With the holidays upon us, it’s safe to assume that your schedule is littered with family gatherings, gift exchanges, and year-end office parties. But, if you’re lucky, you’ll get quite a bit of downtime between now and the new year, so what better way to celebrate the upcoming slowdown in your schedule than checking out what the ever-expanding world of streaming entertainment has to offer.
To make things easier, here’s a breakdown of some stuff to lookout for while you kick back and enjoy the merriment of the holiday season.
Formerly known as ‘The Sundance Channel,’ the AMC-owned network has rebranded as SundanceTV, and continues to make a name for itself with cutting edge documentaries and off-the-radar world cinema. Here are a couple of exclusive titles they’re offering that you should look out for.
The Search For One-Eyed Jimmy (1994)
Written and directed by Sam Henry Kass, this off-kilter comedy involves a film student who returns to his old neighborhood to film a documentary about it. It boasts an all-star cast including Sam Rockwell, John Tuturro, Jennifer Beals, Steve Buscemi, and Samuel L. Jackson.
Real Genius (1985)
This criminally under-appreciated 80s comedy stars Val Kilmer as Chris Knight, a certified genius whose senior project involves a giant chemical laser and a lot of popcorn. Loaded with over-the-top hijinks and plenty of hilarious incidental moments, the film’s sunny setting makes it the perfect cinematic getaway from your snow-covered surroundings.
The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came To Eden (2013)
A critically acclaimed documentary about a group of European expatriates who resettled in the Galapagos islands in the 1930s before they started slowly disappearing. An intriguing real-life mystery that’s gone largely unknown to history, Cate Blanchett leads the film’s voice cast.
As the godfather of all streaming services moves ever closer to branding its all-original content, Netflix is still home to some of the most entertaining content you can find online.
Captain America: Civil War (2016)
The third installment in the Captain America saga, this time pitting against his one-time ally Tony Stark as the world’s superheroes are torn over some new government-backed legislation that would neuter their power. It features not only the formal introduction of Spider-Man to the MCU, but sharp-eyed fans will notice the stair car from Arrested Development during the pivotal battle at the Leipzig/Halle airport.
Comedy Bang! Bang! (seasons one through five)
The fifth season of Scott Aukerman’s mock-talk show drew the series to a close earlier this month, and when that final season hits Netflix on December 28th, you can relive the saga in its entirety.
Once known simply as ‘that TV thing,’ Hulu may have lost the Criterion Collection, but they’ve made up for it with a surprisingly diverse list of Hollywood blockbusters, as well as being a DVR for cord-cutters.
King Kong (1976)
American Horror Story mainstay Jessica Lange had her big-screen debut in this 1976 retooling of the story of King Kong. Co-starring Jeff Bridges, the film took a decidedly environmentalist turn (as was the style at the time), which seems to be reflected strongly in the upcoming reboot Kong: Skull Island set to hit theaters later this year.
The Mick (series premiere)
Kaitlin Olsen of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia fame heads up her own network series, The Mick, where she plays a woefully under-qualified nanny tasked with caring for her sister’s spoiled children while she flees the country to escape federal charges. Based on the previews, Fox’s midseason offering will highlight all of Olsen’s characteristics that makes Sweet Dee one of the most lovably shrill characters in TV history.
Packaged with free two-day shipping, Amazon Prime’s video selection continues to expand, offering a variety of current and classic movies while they continue to produce their own unique, original content.
The Lobster (2016)
While it wasn’t in wide release until this year, The Lobster opened 2015’s Fantastic Fest, where it wowed audiences with it’s kitschy take on a futuristic dystopia. Normally full of swagger, Colin Farrell stars here as a soft-spoken, downtrodden man whose recently single, and forced to relocate to a type of internment camp dedicated to pairing off couples. If they don’t find love, they get transformed into the animal of their choice.
The Man In The High Castle (seasons one and two)
Nazis running the U.S. government. I love nonfiction.
Available as both a premium cable channel as well as a stand-alone streaming service, Starz offers up a dynamite mix of original entertainment as well as some big-name blockbusters.
The Force Awakens (2015)
The film that reintroduced Star Wars to a new generation, director J.J. Abrams managed to appease older generations soiled by three uninspired prequels while continuing the story of the Skywalker family and their central role in an ongoing galactic civil war.
Ash Vs. The Evil Dead (seasons one and two)
Big, brash, and unbelievably bloody, Bruce Campbell resurrects his role as Ash Williams, everyones favorite S-Mart clerk as he continues to fight off the deadites at every possible turn. Hollywood legend Lee Majors joins the cast in the second season as Ash’s father, Brock.
Closing in on its first year in existence, Seeso has dedicated strictly to comedy has started to gain attention for its offering of new and classic selections.
Harmonquest (season one)
From the creator of the brilliant Community and the equally brilliant Rick And Morty comes a mix of animation, live action, and (somehow) improvisation that chronicles the adventures of a group of comedians as their role-playing campaigns.
Saturday Night Live (seasons one-forty-one)
For more than four decades, Lorne Michaels and his ever-changing group of ‘Not Ready for Prime Time Players’ have churned out topical sketch comedy week after week. Despite what the contrarians out there have to say, the show’s consistently more hit than miss, and now you can relive it all throughout the mire of the holiday season.
Once the premium cable giant offered up a standalone streaming service for those without cable subscriptions, HBO Now has become the go-to hub for binging of its massive backlog of superb original series, as well as some quality movies as well.
High Fidelity (2000)
Based on the British novel by Nick Hornby, John Cusack plays Rob, a music-obsessed record store owner who can’t seem to figure out how to be in a relationship. While the movie has endeared itself to everyone who can identify with Rob (roughly 85% of its audience), it’s also the movie that helped introduce Jack Black into the mainstream. You better hurry up and catch this one, as it’ll disappear from the roster on New Year’s Eve.
Westworld (season one)
It’s been evident for some time that HBO really, really wanted Westworld to pay off big time as it looks to plug a Game of Thrones-sized hole in its schedule in two short years. Given the enormity of online chatter, the endless fan theories, and constant speculation, it seems that the first season succeeded in roping in an audience, which was the largest ever for an HBO premiere season. You can take your time absorbing the mystery here, as the second season isn’t slated until sometime in 2018.