My Top Netflix Picks

Hello readers,

I have recently got a Netflix account so this post will be listing what I have been watching on the popular streaming service. I know I haven’t posted in a while but I was busy as I’m sure you all were over the Christmas/New Year Period. Hope you all had a great festive/ holiday season.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (2015)

I am currently on Season 2 out of 3 of this show and so far I am really enjoying it. Each episode is only 25 – 30 minutes so it is easy to binge watch which I have been doing.

The premise of the show is that Kimmy Schmidt and three other women were trapped in a bunker for 15 years from 2000 to present day. They are set free to live the lives they were robbed of by their cult leader, the evil Reverend. Kimmy is 29 and decides to live in New York City and create her new adult life there away from Dunsville, Indiana where she was held captive. She meets Lillian, a crazy lady who hates what hipsters are doing to the neighbourhood and Titus Andromedon, someone who also moved to New York City to pursue a dream: to be in the Broadway show, The Lion King. They all help Kimmy readjust to the modern world of mobile phones, the Internet and dating. She also gets a job working for Mrs Jacqueline Voorhees, a rich woman who can’t seem to do anything for herself.

This sitcom is definitely funny in its own unique way. The characters always seem to have a crisis but that’s life! Ellie Kemper (The Office, Bridesmaids) stars as Kimmy; Titus Burgess (30 Rock) as Titus Andromedon, Kimmy’s fabulous roommate; Carol Kane (Hester Street, Taxi, The Princess Bride) as Lillian, their wacky landlord and Jane Krakowski (30 Rock, Ally McBeal) as Jacqueline Voorhees, Kimmy’s self-centred boss.

This show is great if you are looking for something different and fun to binge watch as there are currently 3 seasons on Netflix. Also nominated for 16 Primetime Emmys and 4 SAG awards. The show is written by Tina Fey (30 Rock) and Robert Carlock (30 Rock, Friends).

Stranger Things (2016)

I know many people have seen this show, but I couldn’t not write about it. It is set in 1983 in the fictional mid-west small American town, Hawkins, Indiana. Four friends in middle school, Mike, Dustin, Lucas and Will gather in Mike’s basement to play Dungeons and Dragons. On the way home, Mike disappears. In his place appears a strange girl, Eleven who can move things with her mind. Mike’s sister, Nancy also investigates her friend, Barb who goes missing just like Will. Chief Jim Hopper is on the case, he thinks Hawkins Lab has something to do with the disappearances.

The acting and aesthetic of this show is really outstanding. You really believe it is set in 1983. The creators, the Duffer Brothers took inspiration from many 80s films like the Goonies, ET,Ghostbusters and many more. Each episode is 40 – 55 minutes and there are currently two seasons out but this show is also very binge-worthy. I am re-watching it for the second time because it is that good.

The ensemble cast are: Winona Ryder (Little Women, The Age of Innocence) as Will’s mum, Joyce Byers; David Harbour (Revolutionary Road, Suicide Squad) as Chief Jim Hopper; Finn Wolfhard (IT) as Mike Wheeler, the leader of the party; Gaten Matarazzo as Dustin Henderson, the goofy, knowledgeable one; Caleb McLaughlin as Lucas Sinclair, the practical one who brings the gadgets; Millie Bobby Brown as the mysterious Eleven; Natalia Dyer as Will’s sister, Nancy Wheeler; Charlie Heaton as Jonathan Byers, Will’s older brother; Joe Keery as Nancy’s boyfriend, Steve Harrington; Cara Buono as Mike’s mum, Karen Wheeler and Noah Schnapp as Will Byers.

Above are the main cast for Season 1, there are some added cast members in Season 2 but I don’t want to give anything away.

This show is a drama/mystery/horror and once you start watching you will be hooked. It has also been nominated for 4 Golden Globes (including one win by David Harbour), 18 Primetime Emmys (including 5 wins), 4 Sag awards (1 win by the ensemble cast) and 1 BAFTA nomination.

The Good Place (2016)

This sitcom style show has a different vibe to most TV programmes you see these days. Yes it is funny, with a certain amount of drama with some well developed characters but everyone in it is dead. It takes place in somewhere called The Good Place, somewhere everyone who was really kind and generous on Earth go after death to live out eternity, like paradise. Only those who have dedicated their lives to others go there. Everyone else goes to the Bad Place to be tortured.

