Top Netflix Original Films I recommend from this Summer

Hello readers,

Another blog post today, this time about films I have seen and enjoyed this summer on Netflix. All the films below are Netflix Originals as I have seen many other films on Netflix but too many to list here.

I think that this year Netflix has produced some great original and entertaining films (and TV shows) that I haven’t seen done before.

My favourites are:

Like Father (2018)

 

A truly original and heart warming film about a father and daughter, Like Father really moved me in a way I didn’t expect. The synopsis – a workaholic left at the altar spends her honeymoon cruise with her estranged father – really does not explain the emotions this film portrays. The back drop of New York and later the Caribbean cruise liner, Harmony of the Seas was a combination that not only worked but that I had never seen before. The cruise ship was epic and breathtaking and exuded luxury which makes the fact that Rachel is sharing the experience with her dad, not new husband all the more hilarious.

Harry and Rachel are put in a group of other honeymooners and that provides comic relief and advice. Seth Rogen makes an appearance as Rachel’s holiday rebound.

This film while being fun to watch also contains deeper messages about love and parenting. For any daughters who have absent or working away fathers, it will make them think about what’s important.

Directed by Lauren Miller Rogen (Seth Rogen’s wife) and starring Kristen Bell as Rachel and Kelsey Grammer as her father, this film definitely explored emotions deeper than I thought it would in a unique setting.

A particularly enjoyable scene was the game show where Rachel and Harry have to compete as though husband and wife.

I give Like Father 5/5.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)

Based on bestselling novel by Jenny Han, this teen romance has quickly been dubbed a classic by many. I, for one, happen to agree wholeheartedly. It centres around teen Lara Jean who lives in her own fantasy land when it comes to love. She’s never had a boyfriend but plenty of crushes. When the secret love letters she writes to them are posted by her younger sister Kitty, Lara Jean’s fantasies start coming true. Lara Jean begins a fake relationship with Peter Kavinsky, her 5th grade crush, because that always goes well.

A reason why this film is so widely loved and appreciated is down to a few key reasons. One is that Lara Jean and her sisters are Asian-American. Many mixed race girls have never seen themselves as a main character represented so well in film or otherwise. The Coveys’ heritage is never sidelined with their American father attempting Korean food and the sisters’ love for Yakult, it is never exposed for stereotypes or even explicitly mentioned. It is visually shown with a few references. Another reason is Peter’s respect for Lara Jean. He never makes fun of her for being inexperienced, he loves listening to her and helps her gently move out of her comfort zone. When Kitty tells him, ‘call me Katherine’ he is patient until she learns to like him. He also quickly earns the respect of Dr. Covey something which others find hard to do.

Kitty Covey is another well thought out character. Though she is only 11, she knows that as a woman she shouldn’t be talked down to or dismissed. She even talks back to her dad and is always seen wearing a necklace saying ‘Feminist’. She makes fun of her sisters’ but also helps them find romance.

The film truly depicts how stepping out of your shell can result in finding what you’ve been looking for and shows many people that being shy doesn’t mean you can’t get the guy.

Directed and written by women, Susan Johnson, Sofia Alvarez and Jenny Han (author of the book) really shines through in the script and the male characters are written just as well as the female ones.

Starring the brilliant Lana Condor (X-Men Apocalypse) as Lara Jean, Noah Centineo (The Fosters) as Peter, Janel Parrish (Pretty Little Liars) as Margot, Anna Cathcart (Desendants 2) as Kitty and John Corbett (Sex in the City) as Dr. Covey.

This film really does make you believe in love so therefore I give To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before 5/5.

Father of the Year (2018)

David Spade and Nat Faxon in Father of the Year (2018)

I wasn’t expecting to like Father of the Year and almost dismissed it as another bad comedy but I surprised myself by enjoying it. The synopsis definitely doesn’t do the film justice – a drunken debate between two college graduates about whose father would win in a fight – really is very wrong. One, the two college graduates are childhood friends who went to college together and have one last summer before going to New York. The debate was not drunken but a funny dinner discussion at one boy’s house with his father present.

The film for me shows a father dismissed by his son as being a wasted, unemployed slob, desperately trying to have one last summer before his son begins his adult life.

While Ben’s father, Wayne is all of the above, he is also genuinely caring which can be hard to find in a parent. Ben’s mother seemingly left Wayne to go travelling and have an ambitious career and is only briefly mentioned in the film.

