Hello, friends! I have just returned from six days in St. Lucia and thanks to two very long plane rides, I have lots of new streaming recommendations for you.
Before we jump into this week's picks, here are a few things coming up:
- Tuesday, June 14 - A new documentary about Jennifer Lopez and her incredible career will land on Netflix. It's called Halftime.
- Thursday, June 16 - HBO Max is releasing a remake of Father of the Bride, centered around a Cuban family with Andy Garcia as the lead.
- Tuesday, June 28 - Season two of Only Murders in the Building drops on Hulu. Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez will be reunited in Manhattan.
Ok, now buckle up! I watched a ton over the past two weeks so this is going to be a long one.
1. Somebody Feed Phil (Netflix) - I've gushed about this show so many times here on the blog and season five was just as delicious as I hoped it would be. Since it was filmed during COVID, I wasn't sure how that would impact Phil's jovial nature, but it turns out - not at all. While his entire crew was masked, he was able to go unmasked during the scenes where he was tasting local delicacies.
This new batch of episodes includes travels to five cities. Here were my favorite moments from each location:
- Maine - I started with this episode because I've spent a lot of time in Maine and I wanted to see where Phil and company would dine. In Portland, they visited Duck Fat, Standard Baking Co., and Tandem Bakery. I had the best jalapeño cheddar scone of my life from Tandem Bakery. Phil also visited his family's farm in Wisscassett, pulling over for lobster rolls at Red's Eats along the way. He also checked out the Palace Diner in Biddeford. I get off at the Biddeford exit a few times per year to visit a friend in the neighboring town of Lyman. Clearly I need to budget in time to grab a stool at this diner!
- Portland, OR - This season could be summarized as "the tale of two Portlands." I have never been to Portland, OR, but for years people have been telling me it has an incredible food scene. After watching this episode, I wanted to beam myself to Prost Food Hall. I also wanted to leap through the screen and taste every flavor at Doe Donuts, the vegan donut shop Phil visits. They have a donut called the Oregon Trail! Phil also spent a great deal of time with Shoda Nakajima from Top Chef, who was always one of my favorites.
- Oaxaca, Mexico - If you are asking yourself, "Didn't Phil already go to Mexico?" Yes, he did. In season one, he went to Mexico City. Now, he's in Oaxaca and being much more adventurous. There are a few moments in this episode where he agrees to eat things with insects, and he looks right into the camera and says, "In our first season, I never would have agreed to this try! I am getting much braver." Watching this episode made me want mole, and to be able to crumble fresh cotija cheese on top of everything. Phil visits one particular restaurant where food is prepared in the traditional, Japanese, sushi style, but with ingredients native to Oaxaca. The food looked unreal. Added that spot to my bucket list.
- Madrid, Spain - My junior year of college I studied abroad in Spain, so I was really looking forward to watching this episode. It opened with Phil eating churros con chocolate outside a cafe, and that's probably the food item I miss most from Spain (along with tortilla española and authentic patatas bravas). I loved watching Phil try different versions of tortilla at Cafe Dani in Mercado de la Paz. He also had an incredible tasting menu from the chef who owns Diverso and Streetso. He makes a stop at the Sala de Despiece food labratory, which felt like a fine dining restaurant and test kitchen, swirled into one. Phil and crew also make a day trip a little further south to Toledo, to taste the world famous marzipan made by nuns. This is a very common day trip (even though hardly anyone actually likes marzipan).
- Helsinki, Finland - I watched this episode last. Finland has never been a place on my travel wish list. While shooting, Phil ate mostly fish and reindeer. He had a very cool spa / sauna experience on a house boat. But the most impressive thing he did was have a meal with Finland's female Prime Minister. She is only 35 years old!
Those who have been watching this show for a long time know that Phil used to Skype with parents every episode. His mother passed away a few years ago, and his father, Max, passed away last year. Now, instead of calling home to his parents, he calls other comedians. This season that included Brad Garrett, Judy Gold, Paul Reiser, and even his son, Ben.
With so many upsetting things going on in the world, Phil is a shot in the arm of pure joy. He'll make you laugh, give you new destinations to dream about, and encourage you to shake up your next food delivery order.
One note: though Netflix will give you the option to "skip intro" at the start of each episode, don't! The intro has been updated with scenes from this season, set to Phil's catchy theme song, which is performed by the band Lake Street Dive. It's charming and will have you smiling at the start of every single episode.
