April is here and the district has unblocked Netflix on our MacBooks – praise. I’ve taken four of Netflix’s recently added and recommended movies and reviewed them so you know how to spend your next lazy Sunday afternoon.
“Cool Runnings” was just added to Netflix, but, this movie isn’t new – it was made in 1993. Despite the fact that it’s older than I am, “Cool Runnings” was one of my favorite Disney movies growing up. Its kid-like sense of humor and heartfelt message that “there’s always a way” keeps it on my list.
“Cool Runnings” is based on the true story of the first Jamaican bobsled team in the 1988 Winter Olympics. The team is composed of two track runners who failed to make the Summer Olympic team and two other Jamaican misfits who are all determined to go to the global sporting event in any event.
John Candy, best known for his role in “Planes, Trains and Automobiles,” plays Irving Blitzer, a former bobsled coach who is left teaching the team of misfit track runners. We watch Blitzer’s hilarious struggle with a team that has never been on ice before, let alone even seen a bobsled before.
The determination that the team shows as they navigate and train for this new sport mixes perfectly with the comedy of four Jamaican men who now have to deal with ice – which is why “Cool Runnings” holds its own against any new flashy movies that have forgotten how to tell an earnest story.
Of course, any Disney movie revolving around a true story could have clichés and cheesy moments, but the heartfelt storyline and comical characters, perfect casting and honest moments surmount this, leaving “Cool Runnings” as one of my favorite throwback movies.
“Lighthouse of the Orcas”
As embarrassing as it is, I’m a sucker for the feel-good dramas like “Forrest Gump” and “Big Miracle,” and if you’re like me, this movie is perfect for your next open Saturday night. Fair warning – this movie is in Spanish so unless you’re remarkably confident in your Spanish skills, you’ll need subtitles. But don’t let that deter you.
“The Lighthouse of the Orcas” follows the story of a mother, Lola, desperately trying to help her autistic young son, Tristan, feel emotion. For as long as he has lived, she has seen him smile once – while he was watching a man interact with orca whales on TV.
Lola, played by Maribel Verdu, decides to travel with Tristan, played by Joaquin Rapalini, to Patagonia to find this man, Beto Bubas, and see if he will help her son feel. Lola and Beto work together in their struggle to help Tristan experience happiness, and their story will leave you thinking about the story for the rest of the day.
The cinematography of this movie is impeccable, with amazing views of Patagonian seas and South American countrysides.
You get used to the subtitles quickly and soon you forget how much your eyes are shifting from text to landscape – it’s worth the extra work. But if that doesn’t sell you maybe your Spanish teacher will give you extra credit for watching this on your day off.
“Win it All”
Jake Johnson starred in and co-wrote “Win it All,” a Netflix original movie that follows Eddie Garret, a gambling addict hired to hold on to $50,000 in a duffel bag. As one would expect, Eddie’s compulsions take over, and he loses a lot of the money after several unfortunate days and nights in a casino.
I wish I could say I was drawn to this movie because of its insight into why people become addicted to gambling, or at the very least because it got a high rating on Rotten Tomatoes. In all truthfulness I was drawn to this movie because I just finished watching “New Girl” where Johnson plays Nick Miller – my favorite character.
The majority of the movie revolves around Eddie’s recuperation. He gets his life together, gets a job and mends his relationships with his family, but soon we have to watch Eddie struggle again.
“Win it All” was hard to get into at first. It was more serious than I expected it to be and the only top-notch supporting character was Keegan-Michael Key, most notable for his role in “Key and Peele.” But the ending of “Win it All” made the movie worth it due to its satisfying conclusion and compelling plot, so hang in there until to end.
“BFG,” or Big Friendly Giant, is the latest Ronald Dahl book converted to a movie, accompanying “James and the Giant Peach,” “Willy and the Wonka Factory,” “Fantastic Mr. Fox” and many others.
I grew up reading Roald Dahl, so when I heard that another one of his movies was on Netflix, I didn’t hesitate to grab my laptop and headphones. “BFG” certainly held its own, holding true to Dahl’s original book, while throwing in imaginative takes on the setting with Steven Spielberg’s directing.
Set in London, “BFG” tells the story of a young girl, Sophie, played by Ruby Barnhill, who comes across a bona fide giant one night named Big Friendly Giant. Although apprehensive at first, the two grow as friends, and accompany each other on a journey to Queen Victoria to finally get rid of all bad, man-eating giants.
“BFG” is endearing and enjoyable, but wasn’t quite intriguing enough to keep me occupied the entire two hours and I found myself picking up my phone to scroll through Twitter more than once. Even so, “BFG” is the perfect go-to for the next time April showers hit while I’m babysitting since it’s perfect for younger kids.