To Binge or Not To Binge,

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Whether you are a Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Iflix, Maxdome, or whatever movie and TV series streaming platform you choose, you will always stumble on something that is binge-worthy. To each his or her own and regardless of genre or era, there is definitely no walking away empty-handed.

On such binge-days, I take the opportunity to catch up on items that the internet is raving about, or sometimes even just the colleagues at work. There may be a generation gap from time to tome, but quality movies with a decent or excellent script are non-negotiable standards. Often I find that the recommendation of others can lead to a gold nugget or two, and at others, sheer curiosity will land me in a veritable entertainment goldmine. Two such recent discoveries have been Netflix’s Wine Country (movie) and What If (series). In both cases, the lead actresses have never been my favourites, although I do respect their talent.

Let’s start with Wine Country. To make a long story short, it deals with the trials and tribulations of a group of college friends who reunite for a 50th birthday weekend. The plot is simple, but more importantly, the characters are believable. These women have known each other for a lifetime, having undergone emotional and physical changes together over the decades. Set in the undeniably gorgeous Napa Valley, this is a movie that I was easily able to sink my teeth into without really having to concentrate on the intricate character development. Why did I enjoy it so much? Because it reminded me of my soul sisters so much, especially my college pals whom I treasure with all my heart. Efforts to recreate scenarios of a past full of memories and poignant rites of passage were familiar echoes of my own journey with my girls, SPG and MLTU. We have the road trips and laughter trails to recharge the soul, providing a safety network to fall back on when the world crumbles around us. Wine Country, is no intellectual challenge, but it achieves its purpose in entertainment and drawing out personal memories.

The second Netflix discovery this weekend was the new series What If, staring Rene Zellweger. I have to admit, I am not a great fan of hers, and the last movie I watched which I deemed praise-worthy was Mrs. Potter. Oh but she pulled off the conniving, unscrupulous, and manipulative femme fatal in this one. Hats off to the producers and scriptwriters – they should have been drafted for the last season of Game of Thrones to save the world from Denaerys. I rarely binge on a series, the last being Orange is the New Black on the recommendation of my daughter. But I simply couldn’t stop with What If! The plots twists and turns take you on a roller coaster ride with many an unexpected heart-stopping moment. The character development is flawless, the acting brilliant, and the ability of the writers to weave in a plethora of social issues without overwhelming the audience is sensational.

So what is it about these two items that held my attention? I had to sleep on it for a while, until I came up with the answer: the portrayal women of substance. For years we were fed movies and series with male-dominated characters, relegating the women to supporting roles. But in both cases, the women are dominant in more ways than one, but never perfect.

So if you are looking for that proverbial “I don’t know what I’m in the mood to watch tonight” I highly recommend these two. One will make you laugh and cry down memory lane, and the other will make you re-think the standards of what makes a good series.

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