Review: Netflix “Elite”

Review: Netflix “Elite”

Who’d have thought that yet another teen murder mystery would garner so many fans worldwide? It took me the longest time in history to finish Netflix’s hottest new WILD teen-drama, Elite. There are only twenty four episodes – eight episodes per season, spread across three seasons. And you’ll see a lot of familiar faces if you’ve already seen Money Heist.

From Elite Fandom Wiki:

At some point, Pablo Ruiz and Marina Nunier began a relationship that led to Marina contracting HIV. Enraged, Marina’s brother, Guzman, along with Polo and Ander, beat him up. This led to the scholarship program in the school to be suspended, until  San Esteban collapsed, leading to three former students to gain admittance to the school through scholarships provided by the construction company. 

For a short time, Rebeca and Valerio began selling drugs on school premises in order to finance themselves. Valerio needed money to study abroad with Polo and Cayetana, whilst Rebeca needed to feed herself after her mother was arrested. They were eventually found out, and Rebeca, Valerio, Guzman, and Samuel are expelled for being involved.

Did I enjoy watching Elite? The third season, yes. It’s been kind of a slow-burn frankly, so it took time to grow on me. The storyline is just okay, and the makeup is great. But that’s just about it. You’ll see a lot of Gossip Girl and a lot of American Horror Story happening, but it ends with a twist. Again. The show seems to be full of those.

The few things that I did like, though, were:

1. That a Spanish show is doing so great. This is the second one after Money Heist that seems to be getting a lot of attention, and it’s good.

2. The plot twists. It starts off with something and before you know it, something else has happened altogether.

3. The cinematography and location. Beautiful shots.

4. Female friendships. Two of the main characters, Lucrecia and Nadia, start off on the wrong foot but become good friends sometime well into season three. Also, I love Lu’s hair and hair accessories to death.

Unfortunately, the list of things that I didn’t like actually trumps the other list. Here’s what GOT my goat:

1. TOO MANY CHARACTERS. You can do a show with basically two, and even four, protagonists. But here you’ve got a million – Samuel, Nadia, Christian, Guzmán, Polo, Ander, Omar, Carla, Lucrecia, Valerio, Rebeca, Cayetana, Yeray, Malik… oh man, that list is endless and the show is only three seasons long. So far.

2. Unrealistic storylines. Like which high-school student goes to so many parties?

3. Drugs and sex. Everyone seems to be having too much sex – (and of course the nudity is crazy) – with every random person, and the drugs that they’re doing are out of control. Netflix is accessible to everyone and the audience is often young and impressionable. Yikes.

4. Incest. As if Game of Thrones wasn’t enough.

5. Strong language. Everyone seems to be swearing, all the time, even in their parents’ faces. Like, what? And if you’ve grown up in an Asian family, you know that’s the cue for the rolling pin from your mum to hit you on the head.

If I were to rate the show, I’d give it a three out of five. And since we’re all quarantined with nothing much to do, maybe you can give it a go.

What are you binge watching this week?

This Show Touched My Heart

This Show Touched My Heart

“You’re a wish come true I never knew I was making,” – Marilla, Anne With An E

I’ve watched more Netflix shows than I’d care to admit. At this point, I’ve developed a pounding headache and pink eye and 2020 isn’t looking too sparkly for me. Also, the news isn’t helping. There’s far too much terror in India at this point. Between Christmas and New Year’s, I’d binge-watched Don’t F*ck With Cats, You, Unbelievable and gotten overwhelmed by all the murder and other forms of bloodshed and chanced upon Anne With an E.

I’m not someone that watches a lot of dramas but Anne with an E is based on Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, and it was one of my childhood favorites and Anne Shirley-Cuthbert, with her fiery red hair and her romantic ways, is actually pretty iconic.

The show drew me in. Based in the fictional town of Avonlea, the cinematography is stunning. There’s a bunch of glorious shots of Prince Edward Island.

AmyBeth McNulty, who plays the titular Anne, is perfect. She actually beat almost two thousand other people that auditioned and got the role. Anne with an E follows the story of an orphaned thirteen-year-old, severely bullied and shuffled from home to home, in her quest to belong to someone.

Anne is accidentally sent to the Cuthberts, a pair of elderly siblings called Matthew and Marilla, in place of a farm hand they originally requested for, from the orphanage. Anne meets Matthew at the train station and talks all the way to the Cuthbert residence, the Green Gables. Initially disapproving of Anne, Marilla eventually warms up to her, and she and her brother go ahead and adopt Anne formally. Anne adjusts comfortably, and although often she creates trouble, she does a lot of good too, thanks to her quick-thinking. She also becomes good friends with the neighbors’ older daughter, Diana Barry.

