Boy, I hope you folks like Christmas movies because the holiday season is officially in full swing and Netflix is not messing around with seasonal programming this year. From romance to fantasy to family-friendly animated adventures, the streaming service is going all-in on that holiday cheer, but as always, there are also some classics, crowd-pleasers, and nostalgic favorites among the onslaught of originals new to Netflix this month.
You can check out a complete list of all the new movies and shows on Netflix in November right here, but if you’re looking for a little guidance, we’ve put together a list of highlights and recommendations for what to watch. From the existential lows of A Clockwork Orange to the candy-coated highs of Jingle Jangle, check out our picks below.
Image via Warner Bros.
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Writer: Ted Griffin
Cast: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Julia Roberts, Andy Garcia, Carl Reiner, Shaobo Qin, Bernie Mac, Elliott Gould
As far as crowd-pleasing films go, Steven Soderberg’s Ocean’s Eleven easily sits in the upper echelon of endlessly rewatchable, absurdly charismatic gems. And if old-school Hollywood movie stars are a dying breed, the 2001 heist comedy might be one of the last times an ensemble commanded attention on sheer star power alone. Clooney. Pitt. Damon. Roberts. And on and on and on, Ocean’s Eleven puts that megawatt superstar ensemble to excellent use, banking on their charms and Soderberg’s command of genre to deliver a boom-pow, ooh-ah cinematic fireworks display.
A Clockwork Orange
Image via Warner Bros.
Director/Writer: Stanley Kubrick
Cast: Malcolm McDowell, Patrick Magee, Adrienne Korri, Miriam Karlin, Michael Bates
Nothing says holiday spirit like… Ultraviolence? Hmmm perhaps not, but there are plenty of Christmas movies on Netflix and plenty more arriving this month (see below), so if you’re not feeling the seasonal glow, Stanley Kubrick’s 1971 classic is an always reliable – and disturbing – anti-establishment watch. The highly-lauded, equally controversial satirical comedy-thriller stars Malcolm McDowell in an iconic performance as Alex, the depraved leader of a violent gang of delinquents called the Droogs, who winds up a subject in a cruel experimental rehabilitation.
Kubrick luxuriates in the horrific deeds of the Droogs, ensuring the audience’s abject dread, and then he exploits that dread to turn the tables faster than you can say “Holy heck, is that actually in his eye?”, transforming it into a big-picture grotesquerie that wags a cheeky, disdainful finger at societies that seek to enforce justice through injustice. It’s one of the squirmiest, most meticulous – it is Kubrick after all, and downright best dark satires ever made. Which is no surprise because, again, it’s Kubrick.
Image via Screen Gems
Director: Will Gluck
Writer: Bert V. Royal
Cast: Emma Stone, Stanley Tucci, Patricia Clarkson, Penn Badgley, Amanda Bynes, Thomas Hayden Church, Lisa Kudrow, Malcolm McDowell
Good news, Malcolm McDowell stans, this month on Netflix is a two-for-one! Ok, so McDowell isn’t exactly the main draw in Easy A, but he does play one dang delightful high school principal! Will Gluck’s 2010 teen comedy updates ‘The Scarlet Letter’ with the story of a teenage girl who decides to embrace her new image when a rumor goes wrong, pinning her as the girl who sleeps around. Emma Stone stars in the role that, along with Zombieland, which also hit theaters in 2010, cemented her as a household name after her breakout performance in Superbad. And she’s just a joy; witty and charming, as ever, a powerhouse of charisma and comedic timing, which makes Easy A an always reliable feel-good watch that will have you chuckling, singing “Pocket Full of Sunshine” for the next few days, and wishing Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson were your parents.
Image via The Weinstein Company
Director/Writer: Ryan Coogler
Cast: Michael B. Jordan, Melonie Diaz, Octavia Spencer, Kevin Durand, Chad Michael Murray
Three for three, every time Ryan Coogler and Michael B. Jordan team up for a movie, you know it’s going to be something special. The duo stepped into the stratosphere of superstardom with the knockout one-two of Creed and Black Panther, but if you missed Coogler’s 2013 feature directorial debut, Fruitvale Station, there couldn’t be a better time to get caught up. Adapting from the true-life tragedy of Oscar Grant, Coogler crafts a remarkable, straight-forward, and shatteringly effective drama set across the last hours of Grant’s life before he was shot and killed by a BART police officer.
