I take pride in being independent: financially, personally, physically. Pretty much any way you can be considered independent, I value it. But I’m also not above using other people’s Netflix log-ins to save a buck or two. In this quiet and also binge-worthy time of isolation, I’ve been able to catch up on a lot of shows I don’t normally have access to on platforms like Amazon Prime, Hulu and Disney+. This also means, I’m secretly enjoying messing up everyone’s algorithms for what the actual account owners should watch next.
For example, because you watched Fleabag (unfortunately with my dad…don’t watch Fleabag with any parents of any kind…until season 2, then it’s a lot safer), you might enjoy Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens. Why yes, thank you, I would. So here are some of my personal recommendations that your algorithm may not have found because your mom watches only documentaries and reads period dramas:
Movies & TV
If you liked Eat, Pray, Love, you may also enjoy Under the Tuscan Sun: This apparently overlooked movie should be watched by all women who love travel, adventure, and ice cream. And Sandra Oh. And also any woman who has had her heart broken or questioned her purpose in life or felt lonely. Does that cover everyone? Good, because everyone should watch this movie. For the love of all things, please watch this movie!! This story follows Frances, a writer from San Francisco who is sent on a tour of Tuscany by her best friends (Sandra Oh and Kate Walsh, long before Grey’s Anatomy) following a nasty divorce. She sees a villa and decides to buy it because what else does she have in San Francisco and as she restores her house, she restores herself. But Under the Tuscan Sun the book is not the same, so if you only want to read one of these, then go with Eat, Pray, Love.
Because you watched All the Boys I Loved Before (and PS), I recommend The Half of It: I thought All the Boys I Loved Before (ABLB because it’s super long to type out every time) was super cute and the PS sequel came out when I was packing to move back to the US. And naturally, Netflix autoplayed ABLB immediately following PS and then PS immediately following ABLB so…I watched them both a lot. Jokes on you, Netflix analytics! The Half of It is a similar premise of an Asian American teenager whose mom has died and who doesn’t quite fit in but is super smart, becomes friends with a dorky jock type to help him get a girl. Naturally, a love triangle ensues. This is a new release available on Netflix so get watching!
If you liked Girls from HBO, you might like Derry Girls: You will most likely need subtitles for this one, I certainly did. Although it’s in English, it’s in Northern Irish-accented English. This hilarious show is only 30 minutes per episode so is a great filler. But I dare you to just watch one episode at a time! Rather than millennial girls trying to make it in the big city, this is about a gaggle of Northern Irish teenage girls (and one boy) during the 90’s (aka: The Troubles which I feel most Americans were unaware of but it was a civil war in Ireland that lasted decades, which also feeds into the current Brexit negotiations/debate. The more you know…). They get up to the usual teenage mischief but add to that some great 90’s fashion, a lot of The Cranberries and the backdrop of a civil war and you’re left with laughing, crying and laughing some more. Also you might start to think in a very heavy accent.
Because you cried during The Notebook, you may also cry at City of Girls: Because Amazon doesn’t know what I’ve read offline, here’s a little book curveball for ya. City of Girls is by our very own Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert. But it’s a fictional account of a silver-spoon trust fund teenage girl, Vivian, (a la Allie from The Notebook) who fails out of Vassar and is shipped off to stay with her theater-producer and slightly wayward aunt in NYC (because the best way to deal with a rebellious teenager is to take her out of the countryside and send her pretty much alone into NYC in the 1930’s). She makes mistakes, she makes love, she makes dresses, and she grows up with WWII looming around her. Her story is told as a very long letter when she is in her 90’s but you don’t really know her relationship to the recipient, Angela, until most of the way through the book. It’s adventure. It’s fashion. It takes you back to a different time of glamour and coming of age.
If you’ve heard of Little Fires Everywhere, you might also like Such a Fun Age: I’m a strong believer that when something is turned into a movie/show from a book, you should read the book first. So when Little Fires Everywhere was coming to Hulu, I got on it to read the book. Now this book deals with class, racism, and privilege. As does Such a Fun Age, the story of an African American babysitter who gets stopped at a supermarket one night when she’s with her white charge because security and concerned bystanders assume she has kidnapped the child. While this is a big incident that sets all the characters on a path for the rest of the book, it’s mostly about a twenty-something babysitter trying to find her purpose in life while balancing race, expectation, health insurance and millennial comparisons and her thirty-something white employer who had a career, life and friends before having two kids and moving cities to support her husband. And there are some serious OMG moments. The world is small. So small. Also it takes place in Philadelphia with a shout-out to middle Pennsylvania and Penn State if you’re likewise from the Keystone state.
If you loved Mia in The Princess Diaries, you might also enjoy American Royals: I’m a huge fan of the Royals. Fan as in I love the parades and the fashion and just having an institution to look up to. But I also love them from afar as my native country does not have a royal family. But what if they did?? American Royals is based on the premise that George Washington (aka: the first President of the United States) said “actually, yeah, it would be cool to be king” and thus the United States DID get a royal family that has continued for generations of Washingtons until present day when, for the first time, there will be a woman who inherits the crown instead of a man (relevant). Enter classic names like Jefferson, Beatrice, and Theodore and some great parallels to England like having a Dukedom of Boston. Plus, since America didn’t revolt against the royal thing, other countries never followed suit so there are still a large number of royal families in the world. Heavily borrowing from the real-life British traditions, this was a fun imagination of what could have been. But be warned, this is apparently a book with a sequel which isn’t out yet. Surprise to me when I was left with a cliffhanger!