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Squid Game

I can't believe nobody's posted about this series yet! Another great international hit from #netflix (via South Korea).

When Squid Game first came out, it kept haunting the top of my Netflix page with its eerie music and mysterious red-suited minions. I resisted watching it, because "don't tell me what to do."

However, once our teens finished it and said it was a must-watch, I had to see what it was about. We binged it pretty quickly, which is easy to do since each episode cliff-hangers into the next one. I recommend watching it in Korean with English subtitles, so you can get more of the real emotion behind the Korean words.

The theme of the show is greed, economic imbalances, and humanity. What happens when a group of strangers are thrown suddenly into a confusing and scary situation? How each participant chooses to react is fascinating and horrifying. You'll watch it with one eye covered, but unable to look away.

Can't wait for Season 2.



Official Site for Squid Game

#squidgame
0 comments
Hacks

The HBO Max original series stars Jean Smart as a legendary Las Vegas comedian named "Deborah Vance" and Hannah Einbinder as a young quirky aspiring writer named Ava.  The series begins as young Ava is in need of a new comedy writing gig due to a social media snafu that got her fired from writing on a popular show. She and Deborah have the same agent so the agent pairs them up. 

Predictably, the veteran Deborah Vance doesn't want help from the young entitled writer, Ava, who thinks that Deborah's act is old and stale.   But with each episode, the layers of the characters unfold and the viewers watch the once adversarial relationship grow.  Both actresses really shine in the roles.




Definitely bingeworthy. #hacks #hbomax

0 comments
LuLaRich

This is a four-part documentary series on #netflix examining the multi-level marketing (MLM) clothing company #LuLaRoe.  Admittedly, I love these series/movies that expose scams.  LuLaRoe  is the brain child of husband and wife team DeAnne and Mark Stidham.  They go from selling maxi dresses out of a trunk to building a multi-million dollar empire based on a pyramid scheme.



Over the course of the documentary, viewers are introduced to women (They prey on women who have children and want to work from home) who joined them in a promise to make enough money to pay off debts, or even prosper enough so their husbands do not have to work.  Most of the people who joined early saw success for awhile  until their bonuses were changed without notice.  True to any pyramid scheme, the marketers realized that they didn't need to sell many clothes to earn big paychecks. They just had to recruit others and earn bonus checks for getting people to sign up as part of their team.  Along the way, they lost friends and money.  

The company grew so fast, it was stealing patterns to use off Google, shipping moldy leggings to sellers/buyers, and brushing off complaints.  The most interesting thing to me is that the DeAnne and Mark participated in the making of this series. Their frequent interview highlights were in stark contrast to highlights from the depositions they gave for a court case.  They are  proud defenders of the tactics used and the company - even today.  Yes, this company is still around.

If you don't understand multi-level marketing now, you will after watching this series.  


rosemary 1 comment
Only Murders In the Building

The first three episodes dropped on #hulu for Only Murders In the Building.  Starring Steve Martin (creator), Martin Short, and Selena Gomez, this true-crime comedy is starting off right.  The backdrop to this series is an upper class residential building, The Arconia,  in New York City.  When a murder in the building occurs, three very different residents (and strangers) come together to try and solve the murder - all for their own reasons.   Steve Martin and Martin Short play well off each other with their comic genius and Selena Gomez is decent and sarcastic as the young sleuth in the trio. 



There are some great guest stars and cameos popping in and out as well. In one scene, Sting, a resident of the building, gets into the elevator with Martin Short and his dog.  Turns out Sting doesn't like dogs around him, so Martin Short's character starts singing a parody of  Sting's song "Don't Stand So Close to Sting".

