Category Archives: Netflix It

Netflix It!: The League

by Ashley Arnesen

Good news for all the guys out there: you can finally watch football with your girlfriend even if she still has no idea what’s going on. And, good news for all the ladies out there: you can stop pretending you have any idea what’s going on!
Guys, after endless hours of trying to explain the rules, the history, the players’ positions, and well whatever else there is (because I still have no idea), you can just watch, The League. All you have to do is log into Netflix. Simple, right?


Finally, a TV show about football and fantasy football where you don’t need to know a thing about either to watch it. Let’s face it ladies, the only reason we pretend to like football is because it’s an excuse to have a beer and look at guys’ butts. Am I right? I’m right. So guys, when we start jumping up and down with you because someone made a touchdown, we’re probably just really excited that we saw that cute guy’s butt in that tight spandex. Sorry, bro. But, if you want to watch The League, that’s cool. We’re down to actually watch something that isn’t all hearts and drama all the time, we like comedy too.
For anyone who hasn’t seen this show before, go watch it while I judge you from a distance. No, it’s not all about football; it’s about humiliating your friends, doing a lot of trash talking and realizing you hate some of your friends but you hang out with them anyways.
So, ladies if you’re looking for that fall boyfriend with his Patagonia vest, driving mocs and willing to do a no-shave-November, he better at least watch The League. 

Netflix It!: “Drop Dead Diva”

by Larry Clark

Deb was a high fashion model with everything going for her. Perfect home, perfect boyfriend, great family and friends, but this all gets flipped upside down when tragedy strikes.

Deb ends up in a car crash and dies, going straight to heaven where she ends up at the desk of an angel whose name we learn to be Fred. Fred tells Deb that she’s a unique case, in that she’s neither good nor a bad — a decent person, just selfish.

Deb in a fit of hysterics hits the “return” key, sending her not only back to earth, but back to earth in the body of Jane Bingum, a plus-sized attorney at law and all-in-all the opposite of Deb. Now the personality of Deb has to figure out how to navigate the scholastic world of law, while somehow balancing Jane and being true to herself.

The story moves on from here to follow the life of Jane Bingum and her new life as a lawyer. Jane quickly regains a friend in Stacey, Deb’s best friend who is also a model and now roommate, and our friend Fred who is now Jane’s guardian angel. With her friends, Jane now has the footing to go on and handle her life as a lawyer at a high profile law firm.

The show follows a fairly consistent format that adds to an over arching story line. Jane will cover a case whether pro-bono or for her law firm, and then another case will be taken up by another lawyer within the firm as well. These cases follow a story of Jane, her fellow lawyers and their clients; however, all the stories tie into the lives of these lawyers and teach them valuable lessons about life and themselves.

“Drop Dead Diva” is not only a funny and witty lifetime show, but also a heartwarming and wrenching drama/comedy. The show began its run in the summer of 2009 and just ended its final season in 2014 and was recently added to Netflix with all five seasons.

“Drop Dead Diva” aims to leave viewers feeling warm-hearted, but a bit teary eyed with every episode, and certainly achieves that aim — the comedy of a ditzy blonde trying to learn her way through the legal world mixed with the sadness of Deb having to leave her old life behind.

Fortunately, the show leaves each episode as individualized from the previous episode, only with a few over arching story lines. This show is perfect for someone who only has time to watch one or two episodes, and then come back to the show.

Netflix It: “The House I Live In”

By: Kevin Jachimowicz

The ‘war on drugs’ is a term that I recall hearing since I was just a kid in elementary school, probably thanks to the D.A.R.E program, either that or one of those ‘this is your brain on drugs’ adverts. In a perfect world, the war on drugs is a highly respectable and responsible concept, that would successfully function; in the real world, it appears the policy creates far more systemic problems than it solves. “The House I Live In” is a heartbreaking film documentation of our nation’s drug laws and the damage they can cause, and have caused. The front of the DVD’s cover bears the quote: “The war on drugs has never been about drugs.”

The director of “The House I Live In”, Eugene Jarecki, began his journey of filming this documentary with an urge to show people how hard drugs ravaged a family close to his heart. In the end, he decided to unhinge some of the America’s greatest misconceptions of the incessant drug problems that exist in the United States. Many voices are featured as spokespeople to support the various claims Jarecki is making throughout, including the creator of The Wire, David Simon.

The discussion begins as a Grandmother discusses how drug abuse hurt her and her family, ultimately either imprisoning or taking the lives’ of her children. Other people of importance are featured throughout the documentary to offer their own explanations and experiences. These people include everyone from an Iowa Judge whose specialty is drug cases, to those involved in the illicit drug trade themselves. These additional voices are pivotal to Jarecki’s goal – providing a full-circle perspective in regards to the institutions built and jobs created due to the illicit drug industry. The serious need to look at drug use as a health problem and not a crime is also discussed repeatedly. “The House I Live In”, in its final argument, seemingly claims that those in positions of power have created a system designed to imprison subsets of the population.

What makes “The House I Live In” really hit home, more-so than your typical documentary, is in the way that it facts alone are weaved throughout the overall story. These laws that are sometimes arbitrary, also highlight just how systemic the war on drugs has become.

“The House I Live In” is a successful showcase of the numerous facets which make up the world of drugs, from the foot soldiers to the policy makers. The disconnect between those who create laws and those who live with the consequences of them is a real concern raised by Eugene Jarecki and his co-narrator David Simon.

“The House I Live In” is a great documentary due to the way it engages the viewing audience, keeping them interested, and sparking them to ask more questions, and push the debate even further.