Eleanor Shellstrop goes to the Good Place, at first she thinks she earned it but when she finds out the architect of the neighbourhood, Michael thinks she is someone else, she knows she is in the Good Place by mistake. When the neighbour experiences problems and Eleanor realises she is causing them, she decides to try and earn a spot in the Good Place through her ‘soulmate’ teaching her ethics. Chidi is meant to be Eleanor’s soulmate but due to an error, they realise they are only destined to be friends. She also befriends her neighbours, Tahani and Jianyu, who are soulmates or are they?

The show stars Kristen Bell (Frozen, Veronica Mars) as Eleanor; Ted Danson (Cheers, Becker) as Michael; William Jackson Harper (Paterson, High Maintenance) as Chidi; Jameela Jamil (The Republic of Telly and The Great Comic Relief Bake Off – herself) as Tahani, someone who Eleanor finds condescending and is the only one with an accent; D’Arcy Carden (Broad City, Other People) as Janet, a computer program who looks like a person, Janet contains all the knowledge in the universe and Manny Jacinto (The Romeo Section, Once Upon a Time) as Jianyu, a Buddhist monk who took a vow of silence aged 8.

This comedy is something different and I would recommend to ages 12 and up. I have seen season 1 as that is all there is on Netflix but there is also a season 2. Very easy to watch as each episode is about 23 minutes. It also won a Critics Choice award for Most Exciting New Series.

Jack Whitehall: Travels with My Father (2017)

This documentary starring Jack Whitehall (Bad Education, Fresh Meat) an actor and comedian and his uptight and middle class father, Michael. In this 6 part series, father and son go on the gap year Jack never had around South East Asia. They visit Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and go to many spots that only the locals know about. Jack takes his father along for some well needed bonding time as the two are like chalk and cheese. I find Jack Whitehall entertaining and the funny dynamic with his father makes this travel show different from the rest. Good to watch if you enjoy Jack’s humour from his TV series’ or stand up. The filming of the scenery is very good and you see this part of the world from a bird’s eye view and more.

Easy to watch as each episode is only half an hour. I binged this series in a couple of days. It is funny but also informative particularly of the history of Cambodia and the suffering the people have endured in the past, something which I was unaware of previous to watching the show. I would say it is suitable for 15 years and up due to the complex and often rude language used.

The Crown (2016)

This show tells the story of Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip, the monarchy of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. It starts in 1947 when Elizabeth and Philip got married. It then depicts the history of the Crown from King George VI to it being passed down to his daughter. The show also features other members of the royal family from the 1950s, the Queen Mother, Queen Mary, Duke of Windsor, Princess Margaret and Prince Charles and Princess Anne as children. The show depicts the hardship and joys Elizabeth faced as a new queen whilst still trying to be a good wife and mother.

The audience is shown the emotions of the people behind the stories in the newspapers and how they dealt with each crisis. Many people view the Royal Family as having it easy, but there was a lot they weren’t allowed to do and they had virtually no privacy then.

Whilst the show portrays real life people and events that actually happened, we have no way of knowing if what the characters said to each other in private is correct or not. Nevertheless, I think that the show is excellent. The acting and set design make you believe that the actors actually are the people they are pretending to be.

Starring in the Crown created by Peter Morgan is Claire Foy (Breathe, Wolf Hall) as Queen Elizabeth II; Matt Smith (Doctor Who, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) as Prince Philip; Vanessa Kirby (About Time, Everest) as Princess Margaret; Victoria Hamilton (Doctor Foster, Scoop) as the Queen Mother; Pip Torrens (Pride and Prejudice, Star Wars: Episode VII) as Tommy Lascelles, Private Secretary to King George and Queen Elizabeth and John Lithgow (Cliffhanger, Interstellar) as Sir Winston Churchill.

The show has won 2 Golden Globes (1 for Claire Foy), been nominated for another 3 (1 for Claire Foy and 1 for John Lithgow), won 3 Primetime Emmys (1 for John Lithgow), nominated for another 9 (1 for Claire Foy), won 2 BAFTAs, nominated for another 10 (1 for Claire Foy, Jared Harris (The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Lincoln) who played King George VI briefly in Series 1; John Lithgow and Vanessa Kirby).

The Crown has also won 2 SAG awards (1 for Claire Foy and 1 for John Lithgow), been nominated for another 3 (1 for Claire Foy), won a Critics Choice TV award for Best Supporting Actor – John Lithgow and been nominated for 2 more (1 for Jared Harris).

Clearly, the show is a success for Netflix and one of their most popular shows. There are currently 2 series out, I am half way through series 2 and I really love it. I didn’t know half of what happened in the Royal Family at the time and the acting, costumes and set really transport you there. Each episode is about 1 hour long but it is definitely worth watching.

