Whoa. It’s November. Where did this year go? Fine, we ask that every year around this time, but doesn’t it feel like 2018 flew by? For us, that’s because the year can be divided into two sections: the lead up to A Star Is Born (including the long wait for “Shallow ” to drop), and watching the Star Is Born Oscar buzz start rumbling.
If you happen to have moved past A Star Is Born (and feel like you’ll never love [another movie as much] again) and are saying, “Hey, what’s next?” — first of all, how dare you? Go back and see A Star Is Born again. It just wants to take another look at you.
But really, if you’re seeking new material, here’s what the Refinery29 entertainment team recommends you check out this November.
Kaitlin Reilly, Entertainment Writer
Boy Erased (November 2)
Gay conversion therapy is an ugly thing that should be relegated to history books. It’s not — even though many states are, fortunately, banning the practice — and exposing the issue when LGBTQ+ rights are very much on the table is important. Based on Garrard Conley’s 2016 memoir, Boy Erased is about just that. I can’t make it through the trailer for the Lucas Hedges-starring film without generating a few tears. The cast is worth watching in pretty much anything, though: Nicole Kidman does a Southern accent; Lady Bird ‘s Hedges is a movie star in the making (he’ll soon play Shia LaBeouf in a new movie); and I’m a firm believer that Joel Edgerton needs to be a household name.
Second Act(originally November; moved to December 14)
Second Act — about a street-smart woman who fakes her way into a fancy office job — isn’t a romantic comedy in the general sense of the word (though Milo Ventimiglia does play her boo). It’s about a woman gaining the confidence to love herself. I’ll take that endgame over Dr. Matthew McConaughey any day.
Elena Nicolaou, Entertainment Writer
Narcos: Mexico (November 16 on Netflix)
It’s a whole new Narcos, baby. After three seasons exploring the pretty impressive supply chain of Colombian cartels (as well as the shocking violence that held them together), the show is moving north to Mexico, where it’ll focus on the formation of the Guadalajara cartel in the 1980s. Narcos is always a surprisingly educational show — in addition to action-packed (and, IMO, pretty disturbing) sequences, the series incorporates documentary-style narration that gets at the “big picture” effect the show’s action has on international affairs.
My Brilliant Friend(November 18 on HBO)
Please, please, let this mini-series be good! Like many, I devoured Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend series, which tracks the friendship of two girls who are born in post-war Naples over the course of their lives. The books are emotionally vivid — I remember Elena and Lila’s character arcs with far more clarity than I do my own. I wait for this adaptation in anticipation.
Ari Romero, TV Writer
House Of Cards (November 2 on Netflix)
I’ll admit it — I fell off the House Of Cards bandwagon somewhere between the second and third season. It was impossible to care who was scheming whom and/or who was getting murdered and why. Plus, right around that time, Netflix was exploding with its now nearly limitless parade of content. It was hard to care about the Underwoods and their Machiavellian plots for American political domination.
But, all of that changed with the drama’s sixth and final season, which killed off leading man Frank Underwood after his portrayer Kevin Spacey was accused of being a serial sexual predator. Now Robin Wright rules behind the late Frank’s resolute desk as Claire Hale, Frank’s widow and new Commander-In-Chief (now using her maiden name). I watched the first five episode of House Of Cards ’ goodbye season and couldn’t be more hooked. It’s a smart, subversive, and relentlessly feminist ride.
The Little Drummer Girl(November 19 on AMC)
This year seems dedicated to getting me to change my mind about spy-adjacent thrillers. First there was the fantastic Killing Eve. Then came the paranoia-fueled Bodyguard. Now, AMC will give us Little Drummer Girl a three-night limited series about a young actress (Florence Pugh), who is dragged into high-stakes international espionage intrigue. And, Alexander Skarsgård — or his character, the mysterious Becker — is to blame.
Do I love spy shows now?
Morgan Baila, Associate Entertainment Editor
Nutcracker and the Four Realms(November 2)
Even though it feels like we were just musing about the summer of love and the summer of scams, it’s officially time for the season of holiday movies. There’s nothing better than a holiday remake, and Disney’s impressive Nutcracker and the Four Realms is an exciting retelling of the classic Nutcracker tale. From the costumes to the cast (Keira Knightley, Morgan Freeman, and Mackenzie Foy) to the magical special effects, this movie delivers equal parts holiday magic and exciting drama.
Homecoming (November 2 on Amazon)
Homecoming is Julia Roberts’ first major foray into the world of prestige television, and she couldn’t have chosen a better introductory role. Based on an addictive podcast of the same name, Roberts stars as Heidi Bergman, a kind-hearted caseworker helping soldiers readjust to life after their deployment. But as she gets closer and closer to one soldier, a more sinister story starts to unravel.
Anne Cohen, Senior Entertainment Writer
The Favourite (November 23)
Welcome to 18th century England, ruled in name by one woman, Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) and led in deed by another: the queen’s favorite, Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz). It’s a world of vicious, strange dances and gigantic hooped skirts. But when another favorite threatens the order of things, watch out — powdered wigs may fly.
