It's Friday. We made it. Week 17 of quarantine. I hope you have plans (real or virtual) for July 4th that make you happy, even if they are drastically different than what you had originally planned earlier this year.
Each week I have been sharing recommendations for TV shows and movies to watch over the weekend. In case you missed any of the previous lists, you can find all of them on my TV recaps page.
Before diving into this week's picks, I want to put a few upcoming things on your radar:
- Today - The movie version of Hamilton is available on Disney+. I will be watching it this weekend with two friends. Also, if you loved The Babysitters Club book series as a kid, the TV adaptation is now live on Netflix
- Wednesday, July 8 - A new documentary called Mucho Mucho Amor is coming to Netflix about Walter Mercado, a famous astrologist from Puerto Rico. You can watch the trailer here
- Sunday, July 19 - The Last Dance, the incredible documentary about Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls is coming to Netflix. If you have cable, you can watch it on demand right now on ESPN
- Sunday, August 2 - Bravo welcomes back the fiercest ladies in Maryland, The Real Housewives of Potomac
Ok, onto this week's top six.
1. Spelling the Dream (Netflix) - In quarantine, I have become the queen of documentaries. Netflix suggested I might like Spelling the Dream, a film about the Scripps National Spelling Bee and the number of finalists who come from Indian-American families.
Over the course of 90 minutes, we meet four families, all Indian, who have brilliant young children competing locally in order to qualify for the national bee. I was excited to see one of the families lives right here in Massachusetts!
I was moved to see that each competitor had the total support of their parents and siblings, who often serve as practice moderators.
The movie really drives home the message that unlike many other sports, the spelling bee is not really a competition, but more a celebration of learning. This is a feel-good watch.
2. A Secret Love (Netflix) - My cousin recommended I watch A Secret Love, a documentary about two women who hid their romantic relationship for over 65 years. Terry and Pat have been together for most of their lives, but often told strangers they were best friends, roommates or cousins.
Only once they decided to move out of their house and into a nursing home, did they come forward with the truth and decide to legally marry.
It was beautiful to see how their family and friends accepted them. In the scene where they officially tie the knot it was hard not to get misty!
One cool side story: In her late teens and early twenties, Terry played for the Peoria Redwings, part of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (yes, A League of Their Own!). They show tons of photos and archival footage. It was amazing to hear her recount that experience.
The film is 90 minutes. I'm positive when the credits roll, you'll be smiling.
3. Hello, Privilege. It's Me, Chelsea. (Netflix) - Whether you are a fan of comedian Chelsea Handler or not, her one-hour special is worth watching. In the documentary-style shoot, she travels all over the country examining her white privilege. She speaks to actors, academics, political activists, law students, local government officials and more, seeking a deeper understanding of how she can use her position of power to effect positive change.
The part that stood out to me the most was when she headed back to her hometown in New Jersey to visit with her high school boyfriend, who is Black. They talk openly about how they were engaging in the same behaviors (drinking, drugs, driving under the influence) but because of the color of their skin, they had very different trajectories. You could see the anguish she was feeling as those realizations started to sink in.
I hadn't planned on watching this, but I'm glad I did.
4. Dear White People (Netflix) - Somehow I missed its return, but Dear White People is back on Netflix with its third season.
When we're reunited with the students of Winchester, Sam is pursuing an independent study with the film department, Joelle has taken over the radio show (and can't seem to get Reggie to pay attention to her), Lionel is navigating his way through campus life as a single person again, Coco has a new clandestine hookup buddy and Brooke is trying to take over The New Independent.
This show continues to be so smart. If you've never watched it before, I highly recommend starting from the beginning. All three seasons are available on Netflix, with 10 episodes each. Each installment is 30 minutes and you'll find yourself quickly hitting "next episode."
5. Patriot Act (Netflix) - Oh, Hasan Minhaj. How I love you. Back in week two of quarantine, I recommended Minhaj's stand-up comedy special, Homecoming King. To this day, it is still the funniest set I have ever seen. I also loved his interview on the Armchair Expert podcast, which Dax Shepard and Monica Padman reference constantly. Now he is back with the sixth season of his Netflix show, Patriot Act.
There are currently eight episodes available and each one deals with very timely topics like evictions, Coronavirus, the death of George Floyd, the election process and more. Minhaj approaches all of these difficult issues with intellect and humor.
If watching the nightly news makes you feel sick, get all the information you need (without the pit in your stomach) on Patriot Act.
6. Footloose (Amazon) - Amazon has been absolute treasure trove of movies from my youth. The original Footloose, with Kevin Bacon, actually came out the year I was born. When I was old enough to watch it, I fell in love with the music, especially the song, "Let's Hear it for the Boy."
The 2011 remake starring the adorable Kenny Wormald is also on Amazon, so you can have yourself a double feature and then compare and contrast!
There you have it. This week's list. I hope everyone has a great holiday weekend. Please continue to be safe and wear your mask!