Netflix: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: Worth A Giggle
GROW TALK BY SOFY ROBERTSON
If you’re anything like me, you may spend far too much time browsing what’s on Netflix rather than actually watching the great stuff that (can) be on there. So we at Grow thought we’d save you a little time and give you our run down of what to watch, what to avoid and a special mention for horror and gore as Halloween is fast approaching.
We’re kicking off this three-part feature with our first instalment of ‘The Good’. It’s time to Netflix and chill, but what to put on? Whether you fancy binge watching a series or delving into a great movie, we’ve got our top picks for you.
Worth a Giggle
Movies that inspire laughter are like gold dust; hard to find and worth a helluva lot. My default when it comes to Netflix and chill time is ‘something light-hearted’. However a lot of comedies and comedy dramas skate the line between mediocrity and instantly forgettable, therefore providing a mere distraction from the stresses and strains of a working day. The following two films, however, provided more than that; they gave me engagement and tears (the laughing kind, don’t worry).
As a die-hard Robin Williams fan, discovering The Birdcage (1996) on Netflix a few months ago gave me a drop-everything-and-get-on-the-couch feeling. Nathan Lane stars alongside Williams, playing an insecure drag queen called Albert. Williams plays gay cabaret owner Armand, who also happens to be Albert’s lover. All in all, the film has comic genius written all over it. The interaction between Albert and Armand is funny, yet touching, and it almost feels as if you are watching two friends’ dramas unfold. The storyline centres around Armand’s son, Val, played by Dan Futterman, from a previous relationship and his upcoming marriage to a straight woman and her even straighter family. Although the story is told with exuberant and at times cliched gay touches, there is a serious undertone of the battle to be accepted. This battle is told most strongly through the relationship between Armand and Val as the son asks his father and Albert to appear straight in his efforts to hide his homosexual parents from his fiancée’s family. What makes this storyline even more poignant is the real-life struggle of actor Nathan Lane with his homosexuality. At the time of filming The Birdcage, Lane was still in the closet, so to speak. Despite coming out to his family at the age of twenty-one, Lane waited until 1999 to officially come out to the public. Ironically, he cited the success of The Birdcage, his break-through movie, as the reason for concealing his homosexuality and said to CBS in 1999:
“I honestly felt it was not the time to suddenly also come out to America because I felt like I was playing this flamboyant gay character and to loudly come out would somehow overshadow that. Like they would say, ‘Oh, he’s not an actor … He’s just playing himself.’”
Rotten tomatoes: 79% Grow Talk: 👄 👄 👄 👄
Sisters (2015) stars Tina Fey (I could almost stop there, really) and Amy Poehler, two grown-up, slightly estranged sisters who lead very different lives. Their parents surprise them with the news that they are selling their childhood home and the sisters need to sort out their room. Instead, they attempt to recapture their lost youth, re-live their memories, and the relationship they once had. Hilarity obviously ensues. Equally, the film manages to capture a sense of nostalgia for that ‘golden era’ that those of us over the age of twenty-five or so yearn for. Watching Maura (Poehler) and Kate (Fey) resurrect Ellis Island, the house party venue of their teen-hood, made me reminisce about house parties past and the events that smart phones could never truly capture. True, there are no ground-breaking moments in this film, it is essentially excellent Friday night watching but Fey and Poehler’s comedy duo definitely fulfils the category of ‘worth a giggle’.
Rotten tomatoes: 61% Grow Talk: 👄 👄 👄
Stay tuned for our our next instalment, Real Life in a Fictional Way, for our top biopics.