What to Stream: December 2018

Ellen Lewis

I’ve filed through the best new releases for December across all major streaming platforms, so that you don’t have to excavate through them yourself. Enjoy!

Lakeith Stanfield and Tessa Thompson in Sorry To Bother You (2018)

Sorry to Bother You (2018)

Now streaming on Hulu

One of the best from the most recent Sundance Film Festival, this whip-smart satire is set in Oakland in the not-too-distant future. The film opens with Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfield) interviewing for an entry-level position doing outbound sales at a call center. The film goes absolutely off the rails from there, and explores values dissonance in the modern age in ways that are shocking, subversive, and laugh-out-loud funny. Tessa Thompson’s statement earrings (in more than one sense of the word) are worth the price of admission alone.

Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal in When Harry Met Sally (1989)

When Harry Met Sally… (1989)

Now streaming on Showtime

Let’s be honest: most of the holiday movie streaming options this year are abysmal. While I might be tempted to watch some made-for-TV Hallmark movie, or Love Actually for the umpteenth time, or even the Michael Shannon furry movie, I’m leaning towards New Year’s offerings this time around. hen Harry Met Sally… a staple for alternative NYE plans, packed with Nora Ephron’s signature sharp dialogue. As we also approach the anniversary of Carrie Fisher’s passing, now is also a good time to appreciate some of her underrated roles, including her turn as Sally’s close friend and confidant Marie.

A dog who sounds an awful lot like Jeff Goldblum in Isle of Dogs (2018)

Isle of Dogs (2018)

Available December22 on HBO Now

At this point in Wes Anderson’s career, you either find him charming or cloying. I definitely lead towards charming, especially with something like Isle of Dogs. I personally love stop motion animation, films set in Japan, and every dog I have ever met in my entire life, but what really makes the film stand out is its usage of language. Aside from the dogs, and select scenes with American exchange student Tracy (Greta Gerwig) and an English interpretor (Frances McDormand), all dialogue is in Japanese without subtitles. This leave us as an audience to both question the reliability of the relayed information from our translators, how subjective an “accurate” translation can be when certain words may not capture the precise emotions or ideas when shifting roots and alphabets. We are also made more aware that Atari’s (Koyu Rankin) experiences and feelings in adolescence are something more universal.

Heather Graham in Boogie Nights (1997)

Boogie Nights (1997)

Now streaming on Amazon Prime

After playing ping-pong from one streaming platform to another this past year, one of my go-to film recommendations returns to Prime. Boasting in insane ensemble cast (Julianne Moore? John C. Reilly?? Don Cheadle??? Philip Seymour Hoffman????) and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, Boogie Nights follows the rise and fall of a young porn star in the San Fernando Valley. A classic found family story set in the backdrop of 70s glamour and 80s excess, Boogie Nights remains an essential contemporary cult classic, and will forever change the way that you listen to Rick Springfield’s “Jessie’s Girl”.