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Netflix highlights June 21

What’s that? An actual, written blog post that’s not show notes for a podcast? I guess it had to happen eventually.


I always feel terrible when I sit down to write my Culture Consumed for Galactic Suburbia because I inevitably find out that most of what I’ve been consuming is non-genre and I have nothing to say. Yet, I’m consuming culture like it’s going out of fashion!


Australia got Netflix in March. And the first thing I did was gobble down the final season of How I Met Your Mother in case the whole Netflix thing was a joke and they were going to whisk it away from me. Then I sat through the entire series of Lost, so I could see if I hated the ending. And since then, I’ve been dipping my toe in and out of various genre pools. I figured now and again, I’d write some quick summaries.


Highly recommended: Grace and Frankie. (Netflix Original)

First up, I shouldn’t need to say anything other than Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin. I’m so there and you should be too. But then bonus for Martin Sheen and Sam Waterstone. Sol (Waterstone) and Robert (Sheen) take their wives, Frankie (Tomlin) and Grace (Fonda) out for dinner to finally tell them they are gay and have been lovers for 20 years and now, since they can, they want to get married (and thus divorced). It’s, I guess, a sitcom, or a dramedy maybe? It’s funny. It’s brilliantly acted. It’s refreshing. It’s not often that older women are allowed their own show, and to be older on it. It enables all kinds of usually taboo topics to be addressed – sex post menopause, sex post marriage, issues relating to long term marriages. Plus Sheen and Waterstone offer another version of gay men to the small screen, one that is also not the norm – older men in a long term committed relationship. The two couples’ children are also interesting and funny. I’m so sad that there is currently only one season (Season 2 is scheduled for 2016) because I’ve already watched it all and I want more.


This weekend, I mainlined some Docos:


The Queen of Versailles

Real Housewives meets the GFC. This starts out as a doco following David and Jackie Siegel (owners of Westgate resorts) who are building the biggest house in the USA – it has 30 bathrooms, which apparently she needs (is it wrong that I was wondering what kind of cleaning schedule that would need, you could use one bathroom a day for a month?). It was modelled on … you guess it! Versailles. And at the height of the book, Siegel is totally really wealthy and can “afford” this ridiculous property. You get a brief intro to the family in a very Real Housewives style and then the GFC hits and it all goes to hell. Honestly, this was like watching a train wreck – the doco loses momentum and point, it is almost never about the house they are building and more about how people who have more money than they can fathom don’t know what to do when the money – or line of credit- is no longer there. Despite having an engineering degree, Jackie seems completely incapable of understanding that they have no money left. I kept watching to see if they ever managed to dig themselves out of the hole – they didn’t at the time of the end of the film – or manage to keep the house (couldn’t tell since it finishes with them in some kind of over the top house). The only point of real interest in the whole hour and a half was half a conversation they caught on camera between David and some friends where he talks about how he managed to remortgage his 11.3 million dollar loan by acting as a third party for refinancing and got it back for 3 million dollars loan. “It makes you wonder who’s making these decisions” he tells his friend. It made it clear to me a lot of the problems of US banking at the time.

Verdict: I watched this so you don’t have to.




Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead


I remember when Joe Cross was doing promo for this doco in Australia and guesting all over the place with his juice only diet. I thought it was all a bit extreme at the time but was still interested in seeing how this doco played out. Cross is pretty fat, and sick with an autoimmune disease that has skin complications. He’s on a lot of drugs for his illness. And he doesn’t want to be anymore so he decides to do a detox and then only eat fruit and veggies for 60 days. He juices them so as to be able to physically consume the quantity needed for both I’m guessing caloric intake as well as recommended daily intake of micronutrients (which is a word used a lot in this film). He goes to the US to do his diet cause flaunting US food in your face when you’re trying to quit eating is the funnest. Whilst there, he finds a fellow sufferer of his illness, in a similar, if not more dire, state and he joins him on this journey.


Elements of this film are uncomfortable to watch as he travels across America scolding people for not eating enough vegetables, basically. And blaming them for being fat. I found that aspect quite unnecessary – noone is going to change the way they are just because you find them/yourself disgusting.


But Cross does drop a lot of weight, and quite quickly. As does his fellow journeyman. They inspire others to juice. And they claim to have more energy and zest for life. It was thought provoking enough that it got me thinking that I might pull out my juicer this week just to actually add some more micronutrients to my diet – but that’s all.