Grace & Frankie (2015)

The premise of the show is quite simple, Grace and Frankie are told by their husbands, Sol and Robert that they both want a divorce because they want to marry each other. Turns out both Grace and Frankie’s 40 year long marriage was only real for half that time. Robert and Sol, who are partners in a law firm have been secretly gay and in a relationship for the last 20 years and want to get married as it is now legal.

Grace and Frankie have known each other for those 40 years but they are far from friends. Grace ran her own beauty business and believes appearance is everything. Grace teaches art to former convicts and is also a hippy who likes to take drugs and live wild and free. After their husbands leave them, they share their co-owned beach house and gradually begin to get along. Both have two children, Grace has feisty Brianna who now runs her business and Mallory who has 2 kids and a husband of her own who is more conventional and generous. Frankie has 2 boys, both adopted, Bud who is practical and a lawyer like his dad and Coyote who is a recovering drug addict searching for his purpose in life.

Together both families navigate their new and unexpected dynamic with hilarity and drama along the way. Starring in the show are Jane Fonda (Barbarella, 9 to 5) as Grace, Lily Tomlin (9 to 5, Grandma) as Frankie, Sam Waterston (Law and Order, The Great Gatsby, 1974) as Sol, Martin Sheen (The West Wing, Apocalypse Now) as Robert, Brooklyn Decker (Just Go With It, What to Expect When You’re Expecting) as Mallory, June Diane Raphael (The Disaster Artist, Forgetting Sarah Marshall) as Brianna, Ethan Embry (Sweet Home Alabama, That Thing You Do!) as Coyote and Baron Vaughn (Cloverfield, Black Dynamite) as Nwabudike ‘Bud’.

This comedy has been nominated for 1 Golden Globe for Lily Tomlin, 7 Primetime Emmys (2 for Lily Tomlin, 1 for Jane Fonda) and 4 SAG awards (2 for Lily Tomlin, 2 for Jane Fonda).

Each episode is around 25-30 minutes and there are currently 3 series with a fourth coming on Netflix very soon. I have just finished series 1 and I will definitely be continuing to watch it.

Recommendations I have received from friends are Gilmore Girls, Brooklyn 99, 13 Reasons Why, Black Mirror, How to Get Away with Murder and Orphan Black.

Hope any Netflix users find my review useful.

Happy Watching,

Robyn 🙂

Top 10 Films to Watch on a Girly Sleepover

Hello again,

Now I know if any guys are reading this are thinking wow that title is sexist, then I have to agree but from the little male culture I understand, boys don’t tend to watch these types of films on sleepovers. Instead they watch action or horrors. However if you are a guy and like any films mentioned please tell me in the comments. Anyway seeing as I am a girl and have been on many a girly sleepover here are my top ten film choices.

  1. What Happens in Vegas (2008)

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This rom-com starring Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher is one of my all time favourites. It is set at first in Las Vegas where two strangers get crazy drunk and married then one of them wins $3 million on a slot machine and they are forced to be married for 6 months. Sounds simple right? It is although the twist is the two characters who got married whilst very drunk hate each other and have to live with each other for six months. I personally love hate-to- love stories which this definitely is. I also like the New York setting where they both live as its adds glamour. Lake Bell (No Escape) plays Diaz’s best friend and Vegas buddy whereas Rob Corddry (also mentioned in my Weekly Recommendations) is Kutcher’s friend (and lawyer). These two provide great comedy to the film as they also hate each other but with a burning passion. Jason Sudeikis (Horrible Bosses), Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover), Queen Latifah (Girls Trip) and Krysten Ritter (Jessica Jones) also star. Overall I think this movie is a classic for sleepovers and a good all round film if you need to believe in love again. Overall I rate What Happens in Vegas 5/5.

2. Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging (2008)

Related imageA great film based on a series of books by Louise Rennison. Georgia is just like any normal girl, she has friends, lives with her family and her cat and goes to school. Except she is far from it. Her sister Libby, believes herself to be cat, her actual cat Angus is an absolute mongrel, her parents argue all the time and the Sex God that has just moved to town has no awareness of her existence. Georgia charters her crazy life in her diary. This film starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Avengers: Age of Ultron) as Robbie the Sex God, Kimberley Nixon (Fresh Meat) as Georgia’s enemy ‘Wet Lindsay’, Alan Davies (QI), Karen Taylor (The Sketch Show), Eleanor Tomlinson (Poldark) as Best Friend Jas and Georgia is played by Georgia Groome (London to Brighton) is one that will make you laugh out loud and close to tears. Most girls who have been or are teenagers can relate to the conversation Georgia has with her mates. She also dresses as a cocktail olive at the beginning so what’s not to love? I have actually seen this film on a girly sleepover so it is definitely perfect for one. I have deducted one point for the fact that the ending would not happen in real life. No spoilers! Overall I give Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging 4/5.

