Photo by Cindy Cui / Photo Editor

By Adrian Salopek, Staff Writer

Are you bored at home with nothing to do? Are you wanting to spend time with your friends but can’t think of any fun activities other than working on homework or refreshing the Worldometer Coronavirus Update religiously? Check out these five Netflix movies from the comfort of your own bed. 

Skype or Facetime your friends and turn it into a fun movie night using Google Chrome extensions like Netflix Party, which lets you kick back and hang out together over screens from the comfort of your social distancing at home. 

 

 If you’re in the mood for a good laugh:

The Other Guys, rated PG-13

If tasteless and excessively silly movies are your thing, you can’t afford to miss this classic. Directed by Adam McKay, this crime comedy stars Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg as a pair of two New York City cops. Ferrell plays the bespectacled new guy on the force while Wahlberg plays the tougher guy of the pair. Outshined by another duo of officers, played by Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson, Ferrell and Wahlberg are dubbed “the other guys”. Things change when they are handed a case to investigate a shady capitalist. What follows is 107 minutes of endless laughter that is sure to lighten you and your friends’ mood during this time of collective isolation.

 

If you want to escape COVID-19, but not entirely:

Contagion, rated PG-13

If you’re a fan of viruses and are more in the mood for movies that play off of pandemics such as the one our world is facing right now, this movie is for you! Starring Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Winslet, this movie follows the pandemic caused by a new fictional virus, MEV-1, and the fight of scientists across the globe to stop it. Make sure to stay tuned until the end; you will be left reflecting on how easy it is for a deadly virus to spread and yield catastrophic results. 

 

If apocalyptic movies are your thing, but you also want to laugh:

Shaun of the Dead, rated R

If your friend group is keen on apocalyptic movies, but isn’t in the mood for something too heavy, make sure to check out the British cult classic, Shaun of the Dead. A comedic movie that pokes fun at zombie movie clichés, Shaun of the Dead stars Simon Pegg as Shaun, a likable loser, and Nick Frost as Ed, his roommate. Shaun’s life falls apart when he is dumped by his girlfriend, Liz (Kate Ashfield). Just when it seems like things couldn’t get any worse, the dead return from their graves as zombies to take over the UK. Follow Shaun’s comedic journey with your friends as he tries to not only survive a zombie apocalypse but also rescue his ex-girlfriend from zombies, just as you battle that temptation to go out and start a comedic journey of your own! 

If you enjoyed this movie, check out Hot Fuzz, another Simon Pegg classic that is sure to be on the same wavelength as Shaun of the Dead. In fact, go ahead and have a movie marathon!

 

If you’re craving something wholesome to take your mind off things:

Christopher Robin, rated PG

If you and your friends really want to be distracted from the pandemic, check out Christopher Robin, starring Ewen McGregor and Hayley Atwel. Set years after the last time he left the fictional Hundred Acre Wood, an adult Christopher Robin finds himself in the daily routine of being an adult. When Robin finds his old friends (Pooh, Tigger, Piglet and the gang have somehow left the Hundred Acre Wood and entered the real world) Robin tries to reconcile his values as a kid with those he learned as an adult. This trip down memory lane is filled with nostalgic moments that are sure to make anybody emotional. Filled with laughs and tears, this movie is sure to remind you the importance of loved ones in this time of uncertainty. So grab your childhood stuffed animal, sit down and watch this film!

 

If you’re looking for a change of scenery:

A Hologram for the King, rated R

Sometimes all you need is a change of scenery. If you’re sick of all things coronavirus, try out this movie set in Saudi Arabia starring Tom Hanks (yes, he had coronavirus, but that’s beside the point) and Omar Elba. 

Follow Hanks as he plays a failed American businessman who tries to propose and close a business deal abroad with a wealthy monarch. Kick back and enjoy this drama/romance with friends as Hanks is hampered by Middle Eastern bureaucracy, an ever-absent monarch and a suspicious growth on his back while falling for beautiful doctor named Zahra (Sarita Choudhury). 

