Ahhh, the day of love and relationships and… bah humbug.
Saint Valentine’s day is happening tomorrow and if you can’t be arsed to fork out hundreds of randela’s for chocolates and stuffed toys and you would rather spend the night chilling out watching a few movies, hiding from the corporate bullshit, then we have just the thing for you.
Netflix has been available in South Africa for over a year now and while at first the library was terrible, its selection has grown into something rather worthwhile.
While we still can’t watch the entirety of Orange Is The New Black, there are a number of Netflix Originals and other content that are well worth checking out, especially if you’re creating a bunker to avoid all manner of Valentine’s Day celebrations.
Santa Clarita Diet
This is the latest Netflix Original to hit the service and it’s pretty addictive. Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant star as husband and wife realtors with a terrible secret, Barrymore hungers for human flesh.
The series spans 10 episodes and from what we’ve seen so far it’s hilarious. Episodes last under 30 minutes so you could binge watch all 10 episodes of Santa Clarita Diet in an evening.
White Rabbit Project
Mythbusters alumni Kari Byron, Tory Belleci and Grant Imahara use this Netflix Original series to test a few theories.
The trio attempt to see whether mind control is possible, whether you can escape an oppressive regime in a hot air balloon and more.
Dramatisations and the trio’s own personalities help to make the show feel incredibly original and not at all like a rehash of Mythbusters. Episodes last about 45 minutes and there are 10 episodes in season one.
Everything about this show caught our attention last year. The youthful cast living out their 80’s childhoods, the mixture of sci-fi, horror, drama and suspense. There’s very little to hate about Stranger Things.
If you have been putting off learning what “upside down”, “Eleven” and flashing lights all mean we urge you to spend some time watching Stranger Things.
Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Millie Bobby Brown and the rest of the cast all give sterling performances and its worth catching up on the story before season two starts later this year.
Bill Burr: Walk Your Way Out
A word of warning: if you find Jimmy Carr offensive you might want to avoid Bill Burr. The American comedian who hosts a series of podcasts and appeared in AMC’s Breaking Bad is funny although we appreciate that his comedy style might not be to everybody’s taste.
Burr spends over an hour laying into the US presidential election (the special was filmed before the election), candidates for the Evil Hall of Fame (Hitler is number one with a bullet) and population control. Sensitive viewers take caution.
Are you bored of the Walking Dead? Would you like a bit more comic relief in your zombie apocalypse? How about never knowing when your favourite character is going to meet a bloody demise?
Z Nation is the series for you then. The series follows a mish-mash of cohorts who are escorting a fellow named Murphy (Keith Allan) across the US. Murphy incidentally survived a zombie attack and is believed to be mankind’s only hope for survival in the zombie apocalypse.
If you weren’t able to watch the first season of this show when it released last year we urge you to check it out, just be forewarned, the show has a habit of becoming a bloody smash-fest.
Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events
Perhaps the most apt series for those opposed to Valentine’s Day, A Series of Unfortunate Events contains nothing good.
Based on the children’s novel the series details the Baudelaire children (Klaus, Violet and Sunny) and the exploits of Count Olaf (Neil Patrick Harris) attempting to alleviate the children of their inheritance.
The series is narrated by Lemony Snicket (Patrick Warburton) and while he’s no Jude Law we can’t help but be reminded of 2004 film which starred Jimmy Carrey.
It’s a really great little series and Harris is fantastic as the main antagonist. Well worth spending an evening of binge watching.
Marvel ditched flashy spandex for gritty violence in Daredevil and it paid off.
The series follows lawyer-by-day Matt Murdoch (Charlie Cox) who was blinded as a boy and now uses his heightened sense to fight crime in Hell’s Kitchen.
You can watch season one which features Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio) and season two which features Punisher (Jon Bernthal) on Netflix right now and we urge you to do so if the brooding in Captain America: Civil War weren’t quite what you were looking for. Enjoy it while it lasts though, the third season of Daredevil might not be seen until 2018 if rumours are to be believed.
The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz
We know, this was released in 2014 but the biographical doccie that tells the story of Aaron Swartz is one that everybody should watch. Swartz was involved in numerous internet projects including the development of RSS feeds, the Creative Commons organisation and Reddit.
The hacktivist was arrested in 2011 for unlawfully obtaining information from a protected computer. In January 2013 Swartz committed suicide. This documentary features footage from his childhood as well as comment from close friends and family. It’s well worth the almost two hours you’ll spend watching it.
Humanity is messed up. This is both an opinion and the basic premise of Black Mirror.
Created by Charlie Brooker the series explores the coming together of mankind’s darkness and technology. Each episode tells a different story set in a fictitious future or past and some stories hit closer to home than you might think.
We would like to add a warning to this recommendation, Black Mirror is a psychological thriller and many episodes will leave you saying, or at the very least mouthing silently, “what the hell did I just watch” and there are three seasons of that to enjoy.
Director and writer Neil Labute doesn’t think much of people. From his debut film In The Company Of Men, in which two businessmen romance a deaf woman with the view to dumping her in the most horrible way possible, to his play The Mercy Seat, in which two people having an affair consider using 9/11 to vanish from their spouses’ lives, it’s safe bet to say Labute has a pretty dim view of humanity.
So allow us to present Neil Labute’s Lakeview Terrace, a film that shows what happens when disputes between neighbours reach DefCon 5. Imagine your next door neighbour playing their music at bloody murder volume at 3am was the least horrid thing they did to you. Then imagine they took an avid dislike to you because of your lifestyle and your personal beliefs. Then imagine they’re a cop. Enjoy!
If you’re alone on Valentine’s Day and you want to feel better about dismissing the whole shebang as consumerist bollocks, stream Fight Club. Dismissed on release by many reviewers – including esteemed and departed critic Roger Ebert – as juvenile nihilistic wallowing, Fight Club has defied release-date slamming and remains relevant today.
Chuck the anti-consumerist throwaway lines and the idea that pounding someone’s face into mush is a liberating experience, and what you’re left with is the un-evolved man’s perception of the alpha-male: Tyler Durden. Handsome, intelligent and physically capable, Tyler remains dangerous to both men and women; some of the latter want to take him home and the former want to be him. Fight Club will always be a timely reminder of how wrong both camps are.
Anthony Jeselnick: Hopes And Prayers
If you’ve managed to watch some of Bill Burr’s Netflix special (mentioned above) and you still have a hankering for the dark stuff, look no further than Anthony Jeselnick. This lanky US comedian is as near-the-knuckle as they come and even those comedy fans with some hard bark on them may want to take a shower before booting up his Netflix special, Hopes And Prayers.
Jeselnick isn’t just dark; his material actually absorbs light. There’s no affliction, social taboo or hot button topic he won’t go near. You could dismiss him as shocking for shocking’s sake except his gags are so meticulously well crafted. That and the fact his nonchalant delivery gives his audience a get-out-of-jail-free card. Some viewers will howl with laughter. The rest will be running for the exit.
Heartache kills all of us. Most of us, however, have our love wounds grounded in everyday existence. There are none too many who go to the fringe and as such don’t carry back the same pain. (Trailer is definitely NSFW).
Tangerine – which tore up awards at indie-film festivals – explores this region. The basic set-up involves a transvestite prostitute whose newly released ex-con boyfriend has been cheating on her. But this simple premise kicks open a door to a world few ever will explore. It’s not for the closed-minded, but if you’re brave enough for the journey it will break your heart.
[Image – CC BY 2.0 David Goehring]