This week’s news cycle was a lot, as usual. If you were paying attention even a little bit, you probably now know Nathan Phillips, the Native American man who was mocked by a group of kids in MAGA hats from Covington Catholic School yelling, “build the wall!” outside of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, and the infuriating conversation that has followed the altercation. You probably know that Canada-China relations are just getting worse over this Huawei mess, and it doesn’t look like the two countries are making up any time soon. You probably know that Serena Williams, the GOAT, lost in the quarter-final at the Australian Open in the most frustrating match ever. If you were paying attention, you know that this week was A LOT. So, let’s de-stress with some of the best entertainment of the moment. Here are our picks for what to watch on Netflix this weekend.
Some good news: Roma made history this week with its TEN Oscar nominations. Alfonso Cuarón’s acclaimed black-and-white Netflix original film, inspired by his own childhood growing up in Mexico in the '70s, is the story of a domestic worker and live-in nanny played by Yalitza Aparicio. On Tuesday, Aparicio became the first Indigenous woman nominated for Best Actress. Her co-star, Marina De Tavira, was nominated too, for Best Supporting Actress. There’s been hype surrounding this film since it was first released, but now it’s a Best Picture frontrunner (garnering Netflix’s first Best Picture nom) and it’s a star-making vehicle for both Aparicio and De Tavira in a timely story about resilience, feminism, and immigration. Roma is an instant classic that you should watch — period — but you should also do it just so you know what’s up on Oscar Sunday next month.
I’ve been looking forward to this show since I recommended it in our January Netflix preview. I haven’t taken my own advice yet, but if Twitter is any indication, this show is worth the trip back in time to those awkward sexual-awakening years. From what I’ve gathered, Sex Education is about a group of gangly teens, Otis (Asa Butterfield), Eric (Ncuti Gatwa) and Maeve (Emma Mackey), explore their hormone-fuelled teen years with humour and heart-warming difficulty, thanks in part to Otis' embarrassing mom and sex therapist Gillian Anderson. How well the show’s gay characters have been represented is still up for debate (some love it, others aren’t so sure), but the reviews are overwhelmingly positive, and hey, I’m here for teen angst plus Gillian Anderson any day of the week.
There are few problems that sitting down with a big glass of wine and a good romantic comedy can’t fix. Book Club is not a great rom-com (it’s no My Best Friend’s Wedding, also streaming on Netflix), but it is good enough that you’ll get lost in Andy Garcia’s charm (seriously) and fall in love with the chemistry between on-screen legends Jane Fond, Diane Keaton, Mary Steenburgen, and Candice Bergen. They play four best friends who decide to spice up their long-standing book club by reading 50 Shades of Grey. Grab a glass, grab your girls, and turn your brain off for a few hours. Isn’t that what weekends are for?
They had me at “Michaela Coel.” Since I first snorted water out of my nose from laughter while watching Chewing Gum, the short-lived brilliant comedy Coel created, wrote, and starred in, I decided that I will watch anything Coel in. Well, she’s back on Netflix with a drama that sounds nothing like Chewing Gum. Netflix describes Black Earth Rising like this: “Adopted by a human rights attorney after the Rwandan genocide, legal investigator Kate Ashby confronts her past when she takes on war crimes cases.” We know Coel can do comedy, she can do a romantic musical, and she can even steal scenes on Black Mirror, but I’m excited to watch her show off her dramatic chops opposite John Goodman, also playing a role against type.
I’ll admit that I was skeptical to tune into Killer Mike’s show given that I haven’t really paid attention to much he’s said since he defended gun ownership on NRA TV — I typically don’t watch shows from people who appear on NRA TV — but when you hover over the tab to watch Trigger Warning with Killer Mike, you hear the rapper’s familiar voice boom, “Anything that doesn’t help Black people needs to be burned the f-ck down, now.” Well, that’s a message I can get on board with. Killer Mike has made his political views known throughout his career and his usual stances aren’t in line with what you would expect from a gun-toting friend of the NRA (I should note that he apologized for his statements). The series is a six-episode look at the state of social issues relating to Black Americans, and if nothing else, Killer Mike is sure to bring his unfiltered and sometimes controversial approach to topics plaguing America.