 

Honourable Mention:

Instant Family, rated PG-13

If you and your friends really want to be distracted from the coronavirus outbreak, check out Instant Family, starring Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne as a young married couple seeking to fill their home with a family. After deciding to adopt, the couple falls in love with teenager Lizzy and decides to take her in; however, the couple gets more than they bargained for when they also take in Lizzy’s two younger misfit siblings. What ensues is a hilarious yet saddening culture clash between the white parents and the Hispanic children they have adopted. Filled with laughs and tears, this movie is sure to remind you the importance of loved ones in this time of uncertainty. 

All of the above movies can provide a great distraction for you, your loved ones and friends to take your mind off the craziness that has ensued our world recently. Microwave some popcorn, turn on your video chat and start a Netflix party with your friends to help the time pass a little bit more quickly!

 

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I have fond memories sitting in front of a TV watching hours of prime time television shows, but somewhere along the lines of the fall of Disney Channel in ’09 and the calamity that ensued thereafter, I developed TV commitment issues.

Breaking my childhood binge watching habits meant that I no longer planned my days around the airtime of Lizzie McGuire and the Suite Life of Zack and Cody, but it also left me unable to commit to long series that I feared would waste my time.

I still needed TV in my life, but I refused to watch good shows. Simply put, good TV builds standards and expectations, which just opens the door for subsequent bitter disappointment.

So I started watching terrible shows that I knew would get cancelled, like Minority Report, a drama and mystery that took more turns than I can count before hastily ending after 10 episodes.

This lifestyle choice was completely risk-free. There was no attachment nor commitment. It even made me a better person.

I became more honest by watching terrible TV shows. I no longer felt pressured to conform into a fake fangirl. I was no longer spending time searching up major plot lines and funny moments so I would have something to talk about with friends. I avoided the fan bases all together because there were none.

The only downside is that shows get a little boring. To overcome this challenge, I turn to my mother’s advice while growing up as a socially awkward kid who didn’t have anyone to hang out with.

“It’s up to you to make things fun. Even if you’re by yourself in a boring place, you can create your own happiness”.

So I did. I sought entertainment from poor acting, cheesy lines and terrible production. I found unrealistic visual effect hilarious, especially fight scenes where actions and reactions never seemed to be in sync.

I watched Shadowhunters, a science fiction drama that follows human-angel hybrids as they battle demons, just to see how they attempted to make Toronto look like Chicago. I watched a clip of the characters on a rooftop and I could feel the struggles of the cameramen trying to avoid the CN tower. They didn’t succeed.

My instincts that the show would get cancelled were proved wrong. Despite losing half a million viewers by the first eight episodes, the drama series has been renewed for a third season.

Needless to say, I stopped watching in fear that they improved their convoluted plotlines and production.

There were many other shows to choose from, like the one season of the comedy Limitless based on the thriller movie of the same name and Selfie which only survived 13 episodes. There was no way I was watching 10 seasons of Doctor Who, so the failed spin-off           was convenient.   

I absolutely dreaded being asked what shows I watch out of fear of exposing my commitment issues, but once I started dialogue on my struggles, I realized that many people around me had their own TV confessions to make.

Not everyone can commit to long series and can handle the deep affection and attachment for fictional shows. It simply isn’t for me. I’m happy with my one-season wonders and shows that shouldn’t have been written in the first place.

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By: Joe Jodoin

Earlier last week, Napster-founder Sean Parker announced his plans to release a video streaming device that will allow people to watch newly released movies at home the same day that they are released in theatres.

The box itself would cost $150 to purchase and install, while each viewing of a movie would cost $50. This may seem expensive at first, but there are many scenarios where such an option would be significantly cheaper than a trip to the movies.

Famous and influential directors such as Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams, Peter Jackson and Martin Scorsese have come out in favor of the device, and actually serve as shareholders in the company. However, directors such as Christopher Nolan and James Cameron are very much against it, since it would negatively impact the ways movies are made and experienced.

Screening Room is so controversial amongst the industry because the pros and cons are pretty much equally balanced. One of the main benefits would be that it aims to capture an audience that doesn’t already go to the theatre, such as families. A family of four would usually need to spend more than $50 on tickets alone, while also needing to spend money on fuel and concessions. If my five roommates and I all split the money to watch a new movie together on a Friday night, it would turn out to be relatively cheap and easy compared to a trip to the theatre.

