Wind down from your big turkey dinner and take in a quality film this Thanksgiving weekend, with these fresh, lo-fi movie picks that you can watch right now.
Noovie's Alt. Movie Pick: Happiest Season
Based on her own personal experiences, and written out of a complete lack of the kind of rom-coms that she would like to see, Clea DuVall's directorial debut is the perfect holiday treat for right now. The comedy follows Abby (Kristen Stewart) as she meets the uptight family of her long-time girlfriend Harper (Mackenzie Davis) for the holidays. Soon, she finds out that Harper never actually came out to her family.
- Where to watch: Hulu
Over the course of an afternoon, tensions rise as legendary blues singer Ma Rainey (Viola Davis) gathers musicians for an intense recording session. Based on August Wilson's play of the same name, "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" has the unfortunate circumstance of being late actor Chadwick Boseman's last film. But, if early reviews are any indication, this will be one legendary final performance from an equally legendary actor.
- Where to watch: In select theaters (coming to Netflix Dec. 18th)
After reprising his most bodacious role as Bill S. Preston, Esq. in this summer's "Bill & Ted Face the Music," Alex Winter goes back behind the camera with this in-depth exploration of singer, songwriter, and progessive rock improvisational master Frank Zappa.
- Where to watch: In theaters (coming to VOD on Friday)
Music / 2020
Based on the memoir of conservative author J. D. Vance, Ron Howard explores generational strife in an Appalachian family as young Vance (Gabriel Basso) confronts the growing pains of living with his drug-addicted mother (Amy Adams). Leaning heavy on biopic tropes, and never really going deeper than the surface of the issues, "Hillbilly Elegy" may struggle at times with its portrayal themes and characters, despite the best of intentions from Howard and the cast.
- Where to watch: Netflix
Following the shocking death of rock superstar David Bowie in 2016, it was inevitable that Hollywood would explore his story for a biopic. "Stardust" takes us behind the rise of Bowie (Johnny Flynn) and his transformation into his famed glam rock persona, Ziggy Stardust. Without the family's official blessing, the movie might seem to miss a beat by not being able to feature any of the rocker's iconic songs. However, the movie itself is not so much about Bowie's music as much as it is about the man he was at a particular time in his life and the invention of the icon he was to be.
When the family patriarch passes away, literary professor Frank Bledsoe (Paul Bettany) and his 18-year-old niece Beth (Sophia Lillis) take a road trip from Manhattan to South Carolina to attend the funeral. Along the way they are unexpectedly joined by Frank's lover Walid (Peter Macdissi). You may feel like you've seen this kind of movie before (see: "As Good As It Gets" and this year's "Jungleland"), but it's Bettany's performance that is a standout; and a good way to whet your appetite before he jumps back into the MCU in Disney+'s "WandaVision." "Uncle Frank" had its premiere at this year's Sundance Film Festival.
- Where to watch: Prime Video (subscription)
Anna Sewell's best-selling 19th century novel about the indelible bond between a horse and a youth has seen its fair share of adaptations, including the most familiar versions from 1971 and 1994. Disney's turn – the first to feature the main characters as female – updates the tale to modern times and moves the setting to a Wyoming ranch. There, a young girl (Mackenzie Foy) develops a lifelong kinship with a wild horse (voiced by Kate Winslet).
- Where to watch: Disney+ (debuting on Friday, Nov. 27)
Hot Indie Trailer: Our Friend
When couple Matthew (Casey Affleck) and Nicole (Dakota Johnson) are faced with dire circumstances, their friend Dane (Jason Segel) moves in to help them out. "Our Friend" premiered last year at the Toronto International Film Festival.
- In theaters and on VOD January 22nd
About the Author
Matt Lissauer is a writer & data manager for Noovie. When he is not busy writing listicles, Matt is enjoying life in New Jersey with his lovely wife and three kids.