We here at the Daily Dot love our streaming TV and movies, but we also know how easy it is to become overwhelmed by the massive lists of comings and goings on streaming platforms each month. Here’s our curated take of what’s new on Amazon and Hulu this month.
Check our for Netflix list for more streaming picks.
1) Fear the Walking Dead (Hulu, Jan. 26)
There are no doubt quite a few cord-cutters out there who’ve been eagerly waiting for the chance to see the much-hyped Walking Dead spinoff/prequel series Fear the Walking Dead, and now your chance is finally on the horizon. Love or hate its parent series, there’s no question that Fear the Walking Dead had big shoes to fill, and even the mixed reviews that accompanied its run this past summer likely won’t be enough to keep curious Dead fans from wanting to judge for themselves—me included, since I haven’t watched it yet. Fear the Walking Dead is set during the earliest days of the undead outbreak that brings down civilization, following a Los Angeles family as the world begins to crumble around them. And at a brief six episodes long, the first season will make for easy bite-sized bingeing.
2) Scrooged (Hulu, Jan. 1)
Talk about bad timing. It would have made a lot more sense to have Scroogedavailable for streaming before the holidays were over, but such are the vagaries of entertainment contracts. Still, there’s no bad time to watch or rewatch Bill Murray’s darkly hilarious spin on Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol. Directed by Richard Donner, Scrooged stars Murray as Frank Cross, a humbug-y TV exec staging a ridiculous live production of A Christmas Carol on Christmas Eve, even though that means forcing his staff to work through the holiday. Just like Scrooge before him, Frank is due for a lesson in the holiday spirit, courtesy of three holiday spirits.
3) 1408 (Amazon Prime, Jan. 5)
Based on one of my favorite Stephen King short stories, 1408 stars John Cusack as Mike Enslin, a writer who’s built a career investigating haunted houses despite being a dyed-in-the-wool nonbeliever. An anonymous postcard tips him off about New York’s Dolphin Hotel, and one particular room—1408—which is supposedly a hotbed of paranormal activity. Enslin is determined to spend the night in the room, ignoring the warnings of the hotel manager (Samuel L. Jackson). After Enslin sets up camp in 1408, he soon learns that his lifelong search for proof of the supernatural is about to reach a terrifying conclusion.
4) Bone Tomahawk (Amazon Prime, Jan. 1)
This horror/Western from writer/director S. Craig Zahler is not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach. Kurt Russell stars as Sheriff Franklin Hunt, who leads a mission to rescue several kidnapped locals from a band of cannibalistic cave-dwellers dubbed “Troglodytes.” In spite of warnings from a Native American familiar with the savage group, Hunt assembles a posse to head into the hills in search of the missing settlers. Unfortunately, they find the Troglodytes, and they prove to be even more brutal than expected, setting up one of the goriest and most disturbing death scenes of 2015. Bone Tomahawk definitely isn’t for everyone, but if you’re a fan of both the the horror and Western genres, it will ensure you never want to venture into a cave again in your life.
5) Goodnight Mommy (Amazon Prime, Jan. 9)
Speaking of scary, this disturbing German horror flick was selected as one of the top five foreign language films of 2015 by the National Board of Review.Goodnight Mommy has a mother (Susanne Wuest) returning home to her twin sons after facial reconstruction surgery, her face draped in bandages. The twins soon become convinced that the woman beneath the bandages is not their mother, but rather some other impostor, and they set out to force her to confess the truth...whatever it takes. Playing on dueling universal fears of something being wrong with your parents or your children, Goodnight Mommy is an unsettling, slow-burn descent into terror, full of surprising twists and with nary a punch pulled.
6) Billions: Season 1 (Amazon Prime with Showtime, Jan. 17)
“What’s the point of having fuck-you money if you never say fuck you?” This new Showtime series stars Damian Lewis and Paul Giamatti as a powerful hedge fund king and the determined U.S. Attorney on a collision course with him, respectively. Exploring the world of high finance—and the abuses therein—Billionswas created by Ocean’s 13 co-writers Brian Koppelman and David Levien, along with journalist/Too Big to Fail author Andrew Ross Sorkin. Lewis was one of the best parts of Showtime’s Homeland even when it went off the rails, and Giamatti is always a hoot even when he’s in subpar material. Thankfully, Billions looks to offer meaty roles to both of them—and the chance to see the two of them going head-to-head and trying to outsmart each other. Even if you aren’t springing for the Amazon/Showtime package, you’ll be able to watch the premiere episode ofBillions Jan. 1 on platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Hulu, Roku, and others.
7) Baskets: Season 1 (Amazon Prime, Jan. 22)
This new FX series will be premiering Jan. 21 and then hitting Amazon Prime the following day, with future episodes set to follow that same one-day delay pattern. Created by Louis C.K., Zach Galifianakis, and Jonathan Krisel, Baskets stars Galifianakis as Chip Baskets, a man chasing his dream of becoming a professional clown (apparently there’s more to it than just buying a squeaky nose and some oversized shoes). Unfortunately, that dream took a hit after Chip failed to gain admission to a prestigious French clown school (apparently there are prestigious French clown schools), so now he’s working in the somewhat less prestigious role of “rodeo clown” in Bakersfield, California.
8) Mad Dogs: Season 1 (Amazon Prime, Jan. 22)
Mad Dogs was one of my favorite Amazon pilots I’ve seen, so I’m thrilled the black comedy is dropping its first full season this month. Adapting a 2011 U.K. series of the same name, Mad Dogs follows a group of 40-something friends reuniting at their rich buddy’s posh Belize villa, only to see things take a bloody turn after a series of bad decisions leaves one of them dead and the rest under the thumb of some very bad people. Cris Cole, who created the British original, helped adapt it for Amazon alongside TV vet Shawn Ryan, whose résumé includes The Shield, The Unit, and a pair of my underrated favorites: the short-lived Terriers and Last Resort. The cast is great across the board, including Billy Zane, Ben Chaplin, Michael Imperioli, Steve Zahn, and Romany Malco. The pilot was funny, shocking, and thoroughly addictive, so bring on the rest!