The first season was a tad too slow and flowery for my liking, but if you’ve loved Ms Montgomery as much as I have, you’re probably going to stick to it too. Season two picks up pace that season one lacks and the writers put their own twist to the plot, with Aunt Josephine “Jo”, Diana’s aunt, being revealed as lesbian and Anne’s classmate, artist Cole, as gay. The coming-of-age bits are brilliant and beautifully done. You also witness a lot of focus on the LGBTQ community as a whole, with Jo’s companionship with Geraldine shocking Diana initially till the time she learns to accept it. Gilbert Blythe, another classmate of Anne’s, goes off on a ship and meets Trinidadian Sebastian “Bash” after the death of the former’s father. An unlikely friendship forms and the two boys return to Avonlea.

The new teacher, widowed Ms. Muriel Stacy, who wears pants and forgoes wearing the corset obstinately, much to the chagrin of Rachel Lynde, while also riding her motorcycle, is like a breath of fresh air. Anne realizes that she and Ms Stacy are kindred spirits and I almost whooped when they go to the town hall in season three to protest against the ministers burning down the school and taking away the printing press because Anne dares to post an article about consent and what’s fair, and what isn’t.

While the other girls aim to be good brides and wives to some man, with Ruby cherishing a burning passion for Gilbert, Anne wants to become a bride of adventure.

That is, until she realizes that she’s loved Gilbert since forever and while Ruby finds a new object of adoration in another classmate, Moody, Anne and Gilbert try to communicate with each other via notes. These notes never reach the concerned parties and a lot of confusion ensues, and I almost wanted to shake Gilbert and go, AAAAARRGGGGHHH, when he keeps courting Winnie and doesn’t get anywhere. Season three has to be my favorite. Anne searches for her legacy and finds love and Marilla and Matthew send her off to college and Gilbert comes to meet her before going off to the University of Toronto, and I’ve never sighed so much in my life. That too, as dreamily.

Anne blossoming into a young woman in the last episode, running to meet Gilbert with her fiery red hair flowing behind her, contrasting perfectly with her blue dress and freckles, is the best thing on Netflix right now. Oh, sigh.

Honorable mentions:

• Rachel Lynde, Marilla’s best friend – the character’s transition from the narrow-minded mean woman in the first two seasons to someone who’s all for women’s rights, is brilliant.

• Ka’kwet, a twelve year old belonging to the indigenous people who sell hockey sticks and make baskets – the way she escapes the clutches of the whites trying to “convert savages” by locking children up in schools and forcing them to learn English and rechristening them, had me on the edge of my seat.

• The Cuthberts – I had to talk about them twice. They’re super adorable. Matthew is sweet and Marilla, stern start first. I kind of bawled my eyes out when she yells that she loves Anne in the third season and therefore, wants her to be safe. Talk about tough love mellowing into mushy and selfless love, I love how Marilla makes a detour and takes the ferry with Matthew to retrieve memoirs of Anne’s long dead parents from the first home Anne lived in. WHOOP DE DOOP!

• Aunt Josephine Barry – she’s got to be my favorite. Full of life and new ideas and open-mindedness and the fact that she’s fiercely supportive of Anne, is amazing.

The show focuses on so much, there’s so much you can take from it. The diversity is incredible. The most important thing, I’ve learned, is to give people, and things, chances. Because who knows what you might be pleasantly surprised with, right?

There’s a New Genre of TV Shows and I’m HERE For It

There’s a New Genre of TV Shows and I’m HERE For It

So I binge-watched Dead to Me on Netflix a couple nights back and like the cool kids say: I AM SHOOK. (That’s super weird if you think about it grammatically, but that’s another story for another day.)

This whole genre of TV shows portraying angry women is something that’s been gaining a lot of popularity lately and I’m honestly a fan. Although most of these are advertised to be “dark comedy”, I think I’m sticking with “angry women”, because it makes me feel like we need some female badassery already. I’ve talked about Good Girls and Why Women Kill on the blog before. And I adore both shows. All have a similar vibe – cheating spouses/partners, money, sexual tensions, they’ve got it all.

Also, did I mention – all of these shows have a BRILLIANT cast? Dead to Me, for example, has an ensemble cast of Christina Applegate, Linda Cardellini (who was born on June 25th as well, OMG does this mean I qualify as THE NEXT VELMA DINKLEY?) and James Marsden, who in my opinion, has only gotten hotter. Take a look:

I also love the fact that these shows feature multiple protagonists, and they all come from different age groups and ethnicities. Win. Win. A total win. Jen and Judy, for example, have totally contrasting personalities in Dead to Me. While Jen is a mother of two, who’s investing the recent hit-and-run of her dead husband, and is constantly on edge, Judy is an artist who’s carefree and believes in woo-woo. The banter the two exchange is hilarious and very well-done.

Also, SPOILER ALERT: there’s a brilliant 1966 Mustang that plays a key role in the show. And, Judy’s bangs are on point.

If you’re looking for something to binge watch this weekend, Dead to Me is an excellent pick. That is, if you don’t mind the fact that your Netflix playlist looks like you’re plotting a murder and doing your very own thorough research.

And if you’ve already watched the show, and cannot wait for season two, what was your favorite bit?

