November officially kicks off the holiday season, which means blockbusters are hitting theaters and TV shows are all set to make you weep with holiday episodes (we're looking at you,
This Is Us). Alongside big tentpoles like Thor: Ragnarok, though, we're also getting some wonderful indie movies that are definitely worth your time.
Call Me By Your Name is the achingly beautiful story of two men (Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet) who fall in love during a heady Italian summer. Lady Bird documents a defiant teen's (Saoirse Ronan) last year of high school, during which she longs to escape her California upbringing and go to college on the East Coast. Mudbound is the new offering from Pariah helmer Dee Rees.
If TV is more your speed, there are a slew of new offerings for when you need to escape your family (hey, it happens) for a Thanksgiving binge. Netflix is releasing
, a Alias Grace Handmaid's Tale-esque series based on a Margaret Atwood novel that was short-listed for a Booker Award. Search Party returns for another dark, comedic spiral into the lives of NYC millennials.
And if you're more of a reader, get ready for stars to collide when two actors — Chad Michael Murray and Krysten Ritter — release their debut novels.
You'll find recommendations from Refinery29's entertainment team for all of those and more ahead.
Anne Cohen, Entertainment Editor (November 3 on Netflix) Alias Grace With Mindhunter in our rearview mirror, it's time to take a look at a different kind of killer. Based on the novel by Margaret Atwood, Alias Grace takes a deep dive into the mind of real Canadian murderess Grace Marks, who was accused and later pardoned for killing her employer and his housekeeper. It's not Gilead, but since when do women need a dystopian Puritan society to be downtrodden? (November 17 on Netflix) Mudbound Give Dee Rees all the awards! With Mudbound, the director weaves a heartbreaking tale of two families — one Black and one white — struggling to eke out an existence in the post-war Mississippi Delta. Come for a fresh take moving on identity politics and American history, stay for Mary J. Blige's killer performance.
Meghan DeMaria, Entertainment News Writer (in theaters November 1) A Bad Mom’s Christmas Struggling to get along with your mom as an adult can be just as challenging as doing so when you're a kid. I'm looking forward to seeing the original "bad moms" unite with their own moms — especially since it seems like none of them are actually bad moms. Most holiday movies are too feel-good — it's about time we added the "bad moms" into the genre. (November 7) Bonfire Krysten Ritter plays one of everyone's favorite TV detectives on Jessica Jones, so why couldn't she write a novel about small-town crime? I've been a fan of Ritter since Confessions of a Shopaholic and her guest stint on Gossip Girl, so I'd read anything she wrote. But Bonfire looks really interesting, and not just because she authored it.
Lauren Le Vine, Senior Entertainment Editor Lady Bird
(in theaters November 3)
Great Gerwig, long a darling of mumblecore, has hit a nerve with her incisive directorial debut, which she also wrote. If you've ever been a teenager, gone to high school, and/or had a parent you loved but weren't sure you liked (and that relationship was reciprocal), it will cut straight to the core. Christine "Lady Bird" McPherson longs to escape her Sacramento upbringing, coming down with an extreme case of senioritis during her final year of Catholic high school. She's part of the class of 2003, so expect some killer Dave Matthews Band moments, post-9/11 war tension, and the universal woes that come with the rush of new love and burgeoning sexuality.
(in theaters November 3)
With cheeky New Zealand indie director Taika Waititi — he of the
epic pineapple jumpsuits
— at the helm, the Marvel Cinematic Universe gets an entry that can be enjoyed by anyone who likes a good laugh (the film really lets Chris Hemsworth flex his comedy chops...along with his bulging muscles) mixed in with jam-packed action scenes. And hey, who doesn't want to see Thor go head to head with his “friend from work” The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo)? Tessa Thompson and Jeff Goldblum also shine in their respective roles, and Waititi has a blast with a part of his own — a mo-cap alien called Korg who steals every scene he's in. This certainly won’t Ragnarok the franchise (you’ll get that joke after you see the movie).
Rebecca Farley, Editorial Assistant (in theaters November 10) Three Billboards Outside Ebbings, Missouri Let me ask you this: Is there anything more thrilling than watching Frances McDormand holler, "Hey, fuckhead!" at Sam Rockwell? No! Martin McDonough, writer of In Bruges (2008), gifts us another wacko small town comedy about a mother (the aforementioned McDormand) fighting to get the police department's attention after her daughter goes missing. In the trailer, McDormand slings curse words, damages a dentist, and dons a navy mechanic's jumpsuit, in no particular order. As if that's not enough, Woody Harrelson is also there as a bumbling sheriff to balance out the comedy. Move over, In Bruges, Ebbing, Missouri, is here. (November 5 on Showtime) SMILF Frankie Shaw has been a light in the dark of some regrettable television for me in the past few years. You might have seen her in the one-hit wonder Mixology, or in HBO's Hello Ladies, or in Flaked, the most baffling of Netflix series. She was also in Mr. Robot as the tragic Shayla. Finally, she has her own show: SMILF, which is based on the animated 2015 short film of the same name. Shaw created the show and stars in it as Bridgette, a single mom and actress just trying to make things work. If the premise seems hackneyed, let me assure you that it is not. I'm actually pretty sure this is the year of Frankie Shaw — she'll appear in The Disaster Artist in December as well.