9) Black Sails: Season 3 (Amazon Prime with Starz, Jan. 23)
One of the perks of the Showtime and Starz Amazon subscriptions is that, unlike Amazon’s deal with HBO, they’ll get you access to new episodes as they premiere on their home networks. So that means you won’t have to wait for new episodes of Starz’s pirate drama Black Sails when it returns for its third season on Jan. 23, even if you have bailed on cable and satellite. And if you haven’t checked out Black Sails, this is the perfect time to dive in, since the Amazon membership also gives you access to the first two seasons. The show is actually a prequel to Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic adventure novel Treasure Island, set two decades before the events of the book and mixing fiction with real-life during the so-called “Golden Age of Piracy.” Lost treasure, swashbuckling, naval battles, and shivered timbers:Black Sails is the most pirate-related fun you can have without Johnny Depp and a bottle of rum.
Pick of the Month: Transparent: Season 2 (Amazon, Dec. 11)
Amazon’s slate of original programming finally found its flagship success withTransparent, which stars Jeffrey Tambor (Arrested Development) as the patriarch of a family who announces to his grown kids that he’s transgender and will begin living as a woman. The series explores both Maura’s transition into living out what she always felt to be true, and her kids—played by Amy Landecker, Jay Duplass, and Gaby Hoffman—dealing with the changes. The show boasts a ridiculously impressive 98 percent Fresh rating on RottenTomatoes, and it has picked up a slew of awards, including an Emmy for Tambor’s performance and a Golden Globe for Best TV Series – Musical or Comedy. The show is already renewed for a third season as well.
Best of the rest
1) Dr. No (Hulu, Dec. 1)
Last month Hulu added a motherlode of James Bond movies, adding damn near the entire pre-Brosnan run of agent 007’s adventures. One notable absence, however, was the movie that started it all (setting aside the non-canonical originalCasino Royale). Now that oversight has been remedied, as Hulu added 1962’s Dr. No on the first of the month, ensuring you can begin your holiday Bond binge with Sean Connery’s very first outing as the debonair spy with the license to kill. After all, it just wouldn’t be a proper Bond-athon without Ursula Andress emerging from the surf in that white bikini.
Speaking of long-running movie franchises, Hulu’s also ringing in December with a very different killer. I’m not sure who’s got the higher body count, James Bond or Jason Voorhees, but I’m pretty sure Bond wins in the “flagrant womanizing” department. We all know Jason’s aversion to people having sex, after all… December is a weird time to stock up on slasher movies, but if you’re in the mood for a seasonally dissonant bloodbath, Hulu’s got your back, stocking the streaming catalog with the first eight Friday the 13th movies—well, seven. For some reasonFriday the 13th – Part V: A New Beginning is missing. Maybe it’ll pull a Dr. Noand show up next month. Slay bells ring, are you listening…
The holidays are often a mix of the merry and the melancholy, and few actors have ever brought to life both ends of that spectrum as well as the late, much-missedRobin Williams. However your holiday season is playing out, Hulu with Showtime has left a wonderful present under the tree: two of Williams’ best films. And hey, they both start with “Good,” so it’s a natural double feature. In Good Morning, Vietnam, Williams plays an Armed Forces radio DJ in 1965 Saigon whose on-air antics inspire the troops but put him increasingly at odds with his superiors. InGood Will Hunting, Williams gives an Oscar-winning performance as a therapist trying to crack the affected apathy of the brilliant but troubled math genius Will Hunting (Matt Damon). Watch ’em both and raise a glass in Robin’s honor.
Even though it was released in 1985, Young Sherlock Holmes would fit right in with today’s crop of films. It’s a prequel, it’s about an iconic pop-culture character during his younger years—hell, it even has cutting-edge CGI special effects! Well, they were cutting edge at the time. The film explores the first meeting between Sherlock (Nicholas Rowe) and John Watson (Alan Cox), who encounter each other at school and are soon swept up in a mystery involving poison darts, an ancient cult, and good old-fashioned human sacrifice. Barry Levinson directed YSH, from a script by Chris Columbus.
5) Man Seeking Woman: Season 1 (Hulu, Dec. 7)
Jay Baruchel, (Undeclared, How to Train Your Dragon) stars in this FXX sitcom about a young man navigating the perils and pitfalls of trying to find love after a breakup from his longtime girlfriend. That sounds like a thousand other disposable sitcoms you’ve seen before, but this one at least has the advantage of a singular creative vision guiding it. It’s based on Simon Rich’s 2013 book of short stories, The Last Girlfriend on Earth, and Rich serves as showrunner on the series. The show’s featured some noteworthy guest stars in its 10-episode run thus far, including Bill Hader, Sarah Silverman, and Battlestar Galactica’s Michael Hogan, and it’s currently rocking an 81 percent Fresh rating on RottenTomatoes. It’s due to return for a second season on FXX on Jan. 6, 2016.
6) Interstellar (Amazon/Hulu, Dec. 12)
Christopher Nolan’s space epic was one of the most anticipated films of 2014 before it came out… and one of the most controversial and divisive afterwards. Visually stunning and unquestionably ambitious, the film becomes either more interesting or a complete mess in the third act, depending on who you ask. Matthew McConaughey stars as Joe Cooper, a widowed NASA vet living on a dying Earth that’s running out of natural resources. Through a weird set of circumstances related to the aforementioned bonkers third act, Joe winds up enlisted in a secret last-ditch mission to travel through a wormhole near Saturn in search of a new planet for humanity to colonize. Taking the mission could literally mean saving the species, but it will also mean he’ll have to leave his young daughter behind, where, thanks to the vagaries of physics, she’ll keep getting older while he stays the same age.
7) Mozart in the Jungle: Season 2 (Amazon, Dec. 30)
Transparent isn’t the only Amazon Original returning for a second season this month. Created by Paul Weitz (About a Boy), Roman Coppola (The Darjeeling Limited), and Jason Schwartzman (Rushmore), Mozart in the Jungle takes viewers inside a world of “sex, drugs, and classical music.” The behind-the-curtain look at modern classical music is revealed through the eyes of Gael García Bernal as composer Rodrigo and Lola Kirke as young oboist Hailey. Like Transparent,Mozart received rockstar critical ratings, currently sitting at 95 percent Fresh on RottenTomatoes, even if it didn’t get nearly the same level of spotlight as Tambor’s show.
Pick of the Month: The Man in the High Castle (Amazon Prime, Nov. 20)
The Man in the High Castle is Amazon Studios’ most ambitious project yet, a much-anticipated adaptation of science fiction writer Philip K. Dick’s infamous novel of alternate history. Set in a divergent 1962 in which the Axis powers won World War II, The Man in the High Castle imagines an America under the bootheel of Japanese and German forces. That status quo is threatened by the appearance of a film titled The Grasshopper Lies Heavy, said to have been created by the mysterious so-called “Man in the High Castle” and depicting a very different America—our America. Is it merely anti-authoritarian propaganda, a postcard from a different reality, or something else entirely?
