Jewish Matchmaking Review

When we think of matchmaking in our modern world, we think of couples who are forced by their families to marry due to a similar economic status or place in the social strata.

The new Netflix reality dating show Jewish Matchmaking is a spinoff of Indian Matchmaking. The series follows matchmaker Aleeza Ben Shalom as she works with Jewish singles in both the United States and Israel to find their person. As with dating (both IRL and in the world of reality television), not every date leads to a happy ending. There will be a few frogs along the way before the prince or princess comes (if they come at all).

I enjoyed the series. It was not as brain numbing as other programs of this nature. I appreciated that it is as educational as it is entertaining. The men and women who are the focus of the series come represent a range of backgrounds and levels of religious practice.

My only issue is the lack of LGBTQ singles. As great as this show is, this is the one area that I find to be lacking and hope will be recitified in season 2 (if there is a second season).

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Jewish Matchmaking is avaliable for streaming on Netflix.

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Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story Review

When it comes to history, there are two kinds of stories. The first is a staid and boring set of facts that are straight out of an academic textbook. The second brings the past to life in a way that engages and excites the audience.

Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story was released last weekend on Netflix. This prequel to Bridgerton takes place in two different timelines. In the present, Queen Charlotte (Golda Rosheuvel) is dealing with a crisis on two fronts. Her only legitimate grandchild and heir, Princess Caroline of Wales, has died in childbirth, taking her newborn with her. With all of her other grandchildren born outside of the bonds of wedlock, it looks as if the line will die with this generation.

The narrative then flashes back to the past and a 17-year-old Charlotte (India Amarteifio). She is about to marry George III of England (Corey Mylechreest), a man who she has never met. It appears that their marriage has the external trappings of a fairy tale. But not everything is as wonderful as it seems.

Her only confidant is Lady Danbury (played by Arsema Thomas as a young woman and Adjoa Adoh as an older woman).

I binged watched the series last weekend. It is so good. It gives the audience the opportunity to know Charlotte as a human being, not just as Queen who is always surrounded by her courtiers.

My favorite aspects of the program are the female gaze of the camera and it’s humane approach to mental illness. Being that May is Mental Health Awareness Month, I appreciate the efforts of the screenwriters. George’s mental health problems are treated with respect and understanding which is still sadly lacking.

My only problem was that Violet Bridgerton‘s (played by Connie Jenkins-Greig as a girl and Ruth Gemmell as an adult) is an afterthought. I understand that she is the youngest of matriarchs in this world. But it would have been nice to see a little more of her.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story is currently streaming on Netflix.

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Obsession Series Review

In a perfect world, we would never stray from our spouse/significant other. But cheating on one’s partner is as old as humanity itself.

The six-part Netflix series Obsession follows successful surgeon and happily married husband William Farrow (Richard Armitage). He has two children with his wife Ingrid (Indira Varma). Their son, Jay (Rish Shah) is seeing Anna Barton (Charlie Murphy). Neither Ingrid nor Jay knows that Anna and William are having an affair.

I was waiting for the Fatal Attraction-esque anxiety to kick in. But there was none and for that reason alone, I had to stop watching. While I appreciate the top-notch cast and the diversity of the characters, those qualities were not enough to make me want more.

Do I recommend it? No.

Obsession is currently streaming on Netflix.

Transatlantic Review

Heroes don’t always wear capes and are not paragons of perfection. They are usually human and as flawed as the rest of us.

The new limited Netflix series, Transatlantic, is the story of a multi-national resistance against the Nazis. Based on a true story, the series follows a series of individuals in Marseille who try to save as many lives as possible.

Mary Jayne Gold (Gillian Jacobs) is an heiress who is putting her money and status to good use. Varian Fry (Cory Michael Smith) is a journalist who is doing all he can to get as many out of Europe as he can. Albert O. Hirschmann (Lucas Englander) is a freedom fighter who is helping to get his fellow Jews to freedom.

The first thing that struck me was that despite the danger and the darkness, there were still signs of life. There was joy, love, and triumph over evil.

What was interesting was the previously overlooked heroism of the darker-hued French citizens who also stepped up to the plate. It added another layer to a narrative that, unfortunately, still needs to be told today. Though some have questioned why the creators played with the known facts, I don’t mind the changes. They just make the series richer, more compelling, and more relevant in 2023.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Transatlantic is available for streaming on Netflix.

Thoughts On the Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story Trailer

When we think of Kings and Queens, we think of fairy tales and happy endings. The truth is that under the finery and the fancy titles are complications based on tradition and rules.

The trailer to the Bridgerton prequel, Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story was released earlier this week. The series takes the viewer back to the early years of Queen Charlotte‘s (Golda Rosheuvel) marriage to King George III (James Fleet).

Chosen sight unseen to marry the then-22-year-old King (Corey Mylchreest), 17-year-old Charlotte (India Amarteifio), she is initially resistant to the match. Though it appears that their marriage is based on love, there are a few obstacles that stand in the way of that happiness.

I am looking forward to the series. Queen Charlotte, though an important character in the world of Bridgerton, is peripheral to the original narrative. Given her place in history, I am curious to see where the story will go.

Am I looking forward to it? Absolutely.

Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton story will be released on Netflix on May 4th.

MH370: The Plane That Disappeared Documentary Review

Traveling via plane is a safe way to get to a faraway destination. But then there are accidents every once in a while that catches the attention and imagination of the world.

In March 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 (also known as MH370) took off from the airport in Kuala Lumpur. The final destination was Beijing. The plane never arrived at its final destination. For nine years, the questions about what happened to the plane and the 239 souls aboard have yet to be answered.