It would also serve to eliminate all the problems with going to the movies. You wouldn’t have to worry about waiting in lines, trying to find good seats, or even running late and missing part of the movie. You also wouldn’t have to deal with other audience members, who may be talking or texting on their phones. Bathroom breaks would also be possible, due to the ability to pause the movie, and you would have a 48-hour window to finish the movie in case there is an emergency (although you are only able to watch the movie once within this time period).

There are also reasons why Screening Room is feasible for theatre owners and the studios. Twenty of the $50 would go to the studio that made the movie, and when you rent a movie, you will receive two free tickets to a movie theatre. Since theatres make their money off concessions (and not the tickets), this provides encouragement for people who don’t normally go to the theatre. People should then feel more comfortable about buying snacks, since they got their tickets for free. It also provides people with a chance to see movies that aren’t playing in a theatre near them. I recently had to go to Mississauga to watch three movies, which I would have rather watched at home.

Let’s break it down. If I wanted to see a movie with my mom, we would spend $50 on a movie and get two free theater tickets. The two tickets would be worth $24 each, so we would really be spending only $26, which adds up to only $13 a person. This is only slightly more expensive than going to a theatre, yet I would have the comfort of watching the movie in my own home.

A lot of people hear the $50 price tag and immediately dismiss the service as too expensive, and the $150 cost for the box itself doesn’t help, but in the long run it could be worth it.

This device would also not be useful for people who are happy to wait for a much cheaper option to watch their movies, such as a digital download or on DVD. I’m someone who always needs to see movies as soon as possible in good quality, but people like me are a rare breed. Screening Room also plans on being the one and only video-on-demand box on the market, which will encounter problems since other companies offering VOD services have contracts with major studios. This issue would need to be resolved before the product hits the market.

Finally, Screening Room would not only change the way movies are seen, but the way they are made too. Filmmakers such as Cameron and Nolan are against this device, because they specifically design their works as movies that need to be experienced in the cinema. Whether this is because the movie is shot on film, or because of surround sound, or 3D, an artist should have the right to have people see their movies in the way they intend them to be seen. Studios also specifically make movies that people will want to see in theatres, because that’s how they make most of their profit. If audiences transition to mostly watching movies at home, things like bombastic action, special effects and sound won’t matter as much.

In an age where more and more people are investing their money into home theatre systems, Screening Room may seem like a path to the future. However, this is also an age of piracy, Netflix and Blu-ray, where people have many cheaper alternatives to accessing infinite amounts of media and entertainment. While Screening Room is attracting a lot of attention and controversy right now, if it ever does hit the market, I doubt it will be anything more than a niche product, aimed to attract families and movie obsessives. Don’t expect to see all the movie theatres getting torn down anytime soon.

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By: Joe Jodoin

Daredevil’s second season aims to answer what it means to be a hero, both literally and figuratively.

I didn’t know what to expect of Daredevil’s sophomore season for a couple reasons. Firstly, the showrunner of the first season left and was replaced by two new guys, and secondly because the show was now going to focus on two other Marvel anti-heroes, Punisher and Elektra.

Luckily, they kept mostly everything that was great about the first season, and fixed mant of the problems. They also keep the show squarely focused on Daredevil himself, while Punisher and Elektra turn out to be two of the most interesting supporting characters ever to be seen on TV.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5_A0Wx0jU4

What I loved about Daredevil’s first season was its focus on character development, which lent one the ability to appreciate both the protagonist and antagonist’s points of view. As Ben Urich put it, “There are no heroes. No villains. Just people with different agendas.”

This quote has never been more accurate than in the second season, as one of the focuses of the season is Daredevil’s ideological clash with the Punisher. Despite both being on the “good” side, Punisher believes that killing the bad guys is the only way to take care of criminals permanently. Daredevil on the other hand believes people’s lives should be put in the hands of the justice system, and that killing is wrong, whether someone deserves it or not. Elektra serves to make this conflict of justice and morality even more complicated than it already is.

Jon Bernthal’s performance as the Punisher was something I was eagerly anticipating, since the last three actors to portray Punisher in the movies have been quite mediocre. Luckily, Bernthal absolutely blew me away. The fourth episode cements his contribution with what is possibly the best scene of the entire show in which he delivers a tear-jerking monologue that serves as the emotional core of the entire season.