The Man in the High Castle was executive produced by Ridley Scott, a bloke who knows a thing or two about successful adaptations of Dick, having given us the best of the best in the form of Blade Runner. It was written by X-Files veteran Frank Spotnitz, with a cast that includes Alexa Davelos, Rupert Evans, Rufus Sewell, and DJ Qualls, to name a few. The pilot was the most-watched since Amazon began its “pilot season” system of development and audience voting, and it’s already been renewed for a second season.
Best of the rest
1) Bond. James Bond. (Hulu, Nov. 1)
Agent 007 returns this month with the much-anticipated Spectre, and if Bond’s latest adventure leaves you craving more, Hulu has got your back and then some. Continuing a press to beef up its movie catalog, Hulu has snagged streaming rights to the mother lode of classic Bond. While it doesn’t have the entire Bond catalog—Daniel Craig’s modern era is missing, as are the Pierce Brosnan years—you can still watch three decades’ worth of licensed killing for your streaming enjoyment. Clear your schedule and you’ll be able to watch From Russia With Love (1963),Goldfinger (1964), Thunderball (1965), On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969),Diamonds Are Forever (1971), Live and Let Die (1973), The Man With The Golden Gun (1974), The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), Moonraker (1979), For Your Eyes Only (1981), Never Say Never Again (1983), Octopussy (1983), A View to a Kill(1985), The Living Daylights (1987), and License to Kill (1989).
2) Adventures in Babysitting (Hulu with Showtime, Nov. 1)
Chris Hemsworth may be perfectly cast as Marvel’s Nordic beefcake God of Thunder, but I’ll always have a soft spot for Thor’s appearance in Christopher Columbus’ 1987 directorial debut, Adventures in Babysitting. OK, so he isn’treally Thor, but it was still his most noteworthy live-action appearance until the modern Marvel Cinematic Universe. Elisabeth Shue—cementing my childhood crush begun in The Karate Kid—stars as Chris Parker, a teenage girl who gets stood up, takes what should be a simple babysitting gig, and winds up having a night of crazy adventures across Chicago.
3) Arachnophobia (Hulu with Showtime, Nov. 1)
If you’ve got a thing about spiders, there’s a very good chance you won’t survive viewing Arachnophobia. After a rare and deadly Venezuelan spider hitches a ride to the States, the creepy crawly and its offspring begin terrorizing a small California town. Jeff Daniels is a local doctor trying to figure out what’s causing all the mysterious deaths, and he’s increasingly paralyzed by his crippling fear of spiders. Come for the ookiness, stay for John Goodman as no-nonsense exterminator Delbert McClintock.
4) Exists (Hulu with Showtime, Nov. 1)
Back in September in this column we profiled Bobcat Goldthwait’s found-footage Bigfoot flick Willow Creek. Behind that movie, Exists is probably the second-most noteworthy of the recent trend of Bigfoot horrors. Directed by Eduardo Sánchez—one of the men responsible for kickstarting the modern found-footage genre withThe Blair Witch Project—Exists opens with a standard horror setup, with a group of friends venturing into the woods for some fun. Unfortunately, strange noises escalate to mysterious damage to their car, and the friends soon realize there’s something menacing stalking them. Exists only has a 35 percent Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but fans of Sanchez will likely enjoy the ride.
5) Grosse Pointe Blank (Hulu with Showtime, Nov. 1)
Martin Blank (John Cusack) is a professional killer, but his personal life is more of a mess than his crime scenes: He’s bored, depressed, and in therapy years before Tony Soprano got the idea. After fouling up a hit, he takes a job in his hometown to appease his irate client, attend his 10-year high school reunion, and hopefully reconnect with the girl he stood up at prom a decade earlier (Minnie Driver).Grosse Pointe Blank is an eminently rewatchable flick, and the blending of rom-com tropes with edgier scenes like Martin killing a guy with a ballpoint pen in the hall of his high school perfectly mirror Martin’s internal crisis. Bonus points for Dan Aykroyd’s role as a rival “professional” who’s determined to put Martin in the ground.
6) Out of Sight (Hulu with Showtime, Nov. 1)
Say what you will about J-Lo, but her onscreen chemistry with George Clooney is electric in this Elmore Leonard adaptation directed by Steven Soderbergh. Clooney is a professional bank robber named Jack Foley; Lopez is U.S. Marshal Karen Sisco. The pair meet-cute while crammed inside a trunk during Foley’s escape from prison, and after that she’s determined to take him down. But is she really pursuing him for the right reasons? The rest of the top-tier cast includes Ving Rhames, Don Cheadle, Steve Zahn, and Albert Brooks. The script by Scott Frank is one of the best Leonard adaptations ever, and the flick is worth watching for the nonlinear love scene alone.
7) Turner & Hooch (Hulu with Showtime, Nov. 1)
I’m a sucker for a Tom Hanks ’80s comedy—The ‘burbs is unapologetically one of my favorite movies—and watching him play straight man to an oversized canine with a drooling problem sounds like a great way to kill an afternoon to me. Hanks is a Scott Turner, a neat-freak cop forced to take the slobbery Hooch into his life after the dog is the only witness to his owner’s murder. Hooch proceeds to eat more or less everything Turner owns, but damned if he doesn’t start growing on the reluctant cop. Half the fun is watching Hanks interact with the dog, but Turner & Hooch also has heart to spare. That heart is just covered with ropes of dog saliva.
8) The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (Amazon Prime, Nov. 5)
Star Heath Ledger died a third of the way through filming on Terry Gilliam’s fantasy film, but his friends rose to the occasion, with Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell all stepping in to play different incarnations of Ledger’s character. It was a clever solution to a heartbreaking problem, but also a lovely tribute to a powerhouse talent taken far too young. Ledger & co. headline a tale of a travelling theater troupes, magic mirrors, and outsmarting the Devil himself.