Larry’s father however is a scientist but is pushed around by his 8 year old stepson, Aiden and wife to a point of the viewer feeling frustrated at why he can’t have a backbone. He also does care for his eldest son and tries to be a good father. He never resents Aiden for treating him so appallingly and and can barely tell him off.

While both fathers do end up fighting and causing trouble for Ben, this is only a small part of the film. Ben meets a girl, Meredith, his first real relationship while Larry searches for his purpose in life.

Although the slapstick comedy made me laugh out loud, the feelings and emotions between father and son also made me love for the characters and their misfortunes.

Starring David Spade (Joe Dirt) as Wayne, Nat Faxon (the Desendants – Writer – Won Best Adapted Screenplay Academy Award) as Larry’s father, Mardy; Joey Bragg (Liv and Maddie) as Ben, Matt Shively (Power Rangers) as Larry and Bridgit Mendler ( Good Luck Charlie) as Meredith.

I give Father of the Year 4/5.

Dude (2018)

A real coming age story of four friends about to graduate high school, where they call their teachers by their first name, dealing with love and loss whilst smoking weed.

The four friends, Lily, Chloe, Amelia and Rebecca attend a progressive school unlike any shown in American media. Chloe is dealing with the loss of her older brother, Thomas while Lily as his girlfriend also grieves. Rebecca deals with not being as rich as her friends and her crush on a teacher and Amelia is stuck mediating her divorcing parents. Although three of the girls are wealthy, the film shows that money can’t buy friendship or happiness.

I liked the film for it’s honesty about grief and friendship and that girls can be stoners too. It shows how grief for a brother and a boyfriend often feel the same but can be different.

Featuring an all star cast of Lucy Hale (Pretty Little Liars), Kathryn Prescott (Skins), Alexandra Shipp (Love, Simon),  Awkwafina (Ocean’s 8), Alex Wolff (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle) and Austin Butler (Aliens in the Attic).

Set It Up (2018)

Taye Diggs, Lucy Liu, Glen Powell, and Zoey Deutch in Set It Up (2018)This more traditional rom com between two adults in New York is original but features a troupe I’ve seen before. Two people who hate each other slowly become friends and fall in love. This particular setting though was very original.

Two assistants hatch a plan to create a romance between their two demanding bosses to give themselves more free time. With the romantic setting of New York City, love was bound to happen.

The comedy comes from Harper and Charlie both faking gifts and date ideas from each boss that they should clearly use in their own lives. Harper wants the free time to find a suitable boyfriend and finally write an article for the website her boss runs and Charlie wants more time for his girlfriend.

Of course they eventually find they want more time for each other.

Harper is refreshingly a huge sports fan and sees her favorite team, the Mets whenever they have a game.

The film shows that it isn’t bad to have ambition and love could be right under your nose when you least expect it.

Starring Zoey Deutch (Before I Fall) as Harper, Glen Powell (Hidden Figures) as Charlie, Lucy Liu (Charlie’s Angels) as Kirsten, Taye Diggs (Chicago) as Rick and Pete Davidson (Saturday Night Live) as Charlie’s roommate, Duncan.

I give Set It Up 5/5.

The Kissing Booth (2018)

Joey King, Joel Courtney, and Jacob Elordi in The Kissing Booth (2018)

The first of my recommendations that I saw this summer and the first one I really loved.

Elle Evans who has had the same best friend, Lee Flynn since she can remember has the smart idea to run a kissing booth at her school fair. Over the summer she has matured and now catches the eye of some male students.

After promising the appearance of Lee’s gorgeous older brother, Noah at the booth, she is surprised when he turns up and kisses her. They then embark on a secret relationship as she has a pact with Lee to never date his brother.

Elle is the kind of sweet and loveable character that always ends up making a fool of herself despite trying her best. She attempts to keep everyone happy but can’t help following her heart.

Also based on the best selling novel by Beth Reekles.

Starring the incredible Joey King (White House Down) as Elle, Joel Courtney (Super 8) as Lee, Jacob Elordi (Pirates of the Caribbean) as Noah and Molly Ringwald (Sixteen Candles) as Mrs Flynn.

I give The Kissing Booth 5/5.