Coogler never flinches in staging the injustice for what it’s worth, but he takes just as much time to celebrate the life of Oscar Grant, conveying the tragedy of a life cut short by honing in on the poetic minutiae of every minute leading up to his last breath. Jordan gives a stunning performance through every beat, and it’s immediately obvious why the two haven’t stopped teaming up since. Fruitvale Station is a must-watch movie in its own right a wrenching drama, a potent reminder of the humanity behind every headline, and the value of every life, but in a year where police violence and racial injustice so politicized they’re somehow considered partisan issues, it’s absolutely essential viewing.
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey
Image via Netflix
Director/Writer: David E. Talbert
Cast: Forest Whitaker, Anika Noni Rose, Keegan-Michael Key, Phylicia Rashad, Hugh Bonneville, Madalen Mills, Ricky Martin, Justin Cornwell, Sharon Rose
In this year’s lineup of new Netflix Christmas movies, Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey easily comes out on top of the pack. Starring the great Forest Whitaker as Jeronicus Jangle, a famed toymaker reeling from heartbreak after an apprentice (Keegan-Michael Key) stole his most prized design, the film follows Jeronicus on his journey back to the joy of creation after his grandaughter (Madale Mills) shows up and turns his life back around. This movie is just stuffed with cheer, stacking musical sequences on animated scenes on vibrant set and costume design that makes for a buzzing, kaleidoscopic celebration of festivity, innovation, and family.
The Princess Switch: Switched Again
Image via Netflix
Director: Mike Rohl
Writers: Robin Bernheim and Megan Metzger
Cast: Vanessa Hudgens (and Vanessa Hudgens and Vanessa Hudgens), Sam Paladio, Nick Sagar, Mark Fleischmann, Suanne Braun
If you saw Netflix’s deliciously breezy and confidently silly Christmas Comedy confection The Princess Switch, you pretty much know what to expect from the sequel. Mistaken identities! Romance! Hijinks! Because, as the title tells you, they’re Switched Again. This time, however, star Vanessa Hudgens is doing triple duty, with the introduction of a swanky, sneaky royal cousin who sets her sights on the throne via a, you guessed it, identity swap. Switched Again is twice as silly as the original (and yes, that is saying something) and not quite as endearing, but it’s Christmas comfort food that absolutely delivers on the empty-calories appeal of what it’s selling. Netflix has pretty much cornered the market on better-than-average-but-still-very-dumb holiday romances since 2017’s A Christmas Prince because they give the people what they want. And there’s no shame in wanting a little extra cheese during the holiday season.
Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square
Image via Netflix
Director: Debbie Allen
Writers: Dolly Parton and Maria S. Schlatter
Cast: Dolly Parton, Christine Baranski, Josh Segarra, Jenifer Lewis, Jeanine Mason, Mary Lane Haskell, Treat Williams, Selah Kimbro Jones
Do ya want to spend Christmas with Dolly Parton? Yeah, of course you do. It’s not that Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square is a good movie. It’s definitely not. But it knows that and it’s okay with it, and so am I because that’s not what either of us showed up for. There are, however, two very good reasons to show up for this one. Obviously, Dolly, who’s singing all original songs she wrote for the film. They’re not her best work, but when Dolly sings, I listen. Second is the wonderful Christine Baranski, who makes a meal of every line delivery as a Scrooge-y owner of a small town that learns to embrace the Christmas spirit with some help from a Dolly Parton angel. It’s all very campy, a Christmas pageant with a Netflix budget – and yes, it’s all very Godly, but when the message of faith and kindness comes from a bonafide samaritan and a track record of good deeds as long as Dolly Parton’s, you know its earnest. And that’s the real trick to Christmas on the Square, it’s such a product of genuine Good Will Towards Men, overflowing with Parton’s pure spirit (and some squee-worthy sequined angel-wear, while we’re at it) that you can’t help but feel a little cheerier when it’s over.
