Thanksgiving weekend is upon us. That means it's time to gorge on carbs, nestle in on the couch, and treat yourself to dozens of hours in front of your screens. Here are some old favorites and new releases that landed on streaming services in November, hand-picked for your holiday enjoyment.
This endlessly quotable parody of disaster flicks is catnip for comedy nerds, a blend of Borscht Belt puns ("I am serious, and don't call me Shirley") and stoner absurdity. The threadbare plot is really an excuse for nonstop sight gags, flashbacks, movie references and fast-paced one-liners. The ensemble cast includes deadpan genius Leslie Nielsen, who went on to star in "The Naked Gun" franchise, and NBA great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who plays a doomed co-pilot.
Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood is having a moment. "The Handmaid's Tale," the Hulu series based on her dystopian fable, captured the post-2016 zeitgeist and swept the Emmys. "Alias Grace," adapted from her eponymous 1996 novel, could become a sociopolitical touchstone, too. Sarah Gadon stars as Grace Marks, a real-life servant imprisoned for a double murder in 19th-century Canada. The six-part miniseries is directed by Mary Harron ("American Psycho") and written by actress/filmmaker Sarah Polley.
The recent debate over whether this box-office phenomenon should be considered a comedy or drama at the upcoming Golden Globes was telling. "Get Out," the directorial debut of comedian Jordan Peele, is a horror film that samples and remixes genres with nervy aplomb, zigzagging from social satire and dark comedy to bone-chilling frights. Daniel Kaluuya stars as a black photographer whose weekend visit with the family of his white girlfriend quickly turns nightmarish. Peele may have the last word on how to think of his breakout project. He says it's a documentary.
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Don't be fooled by the candy-colored production design: "Lady Dynamite," now in its second season, will surprise you with its dark edges and strange rhythms. The series stars stand-up comic Maria Bamford as stand-up comic Maria Bamford, who struggles with bipolar disorder. The exuberant, gleefully weird humor is shaded by real pain, making "Lady Dynamite" a close cousin to "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend," the beloved musical-comedy sitcom on the CW. "Saturday Night Live" alumnus Ana Gasteyer has a recurring role as Bamford's agent.
"Michael Clayton" turned 10 this year, but the critically acclaimed film hasn't lost any of its edge or urgency. The film stars George Clooney as a "fixer" at a powerful New York law firm who discovers a conspiracy involving an agribusiness conglomerate. Tilda Swinton won an Oscar for her unforgettable turn as a high-strung corporate lawyer on the verge of a breakdown. The literate screenplay and sleek visual style helped make this thriller a modern classic.
Director Dee Rees invests this wrenching historical melodrama with piercing moral clarity. The film focuses on a pair of World War II veterans who return to rural Mississippi at the height of the Jim Crow era. They deal with racism and post-traumatic stress disorder — two charged issues that Rees and her co-writer, Virgil Williams, depict with sensitivity. "Mudbound" could be a contender at the Oscars. R&B star Mary J. Blige, in particular, has earned awards buzz for her memorable performance.
Where to watch: Netflix; also in theaters in select cities
Spike Lee broke into the independent film world with "She's Gotta Have It," a frank and freewheeling 1986 comedy about a young woman juggling the affections of three men. More than three decades later, Lee has returned to that premise in a ten-episode streaming series that premieres on Thursday. The reboot stars DeWanda Wise as vivacious Brooklynite Nola Darling and "Hamilton" fan favorite Anthony Ramos as one of her suitors.
It may be hard to imagine a time when Jennifer Lawrence wasn't a global superstar and household name. But that time was only seven years ago, when she landed a breakout role in this low-budget drama. Lawrence plays a teen girl in the Ozarks who has to track down her father, a narrative throughline that the film uses to explore rural poverty and drug addiction. That may not sound like comforting holiday viewing, but "Winter's Bone" tells a compelling tale with family ties at its core.