3. Mean Girls (2004)

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This film is seen as a classic by many, for its great cast, quotable lines and relatable story about wanting to fit in at high school. Lindsay Lohan plays Cady, a girl who has lived in Africa her whole life and is suddenly dropped into an American high school. For the first time in her life she has to worry about what she wears, who she associates with and her place in the social hierarchy. She in filtrates the most popular girl group in the school, the Plastics. They are made up of Regina George – The Queen Bee who rules the school and her minions – Gretchen, whose dad invented the Toaster Strudel and Karen, who is possibly “the dumbest girl you will ever meet”.  Cady plans to ruin Regina’s life but she soon becomes one of the Plastics. In between trying not to fall for Regina’s gorgeous ex Aaron Samuels, get out of Mathletes run by Ms Norbury and remembering who her real friends are, Janice and Damian. This film is a must see for any teenager trying to navigate school. Joining Lohan in a great ensemble cast are Amanda Seyfried (Mamma Mia), Rachel McAdams (The Notebook), Lacey Chabert (Party of Five), Tina Fey (SNL), Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation), Jonathan Bennett (Cheaper By The Dozen 2), Lizzy Caplan (Now You See Me 2) and Daniel Franzese (I Spit On Your Grave).

‘That’s so fetch! Gretchen, stop trying to make fetch happen! It’s not going to happen!’ A great film to see on a sleepover, you will quoting the script for months! Overall I rate Mean Girls 5/5.

4. She’s the Man (2006)

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Based loosely on the Shakespeare play ‘Twelfth Night’ this football film had great laughs and heart. Viola just wants to play football but her school cuts the girls teams she dresses as her brother and pretends to be him at his new school for two weeks while he cuts school and goes to London. What could go wrong? What Viola didn’t account for was falling for her cute roommate and having to deal’s with her brother’s psycho ex-girlfriend. She also has to work much harder to keep up with the boy’s football team. Will she be able to prove to her ex and her old school that girls can play football too. This film is laugh out loud funny with some unique lines, it will make you sigh and cringe for the heroine Viola, played by Amanda Bynes at the height of her career. Also starring are Channing Tatum (Magic Mike) as her roommate, Vinnie Jones (Snatch), Laura Ramsey (The Ruins), Julie Hagerty (Just Friends) and Robert Hoffman (Step Up 2). Overall I rate this She’s The Man 5/5.

5. It’s a Boy Girl Thing (2006)

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A classic enemies to lovers story, this teen movie has a rather unusual twist. Nell and Woody have nothing in common except their loathing for each other. She is a clever, hardworking, poetry loving academic with Yale University in her sights and Woody is lazy and rude and his place at a bog standard college is resting on his football skills. They also happen to be neighbours. On a school trip to a museum, a mysterious statue casts a spell on them and the next morning, they wake up in each others bodies. At first, they both see this as a chance to mess with the others’ life but they soon figure that to achieve their college dreams they have to work together. This film really highlights the (stereotypical) differences between boys and girls and it had a lot of heart. Physical comedy and costumes were also very important in this film. Also starring are Sherry Miller (Sabrina The Teenage Witch), Robert Joy (Sweet November), Sharon Osbourne (X Factor) and Maury Chaykin (Dances with Wolves). Overall I give It’s A Boy Girl Thing 3.5/5.

6. We’re the Millers (2013)

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This comedy always makes me laugh out loud but be warned there are some very dirty jokes and slight nudity so stay away if you are under 15. For those who are old enough, We’re the Millers is a comedy about a man called Dave, who is a drug dealer (Jason Sudeikis) tasked with bringing a huge amount of weed back from Mexico and to do it he enlists the help of his neighbours to pretend to be his family. Rose (Jennifer Aniston) is a stripper who needs the money Dave is offering to go on this crazy road trip, Casey (Emma Roberts) is a runaway who has nowhere to go and Kenny (Will Poulter) is just plain weird. The 4 of them fly to Mexico and drive an RV back to the good ol’ USA. Sounds simple but many mishaps befall them. They are chased by drug dealers, bitten by spiders and have to get through the week without losing their tempers. They start off doing it for the money but do they start to become the family they are pretending to be? With hilarious and very dirty jokes, this comedy will have everyone crying with laughter. Also starring are Kathryn Hahn (Bad Moms), Ed Helms (The Hangover), Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation) and Molly C. Quinn (Castle).  Overall I give We’re The Millers 5/5.

