All posts filed under: Netflix

Fast Fashion & “The True Cost”

The True Cost is one of those documentaries that everyone should watch, and then tell their friends and family to see too. I discovered the film after a friend told me it was necessary viewing, and I’m so grateful for her insistence. In order to be conscientious consumers, it’s imperative that we know where our clothes come from, who’s making it, and how they’re being treated. The True Cost examines the human rights, labor rights, and environmental impact of the garment industry, focusing on the horrific practices of fast fashion in particular. It’s also important to note that with women making up the majority of garment workers across the globe, this topic is a feminist issue as well. Before watching The True Cost I admittedly shopped at places like Zara and H&M because they offered affordable, cute clothing. But such low prices are the first sign that something is not ethically produced. Now I not only shop less (why do we need so much stuff?) but I buy second-hand and search for brands that are known to treat their employees well and embrace sustainable practices. Compared …

It Is Happening Again: “Twin Peaks” is Almost Back

After over 25 years, Twin Peaks is returning to television on Sunday, May 21st and I am so, so excited! Incase you don’t follow me on Twitter and see my annoyingly obsessive tweets, Twin Peaks is pretty much my favorite show of all time. I’m not an OG fan because I wasn’t even born until 1991, so I couldn’t watch it in its first run, but thanks to Netflix I discovered the series shortly after graduating from film school. As an undergraduate I took a television class in which my teacher lectured passionately about how important and revolutionary Twin Peaks was for TV, and it stuck with me. So once I realized it was on Netflix, I decided to give the series a shot and was absolutely floored by the first episode; immediately captured by its unique atmosphere. Twin Peaks is campy fun, but also terrifying. It’s surreal, yet frighteningly close to reality. It’s sometimes lighthearted, though often horrific and dark. Each episode catapulted me through a series of emotions from start to finish. It captured my attention in a way that no other show has, or I presume ever will. I …

On Nostalgia & the Home in “Fuller House”

Nostalgia-TV has had a recognizable presence in the American televisual landscape for the last decade – from Hawaii Five-O (1968 – 1980, 2010 – present) to Dallas (1978- 1991, 2012 – 2014), and beyond – but in recent years, producers and networks have turned to reboots and revivals more than ever before, as the film industry follows suit. This trend towards remakes and spin-offs seems to reflect an economic model – one that depends on a preexisting audience as an example of profit potential – but nostalgia’s marketability extends beyond those parameters. As a result of revisiting an idealized past, nostalgia-TV relies on capturing the attention of viewers for whom the past is romanticized and may represent a more stable time. In particular, the recent rebooting of popular family and child-oriented 90’s series seems to tap into a specific audience with newfound political and economic power. Netflix’s Fuller House (2016 – present), a reboot of Full House (ABC, 1987 – 1995), offers an example of a series intended to rely on a passive and non-critical …

5 Essential Food & Agriculture Docs on Netflix

I believe that it is immensely important that we know where our food comes from. Not only is it in our best interest, but it’s our right! These five documentaries listed below, which are all available on Netflix, provide a quality starting point for learning about food production and consumption in the U.S. Check them out and be sure to let me know about some of your favorite food and agriculture documentaries in the comment section below!   GMO OMG (dir. Jeremy Seifert, 2013) In GMO OMG father and filmmaker Jeremy Seifert investigates GMOs: what are they, what do we know about them, and how is our government involved with the protection of huge agricultural businesses such as Monsanto? Even if you know about GMO’s and steer clear of them already, Seifert’s critical examination of GMO’s and “big ag” is interesting and powerful. And his kids are super cute!   Food Inc. (dir. Robert Kenner, 2008) I think of Food Inc. as the ultimate documentary about food in the United States. From plant-agriculture, to factory farming, big ag, fast food, organic farming, politics, animal welfare, health, poverty, …

The Decay of Cinema or a New Cine-love?

I recently read Susan Sontag’s “The Decay of Cinema,” published in the New York Times in 1996, for the undergraduate class at USC that I’m a teaching assistant for. In the essay she laments the commercialization of the Hollywood studio system, and how spectatorship evolved from an intimate and exciting experience in a darkened theater, to the less immersive comfort of a living room. At the crux of her essay is a memoriam to cinephilia, which she argues was once celebrated, but eroded by the turn of cinema’s 100th anniversary. Sontag’s argument essentially equates cinephilia with a certain type of movie-lover; for a true cinephile, cinema is their everything, and they elect to watch films in the most enveloping of spaces – the movie theater. “Cinephilia itself has come under attack, as something quaint, outmoded, snobbish. For cinephilia implies that films are unique, unrepeatable, magic experiences. Cinephilia tells us that the Hollywood remake of Godard’s “Breathless” cannot be as good as the original. Cinephilia has no role in the era of hyperindustrial films. For cinephilia cannot help, by the very range and eclecticism of …