The new three-part Netflix documentary MH370: The Plane That Disappeared follows the existing breadcrumbs to try to understand exactly what happened. Interviewing family members, experts, journalists, and others leads the viewer down the path of various theories.

What got me was the emotion of the story and the heartbreaking tales from the family members who have yet to have a concrete explanation. Unlike Lost or Manifest, this is not fiction. These are real people who are hurting and desperately craving peace of mind.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

MH370: The Plane That Disappeared is available for streaming on Netflix.

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Viola Davis Should Have Been Nominated for an Oscar for The Woman King

I’d like to believe that this world is slowly becoming a better place. Those who were discriminated against and put down are finally been given the opportunities that should have been theirs all along.

The Woman King was released last year to critical acclaim and across-the-board audience approval. Viola Davis gave a powerhouse performance and director Gina Prince-Bythewood helped to create a narrative that knew no boundaries. And yet, both were passed over for this year’s Oscars.

The Woman King is pure Oscar bait. It’s based on a true historical event, its lead actress is at the top of her game, and the story is universal. The only reason why Davis and Prince-Bythewood were locked out has nothing to do with their work on the film. It has everything to do with their skin color and gender identity. I find it to be ironic that a movie that fights against stereotypes is denied its due because of stereotyping.

I guess Hollywood is not as liberal or progressive as it claims to be. But I knew that, as does anyone with eyes and a decent amount of intelligence.

P.S. If you haven’t seen it, I recommend that you do. It is currently playing on Netflix.

Throwback Thursday: Somebody Feed Phil (2018 to Present)

The best way to learn about a specific culture is via the food they serve. It speaks to their history, how they prepare the meals, the availability of the ingredients, etc.

Somebody Feel Phil has been on Netflix since 2018. This travel documentary follows Everybody Loves Raymond co-creator Phil Rosenthal as he travels the world. In each location, he learns about the history, shines and a spotlight on charities/non-profits while chowing down on the region’s cuisine.

This series is so interesting. Instead of being just a long and boring list of facts, it is so much fun to watch. Rosenthal brings each city he visits to life in a way that is unexpected and wonderful. In addition, some of the dishes he eats sound delicious.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Somebody Feel Phil is available for streaming on Netflix.

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Your Place or Mine Movie Review

*The image below is not mine. I am borrowing it. It can be found at

The best romances often start as platonic friendships. The complication comes in when that relationship becomes more than friends.

In the new Netflix romantic comedy, Your Place or Mine, Debbie (Reese Witherspoon) and Peter (Ashton Kutcher) have been besties for twenty years. Debbie is divorced, a single mother, and lives in Los Angeles. Peter is single and lives in New York City.

For one week, they switch lives. Peter travels to LA to take care of Debbie’s son. Debbie flies to New York to fulfill her educational dream. While temporarily living in each other’s houses, they discover new things about the other person. They also realize that they are in love with one another.

I loved this movie. It is romantic, funny, charming, and the perfect way to relax after a long week. The lead actors have fantastic chemistry and the narrative is pitch-perfect. The cherry on top is that the portrayal of NYC is the way it’s supposed to be. The chaos, the beauty, the people, it’s all there.

My favorite scene is the one in which Debbie has arrived in the city and is walking to Peter’s apartment. He tells her to stop. She is in DUMBO and is standing in front of the bridge. Her mouth drops at the sight. It is one of my favorite places in Brooklyn. Every time I see the bridge framed by the building, my heart stops. No matter how many times I see it, I am awed by its beauty.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Your Place or Mine is available for streaming on Netflix.

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You People Movie Review

These days, interracial and interreligious marriage is (mostly) accepted. That does not mean, however, that the families of the engaged couples are welcoming of their child’s future spouse.

The new Netflix movie, You People, is the love story of Ezra (Jonah Hill) and Amira (Lauren London). The perceived problem is that Ezra comes from an Ashkenazi Jewish family and Amira comes from a black Muslim family. It is essentially a cinematic love child of Meet the Parents (2000) and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967).

As expected, the clash itself does not come from the couple. Ezra’s parents, Shelley (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and Arnold (David Duchovny) are liberal, white, and tone-deaf. Amira’s parents, Akbar (Eddie Murphy) and Fatima (Nia Long) are trying to understand why their daughter has chosen to marry outside of her faith and culture.

While Ezra and Amira are doing their best to keep their love alive, outside forces may tear them apart.

Co-written by Hill and Kenya Barris, the movie tries to address the cultural and religious issues that come between the characters. Instead of bringing these questions to the forefront in a way that makes the audience laugh and think at the same time, it falls flat on its face.

The worst aspect of the film is that anti-Semitic stereotypes are thrown around like a football. The most offensive of these is the adulation of Louis Farrakhan and the spreading of the lie (which has been proven to be false) that Jews dominated the Atlantic Slave Trade. As an MOT (member of the tribe), I am offended and disappointed that Hill took the easy way out. It’s one thing that if the story would have been entirely written someone who was not Jewish, that would have been an objectionable act by itself. But the fact that Hill is Jewish makes it ten times worse.

The shameful aspect is the misuse of the comedic leads, Murphy and Louis-Dreyfus. These two performers by themselves are legendary in their own right. And yet, they are relegated to tropes that are 2D and stilted.

Do I recommend it? No. I don’t say this very often, but You People is one of the worst films that I have ever seen.

You People is currently streaming on Netflix.

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