McDreamy’s new show, a mid-aughts mum classic and two of the year’s most fun films – they’re all on Lightbox this month! Plus, what you need to catch before it leaves.
Book Club (movie from December 5)
2018 is the year that I embraced the book club, and it has enhanced my life in ways I could have never imagined. I’ve read one and 7/8s of a book, I’ve experienced the glory of bottomless brunch, and I’ve laughed and talked about ACTUAL LITERATURE with some of my smartest and funniest friends. One of those people is The Spinoff’s Madeleine Chapman, who went to see Book Club, starring Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen and Mary Steenburgen earlier in the year. ““It’s Nancy Meyers-lite,” she told me just now, “I loved it.” If that’s not a ringing endorsement, I don’t know what is. / Alex Casey
Law and Order True Crime: The Menendez Brothers (binge from December 7)
The true story this miniseries is based on was so remarkable it reached our own shores in the nineties, before everybody was obsessed with true crime as a particularly macabre way to escape our day-to-day horrors. The rundown: Two brothers murdered their parents brutally, and the resulting trial dragged on and on, and featured an especially flamboyant and personable defence attorney, Leslie Abramson, played here by Edie Falco and a tremendous wig. I mean, what better way to ease your way into holiday horror season than with some juicy true crime? / Sam Brooks
A Simple Favour (movie from December 12)
Low-key, this might be my favourite movie of the year, and if it’s not, then Blake Lively’s full glam-lesbian performance is absolutely my pick for the most underrated performance of the year. It starts off as a thriller about a mom-blogger (Anna Kendrick) who makes friends with a glamourous and nonchalant friend (Blake Lively) at her kid’s school, who then suddenly goes missing; from then on it’s a demented high-stakes black comedy. It’s weird as hell, stylish as hell, and I cannot stop thinking about it. Watch it with your friends and a lot of prosecco, and you’ll have the time of your life. Just keep the credit card hidden, because you will want to buy all of her outfits. / SB
Crazy Rich Asians (movie from December 12)
If A Simple Favour is my low-key favourite movie of the year, then Crazy Rich Asians is high-key my favourite comfort movie of 2018. It’s affluence porn at its finest, and Constance Wu is the most likeable lead in a romantic comedy since Julia Roberts and Sandra Bullock stopped doing romantic comedies and decided to win Oscars instead. It’s really funny, it’s really touching (I’ve seen it twice and cried at the same point both times) and it’s a viewpoint into a culture and a world that doesn’t get seen in a lot of mainstream films. Win, win, win, y’all.
(Also, Henry Golding, I am available to be married to you at any moment that you may desire. You can contact me at email@example.com) / SB
The Truth About The Harry Quebert Affair (miniseries from December 18)
McDreamy is back, baby, and this time he has glasses and you should probably call the cops and report severe crimes of attractiveness. Speaking of criminal, miniseries The Truth About Harry Quebert Affair follows a mysterious case involving an esteemed author (Dempsey, hence the glasses) who is accused of killing a missing woman 15 years prior. With her body found clutching a copy of his book, it’s a real… Grey… area dissecting the… Anatomy… of the murder. Sorry! / AC
Leave No Trace (movie from December 19)
This was the film that came out of Sundance with all the buzz, especially for Kiwi actress Thomasin McKenzie, who has been labelled the next Jennifer Lawrence. No pressure yo! Leave No Trace is a taut thriller that comes from Debra Granik, who directed Lawrence to her first Oscar nomination in Winter’s Bone, so the comparisons are pretty apt. Both the film and McKenzie are picking up awards overseas, so if you want to get your award season viewing started early, start nowhere other than Leave No Trace. / SB
The Nun (movie from December 19)
The latest instalment from the Conjuring cinematic universe is The Nun, who joins Annabelle and The Blair Witch in my personal hall of fame for possessed feminist icons. A loosely-linked prequel to The Conjuring 2, The Nun takes us to 195os Romania, where an isolated monastery is being haunted by a malevolent spirit (spoiler alert: it’s the nun). With The Vatican sending a non-evil nun and a non-evil priest to clear the air of evil, it becomes evident pretty fast that they are going to need more than a can of Oust. Balancing relentless jump-scares with schlocky, self-aware jokes, horror fans could do a lot worse than pulling up a pew with The Nun. / AC
Crossing Jordan (binge from December 21)
My mother was obsessed with this show through the entire 00s, which tells you everything you need to know about this show. Crossing Jordan was a part of what I fondly call The Forensic Boom, which was the CSI-led glut of shows about cops who investigated crime scenes and tried to figure out what the heck went on.
Crossing Jordan was the most wholesome and quirkiest of these, with best-hair-on-television-back-then Jill Hennessy playing the titular Jordan, a forensic pathologist in the medical examiner’s office. She was tough, she was staunch, and she didn’t play by the rules – she was pure bait for mums, and I can tell you that mums ate it up. Also, it’s a chance to see a pre-natal Kathryn Hahn (Transparent) as a quirky receptionist, and Academy Award winner Mahershala Ali as a gentle medical examiner. Get in on the ground floor seventeen years late! / SB
Pushing Daisies (leaving January 14)
“Pushing Daisies is one of those shows that garnered huge enthusiasm with critics and a devoted following of fans, but it just missed the boat on becoming the true sensation it should have been. It’s a beautiful watch now – the production design is sweet enough to give you diabetes 1 through 25, because also Ned is a pie maker – but what really grabs you is the quiet, sad intensity between Ned and Chuck, who are doomed to a touchless love before they even realise they’re doomed to it.'” / SB
Veronica Mars (leaving January 14)
“If you missed out on watching Veronica Mars, you missed out on not only one of the first examples of ‘teen noir‘, but some of the most astutely written and performed high school characters I’ve ever seen on television … The first season is especially brilliant, focusing on Veronica figuring out who murdered her best friend Lily, while also coming to terms with what happened to her on the night of Lily’s disappearance.” / SB
Also leaving are:
Mozart in the Jungle (Season 3, December 9)
Go Girls (All, December 14)
Deadline Gallipoli (All, December 30)
Moon TV (All, December 31)
Blindspot (Season 1, January 14)
The West Wing (Boxset, January 14)
800 Words (Season 1-2, January 14)
This content, like all television coverage we do at The Spinoff, is brought to you thanks to the excellent folk at Lightbox.