7. 17 Again (2009)

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Zac Efron (High School Musical) stars as Mike, who had it all at 17, a beautiful girlfriend, a great friend Ned, a promising future playing basketball. Until his career away when his girlfriend became pregnant. At 37, his life has gone down hill, his wife Scarlet wants a divorce, he is living with Ned, who since high school became uber rich (but still a nerd), his son Alex is bullied and his daughter Maggie is dating a jerk. He gets a chance to fix his life though when he falls through a time vortex and emerges looking how he did when he was 17. He goes back to high school to help his kids but is the person he really need to help himself? Also starring are Matthew Perry (The Whole Nine Yards) as Mike aged 37, Leslie Mann (Knocked Up) as his wife, Thomas Lennon (Night at the Museum) as Ned, Michelle Trachtenberg (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) as Maggie and Sterling Knight (Starstruck) as Alex. This film has its funny moments and cringey ones but essentially it is about a man trying to get his old life back whilst looking like he did at 17. Overall I give 17 Again 3/5.

8. The Breakfast Club (1985)

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This film is an 80’s teen classic and also one for people aged 15 or over. The film is about 5 teens who get all day detention on a Saturday. They don’t really know each other as they are all from different walks of life. They all slowly start to become closer and rebel against their horrible teacher Mr. Vernon (Paul Gleason). They realise that they have more in common with the others than everyone thinks. Directed by John Hughes, who has a reputation for making great 80’s teen movie like Sixteen Candles (1984) and led by an all star cast, The Breakfast Club has become a must see for anyone who has been to high school and knows what it is like to try and find your gang. Starring Emilio Estevez (The Way) as Andrew ‘The Jock’, Molly Ringwald (Sixteen Candles) as Claire ‘The Princess’, Anthony Michael Hall (The Dark Knight) as Brian ‘The Brain’, Ally Sheedy (Short Circuit) as Allison ‘The Basket Case’ and Judd Nelson (St. Elmo’s Fire) as John Bender ‘The Criminal’. This film is as funny as it is it poignant and the script really resonates with you. It is also fun and it makes you want to be part of The Breakfast Club. Overall I give The Breakfast Club 5/5.

9. Did You Hear About the Morgans? (2009)

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This film has a more unusual plot but the same Hollywood script is still there. A separated couple who both have very high profile jobs in New York City. They become witnesses to a murder and to go into witness protection. As they are still legally married they are sent to the same place, Ray, Wyoming. A very small town where people live like they are in a western from the 1950s. Paul and Meryl have to learn to live with each other after he cheated and they are stuck in the same house. They also have to learn how to shoot, ride a horse and avoid bears. Starring Hugh Grant (About a Boy) as Paul and Sarah Jessica Parker (Sex and the City) as Meryl, this film is great for believing in love again and perfect for a sleepover. Be prepared for laughs and the odd sad moment. Also starring Elizabeth Moss (Mad Men), Michael Kelly (Changeling), Sam Elliott (Hulk) and Mary Steenburger (Back to the Future Part III) this is a simple little rom-com designed to warm your heart. It’s downside is that it is a bit unbelievable at times. Overall I give Did You Hear About the Morgans? 3/5.

10. The Switch (2010)

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Jason Bateman and Jennifer Aniston star in this hilarious comedy. Jennifer plays Kassie a woman who decides she wants to have a baby – even though she hasn’t got a man. She decides to use a sperm donor. Her friend Wally (Bateman) supports her decision even though he is against it – because he is secretly in love with her. At her insemination party, Wally gets very drunk and spills the sperm sample. He then switches it for his. He was so drunk he doesn’t realise what he did. Kassie moves away but comes back 7 years later with her son, Sebastian. The sperm donor is now divorced and looking to get together with Kassie. Wally whilst looking after Sebastian can’t help noticing the similarities between himself and Kassie’s son. This laugh out loud comedy is great for anyone 12 and upwards. You will route for Wally long before he admits he in love with Kassie. A stellar supporting cast of Jeff Goldblum (Jurassic Park), Patrick Wilson (The Conjuring), Juliette Lewis (Natural Born Killers), Thomas Robinson (Tomorrowland: A World Beyond) and Bryce Robinson (Marley & Me). A classic rom-com and the child actor is amazing, overall I give The Switch 5/5.

These are the films I think would be great for a girly sleepover, feel free to leave a comment suggesting any others you like to watch on a sleepover.

Happy Watching,

Robyn