9) Death of ‘Superman Lives’: What Happened? (Hulu with Showtime, Nov. 6)
Superman Lives has become one of the most notorious failed productions in Hollywood history, thanks in no small part to Kevin Smith’s accounts of his time on the project, not to mention those pictures of long-haired Nic Cage in the Superman costume. Death of ‘Superman Lives’ dives deep into the history of the doomed project, which was set to be directed by Tim Burton but was canceled three weeks before filming was set to begin in 1998. The documentary includes interviews with Burton, Smith, writer Dan Gilroy, and producers Jon Peters and Lorenzo di Bonaventura.
10) Ex Machina (Amazon Prime, Nov. 14)
Alex Garland has been the screenwriter on some of the best and most intriguing genre films of the young century, from 28 Days Later and Sunshine to Never Let Me Go and Dredd. He finally made his feature directorial debut with Ex Machina, a critically acclaimed science-fiction thriller about a Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson), a programmer invited to the home of his wealthy, eccentric employer (Oscar Isaac) to investigate a breakthrough: an android named Ava who may be the first example of true artificial intelligence. The more Caleb interacts with Ava (Alicia Vikander), the easier it becomes to forget that she’s machine, but it soon becomes clear that his boss’ motivations may not be as clear-cut as they first appeared. Ex Machina has been almost universally praised, currently rocking a 92 percent Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
This year rings in the 30th anniversary of Robert Zemeckis’ beloved Back to the Future trilogy, and in fact we’re only a few weeks away from “Back to the Future Day”—Oct. 21, 2015, the date Marty arrived in the future in BTTF2. There are plenty of crazy celebrations going on this month, from this cheeky fake trailer forJaws 19 to the sudden appearance of Pepsi Perfect. But the very best way to celebrate the adventures of Marty McFly and Doc Brown is to rewatch them, and Amazon Prime customers can do just that throughout the month of October. Amazon Prime has added all three Back to the Future movies to the streaming catalog, so now’s the perfect time to play hooky from work, school, or family commitments and settle in for six hours or so of pure time-hopping, hover-boarding, paradox-inducing, “Great Scott”ing, 1.21 gigawatting awesomeness. Ourreal-life hoverboards may still not be as cool as the movie version, but at least we have the Back to the Future trilogy on-demand for our marathoning delight. This is heavy.
The best of the rest:
The Coen Brothers have been a pair of the most fascinating filmmakers in the industry for the past three decades, but it all started here, in 1984’s bleak noir crime thriller Blood Simple.
Small-town Texas bar owner Julian Marty (Dan Hedaya) hires a private dick (M. Emmet Walsh) to investigate his wife (Frances McDormand), whom he suspects is cheating on him. That simple act is the beginning of a long, crooked road full of bad turns and dead bodies. In addition to marking the Coen Brothers’ directorial debut, Blood Simple also kickstarted the careers of cinematographer (and later director) Barry Sonnenfeld and actress Frances McDormand. Blood Simple is currently rocking a 94 percent Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Jim Carrey mostly makes the news these days for being a vocal anti-vaxxer, so it’s easy to forget just how good he can be when paired with the right material. He’s never been better than in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, written by Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation) and directed by Michel Gondry. Carrey plays Joel Barish, coming off a bad breakup with the former love of his life, Clementine (Kate Winslet). He hires a mysterious company to erase all memory of his relationship with his ex… but then changes his mind halfway through. Unfortunately, the procedure has to be done while the subject is sleeping, so Joel is left fleeing through the landscape of his subconscious, clinging to a memory of Clementine and trying to save her from the encroaching darkness.Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind won the 2004 Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and is rated 93 percent Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.
Sly Stallone managed to resurrect both of his iconic ’80s franchises with 21st century installments of Rocky and Rambo, so it made sense when he eventually put together a series designed to bring every last aging action relic of the Reagan years back to the big screen. In the third Expendables outing, merc badass Barney Ross (Stallone) and his crew face off against one of the group’s co-founders (Mel Gibson), an arms dealer who’s nursing a grudge and determined to make the Expendables live up to their name. The cast for this go-round also includes Arnold Schwarzenegger, Harrison Ford, Jason Statham, Antonio Banderas, Jet Li, Wesley Snipes, Dolph Lundgren, and… Kelsey Grammer?
Imogene (Kristen Wiig) is a failed playwright struggling with writer’s block, working a crappy job at a New York magazine to make ends meet. After a failed suicide attempt in hopes of luring back her ex, she winds up in the custody of her mother (Annette Bening), who frankly would rather be gambling. After inadvertently discovering that her long-thought-dead father is actually alive and living in NYC, Imogene enlists her friends and brother to help track him down, and along the way falls for a charming Backstreet Boys cover band performer.
Girl Most Likely got nailed with negative reviews, but Wiig and Bening’s performances were singled out for praise. If you’re a Wiig fan, double-feature it with Welcome to Me over on Netflix, or wait around for another Wiig entry further down this list.
Director Ti West has established himself as one of the most talented young horror directors in the game with flicks such as The House of the Devil and The Sacrament, as well as segments in the V/H/S and The ABCs of Death anthologies.The Innkeepers is by far my favorite thing he’s done thus far, a good old-fashioned ghost story buoyed by charming performances from Sara Paxton and Pat Healy.
They star as the last two remaining staff at the Yankee Pedlar Inn, a historic hotel that’s about to close its doors permanently. With the building mostly abandoned, the pair set out to try and gather tangible evidence of the spirits said to haunt its hallways, and what unfolds bounces between funny, tragic, and slow-burn terrifying. If you like the cut of West’s jib, The House of the Devil is also availableon Hulu, and The Sacrament is on Netflix Instant. The Innkeepers has a 79 percent Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
6) Joe (Hulu, Oct. 1)
In recent years, David Gordon Green has mainly been on a comedy run with things like Pineapple Express and HBO’s Eastbound & Down, but he returned to his drama roots with 2014’s Joe. Nicolas Cage stars as the titular Joe Ransom, an ex-con who runs a tree-removal crew in rural Texas. He hires and then befriends 15-year-old Gary (Tye Sheridan), a good kid with a particularly bad dad (Gary Poulter). That friendship will put Joe on a path for either redemption or destruction… maybe both.
With a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 86 percent Fresh, Joe earned praise from critics for both Green’s direction and Cage’s performance, and god knows it’s nice to see Cage actually being good in something these days. One tragic and morbid footnote: Actor Gary Poulter, who played the alcoholic father in Joe—who was homeless in real life when he was cast—was found dead before the film even made it to the festival circuit.