Episodes are dropping each week. This is going to be a good ride.  My only concern is that mid season they are going to focus too much on some drama and healing of the characters  - rather than the pure fun around them.
#onlymurdersinthebuilding
rosemary 1 comment
The White Lotus

#HBO scored big with it's quirky series -  The White Lotus.  Written, directed and produced by Mike White (also a former contestant on Amazing Race and Survivor), this part comedy part drama explores the lives of weeklong guests at a Hawaiian Resort. The focus is on three groups of guests - a busy family on vacation, a honeymoon couple, and a single woman grieving the loss of her mother.



The Mossbacher family includes parents struggling to stay together, a spoiled college age daughter and her sneaky friend, and an unfocused teenage son.  During their stay,  secrets are revealed and some wounds are healed.  The honeymoon couple, Rachel and Shane, face the fact that they didn't know each other very well before the marriage and realize they come from very different backgrounds and expectations. Shane's mom (played wonderfully by Molly Shannon) shows up just to make things even more interesting.  The single traveler, Tanya, is just a hot mess of emotions.  Gotta love a good Jennifer Coolidge character!

While the guests face their own issues, the hotel managers have to deal with them.  The Spa Manager, Belinda, turns out to be the unofficial guest therapist.  The Hotel Manager, Armond, has an epic battle with a demanding guest providing a lot of comedic moments.

This is really a different kind of show - well written and finds a way to bring comedy into the dramatic struggles of the characters.  It's already been renewed for Season 2

#thewhitelotus

If you watched the series, and you are interested in learning more about the ending from the writer's perspective, here is a great article from Vanity Fair -  "The White Lotus Finale: It Was Always Going to End This Way."  

rosemary 1 comment
Allen v. Farrow

This is a four-part documentary series on #HBO (from award-winning investigative filmmakers) about the tragic story involving Woody Allen, Mia Farrow and their children.  Personally, I remember reading about Woody Allen dating and later marrying Mia Farrow's daughter, Soon-Yi, but I didn't know much about the accusations of sexual abuse involving his daughter, Dylan, which is the primary focus of this docuseries.



The series digs much deeper than the headlines of this notorious scandal and doesn't shy away from the fact that Mia denied her early suspicions of Woody's predator behavior due her disbelief that anyone she loved could be such a monster (my words).  Furthermore,  the filmmakers did a great job of investigating the actions of officials in both New York and Connecticut where incidents were reported.  Evidence presented in the series indicates either really bad investigations by the agencies pursuing charges occurred or (more likely) coverups to protect the predator (Allen) instead of the victim (Dylan).

Dylan and Mia Farrow are interviewed throughout this series - exposing old wounds once again. As evidenced in the last episode, had the #metoo movement not come, the Hollywood world would still be rallying around Woody Allen and probably would have stopped this series from happening.

The show is both bingeworthy and cringeworthy (topic). After watching this - it's hard for anyone to ever watch a Woody Allen movie again.   

#allenvfarrow

0 comments
Outer Banks Season 2

Outer Banks  Season 2 on #netflix involves a bit of old and new. Sarah's family is front in center in the epic battle between the Pogues (poor teens) and  Kooks (rich and entitled teens).   The gold bars found and then stolen from John B. and the Pogues during Season 1 are back up for grabs along with a new treasure with ties to another Pogue.  (No spoilers here).  The Pogues travel from the Outer Banks to the Bahamas to Charleston, SC seeking what is rightfully theirs against those who want more wealth. 




Outer Banks is a bit predictable but scratches the itch to rally for the underdog. Teens will continue to enjoy this series. 
The best quote from J.J when he got to Charleston, South Carolina:  "their Kooks make our Kooks look like Pogues".

The last episode sets up for Season 3. #outerbanks #outerbanks2

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Little Fires Everywhere

This dramatic miniseries on #hulu was based on a book by the same title. It is a story about a seemingly perfect family and how their lives are touched  by a mother and her teenage daughter who move into the community.  The story explores different approaches to motherhood, the stress of secrets, and what it might be like to live in another person's shoes.  #littlefireseverywhere is extremely well written with deep complex characters.