Netflix It: “Friday Night Lights”

By Ariana D’Avanzo

Crowds of howling fans cheering, popcorn being thrown amongst the packed bleachers and arguments happening left and right about who’s the better team: the environment of a football game. Then, suddenly, in the midst of the game, the fans fall silent and let out a big roaring gasp in unison, something happens that no one saw coming. This personifies the first episode of the very first season of “Friday Night Lights”.

Love triangles, relatable family drama and football. If you enjoy watching a series containing all three of these, then “Friday Night Lights” is for you.

The five series phenomenon that was developed by Peter Berg and executive produced by Brian Grazer, Sarah Aubrey, David Nevins and Jason Katmis, takes place in the fictional town of Dillon, Texas, and follows the progress and hardships of a very competitive high school football team. “Friday Night Lights” aired on NBC from 2006 to 2011 and is now available on Netflix streaming.

The series emphasizes how the high school football team in this small hick town enables and affects the people of the community as an entity.

The main focus is that of Coach Eric Taylor, played by Kyle Chandler. He begins as the head coach of the Dillon Panthers, then later becomes the head coach of the East Dillon Lions and is the soundboard of the entire town. This coach is the go-to-man in the show; he is looked at as if he is a god by his community, at least when the football team is winning, but when the team hits a losing streak or an outsider comes in, the tables seem to turn.

“Friday Night Lights” contains an overall main plot with numerous subplots seamlessly mixed in to the latter. The series follows specific players of the team: The way they live their personal lives off-the-field, their family, the friends they keep, and how they deal with various situations and influences that they encounter throughout.

Some of these situations include incidents with alcohol, which Tim Riggins encounters quite often, causing him some some quite detrimental consequences for his sometimes erratic behavior which consisted of: breaking the law, death of a family member or friend, prison, love triangles, trust issues and more. Oh, and lets not forget sleeping with the coaches daughter.

For a total of 76 episodes, “Friday Night Lights” leaves you at the edge of your seat wondering what is going to happen next. Although, a majority of the time you are left wanting more; it is also one of those series during which you can take a break – and then go back to it when it is most convenient for you, without completely losing track of the sequence of the show. You can also always feed your craving and go on a Netflix binge and watch all 76 of said episodes back-to-back in a short amount of time.

 

Netflix It: Prisoners – Edge of Your Seat Thriller

The Prisoners: Movie Review

By: Arianna Cecchini

Warner Brothers produced a heart-thumping thriller last September titled “The Prisoners” starring Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal. The film takes place in a rural New England neighborhood on Thanksgiving wherein two families share dinner together. Joy and Anna, two six year old girls, ask to walk to Anna’s house to get toys. They leave without supervision.

The two are abducted in an old, run-down RV, and Alex Jones is the driver. Alex is a disheveled, grungy guy who makes your skin crawl with just one look at him. Alex is quickly arrested for being the driver of the RV that allegedly abducted the girls. Alex’s Aunt, who he lives with, pleads to the cops that he is mentally incapable of committing such a crime and that he should be released. Detective Looki, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, gets assigned to the case that stirs numerous confrontations with Keller Dowler (Hugh Jackman), Anna’s father.

Keller is an aggressive man who cannot handle patiently waiting for the cops to take care of what they promise. When Alex Jones is released on a lack of evidence, Keller kidnaps him and keeps him captive in his father’s deserted rundown apartment. This is where he brutally beats and tortures him to try to get the truth–the kid does not crack, leaving Jackman’s inner wolverine to make an appearance in the film.

When a strange man runs from Looki, during the girls’ candle light ceremony, he instantly becomes a suspect. Looki finally gets a lead on where the suspect is hiding out and arrests him, also finding children’s clothes containing blood stains in his house.  The girls’ clothes are found and the viewer is left to think that the movie is reaching it’s end; it is only near the climax.

It becomes learned that this random suspect actually was a kidnapped boy himself. He had snakes in his house and constantly drew creepy mazes. When questioned about where the girls are, he quickly grabs one of the police officers weapons to shoot himself in the head, leaving Detective Looki in yet another stand still. When the blood is tested for from the clothing, it is learned that it is pig’s blood, not children’s; hope remains that the girls are still alive. Keller decides to go to Alex’s Aunt to get some information.

She seems like a kind old lady, but she is covering for her nephew. Keller links her husband’s death to a suspect on the news, realizing that she may very well be the person holding the girls hostage. The story takes a major twist.

Not only did Warner Brothers produce a heart-clenching thriller, they also brought out the fiery inner-personalities of Jackman and Gyllenhaal. It is a movie that has an open plot. The viewer cannot predict a thing, making this a must see. It is a classic, edge-of-your-seat thriller. The movie is a great Saturday night watch; and if you haven’t seen it yet, it should be your first choice on a snow day.

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Netflix It! “Abduction”

Kiley Krzyzek

“Abduction” (2011) is an action-packed, modern take on the classic face-on-the-milk-carton scenario.

It starts out like every other teen movie, complete with a guy who has the guts to ride on the hood of a moving car on the way to a party but not enpugh to talk to his crush. This guy takes a quick turn for the worse. At one point, he is forced  to jump into a pool to protect himself from his exploding house.

Nathan, played by Taylor Lautner of the “Twlight” famedom, finds a childhood picture of himself on a missing persons website while working on a school project with his friend Karen, played by Lily Collins. As a result, Nathan starts to question his upbringing. After gaining knowledge that his biological father is part of the CIA, Nathan and Karen find themselves fighting for their lives.

Testosterone fueled scenes, such as dramatic car chases, motorcycle rides and fight scenes are the result of Nathan’s ‘save the girl’ mentality.

Overall, the movie is entertaining but, unfortunately, somewhat predictable. At least there are not vampires in this one.

You can find “Abduction” on Netflix. It can also be found in the seemingly unlimited bank of streaming content for Amazon Prime subscribers. Check out Amazon’s free, student trial offer on this subscription!