What to stream this Thanksgiving weekend: Netflix’s ‘Christmas Chronicles 2,’ Hulu’s ‘Happiest Season’

New streaming movies are coming to entertain you and your family during socially distanced times.

This Thanksgiving weekend is crazy stuffed. Netflix puts Kurt Russell in the Santa Claus suit again for a holiday sequel and pits Glenn Close vs. Amy Adams in a Ron Howard family drama; Hulu adds an inclusive entry to the Christmas movie canon with a romantic comedy starring Kristen Stewart and Mackenzie Davis; and a couple of music documentaries focus on Shawn Mendes and Frank Zappa.

If you’re feeling the itch to get back to the movies in person, and there’s a drive-in or it’s safe enough to return to your local theater, the animated comedy sequel “The Croods” brings back Nicolas Cage as the voice of a caveman dad, Emma Stone as his daughter and Ryan Reynolds as her boyfriend.

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But if you’d rather stick closer to home this Turkey Day, here’s a rundown of new movies hitting streaming and on-demand platforms this week, for every cinematic taste:

If you need a Santa-size pick-me-up: ‘The Christmas Chronicles 2’

There’s nothing more joyous than watching Russell play St. Nicholas. The follow-up doesn’t live up to the refreshing 2018 original and leans a little predictable, as a returning Darby Camp and newcomer Jahzir Bruno have to help save Santa’s Village, but Goldie Hawn makes a great Mrs. Claus, the big guy gets an intriguing origin story, and Russell plays sax with Darlene Love. That’s your Christmas miracle, folks.

Where to watch:Netflix

If you want something new and different this holiday: ‘Happiest Season’

In Clea DuVall’s clever and pleasant yuletide flick, Harper (Davis) brings Abby (Stewart) home for Christmas, though her dysfunctional family has no idea she’s a lesbian. So there are plenty of high jinks, but also some really heartfelt scenes in the ensemble film that features Mary Steenburgen and Victor Garber as Harper’s parents, Alison Brie as her competitive sister, and Dan Levy as Abby’s hilarious and caring gay best friend.

Where to watch:Hulu

If you’d like some Oscar bait with your turkey dinner: ‘Hillbilly Elegy’

The adaptation of J.D. Vance’s 2016 memoir showcases three generations of an Appalachian family: Gabriel Basso as a Yale Law student weighing a bright future vs. a complicated past, Adams as his abusive drug-addict mom (who ends up derailing the film’s momentum more than not), and Close as the tough-love grandma and lone highlight of this mediocre drama.

Where to watch:Netflix

If you’re interested in an emotional and retro family tale: ‘Uncle Frank’

Paul Bettany and Sophia Lillis have an easy and warm chemistry in director Alan Ball’s 1973-set dramedy that will warm and break hearts. A closeted gay college professor (Bettany) in New York is forced to return to South Carolina, come out to his family and deal with the ramifications when a death spurs a road trip with his niece (Lillis) and his boyfriend (Peter Macdissi).

Where to watch:Amazon Prime

If you’re a David Bowie super-fan: ‘Stardust’

How was Ziggy Stardust born? The musical drama digs into what led to Bowie’s infamous sci-fi alter ego by focusing on the legend as a 24-year-old (Johnny Flynn) coming to America in 1971 for his first tour (it doesn’t go well) and struggling to find his place in a changing industry. Jena Malone co-stars as Bowie’s wife, Angie, and Marc Maron steals some scenes as Bowie’s hard-working publicist.

Where to watch:Apple TV, Vudu, FandangoNOW

If the youngsters could use a music doc: ‘Shawn Mendes: In Wonder’

While not up to the par of recent chronicles of folks like J Balvin and Blackpink, “In Wonder” is still an interesting look at the life of an immensely popular pop star. There are plenty of Mendes concert performances, though the slice-of-life stuff is best, from his romance with longtime friend Camila Cabello to the times when Mendes is working out various coming-of-age struggles.

Where to watch:Netflix

If you think the usual Santa movies are way too cheery: ‘Fatman’

Imagine Quentin Tarantino doing a Christmas movie, and that’s what this pitch-black action comedy is aiming for with Gibson as a grizzled, I’m-getting-too-old-for-this-stuff Chris Cringle. A spoiled brat (Chance Hurstfield) entrenched on the naughty list gets a lump of coal and sends out a persnickety assassin (Walton Goggins) to kill Santa, and the film suffers when it can’t fully commit to the goofy humbug.

Where to watch: Apple TV, Vudu, FandangoNOW

If you could use a good house party these days: ‘Lovers Rock’

Even in non-COVID Normal Times, most people’s Thanksgiving shindigs aren’t to the level of the soiree that director Steve McQueen throws with the second entry in his “Small Axe” anthology. Set in 1980, when Black people weren’t welcome at white London nightclubs, the film follows a lively night filled with music, dancing, racial tensions, hard feelings and new love for a young couple (Amarah-Jae St. Aubyn and Micheal Ward).

Where to watch:Amazon Prime (Friday)

If you’re down for the tale of a true original: ‘Zappa’

Directed by acclaimed documentarian Alex Winter (you might know him as Bill from the “Bill & Ted” films), the fascinating film follows the life, music and politics of the iconoclastic Frank Zappa. Using old interviews and archival content, “Zappa” looks at a musician who was independently minded in both his art and his beliefs, and hugely influential even though his mainstream popularity was fleeting at best.

Where to watch: Apple TV, Vudu, FandangoNOW (Friday)

If you’re curious about Kate Winslet voicing a horse: ‘Black Beauty’

In Ashley Avis’ modern take on Anna Sewell’s coming-of-age classic, an orphaned girl (Mackenzie Foy) befriends a wild mustang (whose inner thoughts are narrated by Winslet), and they form a tight bond that gets tested when the horse is sold off. Some lighthearted moments nicely balance the more traumatizing stuff, though the plot steadily grows heavy and plodding even with ace animal acting.

Where to watch:Disney+ (Friday)

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