Pride Month is coming to an end, but Pride Weekend in Toronto is just getting started. As celebrations ring through the city (and across the country) until Sunday’s parade, there are plenty of events to keep you busy outside, instead of being holed up on your couch streaming content. But not everyone loves crowds, and even though Sunday’s parade will hopefully go a lot smoother than the city’s latest communal gathering, there are still ways to show your support for, and pride in, the LGBTQ+ community that don’t involve sweaty bodies packed together on sweltering streets if that’s not your thing. (If it is, do you!) Sometimes, demonstrating a deep love and allyship for the rights and freedoms of queer people in this country can be as simple as binging some great queer content, or if you’re part of the community and like your couch more than crowds, engaging in a little self-care with Netflix’s latest offerings works too.
From some solid queer titles to necessary viewing and lighthearted comedies, here are my picks for what to watch on Netflix Canada this weekend.
I teased this revival of the 1993 beloved queer series Tales of The City in our June Netflix roundup. The reviews are now out and the series is being hailed as a “flawed but fabulous” nostalgic story of the close-knit LGBTQ+ community living at 28 Barbary Lane, San Francisco. I don’t know about you, but I always like a some flaws with my fabulous. The stacked cast of Laura Linney, Olympia Dukakis, Ellen Page, Zosia Mamet, Paul Gross, and Charlie Barnett (my fave from Russian Doll) come through with heartfelt and refreshing portrayals of nuanced queer characters that should be more common on television than they are. This series is the perfect binge for Pride weekend, or any weekend you want a good laugh, a good cry, or just some good storytelling.
You may know Alia Shawkat as Mae from Arrested Development or as Stacy from that one episode of Veronica Mars in 2006. Just kidding, she’s also been in Search Party and Transparent so even if you aren’t up on Veronica Mars cameos, you’ll recognize Shawkat’s humour and formidable talent. 2018’s Duck Butter was her writing debut and catapulted her into the rarified space that some actors only dream of: she’s a creator whose work is respected on screen and off. Duck Butter follows two jaded women, disillusioned by past shitty relationships, who promise to spend 24 hours together, having sex every hour. Their romantic experiment intends works for the two women finding intimacy, but they day of passion doesn't go according to plan.
I’ve been recommending Ava DuVernay’s When They See Us to anyone who will listen. It is mandatory viewing. Period. It’s a tough watch, and you should go into it prepared to come out a complete mess, but the untold story of The Exonerated Five (formerly reviewed to as the Central Park Five) needs to be known. After you’re done When They See Us, the next thing on your must-see list should be Oprah’s sit down with DuVernay, the cast, producers and real-life subjects of the series. Their stories will break your heart, but also restore your faith in the resilience of the human spirit.
This inspirational hip-hop drama aims to tell the human stories behind the headlines of Chicago’s South Side. As per the film’s press release, “a reclusive teenage musical prodigy (Khalil Everage) forms an unlikely friendship with a down-on-his-luck high school security guard (Anthony Anderson). United by their mutual love of hip hop, they try to free each other from the demons of their past and break into the city’s music scene.” Like so many other films set in the hood hoping to humanize Black pain — but in an uplifting way for masses! — Beats may venture into reductive, cheesy territory at times, but its heart is in the right place. Plus, the story focuses on Chicago’s South Side hip-hop scene, which gave us some of the genre’s brightest talents so I’m glad it’s getting its deserved credit. Uza Aduba also stars.
Despite its mediocre reviews, the Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston comedy has been viewed 30.8 million times around the world. That’s the the biggest opening weekend ever for a Netflix movie, according to the streaming service. Listen, an Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston movie about a married couple who accidentally stumble into a murder investigation on a yacht is not typically my go-to watch, but 30.8 million people disagree with me. I’m not telling you to watch something just because everyone else is, but maybe they’re on to something? Maybe Aniston and Sandler have finally made a great movie? Seriously, this seems like a nice light comedy to put on in the background while you do laundry or make dinner. Sometimes when I’m scrolling through Netflix, breezy background noise is all I want.