Reminiscent of her role in Big Little Lies, Reese Witherspoon plays the overbearing and nosy mother perfectly. In some ways it made me think of how her character Tracy Flick,  from the movie Election,  might have ended up.  The role of the nomadic artist mother is brilliantly played by Kerry Washington.  The rest of the casting is spot on as well...including all 5 teens that are featured.

The ending had some resolution - and pulled everything together, but it did leave you wanting to know more about where these characters would go next.

When you watch it, keep watching through the credits. I loved how they spotlighted the art that Kerry Washington's character was seen making throughout the series. 


molly R 2 comments
War of the Worlds

I have a feeling hardly anyone watches the Epix channel, but they have lots of good series there, including War of the Worlds, which is the latest retelling of the famous H.G. Wells novel.  This version is set in England and France and stars Gabriel Byrne as a professor trying to navigate an alien invasion that has nearly completely wiped out the human population.

The show has is very cinematic, well-written, with a soundtrack that orchestrates a persistent feeling of dread. As robotic killer dogs hunt down the remaining humans, we follow a ragtag assortment of Europeans struggling to survive and find a way to defeat a relentless enemy.

Highly recommended!

The show is now in its second season, but here is a trailer for Season 1:



lorihrosemarymolly 3 comments

The Chosen


I'm not a big TV/movie guy, so I generally don't have a lot of bingeworthy recommendations, but I do have a favorite show I've been watching for the past couple of months with my family. It's called The Chosen, and it's about the story and life of Jesus. It's the largest crowd-funded media project of all time, and the plan is for them to shoot 7 seasons. They are funding as-they-go (funded half-way through season 3), and they have currently released the first two seasons (16 total episodes).

It's easily the most well-done depiction of Jesus that I've ever seen. The storytelling and character building are fantastic, and each episode leaves you wanting more. There are times when the kids will be resistant to watching an episode because they want to watch something else, but without fail, every time after we watch an episode, they always ask to watch the next one at the end. I'd call it the most bingeworthy show I've ever seen.

The hardest part is waiting for them to release new episodes once you've seen them all 😁

Here's the trailer:



You can find some episodes on YouTube, as well, but the best way to watch it is on The Chosen app, which is available on iOS and Android. You can use the app to cast/AirPlay to your TV, and then you have the ability to include captions (which can be helpful sometimes with the accents).

It's completely free to watch, and I highly recommend it ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

iOS: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/...tv-show/id1473663873
Android: https://play.google.com/store/...m.vidangel.thechosen
0 comments
Cat People

When I started watching #catpeople on #Netflix,  I thought it would be a series on crazy cat people - full of humor and fun and not to be taken seriously.  Well, there is definitely humor but it's not an expose on crazy cat people.  Instead, each episode focuses on a unique cat  enterprise or family.



Even for non cat lovers, it is interesting.  How can you not continue watching an entire episode about a cat rapper? Is he crazy? No...he just loves his cats and knows there is a following and money to be made with cat crazy people.




Only two episodes in - I learned for the first time that there are cat rappers and cat performing "Aristo cats" who have a "Rock Cats" musical group.  And, I love the creative names of the cats you meet along the way - who doesn't like a cat named "DJ Ravioli"?  While I am not a crazy cat lover (nope, my dogs don't let them near the house), I am widely curious to learn more about the "catrepreneurs" (yep, I can make up cat words too).

If you love cats, you'll love this series. If you are not a cat lover,  you will  be introduced to new "catriffic" terms and learn about some endearing and passionate people whose lives are filled with cat passions.  

In my opinion, it is not as bingeworthy as 2020's big cat series #TigerKing but worth a peek to see if it sticks.  


rosemarylorih 2 comments
Sophie: A Murder in West Cork

This is a documentary/true crime mini series about a woman from France who is murdered in West Cork, Ireland on #Netflix.  Interestingly, the investigation spans decades but only three episodes.  No spoiler here, but I am not convinced that the accused murder is guilty. I think there is more to unravel back in France! Be interested to hear  what others think. 



