Choosing what to watch over the festive season isn't always the easiest task, and it's one that's often made all the harder by not being able to narrow down which streaming site to use, never mind the content each offers. That's why we've scoured the lists of what's arriving on Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu in time for the holidays and selected the best things to kick back and enjoy once your festive food coma kicks in.
Keep in mind that these aren't your typical Christmas films. You won't be finding cheesy depictions of Santa here, no sir. Instead, we're recommending everything from family classics such as Little Miss Sunshine to deranged horrors (Hereditary) and animated specials (Neo Yokio). Are you sitting comfortably? Here's our round-up of the movies you should stream over the holidays.
The Big Lebowski (1998)
Arrives on Netflix: December 1 Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
The Big Lebowski, aka one of the best slacker movies ever made, has such a cult following that it has inspired its own religion: Dudeism. This beloved movement is all about "preaching non-preachiness," a mantra everyone should embrace this festive season. The oddball movie follows Jeffrey "The Dude" Lebowski (Jeff Bridges) as a ruined rug leads to him becoming embroiled in a kidnapping drama.
Neo Yokio: Pink Christmas (2018)
Arrives on Netflix: December 7 Created by: Ezra Koenig
Vampire Weekend frontman Ezra Koenig is behind this animated festive delight, which sits as a standalone special of the series that first aired back in 2017. Set in a dystopian New York (Neo Yokio), Pink Christmas continues the story of pink-haired protagonist Kaz Kaan and the antics he gets up to over the holiday break. Jaden Smith voices Kaz, with additional voice work by Richard Ayoade, Julian Barratt, Jamie Foxx, Jude Law, and Susan Sarandon.
Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
Arrives on Netflix: December 25 Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Coming just in time for Christmas, Marvel's Avengers: Infinity War is the perfect distraction for when you inevitably shut down post-lunch and start processing all that turkey you consumed. Starring the usual suspects, from Cap to Iron Man, Hulk to Black Panther, the movie is the last major Avengers outing before all hell breaks loose in next year's Endgame.
Arrives on Netflix: December 14 Director: Alfonso Cuarón
The latest by Alfonso Cuarón, the auteur who gave us Gravity, Children of Men, and Y Tu Mamá También, portrays domestic life and social hierarchies in the politically tumultuous Mexico of the ’70s and has received a bonkers amount of critical plaudits since it arrived this month. Dubbed "compelling" by The New Yorker, a "masterpiece" by The New York Times, and "stunning" by LA Weekly, Roma is already being talked of for the big awards.
Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Arrives on Netflix: December 1 Director: Edgar Wright
The first movie in Edgar Wright's "Cornetto" trilogy, Shaun of the Dead is a timeless and hilarious take on George Romero's iconic Dead zombie films. Starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost as likable losers who are forced to tackle the zombie apocalypse and relationship strife, culminating in a siege at the local pub. You've got red on you.
Arrives on Amazon: December 27 Director: Ari Aster
Hereditary lands on Amazon just after Christmas, which means you can start sliding bleak cinematic options back on to your watchlist without feeling bad about neglecting good cheer. This heavy AF story follows a family grieving the death of its matriarch. Not long after her death, her daughter and grandchildren start uncovering cryptic, terrifying secrets about their ancestry and soon find themselves trying to escape their roots.
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
Arrives on Amazon: December 1 Director: Stanley Kubrick
As we're told to count our blessings over the festive period, Stanley Kubrick's dystopian nightmare A Clockwork Orange is a great way to hammer home just how chill your life really is. Follow our sadist protagonist Alex — whose favorite activities include violence, rape, and classical music — and the botched therapy that attempts to rewire his brain. Not the best option if you're watching with grandma.
A Fish Called Wanda (1988)
Arrives on Amazon: December 1 Director: Charles Crichton
A movie about a diamond heist and a bunch of double-crossing villains might not sound all that funny, but a stellar cast and a madcap plot make for comedy gold. Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Kline, and former Monty Python men Michael Palin and John Cleese star in a movie that received Academy Award recognition back in 1989, nominated for Best Director and Best Original Script, with Kline bagging the Best Supporting Actor gong.
Boogie Nights (1997)
Arrives on Amazon: December 1 Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Burt Reynolds, Julianne Moore, John C. Reilly, Mark Wahlberg, and Don Cheadle all excel in Boogie Nights, the story of a pot-washer turned porn star in ’70s and ’80s Los Angeles. The film tracks the golden years of the porn industry in all its outrageous, excessive, drug-guzzling glory, grabbing three Oscar nominations and launching P.T. Anderson as one of the modern filmmaking greats.
Mars Attacks! (1996)
Arrives on Netflix: December 1 Director: Tim Burton
As the name suggests, the Martian spacecraft approaching Earth's major cities do not "come in peace" — despite claims to the contrary. When Mars Attacks! all hell breaks loose, Tim Burton-style. The ensemble cast reads like a who's who of Hollywood, including Jack Nicholson, Glenn Close, Annette Bening, Pierce Brosnan, Danny DeVito, Martin Short, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michael J. Fox, Tom Jones, and Natalie Portman. Most importantly, the film is hilarious. Ack-ack!
Blue Velvet (1986)
Arrives on Hulu: December 1 Director: David Lynch
Bizarre, disorienting, captivating, intense — the list of adjectives used to describe David Lynch's exploration of suburbia's dark underbelly offers only a fraction of a sense of what to expect here. The story kicks off with the discovery of a severed human ear and gets weirder from there. Between Kyle MacLachlan's lost innocence, Isabella Rossellini's dark desires, and Dennis Hopper's terrifying psychopath Frank, Blue Velvet is what happens when you tear society's blanket away from the human id.
Apollo 13 (1995)
Arrives on Hulu: December 1 Director: Ron Howard
Apollo 13 is a dramatic retelling of NASA's 1970 lunar mission, which saw efforts to land on the Moon for a third time go spectacularly awry, with the Moon mission becoming a desperate rescue effort. Ron Howard went to major lengths to ensure the movie was as close to the real deal as possible, employing NASA to train the cast in astronaut and fight controller logistics, and getting permission to film inside reduced gravity vessels for convincing weightless scenes.
The Exorcist (1973)
Arrives on Hulu: December 1 Director: William Friedkin
There's nothing quite like a bit of projectile green vomit to get the festive juices flowing (don't deny it), which is why horror classic The Exorcist made this list of holiday must-watches. This iconic scare fest ticks all the boxes for a creepy night in, and, to be fair, isn't too dissimilar from your standard Christmas celebration: possessed children, frantic families, board games, priests, and communication breakdowns.
Gangs of New York (2002)
Arrives on Hulu: December 1 Director: Martin Scorsese
When Amsterdam Vallon (Leonardo DiCaprio) returns to New York in 1862 to avenge his father, killed at the hands of a man known as Bill the Butcher (Daniel Day-Lewis), a power struggle ensues. In addition to the two leads, Cameron Diaz, John C. Reilly, and Liam Neeson support in a lavish piece from film icon Martin Scorsese. Gangs of New York is what happens when you put some of Hollywood's biggest talents together and ask them to beat the living shit out of each other.
Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
Arrives on Hulu: December 1 Directors: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris
Little Miss Sunshine is one of those wholesome but slightly demented movies that you can watch time and again. The plot follows a family determined to get their young daughter into the finals of a beauty pageant, but the bulk of the story takes place during the cross-country road trip they take to get her there. Filled with love, arguments, and everything in between, it's a perfect reflection of how intense families can become when they spend too much time together — like at Christmas.
Which movie will you be watching this Christmas? Let us know in the comments.
Now, watch Disney Pixar's short 'Bao' for free.