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Attention: Spoilers abound

November and December have been busy times at the box office. There’ve been quite a few winter hits and indie darlings gracing the silver and small screen over the last two months, often generating quite divisive buzz. Some of the criticisms are fair, and some I, personally, feel come from people expecting too much.

The most polarizing film of the lot seems to be have been the latest installment of Star Wars. Rian Johnson (who has graced my film recs before with his mid-2000s film Brick) definitely left his mark on the franchise. While I’m not necessarily a fan of everything, I’m content overall with Episode VIII. I think my biggest issue with the film was that it felt overlong and it drug in several places. It just didn’t quite have the wow factor of some of the other films, aside from Admiral Holdo’s suicide jump to lightspeed. It’s good that she was on the ship, because up to that moment I was pretty much blown away by the fact that there was no autopilot. If she’d just been sitting there, piloting this ship, and dying because this super advanced society didn’t have some kind of autopilot I would have been pretty pissed. The Porgs were cute, and I definitely liked the crystal fox things that looked like an Eevee evolution. Actually, most of the creatures in this episode had a very Pokemon vibe, now that I’m thinking about it.

Thor: Ragnarok was a relief. I almost didn’t go see it because The Dark World was so underwhelming. I think styling it as an action-comedy was much more appropriate. After the doom and gloom of 2017 we all needed a dose of something more lighthearted. Cate Blanchet as antagonist Hela basically gave my life, Chris Hemsworth’s comedic timing was pretty fabulous, and Taika Waititi’s character Korg was a total scene-stealer. Thor: Ragnarok is easily the best of the Thor films to date, and the only one I fully plan on watching again.

On the small screen, Netflix is actually making life hard for me. It feels like they pump out so much new content at once that it’s kind of a mad dash to watch it all while still, y’know, living day-to-day life. The only show I carved out special, designated time for was Stranger Things. This is another entry to this catchall list that’s dusted up a little division. Some of the criticisms are fair enough— the Mind Flayer definitely packed less of a wow-factor than the Demogorgon (but seriously, coming up with an antagonist to top the Demogorgon is a tall order). I really hated that Eleven was separated from the group the entire time, because her interactions with them were some of the absolute best parts of the first season. Also, I have no idea what’s going on with Billy Hargrove. I thought he was going to join in on the action and have some kind of third act turnaround, but I was wrong. It’s possible they’re going to do more with him in season 3, but his sole purpose in season 2 was to torture Max and Steve, who were both already sympathetic characters without Billy’s added bullying. On the flip side of things, I loved all the screentime Lucas and Dustin got, it was nice to see Joyce Beyers get to be happy (however brief), I am 100% on board with babysitter/dad Steve, and I really, really like the potential that comes from knowing that Eleven isn’t alone, and that we may see other kids from Hawkins Lab.

So those are my big three recs for November and December! If you’ve plowed through any of the 293847 new shows on Netflix, sound off in the comments on which ones you think are worth the watch! Help me start 2018 with shows that don’t suck, I beg you.