BY: THE DIFF EDITORIAL TEAM
November looks like another strong month for streaming with classic favorites and exciting new additions. Here are the top offerings approved and recommended by our editorial writers.
Rett- A Clockwork Orange (1971)
Directed by the influential and renowned Stanley Kubrick, A Clockwork Orange remains one of the most disturbing yet thought-provoking films of all time. The film follows a young and charismatic delinquent named Alex Delarge who fancies classical music but also committing horrific acts of “ultra-violence” such as rape and robbery. His actions eventually get the best of him as he goes through a grueling rehabilitation program that left a long-lasting detrimental effect. The style Kubrick uses throughout his other films such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Shining, and Barry Lyndon are all present in A Clockwork Orange, but it was one of the more impressive films in his outstanding filmography. The use of unique camera movements, classical music, poetic narration, and ingenious production design all contribute to a sense of uneasiness throughout the film. The film was well-received in 1971 and received 4 Academy Awards nominations (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Editing). A Clockwork Orange will disturb and hypnotize you while also making you question whether humans are morally good or bad and whether or not society can truly reinvent or change a person of who they are.
Cate: Hillbilly Elegy (2020)
Coming to Netflix on November 24th, this Ron Howard-directed film tells the story of J.D. Vance and his family from the Ohioan Appalachians. Based on Vance’s 2016 memoir of the same name, this film is set to star Glenn Close as J.D.’s grandmother, Mamaw, and Amy Adams as his drug-addicted mother. It will also feature Owen Asztalos as 14-year-old J.D. and Gabriel Basso as his adult self.
Hillbilly Elegy is told from the perspective of J.D., a Yale Law student, and former Marine, as he returns home to the Midwest and is forced to confront the demons of growing up in a working-class household always striving toward the bigger and better. While the memoir focuses on many prevalent socio-political themes—and the movie is sure to do the same—Ron Howard has stressed his deep commitment toward developing authentic and relatable characters. He suggests that a focus on characters, rather than on theme, is what will make this movie poignant and unique. It will be interesting to see how this decision plays out in the viewing of the film, and whether Howard’s commitment to the characters holds. Either way, I am looking forward to Glenn Close’s performance. She has an uncanny ability to fully inhabit her characters and bring them to life. Mamaw, I’m sure, will be no different. With such a strong cast, timely source material, and the directorial skill of Ron Howard, Hillbilly Elegy promises to be a thought-provoking, if not beautiful, film.
Olivia: The Great Pretender (2020)
Season two of Netflix’s new anime series, The Great Pretender, will be arriving on Netflix this November 25. The show follows a group of oddball confidence men, determined to take from the lowest of the low and give to themselves. Where most heist flicks are methodical, weaving details into the culmination of one meticulously planned operation, The Great Pretender is an ever chessboard of competing agendas. Interspersed in these cons are personal character narratives, stories which ground the show by tackling modern themes of real consequence–like the fallout of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. The show’s jazz-inspired soundtrack plays beautifully over the mechanistic improvisations of the central crew, with its vibrant hues forging a world that lives and breathes instead of a mere backdrop. If you’ve any affection for ragtag group heists flicks like Ocean’s Eleven, I’d give The Great Pretender a shot. There’s still time to catch the first 14 episodes before the new stuff. Especially for all you die-hard anime fans out there, this is one you don’t wanna miss.
Cate: Wayne (2019)
Season 1 of Youtube Red’s beloved Wayne is coming to Amazon Prime on November 6th, almost two years after its initial release in January 2019. From the writers of Deadpool and Zombieland, Wayne currently holds a 100% critic review on Rotten Tomatoes and has delighted fans since its release.
This series tells the story of Wayne, a 16-year old from Boston who can’t help but right the wrongs he sees with the world. After the death of his father, Wayne and his new girlfriend, Del, set out to reclaim his father’s 1978 Trans Am that was stolen before his death. A black comedy steeped with compelling dialogue and exciting (and occasionally very bloody) action sequences, this show is sold by the performances of leads Mark McKenna of Sing Street and Ciara Bravo of Red Band Society, as well as the supporting cast, helmed by Dean Winters (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) as Del’s vengeful father. A complex mixture of deep emotion, grit, and humor, this series is a refreshing portrait of a teenage vigilante and his quest to reclaim what is rightfully his.
An unexpected hit—the first episode alone holds over 40 million views—Wayne was surprisingly never granted a second season. The showrunners claim that this was due to the cancellation of its network, Youtube Red. Luckily, there is still hope for the future of Wayne. When the news broke that Amazon Prime was picking it up, star Mark McKenna posted on his Instagram stating, “if we get enough views there is a POSSIBILITY of a second season… so this is me shamelessly begging you to watch WAYNE.” Hopefully, a new home on Amazon Prime will allow for the story of Wayne to continue, as it is too impressive of a narrative to be relegated to the shadows.
Gabriel: The Lego Batman Movie (2017)
The first 3 Lego movies are coming to HBO Max this November, and if for some reason you have not yet seen the cultural masterpiece that is the original Lego movie, then that is the first thing you should go watch. But since everyone already knows that it’s a great movie, my pick has to go to The Lego Batman Movie. Behind The Dark Knight, which is also coming to HBO Max this November, The Lego Batman Movie is probably the most fun I’ve had watching anything Batman related. A thoroughly fun ride from start to finish, and a great comedy twist on one of the most serious superheroes to star in movies, The Lego Batman Movie surprised me with the care it gave to the story of Batman and takes a fresh look at the dynamic between Joker and Batman. If this movie slipped under the radar for you when it first came out, and you’re a fan of the Lego movie, you should check out The Lego Batman Movie if only to reminisce about a more peaceful time aka 2017.
Harry: Lego Star Wars Holiday Special (2020)
The Lego Batman Movie is not the only awesome Lego content coming to streaming this month. On November 17, Disney+ will release the new Lego Star Wars Holiday Special, continuing the holiday special tradition first introduced in the 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special. Following the events of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the new holiday special follows Rey’s new adventure across the Star Wars timeline as she crosses paths with heroes and villains from the Skywalker Saga like Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader. The cute and funny style of Lego movies and TV shows have made them extremely popular with audiences. While altering beloved stories like Star Wars and Avengers to make them more family-friendly and humorous, Lego also preserved the core of these franchises, making their movies and shows unique and fresh experiences. For fans of Star Wars, the Lego Star Wars Holiday Special will be a nice continuation of the story in an endearing fashion. For fans of Lego, the special will also fulfill our collective desire of seeing our favorite Lego minifigures come to life.