Elodie Yung delivers an even better performance as the sexy but scary Elektra. Her character is completely sociopathic, but always finds a way into seducing Daredevil and convincing him to do what she wants. Elektra is so unhinged that it is impossible to take your eyes off her, as you’re always wondering what she’ll do next. This is a pretty big departure from the strong but silent Elektra from the comics, but is instrumental to making the show so enjoyable. The returning cast members from the first season are also great, and all serve important roles.

This season also tops off the first one in terms of violence and action, which does make the fights slightly less realistic, but more visceral and exciting. The shocking amount of gore can get cringe-worthy at times, but it’s a very nice change from the more kid-friendly movies of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The pacing problems are fixed now too, with there being more interesting subplots, and more interesting supporting characters. There is also much more of The Hand, an evil organization of ninjas that are a huge part of the Daredevil comic books, and serves to complicate Daredevil’s life even more. The show is like a revolving door of great dialogue, badass action, and surprising twists.

andy_daredevil2

One choice that I think prevented the season from reaching its full potential was the lack of an over-arching villain. I can name at least five antagonists in this season, but none of them were anywhere near as menacing or dangerous as the Kingpin from season one, or even Kilgrave from Jessica Jones. This made the season finale less epic than the first season’s, because even though the stakes were high, I was not interested in the bad guy Daredevil was fighting. This one complaint doesn’t matter too much though, as the entire season is still incredibly interesting and exciting.

While the first season left me satisfied, this season has made me eagerly anticipate the next season. I can’t wait to see the return of the Kingpin, and hopefully Bullseye.

In the same way that Game of Thrones is a masterclass in adapting books to screen, Daredevil is a masterclass in how to adapt comics to screen. If you’re a fan of good TV, then you will definitely love Daredevil.

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Last summer I had an entire month without responsibilities. Between all my sleeping and eating I managed to squeeze in a few binge sessions of Empire, a delicious hip-hop soap opera, and Dance Moms, a show where mothers of child dancers bitch each other out in ways you didn’t think were possible. It was a wonderful time. When I returned to school and told my friends about the shows, mostly because I needed someone who will freak out about #WhoPushedRhonda down the stairs in Empire, I found myself defending my entertainment choices.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sb2KB0la1Sc

Some of my friends poked fun at me, and even if they didn’t, I always felt the need to justify my viewing of “bad” shows. I either acknowledged that I was a little stupid for watching them or I changed topics to one of my more “intellectual” pursuits to let them know that I’m not a complete bozo.

The danger of falling into this trap is that you undermine your self worth, which is silly, because as a university student, you’re definitely not an idiot. I’m a firm believer that while the vast majority of people are not geniuses, everyone is also intelligent in their own way. And enjoying a piece of stupid-as-hell entertainment doesn’t diminish that.

If it makes you feel better, you’re probably not alone in the consumption of dumb things. With smartphones and the state of mainstream media (there are seven versions of The Real Housewives), there are more dumb pursuits for you to choose than ever. There’s the cat game Neko Atsume: Kitty Collector, pretty much every Seth Rogen movie and so much more. This means that pretty much everyone you know enjoys consuming something that’s dumb as balls.

Moreover, people often fail to acknowledge that not all dumb things are created equal. That is to say, to make a “good” dumb thing actually requires quite a bit of skill. Just watch Kingsmen: The Secret Service and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen back-to-back and you will see the difference. Both are absurd and crass, but only one is mind-numbingly dull and backwards. There is a hierarchy, and chances are what you enjoy has more worth in it than you give it credit for.

There’s also a good reason why you enjoy dumb things. They’re entertaining and allow you to temporarily escape from your world.

Watching something fun can take your mind off the stressors in your life. This is not to say you can’t get something from whatever dumb thing you’re doing. Good entertainment can discuss issues in society, showcase people’s talents and even introduce you to a worldview that you might otherwise not be privy to.

So next time you want to say Katy Perry is your favorite musician, let them hear you roar, because her music is catchy as hell and you don’t need to be ashamed that you’re not on the To Pimp a Butterfly bandwagon.