If you're sad this new season is already over, do not fret. Phil has a book coming out in October. You can take a first look at that here.
2. My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman (Netflix) - I find this show to be a great palette cleanser in between movies and series that are more serious (looking at you, murder mysteries). This new season has six interviews and I've watched three of them so far.
I am sad to say the episode with Julia Louis-Dreyfus was a complete snooze. I love her, so I was pumped to watch, and then it just fell flat. Even when she and Dave were fishing together at a beach, a setting prime for jokes and witty banter.
In good news, the episodes with Ryan Reynolds and Billie Eilish are fantastic. I watched the Ryan Reynolds interview first, which took place at his and Blake Lively's home in upstate New York. Ryan and Dave sit on the outdoor patio and even make brick oven pizza together. I learned a ton about Reynolds' childhood, his relationship with his three older brothers, and his complex relationship with his late father. His shares some pretty vulnerable thoughts on how the movie he produced and starred in, The Adam Project, allowed him to explore some of his own emotions about his dad.
I am not a die hard Billie Eilish fan, so a lot of what she shared in this interview was new to me. For example, I didn't know she was homeschooled. I also didn't know she has Tourette Syndrome. The best parts of the hour are where she and her brother, Finneas, show Dave how they make music in their studio. They are both so passionate about this art form and it's amazing to watch them talk about all the intricate decisions they make for every track. Billie also spoke openly about being such a young artist and the deep feelings of Imposter Syndrome she has. One note: during the seated interview, Billie has the longest nails I've ever seen, even longer than a Kardashian!
The other three interviews are with Cardi B, Kevin Durant and Will Smith (before the slap).
3. Our Father (Netflix) - Ever since I read Dani Shapiro's memoir, Inheritance, I have been fascinated by how services like 23 and Me and Ancestry.com are revealing unexpected truths about people's biological parents and extended families.
This new documentary is about Dr. Don Cline, a prominent fertility specialist in Indianapolis, IN, who swapped in his own sample during hundreds of fertility treatments without ever informing the women he was treating.
The first woman to find out she was a product of this "bait and switch" was a woman named Jacoba. She did a genetic test and was shocked and horrified to discover her father wasn't her biological father. The filmmakers interview many more people who are also biological children of Dr. Cline, but Jacoba has been the most vocal member of the group, pushing for legal action.
Believe it or not, what Dr. Cline did was not technically illegal. With the help of an attorney, the biological children were able to bring one charge against him, but it only resulted in a $500 fine.
Dr. Cline has an auto-immune disorder, and sadly, many of his biological children are now suffering with similar symptoms and chronic pain. At the time the documentary had wrapped, 94 biological children had been identified. None of the mothers gave their consent for Dr. Cline to use his own sample.
While this isn't an uplifting watch, it does shed light on how are laws need to change to reflect the current capabilities of fertility treatments and to protect against this kind of behavior and abuse of trust.
4. The Thomas Crown Affair (Amazon) - One of my 2022 New Year's resolutions is to watch 10 movies from before I was born. Last week, Amazon recommended that I watch The Thomas Crown Affair. The original premiered in 1968.
I was excited because the movie is set in Boston. I immediately recognized Acorn Street in Beacon Hill, the foot bridge over the Charles River at Harvard University, and Crane's Beach.
The movie co-stars Steve McQueen as Thomas Crown and Faye Dunaway as Vicki Anderson, the investigator looking into his involvement with a bank robbery. Naturally, she falls in love with him.
McQueen is outrageously good looking. He has a chiseled face, piercing blue eyes, and the most handsome collection of sunglasses I've ever seen. Dunaway is a true beauty in this film, rocking gorgeous dresses and head-turning hair styles. They have many romantic scenes together, including a steamy flirtation over a game of chess. If you can make your audience feel the heat while two people are playing chess, that's true chemistry!
To me, the movie felt long, but I think the attention span of audiences has changed a lot since 1968. Now that I've seen the original, I also want to watch the remake with Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo.
There you have it! This week's top picks.
I am nearly done with WeCrashed on Apple TV+, so I am excited to share my thoughts with you on that. I also just watched the Jennifer Lopez movie Marry Me, so more to come on that too.