7 Movies To Stream To Stay Creative Over The Holidays

netflix movies to stream over the holidays
Image via Flickr

Family togetherness during the holidays can be a wonderful thing, but sometimes an even more wonderful thing is holing up in the rec room to watch movies while your family bickers (or plays Charades for the ninth time) down the hall. Here are seven movies and series currently streaming online that will both give you a respite from family time and ensure your creative muscles don’t atrophy over the holidays.

Mozart in the Jungle

This Amazon Original has a release date of December 23rd – just in time for Christmas. If the show’s barn-burning pilot is any indication, this series about a young, unique symphony conductor will explore both how to be an incredible force of creativity and how to balance artistry with the financial needs of a major non-profit. The brilliant, eccentric cast of symphony players is diverse enough that any creative will find someone to identify with and root for.

Available via: Amazon Prime

Marina Abramovič: The Artist is Present

This engrossing documentary is both a retrospective of performance artist Marina Abramovič’s body of work and an in-depth exploration of the road to creating her 2010 installation The Artist is Present. A key component of the film is its examination of how Abramovič pushes herself as an artist mentally, creatively, and physically. Then again, if staring silently into someone’s eyes (a key component of Abramovič’s installation) reminds you a little too much of the scene around your family’s dinner table, you might be better off skipping this one.

Available via: Netflix

Saturday Night: The Making of An Episode of Saturday Night Live

The uneven camera work (and occasional uneven storytelling) of this James Franco-helmed (no, seriously) documentary can be a little off-putting. But if you’re interested in learning about a creative process that’s fast, funny, and on-the-fly, this is the film for you. Saturday Night is especially notable for its explorations not just of the SNL cast, but also of its obscure crew members, like the insanely inventive set designers and constructors.

Available via: Hulu Plus

Begin Again

Preemptively: Yes, Adam Levine is in this movie, and Cee-Lo Green is too, so at moments, it can seem like a really high-quality behind-the-scenes featurette from the set of “The Voice.” But both Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo are at the height of their acting games in this story of making music, standing up for what you value as an artist, and starting over when you’ve failed.

Available via: Amazon Instant Video (for-pay only)

It’s Such a Beautiful Day

This film blends together animation, live-action footage, symphonic interludes, and a stick figure named Bill. It’s difficult to say what It’s Such a Beautiful Day is truly about, but it includes explorations of insanity and time and the meaning of life. It’s weird, but it’s powerful as well, and a strong example of art that’s both minimal and wildly ambitious. And if you watch this film remembering that it was made by one man at one computer, you’re sure to walk away inspired.

Available via: Netflix

Doctor Who, Series 5, Episode 10, “Vincent and the Doctor”

Is this an overly specific recommendation? Probably. Is it worth your time? Absolutely. It doesn’t require knowledge of the series than the “Previously on…” sequence and a quick glance at Wikipedia. In just 46 minutes, this episode of Doctor Who provides an in-depth (albeit imagined) look into the inner life and work of Vincent Van Gogh, exploring the power of genius and the power of kindness along the way. There are also British accents and alien monsters; what more could you possibly ask for?

Available via: Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime

Alive Inside

If your family has you all cried out, skip this one – it’s the story of social worker Dan Cohen’s efforts to use music to unlock the memory of Alzheimer’s patients, and it’s a tear-jerker. But if you’ve got the emotional fortitude, it’s a beautiful exploration of the transformative power of the arts, and the necessity of doing the right thing in the face of bureaucracy.

Available via: Netflix


Lauren Hoffman FOLLOW >

Lauren Hoffman lives and writes in Seattle, Washington. By day, she's a freelance writer and editor; by night, she's at work completing a book-length non-fiction project, Up High Down Low.