"Netflix has big shoes to fill, it’s the number one streaming service with over 158 million subscribers as of 2019. During Christmas these numbers might as well double, so I’ve decided to review a couple of Netflix originals so you don’t have to."
-- Lola christ, 6th grade
The month of celebration has finally come, and whether it’s Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or Christmas that you celebrate, the shows you watch during this time are kind of important. They set up family gatherings, they change the mood and they make the party a whole lot more interesting. Netflix has big shoes to fill, it’s the number one streaming service with over 158 million subscribers as of 2019. During Christmas these numbers might as well double, so I’ve decided to review a couple of Netflix originals so you don’t have to.
The first show I decided to review was Klaus, an animated movie where a postman proves himself to be the absolute worst in his academy and is sent on a trip to a frozen town in the north. There he discovers a mysterious man whose walls are filled with presents?
Rotten Tomatoes- 92% Tomatometer
This show was probably my favorite to review, the animation is honestly amazing, and what better way to sum up an extremely popular folk tale handed down through the years. Its ending is like a new beginning in many ways. The only two critiques I have for this movie were the overused phrases such as; “A simple act of kindness always sparks another.” and the ongoing joke that the postman is a chatterbox. Yes, that’s the point. The postman is extremely talkative and annoying and that’s the joke. Maybe it was funny the first time? But by the third time, I’m over it. There are moments like when something goes wrong and you need that chatter, but otherwise just leave. It. Alone.
The second show I watched was Nailed it: Holiday. This is a holiday version of the popular Netflix original baking show, where inexperienced bakers face of attempting to recreate extremely well made pastries. Judges Nicole Byer, Jacques Torres and an additional guest will decide who did the best in there attempts each round. The winner of the first receives a golden hat and a few small gifts, however the second round is usually a lot harder, whoever did worst last round will most likely get some extra help in the form of an additional buzzer on their table. Finally whoever wins will get the $10,000 prize and an odd trophy to display.
Rotten Tomatoes Review- 50% Tomatometer
(a general review of both holiday seasons)
Although the show is hilarious and fun to watch, there are a few things I have a problem with—mainly that it feels a little overdone. To its credit though, the show tends to be diverse in its contestants and the food they recreate.There's an episode titled “Shalo-many Fails!” where Jewish contestants come on the show to bake a Hanukkah-themed Menorah and although it seems this is an amazing representation of different celebrations and diversity, the little knowledge the judges had of this holiday made me sad. They clearly knew some important information and I’m glad they made a valiant effort, but the episode felt very, very, scripted. All in all, it was fun and I’m glad they thought of having an episode that wasn’t Christmas themed. I’m glad they acknowledged the little information they knew with a guest judge; Ron Ben-Israel who knew a lot more. It was an episode I personally enjoyed learning from although I wish it was less obvious that this all came from a dictionary, and more of a wholehearted explanation of the Jewish tradition.
Another big critique of the Nailed It: Holiday spin-off is that it feels like a lot of the creations are way too hard to make. I understand their goal is to make the contestants feel embarrassed and look bad but even a good baker couldn’t make a spinning Scrooge head, the little time provided makes this even worse.
Otherwise, this show is super fun to watch during the holiday season, as well as being entertaining, it’s super educational for aspiring bakers. It might make you yell at the TV when one person skips a step or does something wrong, but personally, I’ll be watching it again with my family.
The third show I ended up watching was Let It Snow. On Christmas Eve a snowstorm hits a small town, causing a group of highschool students to come together. They find their personal problems intertwining and nothing will be the same afterwards.
Rotten Tomatoes- 83% Tomatometer
The following review is riddled with a couple of spoilers; most of which aren’t a big deal but if for some reason you actually want to watch this in your free time just skip over it.
Let me start by saying that this movie, although a kind of classic, was extremely hard to watch. The characters dwell on small things for way longer than they need to, conflicts develop out of nowhere, they are meeting each other in the first scenes we meet them which make things so confusing. They tell us little things about them before the bigger, more important things, and there are an extreme amount of coincidences—so many, in fact, if it isn’t a running joke I’m seriously concerned. They sum these up with a good “the universe has its ways” line. While simultaneously being extremely annoyed by this laid back clearly unnecessary character I have taken this quote from I also love him. Honestly, that’s what I get for watching this show.
The level of awkwardness in any scene with any level of romance is so unrealistic and horrifyingly annoying. They are trying to balance realistic and relatable, and it just missed the mark. Especially during moments where the character Tobin is clearly pawning for another character named Angie. It wouldn’t be so bad, except of just how much they push the whole “awkward kid that’s liked the girl for so long and she clearly doesn’t.” It hurts me to watch the many scenes of him running after her, especially after how forced the whole relationship feels towards the end.
Besides that, characters such as Stuart Bale (who is apparently an extremely famous singer/musician) and Julie (just a normal girl who doesn’t care about his fame) meet (again, the first time we meet them) and within less than thirty minutes of film Julie tells him practically her whole life story. It’s as if they are trying to shorten the run time, making the movie worse in the process. Now because of it I barely know anything about Julie that isn’t related to Stuart, at least anything she didn’t tell him within the first thirty minutes.
One of our main teens is heartbroken and just wants to get home hitching a ride with a complete stranger, who they themselves admits how stupid it was of her to get in the car. Then, again, within ten minutes she tells the truck driver to much information. It is painful to watch these things, it really is.
I know it’s a romcom, I understand that they have a certain amount of time for these teens to fall in love on Christmas, but jesus you guys met maybe an hour ago chill out.
Finally the LGBTQIA+ representation felt nice, but the fact that the characters were in such a bad situation was heartbreaking to see.
If I had to fully describe my opinion on this movie and how I felt during it in one sentence, it would be; I was mentally and physically exhausted by all of every minute of this movie, the level of awkwardness felt like everyone in the room peed their pants except me and I had to watch them try to explain themselves. Oh, and I guess it’s Christmas eve and snowing.This is just what I get for watching a Christmas romcom.
Finally there are a few critiques I have for Netflix’s selection of holiday shows, honestly, almost all of them have a plot relying on romance. I understand that it is a demand and fairly popular type of Christmas show but personally and I believe a lot of people share this opinion, I don’t really want to see two teens have a forced relationship on Christmas. I want to see a show like Home Alone, where it’s action packed, adventures and relatable while still containing the factors that make a Christmas movie a Christmas movie. Yes Home Alone might not be too relatable, but it’s still something that happens on Christmas; not the traps part and the genius kid but the robbers tempted by the extravagant decorations. One example of a show that perfectly balances romance and adventure is; Adventures In Babysitting (1987)! I understand this isn’t too much of a Christmas movie but it’s one I’ve watched on Christmas almost every year. Again; action filled, somewhat relatable but exaggerated to a point and childish characters that brighten the mood.
These are the kind of shows I wish Netflix did, it would make everything a lot more fun and joyful. The widespread options would really make my already undying love for the platforms Christmas array even stronger.