#sophieamurderinwestcork
mollyrosemary 2 comments
okay, this one is a little weird and some of you, perhaps the majority, will find it a complete waste of time.  The show is Mr. Inbetween, on FX and I enjoy it.  The Australian show, currently in its third season, is about a very laid-back hitman for hire.  (It has a kind of Better Call Saul vibe.)  He splits his time between various criminal activities and taking care of his friends and family.  He has a young daughter (now 12yrs old in season 3), a girlfriend, is caretaker to his brother, and best mate to his goofball friend Gary.  Hard to explain why I like it but it shows an otherwise bland guy that is so deliberate as to appear depressed, that is very good at taking care of his business, no questions asked.  No, that's a bad description.  It shows an ordinary guy that does the wrong thing for all the right reasons... makes me think I could do the same if the situation arose.  
I have always enjoyed Australian films and tv, and I like this one and I'm in the "foreign series" grove.  The personal struggles carry the show and the intermittent violence is good 'fun'... at least for a guy like me that has never done one violent thing in his whole life.  But don't be surprised if you don't like it, my feelings won't be hurt.
molly 1 comment
Succession is coming back soon!

I just saw this trailer for Season 3 and I cannot wait. Warning...if you aren't caught up yet, don't watch the trailer because it contains spoilers for prior season stuff.

For those who haven't indulged, Succession is a masterpiece (IMO) peek inside the Machiavellian dynamics of a media dynasty/family. Just one hint on the tone...the daughter's name is Siobhan, called "Shiv" (she is literally a dagger).

For those who are already immersed, you should also be following this unofficial Twitter account because it's hilarious:




#hbo #succession
rosemarymollylorihmolly 4 comments
Animal Kingdom

I just started watching Season 1 of #animalkingdom  on #amazon and am immediately hooked on this family crime drama.  The series starts by following a teenage boy ("J"), who, after the death of his drug addicted mother, moves in with his estranged relatives, the Codys.  His mother kept him away from her family with good reason.  Unlike most crime families, the leader is a grandmother, who goes by the name of Smurf.   Smurf is played brilliantly by Ellen Barkin.  Her weird attachments to her sons, control of the family business, and somewhat misplaced type of love makes this character beyond complex.  I can't wait to see where this series goes.




Apparently, #animalkingdom is on #tnt  launching Season 5 in early July.   So, it you have access to cable, you might want to record the new season while binging the first four seasons on Amazon.  


mollyrosemary 2 comments
Fauda (Netflix) is an intense action series about Israeli commandos working undercover in Palestine.  Keyword there is intense. 
The word fauda is Arabic for chaos and it fits this show perfectly.  It's fast-paced and very political (pro-Israeli all the way) which can be eye-opening for those that have wondered about the situation in Palestine but never understood it, which fits me to a tee.  There is a lot of action with shootings, assassinations, kidnapping, bombings, etc. but it also involves us in the family/private lives of Palestinian people, both Jews and Muslim.  It is a challenging and difficult show to watch but, when all is said and done, I found it Binge Worthy.  Not pleasant, not uplifting, not even necessarily enjoyable, but somehow compelling.... and binge worthy.
rosemaryhoperosemary 3 comments
πŸ“Ί Binge-watching vs weekly drops

I thought this article about being "Bored of Binging" was interesting...it looks like some of the streaming services are thinking that weekly episode drops are more effective for keeping us on the platform than straight binge drops.

Personally, when I'm bingeing, I want the option to keep going. (What if I'm sick, or have the day off, or just need a break from reality for half a day?)

I watched the first episode of #loki when it came out on Disney+ and it's pretty funny. I want to keep watching it, but not sure if I'll remember to go back and look for the next episode because I'm not trained to keep track of those weekly shows anymore. I usually have no idea what day/time or streaming service a particular show is on.