Gender & Representation

A couple of years ago I stumbled across Miss Representation on Netflix, and after reading the film’s description, I decided to give it a watch. The documentary, which examines how women are represented in the media, is a must see for all. I credit the film for solidifying my interest in studying how representation (or rather misrepresentation or lack there of) in media both reflects and shapes our society. I’d argue that media has the ability to inform and influence change more than anything in our culture. And because of the impact of images in film and television, media makers have a special responsibility to be conscious of their influence and power. Now on Netflix is a new documentary from The Representation Project, The Mask You Live In, which analyzes American masculinity and the mounting pressures of manhood. I had the chance to watch this documentary with my boyfriend, and afterwards, as we often do when we watch a film together, we debriefed. It was especially insightful to hear his stories of bullying, the pressure to “be a man”, and the complexity of male …

Watch “The Wolfpack” – A Mesmerizing Documentary That’s Available on Netflix

Directed by Crystal Moselle, The Wolfpack journey’s into the secluded lives of six brothers who had non-traditional upbringings, characterized by a severe lack of connection to the outside world. In order to escape the confines of their Lower East Side Manhattan apartment (which some years, they didn’t leave at all), the brothers watched and recreated their favorite movies. The Wolfpack is an exceptional documentary about extraordinary young filmmakers who harnessed their oppression as a means of creative power. They maybe grew up sheltered, but their intelligence and appetite for creation seems to outshine the effects of their seclusion. To see the world through their eyes – at times lost, sometimes disillusioned, but above all, hopeful – is a gift unto itself. The Wolfpack, which is available on Netflix, is an absolute must-see film. It embodies so much of what I love about documentaries; not only are the viewers allowed a glimpse into the peculiar lives of “The Wolfpack” and their family, but we are given, if briefly, a chance to rediscover the outside world and bask in its infinite possibilities. After you watch The Wolfpack, be sure to check out their short …

What To Stream on Netflix This Christmas

A Very Murray Christmas is Bill Murray’s Netflix Original Christmas Special featuring Amy Poehler, Chris Rock, Michael Cera, Maya Rudolph, George Clooney, Miley Cyrus, and Rashida Jones, among others – need I say more? Dir. Sofia Coppola, 2015 Synopsis: “Bill Murray worries no one will show up to his T.V. show due to a terrible snow-storm in New York City.” Happy Christmas doesn’t have much to do about Christmas other than that it takes place during the holiday season, but that shouldn’t stop you from checking it out. Joe Swanberg’s mumblecore film was one of my favorites from 2014 for a handful of reasons. Not only was the dialogue completely improvised, but the production was filmed in Swanberg’s home and stars both him and is actual baby son. How cool is that?! Baby Swanberg is so entertaining that he’s enough of a reason to see Happy Christmas, but everything else about the film is quite wonderful too. Dir. Joe Swanberg, 2014 Synopsis: “After a break up, Jenny moves in with writer Kelly, her filmmaker husband, and their child. Despite a rocky start, …

If You Care About Our Environment, Then You Must Watch ‘Cowspiracy’

As a vegetarian for the past decade or so, I’ve been well aware of the ethical implications of eating meat, but I was never fully educated on the extreme impact animal agriculture has on our environment. About a month ago I decided to become vegan for three reasons: animal welfare (because eating dairy and eggs causes just as much harm to animals as eating meat does), the positive impact a vegan lifestyle has on the environment, and for health reasons. I was inspired by a number of vegans on YouTube (who I will post about in a few weeks), and documentaries available on Netflix, but watching Cowspiracy has cemented my decision more than anything else. The truth of the matter is, if you want to leave a planet for our children and our children’s children to thrive on, then we need to start making changes. I strongly believe that education can change the world, but I’ve also come to the conclusion that businesses want us to be uneducated about certain topics, because if we knew what was really happening, we’d ask difficult questions and …

Brief Thoughts on Netflix & Other Streaming Services

In a recent interview with Vulture, Quentin Tarantino voiced his opposition to streaming on a small screen: “It’s just a generational thing, but that doesn’t mean I’m not depressed by it. The idea that somebody’s watching my movie on a phone, that’s very depressing to me.” Though I believe that nothing trumps absorbing a film in a dark theater with your loved ones sharing the experience with you, or even just alone, it seems that having the chance to watch at home has fortified our ever-evolving relationship with media. We can now watch movies or shows in bed, on a plane, or in a car. One could argue that this new way of watching has destroyed the experience a little (and the intentions of the medium itself), and maybe that’s true, but one could also assert that it has strengthened the relationship between the viewer and what they’re viewing. Accessibility and intimacy has revolutionized media. Our role as audience members is less formal, and in many ways more powerful. We consume in a manner that has muscled its way into our day-to-day life. Watching something …