Joss Whedon has spent the past several years earning Disney billions of dollars with the juggernaut Avengers franchise, but he cleansed his palate between them with Much Ado About Nothing. A modern-day remake of Shakespeare’s beloved proto-screwball comedy, Whedon’s Much Ado enlists several of his regulars, including Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Nathan Fillion, Clark Gregg, and Tom Lenk. The reunion of Acker and Denisof in a romantic pairing—playing Beatrice and Benedick, respectively—should be more than enough to lure in Angel fans still stinging from the respective ends of Fred and Wesley, but the film was well received overall, currently sitting at 84 percent Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. It even earned a Guinness World Record, courtesy of a Blu-ray commentary track that crammed in a whopping 16 members of the cast and crew.
Paul Reubens is on the cusp of resurrecting Pee-wee with the help of producerJudd Apatow and Netflix, but in the meantime you can re-experience one of the best iterations of Reubens’ hyperactive manchild. In Big Adventure, Pee-wee sets out cross-country in search of his stolen bicycle, along the way encountering hobos, biker gangs, and “Large Marge,” a creepy trucker who single-handedly soiled the pants of my entire generation thanks to one iconic close-up. Scripted by Reubens with Michael Varhol and the late Phil Hartman (Simpsons, NewsRadio),Pee-wee’s Big Adventure also marked the feature directorial debut of Tim Burton and the first of many collaborations with composer Danny Elfman.
Kristen Wiig’s second appearance in this month’s list is in another movie that, weirdly enough, also involves a suicide attempt as inciting incident, just like Girl Most Likely up top. In The Skeleton Twins, Maggie’s (Wiig) attempts to end it all are interrupted by a phone call notifying her that her estranged twin brother Milo (Bill Hader) also just tried to kill himself. She travels to Los Angeles to visit him in the hospital and eventually convinces him to return to their hometown and stay with her a while. The pair’s mutual brush with death proves to be the unlikely catalyst for their own reconnection and discovery of reasons to keep on keeping on. The Skeleton Twins is rated 87 percent Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, so if you’re only going to watch one streaming Kristen Wiig suicide comedy this month, it should probably be this one.
Hulu just snatched a ton of content from Netflix after the latter ended a multi-year deal with the cable net Epix, and one of the big fish switching ponds is the award-winning Martin Scorsese/Leonardo DiCaprio joint The Wolf of Wall Street.
Based on the memoir of ruthless former stock trader Jordan Belfort, Wolf follows Belfort’s (DiCaprio) rise and fall on Wall Street, earning millions through crooked business practices before eventually being brought down by the feds. The cast is stellar across the board, including DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Matthew McConaughey, Kyle Chandler, and Rob Reiner, and screenwriter Terence Winter’s adaptation of Belfort’s book is by turns funny, infuriating, and profane. But poor old Leo still didn’t get to take home an Oscar…
There’s plenty to mock in modern romantic comedies: the cliched twists and turns, the tired formulas, the inevitable comic misunderstandings. All of that is grist for the mill in They Came Together, a sharp satire of everything rom-com starring Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler, directed by David Wain from a script by Wain and fellow Stella comedy group veteran Michael Showalter. Molly (Poehler) runs a small candy shop. Joel (Rudd) is the head of a massive candy corp that wants to shut her doors permanently. Naturally, they hate each other. But wait...maybe they actually love each other? Because that’s how it works in these things.
If you still haven’t seen Adam Wingard’s acclaimed post-modern slasher flickYou’re Next, this will make perfect viewing for the Halloween season. Like Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon’s Cabin in the Woods, You’re Next is best approached with as little foreknowledge as possible, so suffice to say it involves a family gathering that goes sideways when masked figures start trying to kill everyone in the house. Where it goes from there… Well, just watch and know that You’re Nextably mixes scares, gore, pitch-black humor, and a star-making performance by Sharni Vinson. It’s rated 75 percent Fresh on RT, but horror fans can easily add another 10-15 percentage points onto that score. Also be sure to check out Wingard’s The Guest on Netflix Instant, which reunited the director with You’re Next screenwriter Simon Barrett, to good effect.
The fourth season of Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk’s FX horror anthology series unfolds in 1950s Florida, set in and around “Fräulein Elsa's Cabinet of Curiosities,” one of the last surviving “freak shows” in America. As with previous seasons, much of the earlier cast recurs in new roles, including Jessica Lange, Sarah Paulson, Emma Roberts, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, and Gabourey Sidibe. Even more intriguingly, several other actors, including James Cromwell, actually reprise their roles from season 2’s Asylum, strengthening theories that all of these stories are unfolding within the same narrative universe. Also, there’s a scary-ass clown, because of course there is.
14) Casual (Hulu, Oct. 7)
Jason Reitman has racked up the résumé over the past decade, including Thank You for Smoking, Juno, Up in the Air, and Young Adult. He also directed several episodes of the American incarnation of The Office, and now he’s diving back into television with Hulu’s Casual, which he created.
Michaela Watkins (SNL) stars as Valerie, a newly divorced therapist and single mom who moves herself and her 16-year-old daughter (God Bless America’s Tara Lynne Barr) in with her bachelor brother (Tommy Dewey), who runs a dating site. Hijinks will undoubtedly ensue.
15) Red Oaks (Amazon Prime, Oct. 9)
Amazon’s much-anticipated Philip K. Dick adaptation The Man in the High Castleis due to arrive next month, but in the meantime they’re serving up another new original series—and this one’s a bit less heavy than “What if the Axis powers won WWII?”
Red Oaks is set at the prestigious Red Oaks Country Club in 1985, following a young college tennis player named David (Craig Roberts) who is working a summer job there. It’s a coming-of-age tale blended with a workplace comedy, with a dash or two of familial dysfunction thrown in for good measure. Red Oakswas created by Joe Gangemi and frequent Steven Soderbergh collaborator Gregory Jacobs (Magic Mike XXL). Soderbergh also executive produced the series, with David Gordon Green (see also Joe) directing the pilot. Red Oaks’ 10-episode first season features a cast that includes Paul Reiser, Richard Kind, and Jennifer Grey.
16) Camp X-Ray (Hulu with Showtime, Oct. 17)
Kristen Stewart continues carving out a post-Twilight career with this drama set at the infamous Guantánamo Bay detention camp in Cuba. Stewart plays a guard at the facility, spending her days watching over the prisoners designated “enemy combatants” as part of America’s ongoing war on terror. Both the prisoners and her fellow soldiers are frequently hostile toward her, but she befriends one man in particular, who has been incarcerated in Guantánamo for eight long years. That relationship causes her to begin questioning her convictions. Camp X-Ray earned a 73 percent Fresh rating from Rotten Tomatoes, with critics singling out the performances of Stewart and co-star Peyman Moaadi.