Ariana Romero, Entertainment Writer The Mindy Project Finale (November 14 on Hulu) I remember sitting at my kitchen table distraught the day FOX canceled The Mindy Project in 2015. The forced ending seemed too abrupt, too cold, for the sitcom, which had just wrapped its season with a classic dramatic, rom-com worthy cliffhanger including Danny Castellano (Chris Messina), a secret trip to India, and a major profession of love. On the other hand, watching Mindy Lahiri’s (Mindy Kaling) story come to a close in 2017 on Hulu feels right. Our titular heroine now has multiple successful businesses, a new, more mature outlook on love, and happens to be coincidentally single at the exact time Danny is as well. While I would still love to see Mindy Project end with a single Dr. Lahiri, it’s impossible to ignore the appeal of Mindy and Danny’s combustible chemistry. (November 22 on Netflix) Godless As someone who grew up with a Western-obsessed father, I’m simply glad Netflix is giving us one of these dust-drenched stories with more than one woman character. In fact, the Michelle Dockery-led Godless is filled with women characters, as most of the action takes place in the fictional La Belle, New Mexico, a town governed by mostly women and referred to as “No Man’s Land” in every trailer. The ladies of Themyscira would be proud.
Sesali Bowen, Entertainment Writer (November 5 on Showtime) Shameless In season 8 of Shameless, the Gallaghers have lost their absentee mother for good, but with their dad Frank still around to wreck havoc, the struggle is still as real as it's ever been. Still one of the best explorations of the working class in America, Shameless has consistently kept viewers engaged with a mixture of joy and pain. I never thought I would say this as a native, but I kind of miss hearing Chicago street names being mispronounced. She’s Gotta Have It (November 23 on Netflix) Spike Lee's first film, which he wrote, financed, directed, and appeared in himself is 31 years old this year. Somehow it still feels like just the story we need to hear: a Black woman unapologetically rejecting monogamy and trying to ethically juggle multiple lovers. Taking his talents to Netflix, Lee has helped adapt She's Gotta Have It into a series for the streaming platform, tapping DeWanda Wise to play lead character Nola Darling. Get ready to binge watch the entire first season on Thanksgiving day.
Elena Nicolaou, Entertainment Writer (in theaters November 10) Murder on the Orient Express I once spent the entirety of a snowy day curled up on the couch, reading Murder on the Orient Express in its entirety. The mystery aspect of the book is compelling, sure, but my favorite part of the novel is its nostalgic, warm recreation of the lavish train which traversed the European continent. My life goal is definitely to eat in a dining car. The film adaptation, which is set to star half of Hollywood (Dame Judy Dench, Michelle Pfeiffer, Leslie Odom Jr., Johnny Depp, etc), looks like it will capture the book's atmosphere splendidly. (in theaters November 17) Wonder True story: I watched the trailer for Wonder at work, and totally burst into tears. Based off a middle grade novel sensation, Wonder is the story of Augie Pullman, a boy who looks different than just about everyone he knows. He's starting his first year at a new school, which is hard enough to begin with — but especially hard for Augie. Wonder is probably going to be one of those movies that will leave me feeling all-cried-out, squeaky clean, and believing in the triumph of kindness over all. That's just what I need right now.
Morgan Baila, Entertainment News Writer Call Me By Your Name
(in select theaters Nov. 24)
To say I am excited for Luca Guadagnino's film adaptation of André Aciman's novel,
Call Me By Your Name, is an understatement
. The already critically-acclaimed film stars break-out actor Timothée Chalamet as Elio, a teen boy spending the summer in Italy with his academic parents, and the striking Armie Hammer as Oliver, their 24-year-old house guest with whom Elio falls deeply in love. Their love story is one that will stick with you, especially if you
read the book first
(read the book first!). It's not every day, or even every year, that a film like this comes along.
Reputation by Taylor Swift
What do I have to say about the
New Taylor Swift
? I'll let you know on November 11 when her full album drops. So far, the 27-year-old pop star is giving her fans a lot of hidden clues and mixed signals with her mysterious social media presence and sharp deviation from the Swift of years past. I'm most interested to see what her loyal teen fans will think of this edgier Swift, who drinks her "
whiskey on ice
Kathryn Lindsay, Entertainment News Writer (November 19, TBS) Search Party I was lucky enough to get the chance to watch the first episode from season 2 of Search Party, the TBS drama-comedy about a group of friends trying to solve the case of a missing person, and it's always so satisfying when a show manages to stay compelling and fresh despite reaching the end of its original storyline. Now that Dory and co. have found Chantal and discovered that there's no big sinister mystery after all, they must face the wreckage they created to get there. Specifically, what happened during the season 1 finale. I don't want to spoil what they did, but if you're not caught up by now, then hurry. November 19 isn't that far away. (November 14) American Drifter by Heather Graham and Chad Michael Murray No, American Drifter isn't by that Heather Graham, but it is by that Chad Michael Murray, the One Tree Hill actor who I, for one, have only seen here in there in the past ten years thanks to cameos in things like Scream Queens. I guess he's been spending his time out of the spotlight working on a different talent: writing. Teaming up with bestselling author Heather Graham, Murray has helped create a romantic mystery fueled by a sadistic drug lord and a government looking for answers. Not quite A Cinderella Story, but I'll take it.