#ThrowBack – An Excerpt

#ThrowBack – An Excerpt

Do you remember your first day of grad school? I remember mine like it were only yesterday. I remember the cadaver on the cold metal table, and the stares.

Most importantly, the stares.

I stuck out like a sore thumb, so I tried very hard to blend in. I was painfully aware of myself and my flaws, all magically modified like crazy, because I was in a whole new place. I’d never lived away from my parents before and going to live in one of those hostel things was very uncomfortable at first, and I’m sure a lot of people can relate. Now that I look back on those days, I realize that I’d only gone to med school super far away from home, to get away from the bubble that I’d been living in all my life. An overprotected bubble, I might add.

The people were mostly from upscale metros. I was the only one from the Podunk tiny town. Sigh. I felt so uncomfortable there I thought I would die of anxiety just from walking into class and have people make fun of me. When you’re a kid, you don’t understand what’s happening, and sometimes you don’t understand what bullying feels like, until it’s too late. I got made fun of my crooked teeth, my hair and my stoop (they called me that), and I was overweight on my first day of college and I was made painfully aware of that. Usually people come up to you when you’re new, make conversation and that’s how you become friends – but when it came to me, nobody really ever approached. Except for this one girl who became a good friend – she was just as gorgeous on the outside as well as on the inside – and although we’ve lost touch, I’m forever grateful. Bless her soul. I honestly hope she’s happy wherever she is because I’m sure she’s slaying it out there. She was badass. Truly.

So that first month passed by pretty fast, and I noticed myself losing weight. The food wasn’t very nice – it’s normal when you’re eating in a mess – and at some point, I got bitten by depression so hard, I stopped going to school. While the other kids maintained a routine, I would stay in my room and only go to the classes I enjoyed, and ended up alienating myself further. That was also how I ended up losing six inches off my waistline. Go me. That was also the start of my tiff with things like anemia and vitamin D deficiency, both of which were self-induced. While the other kids were busy studying, getting into relationships with classmates, and having artists do their anatomy projects, I was busy drawing my own anatomy diagrams. And I loved it. I’d forgotten how much I loved to sketch, and funny as it may seem, drawing the model of the heart from Cunningham’s manual actually calmed me down.

At this point I also discovered eyeliner and tight-lining, and went ham. That was how I created the illusion of smaller eyes. The stares and the comments eventually stopped and I finally achieved what I’d been trying to since day one – I became invisible, successfully.

Movie Review: Secret Obsession

Movie Review: Secret Obsession

Going to cut to the chase here and say, “Issa NO.” Just no. I wasted my afternoon watching this absolute trash of a movie trying to justify having done it – came up with zero reasons to actually tell myself that it was okay.

Truth be told, I’m offended.

Netflix messes with you sometimes. I loved YOU, which actually told the story of a psychopathic serial killer from his own point of view. And I assumed that Secret Obsession would be similar, but boy, was I sorely disappointed.

First off, you can actually tell the whole story from the trailer itself. Where’s the fun in that?

She still has fake lashes on. Slow claps.

I’ve to admit I watched it for Brenda Song alone. She played London Tipton in The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, and I was such a huge fan. She plays Jennifer Allen who gets hit by a car and suffers from short term memory loss, with no memories of her life or her husband. This guy Russell comes up to her and introduces himself to her as her husband and she says yeah, okay. And she goes home – a suspiciously large home – with him. She comfortably settles into the role of a housewife because Russell says she’s quit her job and eats an obnoxious amount of breakfast eggs, and goes about trying to see if anything at home triggers her memory. But Secret Obsession did her dirty. Her character is bland at best and there are so many gaping pot holes, you’re going to give yourself a headache just by trying to keep track. Mike Vogel, the psychopath that plays Russell, isn’t just crazy enough. He photoshops himself into her life, edits a whole bunch of photos, including the wedding photo, but forgets to blend in the skin tone and edit major stuff like fixing his own reflection in a photo that shows the back of the real Russell’s head. Which Jennifer notices eventually – by then it’s too late.

Look at the obscene amount of scrambled eggs she’s eating.

Like, honestly.

There’s a good cop with a tragic backstory that finds out about the knock off husband pretending to be the real husband, and he does some investigation and finds out the real tea. The other thing that gets me is the completely baffling timeline. Three months, and fake Russell KILLED Jennifer’s (Song) parents and they’ve decomposed funny. There’s also a strange man that leaves flowers and Russell kills and buries him in the backyard. Nobody finds this dead person. There’s also a scene where Russell gets mad because Jennifer won’t do it with him and he has an angry outburst and grips her arm tightly. Okay, dude needs to learn to get it under control.

Eventually Russell gets found out and we have a happy ending with Jennifer limping away in heels. Why would anyone put her in heels when she’s clearly limping is yet another mystery to me.

A few people have liked the movie, but it’s a hard pass in my opinion. If you’re bored and want to get drunk surreptitiously out of your skull and need something to distract you, watch Secret Obsession. Have a great weekend, folks.