Photo Credit: Joel Arbaje

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By: Hess Sahlollbey

Since it began in 2010, Young Justice has been critically acclaimed and has garnered a passionate following. However, it wasn’t until Young Justice was added to Netflix at the start of February that the fandom has set the internet ablaze in a bid to push for a third season. When series creator Greg Weisman tweeted that Netflix was looking at viewing numbers to create a third season, I decided to pitch in and marathon it myself to help out with the campaign.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMs6_QOV10g

The show aired on Cartoon Network until it was cancelled in 2013. The main characters of the show are a group of sidekicks attempting to separate from their mentors and prove themselves as superheroes. In the first season, Robin, Kid Flash, Superboy, Miss Martian, Artemis and Aqualad come together to form the eponymous team with Zatanna and Rocket joining them later on. The team works together under the authority of the Justice League to battle a team of super villains known only as “The Light.” In the second season, the series jumps forward five years as we’re introduced to an even larger and more diverse cast of heroes and villains.

While grounded somewhat in reality, the show still keeps things consistent with the traditional DC Universe continuity. If you’re not well versed in the rich history of DC Comics, the show will ease you into this world gently with plenty of explanations as well as thorough introductions to characters. Young Justice is also not afraid to explore the subjects that terrify adults. Whether it’s a father’s inability to protect his daughter from super villains, the terrors of parents being separated from their children, or a darker storyline of child abduction that involves non-consensual experimentation.

andy_wanted2

In addition to beautiful graphics, the show has a strong soundtrack that fits perfectly with the tone of the storyline. In fact, it won an Emmy for animation not long after its initial premiere.

It should be mentioned that the show is not without its controversies. In 2013, Paul Dini appeared on Kevin Smith’s podcast Fatman on Batman where he claimed that network executives cancelled it due to too many girls watching the show.

However, Greg Weiseman has stated on multiple occasions since then that the show was cancelled due to toy sales being too low to fund additional seasons. Whatever the reason may be, if there ever was a television show that could benefit from one more season, it’s Young Justice.

[UPDATE] : Almost nine months to the date after this article went live a third season was officially confirmed.  WB Animation also announced that original producers Greg Weisman and Brandon Vietti have both returned and that production has already begun with a premiere date to be announced later.

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By: Hess Sahllolbey

Ever since Iron Man hit the big screen almost a decade ago, Marvel has been creating a universe that’s only become bigger and better. After having seen every episode since its debut on Friday, I’ve decided that Jessica Jones is no exception. I’m still reeling from how realistic, dark and amazing it is.

The second series from Marvel’s four-show agreement with Netflix after Daredevil, Jessica Jones is the latest addition to the growing mythology of the Marvel Comics Cinematic Universe.  For the fans of the original Alias comic book by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos, it should be noted that this is not a direct adaptation of the comic. Where something like The Walking Dead follows the narrative of the comic books linearly without ever drifting from it, Jessica Jones is merely inspired from certain concepts in the comics. That’s not to say that elements from the comics are lost; instead, Jessica Jones takes its own unique spin.

Jessica Jones is far darker than anything else in the MCU and focuses on the seedy side of New York City. Taking place after The Avengers saved NYC from an alien invasion in the first Avengers film, the series sees Jessica investigating superhuman threats in the city.

Adult themes and subjects are not off limits in the show, including graphic depictions of rape, substance abuse and PTSD. All of those themes bring us a much darker and tormented hero, unlike any of the mainstream Avengers heroes. And that’s all thanks to the perfect casting of Krysten Ritter and David Tennant. Krysten Ritter has always brought a captivating presence to anything that she’s starred in. Her past shows like Breaking Bad and Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23 solidified her as the perfect actress that could play the sarcastic, anti-social, quick-witted type that would still set aside their inner demons to help others. Anytime Ritter is on screen as Jessica Jones, she easily gives her career-best performance as she conveys Jones’ damaged psyche and emotional turmoil in a genuinely realistic manner.

Adding to that stellar cast is David Tennant as Kilgrave, the main antagonist of the series. This character, also known as the Purple Man, is dastardly creepy. A smile creeps across my face any time Tennant is on screen. He plays the role so terrifyingly well that I was always at the edge of my seat, holding my breath in anxiety and fear of what he was going to do to his next victim. His mere presence creates an unsettling atmosphere, coupled with his superpower to make anyone do whatever he tells them to do.