Verdict: Enjoyable if you like watching obese people drop weight (that’s totally a genre)


Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work

I’ve been meaning to watch this ever since Rivers passed away. Yesterday, I finally felt ready to and as I watched her, I realised how much I still really miss her. I don’t necessarily get all of her sense of humour but I love her for her ballsy take on of the comedy genre and paving the way for female comics. She said a lot of things that were taboo for women to discuss. And she was somethin, that’s for sure. This doco follows a year in her life and you see how hard she worked and how hard she worked at being able to keep working. Rivers is a great contrast to the Real Housewives style of fame in that her work ethic is outstanding and watching her, you understand how she built herself into a business. I’m fascinated by the reality TV stars in that really stupid people can get really rich by marrying the right people and getting good divorce lawyers (but they don’t always manage to stay rich). By contrast, I love finding celebrities who are rich and successful for who they are – and interestingly, a few of them I have found through Celebrity Apprentice, Rivers being one of them.

Verdict: If you love Rivers, this is a must view.





Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
dragonsally
Jun. 22nd, 2015 01:56 am (UTC)
You haven't watched Daredevil yet? Om my goodness it is GOOD.
I'm waiting for next pay to have the dosh to get netflix again. I loved my free month so much. It was very distracting. I dabbled in so many shows.
girliejones
Jun. 22nd, 2015 02:11 am (UTC)
I tried to watch Daredevil and hated it. I am just not a superheroes viewer.
mariness
Jun. 22nd, 2015 05:20 am (UTC)
Queen of Versailles:

They didn't lose the house. It was put on hold for a couple of years until Westgate made a sort of comeback, and then they went back to finishing it up.

It's on a lake, so you can boat right to it. The last time I was there, some people were wandering around, sorta working on it, I guess, though it was still clearly finished. I've heard that it's been finished since then.




girliejones
Jun. 22nd, 2015 05:33 am (UTC)
I'm not sure how to feel about this.
mariness
Jun. 22nd, 2015 06:38 am (UTC)
Regarding the house, or boating there?

If the second - the house and the lake are just minutes from here. I've been to that Walmart in the film. After the film came out she reportedly stopped going there (although it's right next to the Westgate offices) and now shops at the same Target I do.

We never look for the house, but it's really hard to miss. I am kinda surprised that they haven't tried to plant cypress tress or something like that on the lake edge, but then again that lake doesn't get that many boaters, so maybe it isn't a big problem.
girliejones
Jun. 22nd, 2015 06:40 am (UTC)
About the house and them finally getting it.
I guess she really likes the view so no trees plus, people need to see how much money you have when you have a house like that.
mariness
Jun. 22nd, 2015 03:18 pm (UTC)
It is definitely the sort of house that shrieks LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT ME, and they built it on a natural waterway, public access lake ensuring that people could look at it.

Regarding them getting it - on the one hand, their original house was already huge, McMansiony and showoffy. (It's on a connected lake.) But I thought about this, and I think I'd rather at least have the house finished, rather than turning into an abandoned concrete eyesore? And I'm not sure who else would finish it. It's in an incredibly wealthy area with huge mansions - movie stars, sports stars, that sort of thing - but even by those standards, no one went THAT big. It's larger than some of the local hotels. From the lake, it looks like it's about three times the size of Shaquille O'Neal's place - and that place is large enough to have an indoor basketball court.

Though to be fair, Shaq's place isn't as showoffy. Except for the Superman statue on the boat dock.

(Oh, I realized I made a major typo in my earlier comment - when I last saw it, it was definitely UNFINISHED - the main exterior walls weren't completed.)
girliejones
Jun. 22nd, 2015 03:24 pm (UTC)
Ah right. Yeah noone would buy the house because it was ridiculously priced. It has a tennis court, ballroom, day spa, etc etc. It's the biggest house in the USA so ... yeah, probably not a big resale market for that kind of thing.

I agree though - those kind of projects that don't get finished are really ugly and a blot on the landscape. We had one here which I think just got ordered to be pulled down after 10 years or something of nothing happening.
mariness
Jun. 22nd, 2015 06:10 pm (UTC)
Lake Butler being, well, Lake Butler, I'm pretty sure that eventually they would have been ordered to demolish the house if they hadn't finished it, but I don't know how long "eventually" would take - and then you're still left with an ugly cleared lot with nothing on it until someone agrees to develop it or the plants manage to take it over again.
piajurin
Jun. 24th, 2015 05:19 am (UTC)
Isn't Grace and Frankie brilliant? So nice to see so many Aaron Sorkin favourites in the one show. For me it's the fact that these two men love each other - even though they realise they have more in common with their ex-wives than with each other. Emmy nomination predictors keep betting Lily and Jane for Best Actress and Sam and Martin for Best Supporting Actor.
girliejones
Jun. 24th, 2015 05:21 am (UTC)
I'm in withdrawal from this show - I'm so sad it's only one season so far cause I mainlined it and I love it.

I love also that these men's marriages are still meaningful even though they love each other. The time spent in those relationships, whilst technically involving lies, weren't nothing.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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