17) The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 (Amazon Prime/Hulu, Oct. 23)
Hollywood will be in need of a new reigning young adult movie franchise to milk after The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2 hits theaters on Nov. 20. The fourth film in the franchise will wrap up the big-screen adaptation of author Suzanne Collins’ best-selling YA book series, with Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) determined to take down the oppressive government of President Snow (Donald Sutherland) once and for all.
But before then, both fans and newcomers alike will get the chance to revisit the path that led Katniss from simple small-town girl to revolutionary. The originalHunger Games flick isn’t available on any of the core trio of streaming services, but Hulu already has Catching Fire, and the third film is coming to both Amazon Prime and Hulu later this month.
18) While We’re Young (Amazon Prime, Oct. 23)
While We’re Young is one of the latest from writer/director Noah Baumbach, who previously gave us indie hits such as Frances Ha, Greenberg, and The Squid and the Whale. While We’re Young reunites Baumbach with his Greenberg leading man, Ben Stiller, with the actor this time playing a New York City documentarian named Josh, alongside Naomi Watts as his wife Cornelia. Their marriage is on the rocks, and Josh has been struggling to complete his latest film for years. Their lives are energized after befriending a younger couple (Adam Driver and Amanda Seyfried), but they soon learn that sometimes something that looks too good to be true, is. While We’re Young is currently sitting at 83 percent Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.
19) Danny Collins (Amazon Prime, Oct. 30)
Screenwriter Dan Fogelman’s (Crazy, Stupid, Love) feature directorial debut stars Al Pacino as an aging ’70s rock icon named, well, Danny Collins. Based loosely on the real life of folk singer Steve Tilston, Danny Collins has the titular rocker reexamining his life after discovering a 40-year-old letter written—but never delivered—to him by the late John Lennon. He moves into a hotel in Jersey, tries to start a relationship with the grown son he’s never met (Bobby Cannavale), and tries to reconnect with the creative fire he lost somewhere along the way. The flick is rated 77 percent Fresh by Rotten Tomatoes, with Pacino’s lead performance earning much praise, alongside a dynamite cast that also includes Annette Bening, Jennifer Garner, and Christopher Plummer as Collins’ long-time manager who discovers the Lennon letter.
Pick of the Month: Hand of God (Sept. 4, Amazon Prime)
Hand of God is the latest original series from Amazon Studios, and it landed a helluva lead in Ron Perlman, fresh off making us love to hate him for five years on FX’s Sons of Anarchy. In Hand of God, he’s on the other side of the law… or, at least, he starts out that way. Perlman plays Pernell Harris, a morally flexible judge who suffers a mental breakdown and becomes convinced that God is “compelling him onto a path of vigilante justice.” (I’m guessing his vigilante career won’t involve any tights, but you never know.) The series was created by Ben Watkins, whose primary previous credit was working on Burn Notice, but Hand of Goddefinitely looks to be darker fare than USA’s fun-loving spy drama. While Amazon hasn’t received quite as much attention as Netflix, it has some solid original content in their lineup, including the award-winning Transparent and the upcoming adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle. With a meaty role for Perlman to chew on and a cast that also includes Dana Delany and the ridiculously talented Garrett Dillahunt (Deadwood, Raising Hope), Hand of Godshould definitely be on your must-see list.
Best of the rest:
“In October of 1994 three student filmmakers disappeared in the woods near Burkittsville, Maryland, while shooting a documentary… A year later their footage was found.” It’s hard to believe it’s been over 16 years since The Blair Witch Project was unleashed on the world, igniting a found-footage horror trend that continues to this day. Blair Witch was a viral marketing hit before social media made such things commonplace, and it played the whole “is it real?” card better than any of the imitators that have followed in its shaky-cam footsteps. Filmmakers have been trying to find new ways to bend, twist, and evolve the found-footage genre ever since, but The Blair Witch Project’s simplicity is also one of its strengths: Kids go into the woods looking for a monster, bad shit happens, and the cameras keep on rolling…
2) Elementary: Seasons 1 - 3 (Sept. 1, Hulu)
At the time it premiered, Elementary played second fiddle to the more critically admired British Sherlock series starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, but over the ensuing three seasons, CBS’s modern take on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s consulting detective has built its own loyal following. Johnny Lee Miller stars as a Holmes who relocated to the States after a stint in rehab, and Lucy Liu plays Dr. Joan Watson, the “sober companion” assigned to Holmes by his father. Together the pair assist the NYPD in solving crimes that leave the police stumped, as well as interacting with retrofitted Doyle icons such Rhys Ifans as brother Mycroft Holmes and Natalie Dormer as a gender-swapped version of Holmes’ archenemy, Moriarty. Elementary returns for a fourth season on CBS this November, so there’s plenty of time to binge.
Thanksgiving is still a few months away, but you can get an early jump on the holiday with Woody Allen’s 1986 comedy, which is bookended by a pair of Turkey Day gatherings hosted by the titular Hannah (Mia Farrow). Hannah used to be married to neurotic TV writer Mickey (Allen), but now she’s married to Michael Caine’s Elliot, who is developing a crush on one of her sisters. People are sleeping with people they’re not supposed to be, people aren’t sleeping with the people theyare supposed to be, and all the relationship drama unfolds using flashbacks and the two holiday gatherings, set two years apart, as narrative anchor points. The excellent cast also includes Max Von Sydow, Barbara Hershey, Carrie Fisher, future Seinfeld star Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and even perpetually angry Daily Showcontributor Lewis Black. Hannah and Her Sisters was nominated for seven Academy Awards and won three, including Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Caine and Best Original Screenplay for Allen.
Everybody knows clowns are creepy, and Tim Curry in particular traumatized my entire generation as the demonic Pennywise in the TV adaptation of Stephen King’s It. The killer clowns in Killer Klowns are more goofy than nightmare-inducing but still just as homicidal. It all begins with a mysterious object falling out of the sky into a field. But instead of a smoking crater, it leaves behind a big-top tent and a mess of murderous clown-like aliens. There are toy ray guns that will really kill you. There are acid cream pies that will melt your face off. There’s even a puppet show.