If you have any Netflix Originals that you have enjoyed this summer, please leave your recommendations below.

Happy Watching

Robyn 🙂

Female Empowerment at its Finest: How Ocean’s Eight has brought changes to the androcentric industry

Hello readers,

Having finally seen Ocean’s Eight at the cinema a couple of months ago, I thought I would give my opinion on why the film is important in terms of female empowerment. The film, a continuation of the Ocean’s 11 trilogy starring George Clooney and Matt Damon, is not just a heist film about eight women stealing a necklace, it’s a change in the right direction for female filmmakers.

Sandra Bullock, Helena Bonham Carter, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Sarah Paulson, Mindy Kaling, Rihanna, and Awkwafina in Ocean's Eight (2018)

Even though the film was directed by a man, Gary Ross, writer, producer and director; it is the cast and plot of the film that has shown women on top for once.

The eight talented and diverse leads from the music and acting world were not just picked randomly, as a unit they gelled together to create a believable and enjoyable chemistry.

I loved the setting of the film, at the MET Gala, one of the most prestigious events in the world. It played to the character’s strengths and interests: Mindy Kaling’s character is a jewellery maker, Sarah Paulson takes a job at Vogue, Anne Hathaway is a vain but devious celebrity. Some male critics dismissed the setting as a ‘typical female subject’. I however disagree with this.

The setting of the MET Gala as the most exclusive invitation in America makes the stakes for the heist that much higher. Just robbing the vault where the necklace was kept wouldn’t be as exciting or dangerous as actually carrying out the heist at the gala with cameras and security covering every inch of the place.

In most male-led heist films they would not consider robbing a necklace and certainly not by taking a job at a magazine or catering the event. This is where women find their individuality and what makes the film plot interesting.

There are some very influential and key male characters in the film such as Claude Becker, Debbie Ocean’s ex-boyfriend who becomes an important person in the heist as he is taken to the gala as Daphne Kluger’s date and is manipulated for revenge by Debbie.

A satisfying ending to the film reveals the eight never being caught but letting the insurance agent trying to hunt down the stolen necklace only have 10%. Lou also reveals all the other jewellery she managed to lift so the participants all get $30 million – twice the agreed upon amount.

This film showed me that women can still wear dresses, take typically feminine jobs, steal a necklace but can also be clever, not get caught and make a great entertaining movie.

Some personal highlights of the film for me were Debbie Ocean managing to get herself a free hotel room at the beginning, the recruitment of Daphne to the plan, the ‘job within a job’ at the gala, framing Claude Becker and the four retired actresses at the end auctioning off parts of the necklace as bracelets and brooches.

Directed by Gary Ross

Screenplay by Gary Ross & Olivia Milch

Cast:

Sandra Bullock as Debbie Ocean (the leader and the woman who thought up the heist whilst in prison)

Cate Blanchett as Lou (Debbie’s best friend with catering skills and an authoritative persona)

Helena Bonham Carter as Rose Weil (a timid fashion designer struggling with debt)

Mindy Kaling as Amita (a jewellery designer, looking for a boyfriend and still living with her mother)

Rihanna as Nine Ball (a hacker who can crack any puzzle)

Awkwafina as Constance ( a pickpocket who can take anything from anyone)

Sarah Paulson as Tammy (a housewife with kids, running a secret buy and sell operation and an old friend of Debbie’s)

Anne Hathaway as Daphne Kluger (one of the most famous actresses in the world, looking for her MET Ball dress designer and who is vain but also deceitful)

Richard Armitage as Claude Becker (an arrogant gallery owner who is an ex-boyfriend of Debbie’s and Daphne’s new beau)

James Corden as John Frazier (the insurance agent trying to hunt down the stolen necklace who managed to catch members of Debbie’s family on several occasions)

There were also many celebrity cameos at the MET Gala such as:

Hailey Baldwin, Olivia Munn, Katie Holmes, Kendall Jenner, Kylie Jenner, Kim Kardashian West, Serena Williams.

Overall I think this film is very entertaining for both men and women and the empowering messages for women only enhance the story.

I give Ocean’s Eight 5/5.

Sorry for not posting in almost two months. I have been on holiday in places with no WiFi and I also haven’t had the time to write a good piece. Hopefully will be doing a few more this month to make up for the lack of pieces in July.

Happy Watching,

Robyn 🙂