What do you all think? Are you team binge, or do you occasionally make room for a weekly episode show?


molly 1 comment
If you have HBO, I highly recommend Mare of Easttown. It was a little slow starting, but by the second episode you’re hooked.  Kate Winslet does her usual excellent job of playing a damaged soul who wants to do the right thing, but sometimes  gets in her own way.  The story has several twists and turns that definitely keep you guessing. This was one my daughters and I talked about after each episode and offered up theories on what would happen next!

And if you’re over on HBO and have never watched Treme, I also recommend that! Also by David Simon, creator of the The Wire, it’s set in post-Katrina New Orleans. The characters (many of the same actors from The Wire) are from all walks of life and trying to rebuild their lives after the disaster. And since it’s set in New Orleans, the music is  as good as the storyline.
rosemary R rosemarymolly R 6 comments
Patriot!  Without hesitation I recommend Patriot.  The series on Amazon is a look at the spy world wherein John Tavner, a US assassin is working on orders of his father as they attempt to sway an election in Iran by assassinating the more extreme candidate, thus preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.  The series moves across Milwaukee, DC, Luxembourg and Paris with a quirky cast of characters including Michael Dorman as John Tavner and his father, John (Terry O’Quinn), as director of intelligence for the State Department.

John is in Europe, a burned out spy suffering from depression after a failed mission that landed him in a hellish prison that tortured him with an endless loop of American Pie.   He rides his bike around and plays odd but pleasing folk songs that speak whatever's on his mind.  John, singing his depression, hopes to finish the mission so he can relax and return to his very confused wife as she struggles to figure out and protect him.

John is joined by great characters that include his dad, his mom (Debra Winger), his goofy brother, very interesting detectives in Luxembourg and Paris, and fellow employees at his cover job at McMillan.   (There is a great podcast of the show, episode by episode, called McMillan Men where the hosts discuss and recap each episode.)

From the opening credit home movies and a great song to the very end of the second season, it is a great show.

#patriot #amazon
molly J lorihmolly 4 comments
Picking a Fight πŸ₯Š - Shameless

Despite several friends recommending Shameless, I just can't make myself watch it. Just watching the trailer makes me want to take a Silkwood shower, and I can't imagine rooting for any of the characters I've seen glimpses of. It feels annoying.

Anyone want to convince me otherwise? πŸ₯Š

#shameless #showtime #convinceme
rosemary J molly 3 comments
Outer Banks Season 2 Premier July 30

During the early pandemic last year, Outer Banks (teen drama) was huge on #Netflix.  Now that Season 2 is coming in July - every teenage girl is gearing up.  Finally, we will know what happened to John B and Sarah when they made their exit by boat. Did they get to the Bahamas? Did they ditch and turn back?  Did they stumble upon another treasure hunt?



What do you think happened?  

"go Pogues"

#outerbanks2
T rosemary 2 comments
How Many Episodes to Watch To Get Hooked?

I have heard so many people talk about The Handmaid's Tale and I know a new season dropped on #HULU.  That said, I watched the first 1.5  episodes of Season 1 and just don't get why it is so good. Can anyone tell me how many episodes it takes to get off the ground and stay engaged? 

#thehandmaidstale
rosemary J rosemary 3 comments
Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath

I was really pleased to see this award winning docuseries Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath made available on #netflix.  I watched on A&E originally.  Hosted by actress Leah Remini and Mike Rinder, who both grew up in Scientology, this series examines the culture, relationships, and legalities of Scientology.  Most episodes have guests who are former members of Scientology.  Their stories are pretty unbelievable and you feel good knowing they are on the other side.




Admittedly, the series is one-sided and focused from the point of view of members who left the "church" of scientology but having watched it - you wonder what the other point of view could be.  While there was a lot to learn about the abuse that occurs, I think I was most taken back on the subject of how children are raised (or not), the disconnect when members leave the church and all the efforts to keep them quiet. I give them a thumbs up for transparency as at the end of each episode they include the response letter from the Church of Scientology disputing their claims. 

