There was a time not that long ago when anyone seeking an exciting New Year’s Eve needed to make reservations weeks in advance or hope someone other than themselves would host a party (no one wants clean-up duty). Thankfully, we now live in the age of the internet, and anyone with $10 to spare can access enough entertainment from the comfort of their own home to last a dozen lifetimes. The biggest problem most face is which feature to spend their time with, which is what inspired the birth of this list.
Netflix has added some great content in recent weeks, but as much as we would love to highlight everything that you may have missed we simply do not have that kind of time. We know you may not have time to take in every title on the list in a single night, but we highly recommend keeping titles in your queue for future reference.
Bo Burnham: what.
Since bursting onto the national spotlight with a series of homemade videos, comedian Bo Burnham has traveled the nation several times over promoting his truly unique take on modern comedy. His latest special, what., brings to mind what would happen if you combined Steve Martin’s Wild And Crazy Guy record with George Carlin’s Parental Advisory special and added a digital twist. Through videos, songs, mime, and classic standup Burnham delivers a thrilling and original one-man-show that you will want to watch again and again.
You can never go wrong with Michael Shannon. Whether he’s toeing the line between morality and a life with the mob on Boardwalk Empire, or trying to keep the demons in his mind at bay in films like Take Shelter, Shannon is gold. The Iceman finds him as the lead in the true story of Richard Kuklinski, who killed more than 100 people for the mob — and his own pleasure — between 1964 and 1986. He was also a husband and devoted father of two, and the way Shannon portrays his internal battle between the worlds of violence and family is some of the best acting seen in 2013.
The History Of Future Folk
The History of Future Folk, which currently sits at an impressive 96% on Rotten Tomatoes, is some of the most fun I’ve had watching a film this year. Equal parts hilarious and ridiculous, this film is more or less what you’d get if you put Tenacious D and Flight of the Conchords in a room and had the Duplass Brothers direct whatever ended up happening. The synopsis reads, “The possibly exaggerated origin story of the real life alien bluegrass band, Future Folk, that has been playing for NYC audiences for the better part of a decade.” The characters in this movie will make you laugh and work their way into your heart with an excellent story and equally excellent music. Hondo!
This is pretty much the exact opposite of a ‘feel-good’ film, but if you want to spend your NYE learning about very real (and unnecessary) horrors being experienced by some of our friends in the animal kingdom you can do no better than Blackfish. This fascinating documentary examines the life of performing killer whale Tilikum — who has caused the deaths of several people while in captivity — and questions the safety and humaneness of confining these intelligent creatures. It made the entire UTG staff cry and it will likely do the same for you, but we cannot express enough how important it is you understand the full story behind life at Sea World and similar business as experienced by the animals they hold captive.
Stand Up Guys
It was around this time in 2012 that Stand Up Guys quietly debuted in a few dozen theaters across the nation. I never understood why the film was given such a small release, but thankfully it recently found its way into the Netflix library. Featuring Al Pacino, Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin this aging semi-mob comedy follows the rambunctious reunion between three retired gangsters and their reminiscences of wild times and crimes gone by. Energized by their own memories, the drunken friends unwisely undertake a reckless criminal adventure. The ride is admittedly better than the final destination, but there is a lot of fun to be had along the way.