Skip it or stream it: Break Binge edition


Graphic by Maliah White

Winter break was the perfect time to catch up on movies and shows from my watchlist. There’s plenty I don’t regret streaming – and some I wish I’d skipped.

Sydney Lawson, Lifestyle Editor

After a long and mentally taxing fall semester, I was more than ready to go home to my family and relax. For me, this meant indulging in hobbies I had no time for during the semester and catching up on my watchlists for multiple streaming apps. 

I was able to watch a lot of shows and films over the break, and while many of them were entertaining, others were a plain waste of time. Out of some of the things I streamed, here are those I highly recommend and those which aren’t worth your time.



Available for streaming on Netflix

Verdict: Stream it

Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) is a lonely bookstore manager living in New York. He cares deeply about literature and the child next door suffering from abuse. He is also deeply infatuated with Beck (Elizabeth Lail), a woman he met by chance. He is so infatuated that nothing can get in the way of his self-proclaimed love; even if that means stalking, breaking and entering, robbery, manuipulation and murder. The bloody path he leaves in wake gets redder as Goldberg grows more obsessed with Beck and more women become the object of his obsession.

I honestly did not expect to like “You” at all. I wasn’t exactly interested in a show revolving around a creepy, egotistical, predatory man “saving” the women he was “in love” with by stalking them and killing anyone who got in his way. I was begrudgingly surprised I enjoyed it at all. It has all of the good elements of a thriller, working together to keep me at the edge of my seat. The show does a good job of not villainizing Goldberg to the point the viewer disconnects with his disturbed point of view, while also not romanticizing Goldberg’s actions or his relationships with the girls he’s obsessed with. Watching the dark story unfold from the bad guy’s point of view and the plethora of jaw-dropping moments adds to the entertainment.


“Lady Bird”

Available for streaming on Netflix

Verdict: Skip it

In this coming-of-age film, Christine MacPherson (Saoirse Ronan), who has dubbed herself Lady Bird, is going through the motions of her senior year in high school. Lady Bird aspires to attend college on the opposite side of the country in a desperate attempt to escape Sacramento. In doing so, she threatens an already strained relationship with her mother and falls victim to her own immaturity.

This movie may have been enjoyable for a middle schooler, or maybe even a high schooler going into their senior year; however, as someone who has lived through it and gone through the college admissions process as Lady Bird has, the film felt lackluster to me. There was no excitement or significant creativity setting the film apart from any other coming-of-age films. It was just a quirky girl doing normal senior year tasks and finding herself in stereotypical teenage conflicts. The movie was clearly aiming for charming, and the realistic nature may be attractive to a different audience. The film simply felt lackluster and Lady Bird herself was borderline annoying to me. 


“Tick Tick… Boom!”

Available for streaming on Netflix

Verdict: Stream It

“Tick Tick… Boom!” is the true story of “Rent” playwright Jonathan Larson’s (Andrew Garfield) struggle to develop and sell his first musical, “Superbia,” in the early 1990s. Created by Lin- Manuel Miranda, the film examines the struggle of an artist desperate to be recognized and the difficulty of balancing your loved ones with your ambitions. As Larson strives to see his dream realized, feeling as though he is running out of time, he becomes negligent of the hardships and suffering relationships around him.

This movie absolutely floored me. It made me feel every possible emotion from joy to grief. The production, musical numbers, sequencing and performance by the actors gripped me from start to finish, and it effortlessly conveyed the feeling of watching a live musical. No other musical recording or musical adaptation has made me feel as though I am seeing it live in the way that “Tick Tick Boom!” does. Nor have I so strongly empathized with characters from a film. My heart was pounding in anticipation or aching in grief alongside Larson in his journey. Even those who don’t enjoy musicals will likely find some joy in the experience this film provides.


“Queer Eye”

Available for streaming on Netflix

Verdict: Stream it

“Queer Eye” is a reality show starring Tan France, Karamo Brown, Jonathan Van Ness, Bobby Berk and Antonio Porowski. Each person specializes in fashion, culture, grooming, home design and culinary arts respectively. Together, they combine their skills to help a person or community in need of a lifestyle makeover find their footing and lead a life that brings them joy. 

This is a great show to just pop on in the background while you’re studying or flip on while you’re taking a break or snacking. “Queer Eye” is right up the alley of anyone who loves TLC or HGTV shows. I appreciate the diversity of those the experts help and seeing how far a little lifestyle help can go to change someone’s life for the better. The “Fab Five” are loveable and great at what they do, and it’s entertaining to watch them interact and work their magic in their respective professions. 


“The Perfection”

Available for streaming on Netflix

Verdict: Skip it

In this Netflix original thriller, Charlotte Willmore (Allison Williams) is welcomed to judge a group of young cellists who are competing for entry to Willmore’s alma mater, Bachoff. Alongside her as a judge is Bachoff’s current star pupil, Lizzie Wells (Logan Browning). The two protégés hit it off, and Wells spontaneously invites Willmore on her trip through Shanghai. The girls discover something is deeply wrong as their journey progresses.

Thrillers are typically some of my favorite movies, and “The Perfection” had an extremely strong start. Mysterious flashbacks and an eerie score set the tone for a potentially twisted movie. There was an uncomfortable tension between Williamson and Wells, and the terrifying things that began happening to them made me physically cry out in alarm. Best of all, the first twist was unpredictable and added a layer of darkness to the story. From this point, the story moves in an entirely different, and frankly disappointing, direction. The plot becomes entirely unbelievable with the sinister nature of the characters more cringe-worthy than frightening. Had the story not strayed from its original path or, better, just ended with the initial plot twist, my verdict would have been different. 



Available for streaming on Disney+

Verdict: Stream it

When Alma Madrigal (María Botero) and her community were attacked during her youth, she was blessed with a miracle in the form of a candle. The candle gave her community a safe place to live and a sentient home. As her family grew, the candle bestowed magical abilities on each of her children and grandchildrenexcept for her granddaughter, Mirabel (Stephanie Beatriz). When the enchantment and all of its blessings are threatened, Mirabel takes it upon herself to find out why and restore the miracle. 

I fell in love with “Encanto” from the opening number. The music was charming and the characters were distinct with a human portrayal of both flaws and strengths. Many people can relate to Mirabel feeling out of place within her family, which makes the film all the more emotional. The film is an accurate portrayal of Latinx family dynamics and is celebratory of Colombian culture. Importantly, the film addresses the issue of generational trauma and the pressure of familial expectations. I, for one, am a fan of Disney’s recent trend of using characters in magical or fantastical situations to bring awareness to very real issues that both children and adults find relatable.