Mike Colter, Rachel Taylor and Wil Traval were all fantastic respectively as Luke Cage, Trish Walker and Nuke. They had lots of chemistry and intrigue as their stories played out. On the contrary, Eka Derville, Carrie-Anne Moss and Erin Moriarty’s characters felt extremely one-dimensional with no depth or development. Their scenes were often stiff and boring to watch. I also can’t help but compare the sex scenes in Jessica Jones to those in Orange is the New Black. In Jessica Jones, they’re run-of-the-mill and overly explicit; on the other hand, Orange is the New Black’s sex scenes are funny, messy and heartbreakingly real. The scenes however still contribute to the noir drama and help flesh out the characters more.

In the end, Jessica Jones is one excellent package. It contains all of the classic film-noir elements including saxophone music, jump scares, shadows through glass, long panning shots and voice-over monologues that left me wanting more. In fact, this neo-noir psychological thriller had such an abundant supply of detectives, superheroes and super villains, that it made me wonder why we even need the Avengers films when all the real drama is playing out on the small screen.

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By: Sasha Dhesi

On Nov. 6, Netflix quietly released its newest original series to join the ranks of its predecessors: Aziz Ansari’s and Alan Yang’s Master of None. The show follows the life of a struggling 30-year-old actor living in New York City named Dev Shah, played by Ansari himself. The show explores a variety of topics, ranging from family and relationships to the appropriateness of Eric Cartman impressions on first dates. The show also stars other well-known comedians such as Noël Wells of Saturday Night Live fame and Eric Wareheim, one half of the eccentric comedy troupe, Tim and Eric.

The entire show is shot in the anamorphic format, making it feel like an indie film as opposed to comedy. Altogether, the show manages to be funny while keeping the viewer enthralled by its subtle character growth and beautiful imagery, a rare gem in television.

Ansari shines throughout the entire season: his portrayal of Dev comes naturally and it’s difficult to believe that he really isn’t a struggling actor stuck doing Go-Gurt commercials as opposed to the author/comedian/actor trifecta that he’s known for. This can be said for most of his co-stars: Wells exudes the ‘cool girl next door’ persona her character Rachel has, and Wareheim brings a certain quirky charm that flows nicely with the show. The only real sore point in terms of acting would be the casting of Dev’s parents, whose awkward presence on screen breaks the show’s sense of realism, but considering that the actors are Ansari’s actual parents, I’ll let it slide.

Master of None’s sense of humour is something that television has sorely missed since the days of Seinfeld. It’s dry focus on the minutiae of life and the callousness of the characters make the show much more relatable than most of the sitcoms out today. The plot itself, though, is undeniably choppy. Each episode is its own self-contained storyline, and things are solved without the audience seeing. The show jumps from problem to problem and lacks a cohesive feel throughout, even when binge watched while eating chips, as I did last weekend.

Master of None is wildly successful in creating a diverse cast without ever feeling forced. The cast accurately reflects New York City’s multicultural population and makes an almost pointed statement to other well-known sitcoms about a bunch of friends in New York City. This also allows for the show to explore new topics like the generational gap between immigrants and their westernized children, an episode bound to hit home for anyone whose parents have a similar backstory. The show also casually touches on the effects of racism, and even dedicates an episode to discuss Asian-Americans in the television industry and the rampant use of brownface that still occurs today. The show manages to make episodes with serious tones like these, but also has episodes on first dates and the etiquette of texting. These ten episodes tackle a broad range of topics.

Overall, Master of None is a well-done show that many people will relate to, and many more will find hilarious. The show’s cast of heavy-hitters makes it a delight to watch, and its mix of serious to light topics means it has something for everyone. So if you have about five hours to spare any time soon, I would recommend checking out Master of None.

