After a lackluster November that left Netflix scrambling to rescue its award season ambitions after “Hillbilly Elegy” didn’t quite hit the mark, the streaming giant is showing its full strength with a December lineup that pairs unmissable Originals like “Mank” and “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” with quintessential library titles like “E.T.” and “Jurassic Park.” Add a bearded George Clooney and a rapping Meryl Streep into the mix, and you’ve got the kind of holiday viewing slate that only Netflix has the chutzpah to put out into the world.
Here are the seven most exciting movies coming to the platform this month.
7. “The Prom” (2020)
Future historians will note that 2020 ended the only way this cursed year possibly could: With Meryl Streep rapping on camera in a Netflix musical directed by Ryan Murphy. And yet, despite all evidence to the contrary, it seems “The Prom” might be just the party we’ve all been waiting for over these last nine months.
In their approving review of this glitzy and Golden Globes-ready Broadway adaptation, IndieWire’s Jude Dry writes that “‘The Prom’ has all the makings of a classic Hollywood musical,” and that the story — about a quartet of washed-up theater legends who hoof it to a conservative Indiana town in order to support a lesbian teen who was banned from bringing her girlfriend to the big dance — unfolds as if “the strivers from ‘The Philadelphia Story’ went to Allentown to help Peggy Swayer find her way to ‘42nd Street.’”
6. “The Midnight Sky” (2020)
George Clooney’s directorial career went a little sideways after the success of “Good Night, and Good Luck” (though “Leatherheads” remains a minor screwball delight), but even in the aftermath of misfires like “The Monuments Men” and “Suburbicon,” it’s still easy to root for him and chalk up the existence of “The Midnight Sky” to perseverance instead of privilege, or at least perseverance and privilege instead of just privilege alone. This is a guy who could live 100 comfortable lifetimes on his tequila money alone, and yet he still seems fully invested in everything he does, whether it’s a happy-go-lucky Nespresso commercial or a Netflix epic about a lonely Arctic scientist who’s desperately trying to stop a team of astronauts from returning to a ruined Earth.