Bohemian Rhapsody (November 2)
Real talk: Even if this movie doesn’t live up to expectations, is there a universe in which watching Rami Malek impersonate Freddie Mercury isn’t at least a little bit amazing? Plus, you already know the soundtrack will be good.
Kathryn Lindsay, Entertainment Writer
Baby (November 30, Netflix)
Baby has already kicked up some controversy a month before it’s even set to drop on Netflix, which is what’s got me hoping this might be 2018’s answer to Skins. Skins, a cult British show, was a hit for its frank and sometime glamorized portrayal of sex, drugs, and teen life in England, and Baby takes that same concept over to Italy. Based on the Baby Squillo teen prostitution scandal that came to light in 2013 in which 14- and 15-year-olds were said to have sold sex in order to buy designer clothes and cell phones, Baby is about a group of Roman teenagers who grapple with “forbidden love, family pressures, and shared secrets,” according to Netflix’s official bio. We’ll have to wait until it lands on Netflix to see if the National Center on Sexual Exploitation’s concerns about the show’s portrayal of sex trafficking are valid — otherwise, this could just be my official winter obsession.
The Crimes of Grindelwald(November 16)
My feelings towards the Fantastic Beasts franchise are somewhat complicated due to Johnny Depp’s inclusion in the main cast, but my loyalty to the Harry Potter universe will still bring me to the theater. I’ll watch the movie with a critical eye and hope that there’s still something to appreciate in this story, which continues both the history of Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) and brings to life the origins of Dumbledore (Jude Law) and Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) the characters we first learned about in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
Sesali Bowen, Senior Entertainment Writer
Widows (November 16)
It feels strange having to convince people to go watch anything with Viola Davis in it. No matter what role she plays, it’s guaranteed to be pure fire. I’m more than a little stoked to see her play a criminal’s widow who teams up with some other women to pull off the job he should have done before his death. This year has been full of female-led action films, and Davis is putting her hand in the ring alongside Cynthia Erivo and Michelle Rodriguez. I’m also hopeful that Liam Neeson, star of Taken, won’t be sent on the same mission across town to save a girl.
The Girl In The Spider’s Web (November 9)
Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) is cool as a scammer. Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) is great, thanks to those amazing bracelets. But Lisabeth Salander, the antihero at the center of the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo franchise, is something different altogether. She is calculating, connected, and will literally stop at nothing to get what she wants. She’s back for another installment of the series, this time in cahoots with some really dope hackers. You damn sure won’t catch her in a pair of heels, and yes, she has a really cool tattoo. I can’t wait to see what Claire Foy does with this character and to swoon at the sight of LaKeith Stanfield, who also stars in the movie.
Rebecca Farley, Editorial Assistant
The Kominsky Method, November 16 on Netflix
I don’t usually condone Chuck Lorre fare — he gave us years of Big Bang Theory domination — but his work for Netflix has been interesting. Lorre also produced the short-lived series DisJointed, which was deeply flawed but still very different from everything else he’s done. DisJointed, despite its airlessness, had the advantage of good casting on its side. (I credit that show with discovering Chris Redd; SNL stole him from Lorre.) The Kominsky Method has a similar advantage. Michael Douglas plays an aging actor who has recently pivoted into teaching, and Alan Arkin plays his agent. The supporting cast is stacked with some of Hollywood’s best and brightest, including Atypical ‘s Graham Rogers and former Disney Channel star Emily Osment. Sarah Baker, a small player in Big Little Lies, plays a big part, too. The Kominsky Method is a weird pivot for one of TV’s most powerful creators, but it just might work.
Escape At Dannemora, November 18 on Showtime
True crime stories are getting a lot of attention these days. Escape at Dannemora is just a hop, skip, and a jump to the left of true crime. It’s an adaptation of the 2015 prison break from Clinton Correctional Facility. If you’re unfamiliar, this story is wild — why aren’t we always talking about the fact that two prisoners escaped with help from a security guard, with whom they both had relationships? That’s a love triangle better than any other love triangle. In this version, the prisoners are played by Benicio del Toro and Paul Dano; the guard is Patricia Arquette. I’d like to think this is where a wonkier version of Boyhood would have ended up.
Lauren Le Vine, Deputy Entertainment Director
Clique(November 7 on PopTV)
Oh hello, new series about very good-looking teenagers doing Very Bad and Mysterious Things. Thank you for coming along to fill the hole in my heart now that I plowed through Elite.
Outlaw King(November 9 on Netflix)
Oh hello, Chris Pine’s willingness to do full-frontal nudity. I mean, look! A sweeping historical drama about a real-life Scottish king who was forced into exile and banded with some outlaws to reclaim the throne. I am very mature and love history, not just Chris Pine’s commitment to the role in his full glory (and unfortunate hairstyle).
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