The Best Movies, TV, Books and Music for November
Including Werner Herzog musing on meteorites, two next-gen gaming consoles and “Ready Player Two”
Welcome to Culture Hound, InsideHook’s deep dive into the month’s most important cultural happenings, pop and otherwise.
Note, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, release dates are highly tentative.
“Reboots are symptomatic of a fundamental lack of originality in Hollywood,” announces Yakko in the trailer. At least they’re self-aware cartoons! Relive your youth via him, Wakko, Dot, Pinky and the Brain and more on this Hulu relaunch, already renewed for a second season. (Nov. 20, Hulu)
Other returning TV series and specials: Stephen Colbert’s Election Night 2020: Democracy’s Last Stand: Building Back America Great Again Better 2020 (Nov. 3, Showtime); Votegasm 2020: What Could Go Wrong? (Again) (Nov. 3, Comedy Central); The Crown (Nov. 15, Netflix); His Dark Materials (Nov. 16, HBO); Lego Star Wars Holiday Special (Nov. 17, Disney+); Saved By the Bell (Nov. 25, Peacock)
WATCH: Jiu Jitsu
Nicholas Cage and Frank Grillo star in this insane genre mash-up that pits jiu jitsu fighters against alien invaders in what looks a low-budget, martial arts take on Predator. (Nov. 20, theaters and VOD)
More new films coming to the small screen and big: Divine Love (11/13, VOD); Steve McQueen’s Small Axe (11/20, Prime Video — four follow-up films will follow weekly); Between the World and Me (11/21, HBO); Hillbilly Elegy (11/23, theaters and Netflix); Zappa (11/27, VOD);
Werner Herzog and Clive Oppenheimer discuss how meteories have altered and (pun intended) “left a big impact” on different cultures. (Nov. 13, Apple TV+)
Other new TV series and specials: Moonbase 8 (11/8, Showtime); Industry (11/9, HBO); A Teacher (11/10, Hulu); Aunty Donna’s Big Ol’ House of Fun (11/11, Netflix); The Flight Attendant (11/27, HBO)
BUY: PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X
Two next-gen consoles that you probably won’t be able to buy on their release dates, unless you pre-purchased them months ago. Sony’s new space-age take features a controller with a built-in mic and better haptic feedback, while the Xbox is touting better specs and a no-money down, $35/month option that includes 24 months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. Most importantly for both? Almost universal backwards compatibility with previous console games. (Xbox Series X, Nov. 10; PS5, Nov. 12)
More games to play: Assassin’s Creed Valhalla (Nov. 10); Destiny 2: Beyond Light (Nov. 10); Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War (11/13); Spider-Man: Miles Morales (11/17)
READ: Ready Player Two
Ernest Cline’s follow-up to his excellent sci-fi/’80s pop culture homage sure sounds a lot like his first book — but hey, we’re in the mood for another nostalgia-fueled quest set in a dystopian world that probably has a happy ending.
More recommended new fiction and non-fiction: The Best of Me by David Sedaris (Nov. 3); The Arrest by Jonathan Lethem (Nov. 10); Pappyland: A Story of Family, Fine Bourbon, and the Things That Last by Wright Thompson (Nov. 10); One Life by Megan Rapinoe (Nov. 10); A Promised Land by Barack Obama (Nov. 17)
BUY: The Office
The complete series comes to Blu-ray, which should take up an extra 76 hours of your time when you’re locked away this winter. (Nov. 10)
More new Blu-ray releases: Game of Thrones Complete Series (Nov. 3); Monty Python’s Flying Circus Complete Series (Nov. 10); Bill & Ted Face the Music (Nov. 10); Resident Evil Complete Series (Nov. 17); The Irishman (Nov. 24)
LISTEN: Sarah Dooley
We’re suckers for a pretty voice, particularly when said voice comes with quality songwriting and genre versatility. Enter Brooklynite Sarah Dooley, whose sophomore effort Is This Heartbreak? is chock full of melodic vocals that explore the funnier side of lost love and arrangements that wander from ’40s-style chanteuse (“My Body Is Champagne” would make an excellent though thematically offbeat addition to any holiday playlist) to synthy electro-pop and piano balladry.
More new albums, special editions and box sets: AC/DC (Nov. 13); Johnny Cash (Nov. 13); Elton John (Nov. 13); Nick Cave (Nov. 20); The Dirty Knobs — aka Mike Campbell from Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers (Nov. 20); Billie Joe Armstrong (Nov. 27); Smashing Pumpkins (Nov. 27)
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