Nobody’s suggesting this is high art, but it is art you should watch while high, preferably with a room full of buddies to make clown-related puns the whole time. (Believe it or not, there’s actually a sequel in pre-production: The Return of the Killer Klowns from Outer Space in 3D is tentatively slated for release in 2016.)
5) Pitch Perfect 2 (Sept. 1, Amazon Instant)
The 2012 musical/comedy hit ricocheted off the popularity of Glee, introduced the world to Rebel Wilson, and further cemented the general awesomeness of Anna Kendrick. This year’s sequel picks up four years after the Barden Bellas a cappella group won the nationals, but their fame hits a serious roadblock after a disastrous performance at President Obama’s birthday gala. Bellas leader Beca Mitchell (Kendrick) sets her sights on restoring the group’s reputation by winning an international a cappella competition that no American group has ever won. Directed by Elizabeth Banks, Pitch Perfect 2 hit a high note of $285 million worldwide box office, making it the highest grossing musical comedy of all time, dethroning School of Rock.
Correction 7:13am, Sept. 2: While Pitch Perfect 2 is newly available on Amazon for streaming, it is not one of the selections Prime users can watch for free.
6) Popeye (Sept. 1, Amazon Prime)
And on the less auspicious end of the musical-comedy spectrum, we’ve got Robert Altman’s 1980 outing Popeye, based on E.C. Segar’s beloved comic strip (and the cartoons that followed). Popeye was never exactly begging for a live-action adaptation in the first place, but that didn’t stop Altman and stars Robin Williamsand Shelley Duvall from giving it their best shot. Well, a shot, anyway. It’s not the finest hour for anyone involved, but it’s almost worth a watch for the surreal train-wreck factor alone. To the film’s credit, Duvall makes a shrilly pitch-perfect Olive Oyl, and if ever there was a human capable of pulling off the lead role while saddled with a permanent squint and comically oversized prosthetic forearms, it was Robin Williams. Also, at one point he punches out an octopus.
7) Willow Creek (Sept. 2, Showtime with Hulu)
There’s been a run of found-footage Bigfoot movies in the last couple of years, but few were as interesting as Willow Creek, which earned indie cred by being written and directed by standup comedian turned filmmaker Bobcat Goldthwait. His résumé includes such controversial flicks as Sleeping Dogs Lie, in which a woman admits to her fiancé that she once dabbled in bestiality. Willow Creek isn’t nearly as provocative as all that, but it’s no less fascinating simply because it’s not the sort of material you’d expect to see Goldthwait tackle.
The flick follows a couple as they venture into the California wilderness in search of the location where the infamous Patterson-Gimlin film was shot. Needless to say, they find more than just a guy in a gorilla suit. Willow Creek doesn’t do anything earth-shattering with the material, but it’s worth watching for a standout sequence that wrings serious tension out of nothing more than spooky noises and a long shot of two people cowering in a tent. It’d make a solid double feature withThe Blair Witch Project, actually. (Note: Willow Creek is only available to customers with the Showtime with Hulu package.)
So who is Dick Miller? As this documentary’s title suggests, he’s one of the many “that guy” character actors who has appeared in countless films over the years, the sort of person you would instantly recognize but could never name. A quick perusal of Miller’s IMDb page reveals appearances in The Terminator, bothGremlins movies, General Hospital, two Star Trek series, and—my personal favorite—The ’Burbs, to name just a few. Funded by a Kickstarter campaign, That Guy Dick Miller examines Miller’s long career, which includes roles in over 100 films and television shows, and features interviews with Roger Corman, Joe Dante, Fred Dekker (who directed Miller in Night of the Creeps), and of course Miller himself. That Guy Dick Miller is currently rocking a 77 percent Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, so it’s worth checking out this Dick.
Writer/director Justin Simien’s social satire follows the lives of several black students at an Ivy League college. Samantha “Sam” White (Tessa Thompson) hosts a controversial radio show where she unloads truth bombs such as, “Dear White People, the amount of black friends required not to seem racist has just been raised to two. Sorry, your weed man Tyrone doesn’t count.” The campus’ already simmering racial tensions reach a boil after Kurt, the white son of the school’s president, hosts a blackface party. Dear White People stirred up plenty of positive buzz at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, and it boasts an impressive 91 percent Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. A glance at the evening news on any given day confirms that Dear White People is all too timely, but thankfully it handles its hot-button issues in a way that’s intelligent, honest, and funny.
After joining Jim Henson’s Muppeteers in 1969, Caroll Spinney helped launchSesame Street and bring to life two of its most iconic characters: Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch. He’s a figure who’s been an integral part people’s childhoods for over four decades, but there’s a good chance most of those people couldn’t pick him out of a lineup. Hopefully I Am Big Bird will fix that. Like That Guy Dick Miller, I Am Big Bird was funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign, so kudos to crowdfunding for continuing to assemble interesting projects that otherwise might not have come together. Having been a staple of the pop-culture landscape for 40 years, Spinney has no shortage of ripping yarns to tell, from the time he was almost killed by a trash-can fire to how Big Bird nearly went into space aboard theChallenger space shuttle.
11) St. Vincent (Sept. 5, Showtime with Hulu)
Bill Murray can pretty much do no wrong at this point in his career, but so long as he keeps picking roles like St. Vincent, he won’t have to coast solely on goodwill anytime soon. In writer/director Theodore Melfi’s theatrical debut, Murray plays Vincent MacKenna, a cranky Vietnam vet whose hobbies include gambling, alcoholism, and hating people. He meets his new neighbors—single mother Maggie (Melissa McCarthy) and her 12-year-old son, Oliver—after they accidentally damage his car, which isn’t exactly an ideal introduction. Nevertheless, Vincent soon reluctantly allows Oliver to start staying at his house after school, and Maggie and the boy slowly drag him out his self-imposed social cocoon and reveal the beating heart lurking underneath all that misanthropy. Murray is outstanding as always, and McCarthy seriously impresses in a more complex role than she’s usually given, one that lets her be funny but also do more than just mug and pratfall. We’ll definitely be keeping an eye on director Melfi’s career from here on out. (Note: St. Vincent is only available with the Showtime with Hulu package.)