Leah and Mike are very candid about their own participation. Mike was part of the inner circle of leadership and admits to his actions in lies and coverups over the years.  He is both frank and full of extreme remorse - which appears be a driving force behind wanting to expose abuse that he couldn't recognized from inside the Scientology bubble.  Given the pressures that both Mike and Leah are under (from the church)- they are both incredibly brave in providing their stories and encouraging others to make more informed decisions or speak out.

There are 3 full seasons to watch and learn. Personally,  I would love to see a debate between Tom Cruise and Leah Remini.  My bet would be on Leah.  While the series has ended - they have a great podcast called Scientology: Fair Game  that continues the discussion. 

#scientologyandtheaftermath




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Condor

If you like CIA conspiracy stories, you'll be hooked by Condor, which is based on the book Six Days of the Condor (and movie Three Days of the Condor).  A CIA analyst stumbles upon information he shouldn't have, involving a rogue element of the CIA with a twisted plot to "solve" the problems in the Middle East. He's on the run while trying to save the world. Yeah, you've heard this story before, but it's pretty well done. Plus, William Hurt wears his usual mask of quiet ambiguity to perfection. He's older but still Hurting.

I should also say that Brendan Fraser appears and he is pretty awesome... like, really good, as a manipulated pawn who does very bad things yet still seems pathetic, sad, and even a victim himself.

The first season is on Epix in the United States now. I believe the second season will be airing there soon, as well.


#condor #williamhurt


mollyrosemary 2 comments
Halston - anyone watching this one?

OK, I'm always all in for anything with Ewan McGregor, but not sure if I should invest in finishing this limited series.  It seems to be very fixated on his relationships rather than the interesting story of his licensing deals run amok or his impact on American fashion. I'm three episodes in, with two to go, and ambivalent about finishing it. That should say something, since I should be the direct target for this show (fashion obsessed, history obsessed, fan of Ewan and Elsa Peretti, professional binger...).

It is fun seeing the sleek, chic interiors and visiting Studio 54, but the characters seem very cardboard (Halston has childhood trauma and is overcompensating, his boyfriend Victor is neglected and pouty, Elsa is rich and full of ennui...)

Am I the only one not wowed?

This one is on #netflix



#halston
rosemarymolly 2 comments
Psych

Starring James Roday ( A Million Little Things) and DulΓ© Hill (best known as Charlie Young on West Wing), Psych is about a guy (Roday) who has some pretty incredible observation skills, thanks to be raised by a police officer.  While he has no interest in a "solid" career as a police officer, he has managed to (sort of) convince the local police department that he's psychic, and he and his pharmaceutical salesman partner (DulΓ©) start a PI agency and take on complicated cases for the department. There are 8 seasons (and three movies, I just discovered!!), and the shows are VERY funny. I highly recommend this show (which is on Amazon Prime, despite this trailer saying something different).



#psych
0 comments
Startup

If you like technology, intrigue and lots of twists and turns, you will enjoy this series on #netflix.   While the series revolves around a tech startup (yes, you will be exposed to crypto and dark web), it's more a story about what you are willing to do to get what you want whether it is wealth, to change your environment,  or to do something you really feel strongly about.

Set primarily in Miami, the three main characters come from radically different backgrounds which is why it takes a couple early episodes to introduce each one of them to understand how their behaviors are influenced.   Through the 3 seasons, their tech startup is challenged by their relationships with each other and others, their investor influences, and of course, local and federal agencies. 

The main characters (Nick, Ronald and Izzy) are really flawed but you will end up rooting for each of them.  Personally, I rooted the hardest for Ronald!




Apparently, a new season has yet to be approved but I am hoping for at least 1 more. No spoiler here - but I think that the end of Season 3 sets up for more intrigue!  Watch it and let me know what you think. Does it deserve a Season 4?

#startup

rosemaryrosemary 2 comments