Image via Netflix
Director: Stephen Chiodo
Writers: Kealan O’Rourke, Dan Clark, Noah Kloor
Cast: Keythe Farley, Dee Bradley Baker, Kaliayh Rhambo, Michelle Deco, Barbara Goodson, Jessica Gee-George
A kids’ Christmas movie from the filmmakers of Killer Klowns from Outerspace? Say no more, I’m in. Adapting from the 2014 book of the same name, co-written by director Stephen Chiodo, the Chiodo brothers put their stop-motion sorcery to work in a sub-hour Christmas special that updates the charms of the classic Rankin & Bass stop-motion Christmas specials for a new generation. With powerhouse producers like John Favreau and Karen Gilchrist on board, Netflix’s Alien Xmas had all the right WTF factors to ensure I tuned in as soon as it was available, and happy to report, it’s a charming Christmas treat that’s a bit thin, but thanks to the 40-minute runtime, never stretches its charms beyond their payoff.
Imagine The Grinch, except its little kleptomaniac aliens coming to steal your Christmas spirit and you’ve pretty much got the gist of it. If you’re not familiar, the Chiodo Bros are some of the most spectacular stop-motion craftsmen in the biz, having provided the enduringly disturbing puppets for Team America: World Police and the North Pole segments of Elf, and in keeping, Alien Xmas features some pretty stunning animation.
The Christmas Chronicles 2
Image via Netflix
Director: Chris Columbus
Writers: Matt Lieberman and Chris Columbus
Cast: Kurt Russell, Goldie Hawn, Julian Dennison, Darby Camp, Jahzir, Bruno, Tyrese Gibson, Sunny Suljic, Darlene Love, Judah Lewis
Are you ready for more Hot Santa? Kurt Russell’s surprisingly sexy St. Nick is back in The Christmas Chronicles 2, and this time, he brought along Goldie Hawn as a similarly smokin’ Mrs. Clause. It’s always nice to see America’s mom and dad thriving, and while the sequel to Netflix’s 2018 Christmas hit doesn’t quite recapture the charm of the original, the Chris Columbus-helmed followup packs a whole lot of cheer into its romp through the North Pole. Of course, Russell and Hawn are a reliable delight, but there’s also a lot of fun to be had with Hunt for the Wilderpeople breakout Julian Dennison, who channels his signature sense of humor as an angsty elf determined to end Christmas for good. Like most of Netflix’s Christmas content, you know what you’re gonna get with The Christmas Chronicles 2, and while it may not be a new Christmas classic (when was the last time we got one of those?), its a solid pick if you’re looking for something to watch with the whole family.
Image via Netflix
Director/Writer: Matthew Michael Carnahan
Cast: Suhail Dabbach, Bilal Adam Bessa
Much of Netflix’s most interesting productions have sprung from their international creative teams of late, from the satirical thriller The Platform earlier this year, to the steady stream of bingeable international series like Dark and Money Heist. That trend is set to continue with Mosul, the new war thriller produced by the Russo Brothers, which follows a SWAT team waging a guerilla fight to take back their city from ISIS. Mosul has been earning a lot of good buzz leading up to its Netflix release, and the early reviews confirm the raves, hailing the film as one of the year’s best action movies with an artful balance of explosive thrills and tight character drama.
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About The Author
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Haleigh Foutch is a writer, editor, host, actor, and cat enthusiast based in Los Angeles. She’s currently Senior Editor of Content Strategy and Analytics at Collider, where she’s been climbing the ranks and screaming about the unsung genius of Grosse Pointe Blank for nearly a decade. She also oversees Collider’s horror content and co-created The Witching Hour podcast, previously appeared as a regular panelist on Movie Talk, and has written for Rotten Tomatoes, Complex, Birth.Movies.Death., and more. You can usually find her sharing Buffy the Vampire Slayer memes on Instagram, rehearsing the Five Movements from The OA, and asking people about their pets.
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