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By: Jennifer La Grassa

It all started this past summer when a girl at my work rubbed her pregnant belly and said “Yup, straight out of Netflix and chill.” The phrase she had used to describe the conception of her child was obviously a joke, but one that I couldn’t shake. All of a sudden, I began to see “Netflix and chill” on every social media account I owned. The popular page on Instagram, the trending hashtags of Twitter, and my Facebook timeline were consumed by memes of the world’s latest trend. Ladies, I’m sure there is nothing new I could tell you about Netflix and chill that you don’t already know. With it gaining recognition as the male’s newest mating call, my advice to all females is to not mate with the men who use it as we don’t want these Netflix and chill genes being naturally selected for.

I refuse to believe that this trend is representative of today’s modern dating scene. Netflix and chill is not a date, but rather a cop-out way to request casual sex from someone you barely know. It is a trend that belongs strictly within the world of Tinder and should not be confused with actual dating. Before I continue, I should mention two key facts. I am an avid Netflix user and I have never been asked to Netflix and chill, but I do offer my sympathies in advance to the guy who might ask.

You may wonder why I am so passionate about the topic. To be honest, I’m just over the hype. It was funny for the first two minutes, but if I’m forced to scroll past one more meme I will toss my phone, crawl into a cave, and live there for the rest of my days. In other words, I’m ready to move on, so if you still have “like to Netflix and chill” in your Tinder profile, you better believe I’m swiping left.

The fact that there are people out there who continue to use the phrase boggles my mind. It’s similar to the “YOLO” phase people went through, when you were deemed funny and cool when it first began, but if you’re still using it today people may give you one of those who-says-that-anymore faces.

I’m waiting for the day when Netflix and chill becomes a phrase of the past. Granted something else even more absurd will take its place, but I’ll cross that bridge when social media gets there.

I don’t think I’ll ever understand why someone would agree to Netflix and chill without actually Netflix-ing and chill-ing. As a third year university student, the amount of time I have allotted to watching TV has reached an all-time low, hence it is very precious to me. If I actually agree to Netflix and chill with you, I expect there to be a hot pizza, red wine, and a Friends episode on. Otherwise, I will develop severe trust issues about our relationship. It’s nothing personal, I just take my Netflix and chill time seriously.

So fellow females, as we ride out the last of this “Netflix and chill” fad, let us remember and pray for the return of a time when this wasn’t a common expression. We can then all go back to actually watching Netflix and enjoying the many pleasures it alone has to offer us.

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The best way to describe Netflix’s original series Marco Polo is with an analogy to Game of Thrones. It’s the same show, only without dragons.

Marco Polo follows the life of the show’s namesake, a Venetian explorer who ends up in the servitude of Kublai Khan, the divine ruler over much of what is now China. The show draws its pointers from history -- Marco Polo was indeed a famous explorer who visited Kublai Khan -- but Polo’s tale is fictionalized amidst a cast of fantastical characters. Polo is held a captive in Kublai’s court, but soon rises to prominence against the backdrop of Kublai’s war against what little remains of the Chinese Song dynasty.

The appeal of Marco Polo is obvious. Scenes are beautifully shot, as no expense was spared in production. The sight of armies clashing in rambling hills of Mongolia (it was actually shot in Kazakhstan, but let’s just let that slide) or peeking inside the divine Khan’s castle is well worth the price of admission. Throw in copious amounts of (well-choreographed) violence and gratuitous heapings of nudity and you have the makings of a decent drama. By strictly adhering to the GoT model of sex and gore, the floor for Marco Polo is set so high.

Yet, the plotlines in Marco Polo are flimsy and cheap, if not confusing and somewhat meaningless. The problems start with its main character Marco Polo, who simply isn’t very interesting. The camera spends an abundance of time gazing into his soft stare and focusing on his chiseled physique, but there is little character development to speak of. He’s pretty to look at, but that alone isn’t enough to tide you over the course of 12 hour-long episodes. Polo habitually finds himself at the crux of plotlines, even though he is a mere pawn in the grand scheme of Khan’s war against China.

Luckily, the show’s other main character, that being Khan himself, is far more intriguing. Benedict Wong does a masterful job in portraying a conflicted ruler who is often caught between the interests of his family, his kingdom and his legacy. Kublai and his queen give the show nutrients in meaning, elevating Marco Polo beyond a level of visually-stimulating sustenance.

Ultimately, despite its flaws, Marco Polo is worth your time. Come for the sights and try not to think too hard about the convoluted plot, because only the former is worth your time.

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