Everything I enjoyed in November

Now that it’s cold outside and cuffing season is in full swing, I’m excited to spend cozy evenings at home with my favorite date (my cat) and make plenty of time to enjoy more TV.

Over the past few weeks I’ve steadily worked through my burgeoning watch list. Here’s what I’ve churned through in the past month:

The Lighthouse

After reading several reviews of this film by Robert Eggers, who directed The Witch (one of my favorite horror flicks) I eagerly added The Lighthouse to my watch list. I recently had the chance to see it in the theater, and I got the biggest kick out of watching Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe go so hard into character as lighthouse keepers tending a lonely outpost together, uncovering each other’s secrets while they descend into drunken madness. It’s such a wild two-hour trip of a movie: black and white, with only the two actors speaking in period-authentic late 19th century dialogue, a relentless foghorn blowing ceaselessly in the background and the mood vacillating rapidly between slapstick comedy, surreal mystery and graphic horror. It was everything I could have ever wanted it to be, and I highly recommend pairing it with popcorn and Raisinets.

Where to watch: In theaters

Paradise Hills

I only heard about this movie because I happened across a rather blah review of it, but I did a double-take at the costumes and knew I wanted to see more of Emma Roberts’ thriller chops outside of American Horror Story. She plays a Uma, who’s been forced into an isolated island resort/rehab/reform school run by Milla Jovovitch, whose brand of therapy involves white dresses, partner yoga and other classic cult tactics, so you know there’s some sinister stuff going on behind the scenes. The retro-future Stepford Housewives fashion is bomb, and the slick visual style feels like a fever dream fairytale. If you’re in the mood for a weird and well-dressed 90-minute mash-up remix of Picnic at Hanging Rock, Maniac, Suspiria and another film (spoiler), this one was fun.

Where to watch: Prime

The Devil Next Door

I thought November was going to be a slow month for Netflix true crime documentaries, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised. Although not the most arresting mystery, this was a solid, steady documentary that felt perfectly responsible to watch while folding laundry on a Sunday night.

Where to watch: Netflix

Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator

Remember the 30 by 30 podcast about this asshole? I really enjoyed that podcast because of the message it sent to survivors, and this documentary further explores the stories of the people he impacted. Apparently Bikram himself takes issue with this documentary, which means it’s 100% true and you should totally watch it because fuck that guy. Bikram’s case is yet another gross example of how rich, famous and powerful men can escape justice and continue to victimize others, and so giving his survivors another platform to share their voices is an important way to cut him down to size.

(Also, after listening to all those women talk about how this form of yoga changed their lives so dramatically, I feel like my New Years resolution will involve getting back into any kind of yoga at all.)

Where to watch: Netflix

Who Killed Little Gregory?

If you’re looking for a deep dive into a classic cold case, this child murder is a real doozy. After the body of four-year-old Little Gregory is pulled from the river of his small French village in 1984, his parents face the realization that his murderers are likely inside their close-knit community, and even within their own family. The details get weirder and crazier from there, and although I definitely remember the MFM episode covering this murder, there’s nothing like watching original interview footage and photos to remind you how bizarre true crime can be. In many ways the style of this documentary treatment reminded me strongly of Netflix’s Madeleine McCann series, which is another solid binge for when you’re feeling dark/twisted/sad.

Where to watch: Netflix

This Land

I’m finally, finally getting back into podcasts, and although I had a hard time settling on what I was in the mood to listen to, this one stuck. While I felt the hook about a murder case was a bit of false advertising, it was really eye-opening to learn about the history and reality of how native people in the U.S. experience the legal system, which overtly and covertly attempts to strip away their rights and their land.

As she dismantles ignorant and harmful assumptions made about Native Americans, host Rebecca Nagle emphasizes that white people really don’t know anything about tribes, their cultures, their lives or how they’ve been impacted time and time again by white peoples’ determination to take everything from them. She’s right, and she’s using this podcast to make the point that we have a lot to learn if we want to be allies. I’ve always been interested in legal advocacy, and now I’m wondering if my podcast/true crime interests are beginning to lie more in advocacy in general. If everyone is so vexed about true crime as entertainment, maybe more advocacy through storytelling is a possible answer.

Where to listen: Pick your player

Tell Me Who I Am

The story of abuse told in this documentary about identical twin brothers is not necessarily a rare one, but it’s one we’re less likely to hear about for several reasons: the survivors are men, and the perpetrator was their mother. The documentary doesn’t dwell on the grisly or salacious details of the abuse, instead it focuses heavily on how the survivors feel and how these experiences impacted their lives. More true crime projects should place this kind of emphasis on how survivors endure, process and recover from trauma, because these stories of resilience deserve to be acknowledged.

Where to watch: Netflix

The Family

At first I thought this documentary series would set out to prove a conspiracy theory, but it’s more like additional proof of our fucked up political reality. While it’s not surprising to learn that a secret conservative Christian society of Washington elite have been pulling the strings of government leaders around the world for decades, it sure is depressing. (I have a lot of feelings about this topic, mostly because I already distrust authority and the idea of an all-male power-tripping Jesus frat plain freaks me out.) This is a highly educational watch, but it’s a little slow and admittedly I fell asleep at least three times trying to get through the first episode.

Where to watch: Netflix

Criminal: UK

This is some bread-and-butter murderino stuff, right here. I love how British series are short enough to finish in a night, and this show centers each of its three episodes around a down-to-the-wire police interrogation with a perpetrator. The thriller style reminded me a little of Luther, and I’m definitely ready to check out the seasons set in other countries.

Where to watch: Netflix

Hot Cyber Monday tip:

Get yourself a pair of snakeskin boots.

I’m not kidding when I say that I get at least two or three compliments every time I wear these, and I get it – they’re sexy AF. I scored my pair on sale from DSW and they’re definitely my best purchase this fall, if not this year.

Can I be a DSW influencer now?

What did you watch last month, and what would you recommend?