, Kathy Bates's head is a racist, one lady goes blind like a hundred times, another lady gets set on fire multiple times, there are problematic black albinos, this one guy gets raped a bunch of different times and ways, and a tongueless butler has a collection of dolls. It all hangs together really well and makes complete sense, start to finish.
- Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (Super-Sized Version) (2013)—Everybody needs money! It's what we exchange for goods and services.
- Sharknado 2: The Second One (2014)—Not in my America you don't.
December 8, A Monday
- Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, Season 3: Anthony goes places he doesn't even know where they are—nobody does, it's places with crazy names like "Vegas" and "Mississippi"—and eats their nasty food on CNN to prove his daddy was wrong about him.
December 9, A Tuesday
- I Am Ali (2014)—One-third audio diary, one-third oral history from those who knew the legend most, one-third magical adventure.
- Drive Hard (2014)—Thomas Jane teaches John Cusack to drive. Hard.
December 10, A Wednesday
- Haunted House 2 (2014)—The Wayans Bros. series continues to explore the profound and occasionally humorous link between ghosts and buttholes.
December 11, A Thursday
- The Village (2004)—Not the worst movie in the entire world, this twisty period piece is neither twisty nor—twist!—a period piece; relies almost entirely on the story of Bryce Dallas Howard wandering around a forest, blind. Except in matters of the heart, and also matters of the werewolf, where she is 20/20 all the way.
- The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)—Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill team with Martin Scorsese for a thin but fun movie about the beginnings of a corruption that has since metastasized, coopting our government almost entirely, but then forgets to explicitly say that part.
December 12, A Friday
- Broadchurch, Season 1—Whether because of the useless Fox remake starring one of the same leads for no discernable reason, or the completely bullshit ending of the first season, you've definitely been hearing about this dreary work of art for a couple months now. If you haven't gotten hit by the winter depression yet, why not give this a shot?
- Marco Polo (2014)—A Netflix Original Drama starring Joan Chen, Lorenzo Richelmy, Benedict Wong, Rick Yune, Amr Waked, Remy Hii, Zhu Zhu, Tom Wu, Mahesh Jadu, Olivia Cheng, Uli Latukefu, and Chin Han, this story of Marco Polo's 13th-century adventures in Kublai Khan's court should be full of intrigue and sexy, in a certain way!
- Nick Offerman: American Ham (2014)—In the musician and comedian's one-man show, Nick talks live about woodworking, frugality, meat, and the one to three other facets of his personality.
December 13, A Saturday
- Don't Blink (2014)—In this unfortunately titled slasher, working actors—from Mena Suvari and Brian Austin Green to Star Trek: Voyager's Robert Picardo—must solve the mystery of a haunted mountain lodge. Have you ever tried to not blink? It's very hard. The stakes would have to be pretty high.
December 15, A Monday
- Jake Squared (2014)—Elias Koteas stars in this movie where I cannot for the life of me figure out what they're describing. It seems like a cross between The One I Love and Synecdoche, NY? Maybe? Which is enough to get my interest, but then look at this cast: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Virginia Madsen, Jane Seymour, Mike Vogel, and Meredith "Natty Gann" Salenger? Yeah okay thanks.
See what I'm saying? I'm sure it's very nice and I do love all those people, but I simply can't make heads or tails of what is happening. It's like Memento. It's like being slowly injected with a memento serum over the course of a three-minute trailer, and nary a tattoo to show for it by the end, explaining who, what, when, why. Any of the Ws.
December 18, A Thursday
- The Honourable Woman, Season 1—Maggie Gyllenhaal plays a Baroness. If that is okay with you, maybe watch this eight-hour thing from Sundance and the BBC. Let me know how that goes! You lost me pretty much immediately.
December 20, A Saturday
- Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (Extended Version) (2014)—This Latino-focused spin-off from the Paranormal mothership, and what it means as a marketing strategy, is not something on which I'm qualified to comment, but I will note that all materials seem rather focused on the concept that the characters will be driven to rely upon their faith.
December 22, A Monday
- Dark Skies (2013)—Keri Russell and Josh Hamilton are pretty sure aliens are all up in their house, but nobody will believe them! Turns out the aliens are mad about the time Felicity cut her hair. Which I know what you're thinking, When are we gonna let this go, but remember that for some alien cultures in our galaxy, they are only now receiving television from the '90s. To them, these wounds are quite fresh.
- Romy and Michele's High School Reunion (1997)—Three weeks after the Troop Beverly Hills arrival, this most perfect product of the 1990s hits Netflix. I'm not one to rewatch anything, really, but I will watch this movie as many times as I can in this lifetime.
December 23, A Tuesday
- The Trip to Italy (2014)—Grownup talking-point (and show repackaged as a movie) The Trip's sequel finally arrives, so get ready to watch Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon muse about all kinds of stuff, just in Italy this time. Retracing the footsteps of the great Romantic poets, improvising about everything from life to love to life again. It is not terrible! It sounds just awful but it's actually really neat.
December 24, A Wednesday
- Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return (2014)—What's that, boys and girls? You're anxious for Santa's visit and can't sleep? How about something even more awesome than Santa Claus? That's right, a cartoon musical starring Lea Michele and Kelsey Grammer. You'll be like Who the fuck even needs Christmas, now? I'm good.
Christmas, A Holiday for Some
- Good People (2014)—Hey Merry Christmas it's a movie with James Franco and Kate Hudson in it.
December 27, A Saturday
- Child of God (2014)—Merry St. Fabiola's Day! In honor of this patron saint of domestic violence, adultery, widows and hospice care, I got you another James Franco movie. This one is about a man who is so fed up with it that he goes into a cave. Does he come back out of it? I don't know. Does he have all of his arms if/when he does? Again I do not have this information.
- Labor Day (2013)—The wonderful Jason Reitman made this movie about Josh Brolin and Kate Winslet, doing something on a Labor Day Weekend that seems dangerous but also like he is providing a much-needed stabilizing male influence in the home. I have seen the ads for this a million times and that's all I really have figured out, but I'm excited to see it one day. Also stars Tobey Maguire and James van der Beek as, God willing, a couple of ranch hands or, given the title, union organizers. Maybe doulas. "James van der Beek probably has some soft hands," as the saying goes.
December 28, A Sunday
- Behaving Badly (2014)—Somebody makes a sex bet with the Mob? That sounds dumb. Selena Gomez, Mary-Louise Parker, Elisabeth Shue, Dylan McDermott, and Jason Lee—signs of quality, each and every one of them—are somehow involved in this.
- I, Frankenstein (2014)—Aaron Eckhart is a Frankenstein in this movie about Frankensteins, angels, and Jai Courtney. See it again... Or for the first time! Or no times.
- "I hate feeling comfortable! My idea of fun is the opposite of what that word means according to a dictionary!" If that sounds like you talking, I have a great idea for two things you can watch on Sunday, December 28 of this year: Maron Season 2 and Comedy Bang! Bang! Season 3.
December 30, A Tuesday
- Last Weekend (2014)—Zachary Booth from Damages (and amazing in Keep the Lights On), Jayma Mays from Glee, Joseph Cross from Running with Scissors, Rutina Wesley from True Blood, and Fran Kranz from Dollhouse join "Teen Dexter" Devon Graye and Patricia Clarkson, who plays the mom. What is going on with this family and why can't they just settle down and be cool? Patricia Clarkson needs to know before she just blows her top!
That's all the hope I need. Somebody should show that to Patricia Clarkson. Anyway there you go, a month's worth of televisual and filmic delights, available to you at the touch of a button or flick of a whatever. Have a great December and stay warm!