12) The Awesomes: Season 3 (Sept. 8, Hulu)
Hulu is a distant third behind Netflix and Amazon when it comes to earning buzz for its original programming, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some gems in its lineup. If you’ve already binged through BoJack Horseman and are looking for a new animated series to dive into, Hulu is launching the third season of The Awesomes on Sept. 8. Created by Saturday Night Live alum Seth Meyers and Mike Shoemaker, The Awesomes tells the story of Professor Doctor Jeremy “Prock” Awesome (voiced by Meyers), the son of legendary superhero Mr. Awesome. After Mr. A retires, it’s up to Prock to take the reigns of his dad’s team—which, in practice, means recruiting a bunch of second-tier capes and hoping they don’t screw things up too bad. Together they’ll face supervillains, bad press, and their incompetence. The voice cast includes tons of SNL vets, including Meyers, Bill Hader, Maya Rudolph, Will Forte, and Amy Poehler.
Director Jason Reitman gave us Thank You for Smoking, Juno, and Up in the Air. That alone should be reason enough to give Men, Women & Children a look-see, even if it didn’t fare enormously well among critics. But Reitman’s latest also has an added sheen of timeliness thanks to the fact that it includes the Ashley Madisoninfidelity website as a plot point in its web of stories about various sorts of online addiction and dysfunction. Adam Sandler and Rosemarie DeWitt star as a married couple each trying to cheat on the other—her through Ashley Madison, him through an escort service. Their teenage son is hooked on increasingly extreme pornography. Teenage Hannah (Olivia Crocicchia) posts salacious pictures of herself online… on a site maintained by her mother (Judy Greer). You might have guesses this isn’t exactly a “feel-good” kind of movie…
Pick of the Month: Curb Your Enthusiasm (Aug. 6, Amazon Prime)
Amazon Prime has added the full run of the HBO classic to its streaming catalog. That’s eight seasons of crankiness and misanthropy from and starring Larry David, co-creator of Seinfeld. Just as Jerry Seinfeld did in that legendary series, David plays a fictionalized version of himself in Curb: a retired TV writer/producer whose hobbies include social anxiety and being irritated at everything everyone around him does at all times. Cheryl Hines co-stars as his wife, and Jeff Garlin plays his manager Jeff. The show was heavily improvised and—also in the spirit of Seinfeld—features a revolving door of celebrity cameos, including Mel Brooks, Martin Scorsese, Ben Stiller, and Ricky Gervais, to name a few, not to mention all four Seinfeld leads: Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus,Jason Alexander, and Michael Richards.
Best of the rest:
Hulu has been running a distant third behind Netflix and Amazon; it has yet to find its House of Cards, Orange Is the New Black, or Transparent. Hopefully Hulu will get a little time in the spotlight with the new Amy Poehler-produced comedy Difficult People, which earned a straight-to-series order from Hulu after USA passed on the pilot. Created by author/performer/podcaster Julie Klausner,Difficult People stars Klausner alongside Billy Eichner (Funny or Die’s Billy on the Street) as a pair of struggling New York comedians “who hate everyone but each other.” Klausner cites the aforementioned Curb Your Enthusiasm as a major influence on the show, and also describes it as “Will and Grace, if one was a six and the other was a seven.”
2) 52 Tuesdays (Aug. 6, Hulu)
Shows such as Transparent, Orange Is the New Black, and Sense8 have all featured transgender characters prominently, shining a light on a community that is still widely misunderstood and discriminated against. For those seeking another intelligent and insightful exploration of the topic, look no further than the acclaimed Australian coming-of-age drama 52 Tuesdays. Tilda Cobham-Hervey stars as Billie, a teenager whose lesbian mother Jane (Del Herbert-Jane) announces her plans to transition to a male. She sends Billie to live with her uncle (Mario Späte) during the transition process, and for the next year, Jane/James and daughter see each other only on Tuesday evenings, a situation that further strains their already troubled relationship. 52 Tuesdays premiered to much critical acclaim at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, where it was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize and earned director Sophie Hyde the World Cinema Dramatic Directing Award.
3) A Most Violent Year (Aug. 7, Amazon Prime)
Rising star Oscar Isaac stars as Abel Morales, an immigrant in 1981 New York City who is building the American dream, having taken his father-in-law’s heating oil business to the heights of success. Even more impressively, he’s done it all honestly and above-board in the midst of an industry with a substantial criminal element. Now a new business deal could expand the family business even further, but a series of robberies and attacks of Abel’s workers could threaten that future. To make matters worse, Abel’s father-in-law didn’t run nearly as clean a ship as Abel does, and now the company is being targeted by an assistant D.A. eager to root out corruption. Abel tries to save his company without sacrificing his ethics, but even his own wife (co-star Jessica Chastain) believes they need to do whatever it takes to protect what’s theirs. Critics praised both Isaac and Chastain’s performances, and A Most Violent Year currently sports an impressive 90 percent Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
4) Doctor Who: Season 8 (Aug. 8, Hulu)
See our recommendation from this month’s Netflix picks.
5) You’re the Worst: Season 1 (Aug. 10, Hulu)
Continuing the “cranky people doing cranky things” trend of Curb Your Enthusiasm and Difficult People, we come to FX’s You’re the Worst. Created by former Orange Is the New Black/Weeds producer Stephen Falk, You’re the Worstexplores the relationship between writer Jimmy (Chris Geere) and PR exec Gretchen (Aya Cash). Jimmy excuses his assholish nature as blunt honesty, and Gretchen is determined to self-destruct in a variety of creative ways. The pair meet-cute as he’s being kicked out of a wedding and she’s sneaking out with a food processor stolen from the bride’s gift pile—it’s a match made in self-obsession. Critics praised the show’s writing and the chemistry between the two leads, andYou’re the Worst will return for a second season on FXX Sept. 9.
6) Misery Loves Comedy (Aug. 16, Amazon Prime)
Curb Your Enthusiasm, Difficult People, You’re the Worst… The strange truth of the matter is, unhappy people can generate some of the best comedy. Given the inclusion of those shows on this list, it’s oddly appropriate that we round out the month with this Kickstarter-funded documentary, which asks the question: Do you have to be miserable to be funny? Directed by comedian Kevin Pollak, Misery Loves Comedy enlists a ridiculous lineup of talent to dissect that central question, including Judd Apatow, Janeane Garofalo, Kevin Smith, Jon Favreau, Stephen Merchant, Jason Alexander, Lewis Black, Whoopi Goldberg, Jim Gaffigan, Paul F. Tompkins, Christopher Guest, Bob Saget, Martin Short, Marc Maron, Penn Jillette, and (bringing it full circle) Larry David. And that’s not even close to everybody involved. This is pretty much a must-see for comedy fans.