Tag Archives: Netflix

The Mini-Series Netflix-Style

missjunebug and her trusty Mr.JB have discovered a couple of worthwhile films on Netflix that do not require a gazillion hour binge-watch commitment. Just a few hours over a couple of days or mini-binge them if you must!

The first is Generation War  (“Unsere Mütter, unsere Väter” Original German title), literally “Our mothers, our fathers” is a three-episode drama depicting the lives of five German friends facing a bittersweet Auf Wiedersehen in 1941 and promising each other to meet again in Berlin at Christmas when the war is over. Not so fast, meine Kinder! This is World War II missjunebug is talking about and its end was a long time coming as Generation War reveals in tragic detail.

A map of German front of the Second World War ...
A map of German front of the Second World War circa 1941-1942. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To say the way the Germans are depicted here (naïve, optimistic, and well outside the Nazi war machine at least in their heart of hearts, if not in their actions) is controversial to say the least, but it makes for some fine cinematic viewing with excellent acting and commendable film craft. Seven million Germans can’t be wrong: the number who tuned into Generation War when it was aired in Germany in March 2013. No doubt worth your tune in time, too. 

If you are in need of a House of Cards type fix, check out The Politician’s Husband for your next Netflix miniseries. This earnest , sometimes disturbing, and always entertaining look at the MPs and PMs of Britain will make you appreciate the current do-nothing Congress. The political intrigues are set within a close look at a marriage that begins solid but soon suffers from the clash of ego with desire. David Tennant and Emily Watson play the power couple who go for broke, but end up gold when they serve up revenge, a dish we all know is best served cold.  Fun times!

mjbTip: To cleanse the bad taste of The Politician’s Husband, watch one of missjunebug’s fave films of all time from the Land of Keep Calm and Carry On: The Winslow Boy. May Right Be Done! Copy that.

Welcoming Distractions

Various scalpels
Various scalpels (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So as missjunebug’s doctor once said a few years ago after viewing a pathology report that didn’t bode too well, “You have a little more work to do.”


Turns out missjunebug had a lot more work to do over the next few years, and honestly, she’s just happy to still be here, but she’s not so happy to have to go back in the hospital, that most confounding of locations to try to rest, to heal, and to get well!

So many pokes, prods, sticks, interruptions in sleep and machinery beeps! Food? Forget it. Ice chips only on the menu. Sleep? Not a chance. Vitals are checked around the clock. Blood work clocks in nice and early, too! Too bad for you, missjunebug!

But missjunebug has a plan! Thanks to wise words of Dr.O’, she knows exactly what to do: Welcome Distractions!

missjunebug will forego all those challenging book club reads (Wolf Hall–no way Thomas x 3–so confusing! The sequel?? Bringing Up the Bodies ack! No more Mantel! , Anna Karenina–catch that train later!–so depressing) and stick to the escapist fiction she craves–Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, here missjunebug comes!! Then she’ll segue straight to Netflix for a binge watch worthy of a week-long hospital sequester. Rom coms! Noir thrillers! Historical sagas! PBS Masterpiece Classics!

Eyes like buttons? Then how about a little Art Studio work on her iPad. The thrill of painting sans mess! Yeah, that’s the way to while away time transfixed. Then onto the pile of WSJ “Personal Journal” sections she’s been saving for weeks. So much fun to read to keep a finger on the pulse of the zeitgeist. Crosswords? Yes! Sudoku? Absolut! Facebook updates? What’s the latest? Stumble Upon? Certainly!

What do all these things have in common? They allow missjunebug to indulge in some pretty pointless distractions that keep her mind off the tubes (a pox upon the NG!), IVs, compression stockings, blood pressure cuffs, and thermometer readings temporarily imprisoning her like a bug in a bell jar. Oh, and the pain, too. They keep her mind off the pain. Of course, the meds help do that, too!

Indulgent distractions. No guilt.

missjunebug can be productive another time. With enough mindless distractions, she just might make it through ovarian cancer recurrence part deux.

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Carbohydrates are the Devil!

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missjunebug watched a very interesting documentary last night on her fabulous instant view Netflix account. Fathead takes on the Super-Size Me documentary and pretty much dismantles its pseudo-science as well as its anecdotal portrayal of a guy who overconsumes McDonald’s intent on proving how heinous fast food franchises are. According to the Fathead documentary that’s just a bunch of bologna! Tom Naughton’s experiment of one month of fast food contributed to a lowering of his cholesterol (the bad LDL) and bringing his weight down by over 12 pounds. His doctor couldn’t believe it and yet, there it was. The throwback to a carb inhibited, high fat, high protein diet a la Atkins made for a slimmer, healthier Tom N.

missjunebug will leave it to you to decide which camp you’re in, but her take away lesson from Fathead and the entertaining nay-sayer Tom Naughton is that fast food isn’t the problem. Run amok carb consumption is.

As the universe would have it, a day after watching this funny but cogent documentary, missjunebug tuned into Dr. Oz today where Gary Taubes was taking apart limb by limb, or should missjunebug say carb by carb, Dr. Oz’s low fat, low calorie, complex carb-based diet that is the mantra of many these days. Taube’s book Good Calories, Bad Calories embraces the theory that insulin spikes from carb consumption grow fat cells and keep people from losing weight who are sensitive to carbs. The calories in/calories out just may not explain everything after all.

So what’s a junebug to do? This must she knows for sure, the sugar’s got to go and Dr. Gott probably had it right all along with his No Sugar, No Flour Diet. She plans to err on the side of less sugar rather than more and to save those delicious French baguettes for special occasions. Or at least she can try. Meh.

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Keeping Our Distance (Technologically Speaking)

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missjunebug wonders if she and her fellow bugs are getting closer through technology or farther apart. She had the good fortune (and excellent planning, thanks, r.h.) of seeing that terrific (and slightly terrifying) gem of a film The Social Network on opening day. She was antennae deep in good buzz about the film and made the effort to catch it early instead of 3 months down the road on Netflix. She’s glad she did. Superb acting, directing, writing based on that little gem of a book The Accidental Billionaires which is worth the quick read. Enjoyment x 10. 4 out of 4 stars. Oscar worthy.

That said, missjunebug worries a bunch about too much online time for all of us, digitizing our lives instead of participating in them, texting instead of talking, facebooking ourselves into feeling lonelier and less connected (or making others feel that way), and speaking of Facebook, she worries about the “socially autistic” genius of Mark Zuckerberg. To say he is one with the glowing screen of his laptop as depicted in the film by actor Jesse Eisenberg is a substantial understatement. To say he exhibits a misguided (thanks partly to Justin Timerlake’s Sean Parker) disloyalty to his one true friend is at the center of his anti-heroic non choices. He sets himself to act in a technologically distanced default mode and leaves the rest to the lawyers.

Zuckerberg as played by Eisenberg (ZuckerEisenberg?) shares much in common with the tragic Shakespearean hero: the hubris (of genius in Mark’s case) and the ambition (for something to substitute for the Harvard Final Club he never gets into, but as he points out near the end of the film could buy and turn into whatever he wanted). The fatal error? That part is pretty easy to figure out: the cold and distanced betrayal of his one and only true friend Eduardo Saverin.

To his credit, for ZuckerEisenberg it’s never about the money. As Mr.JB has pointed out to missjunebug numerous times, money is a very short term motivator. True dat. But what may motivate ZuckerEisenberg is much, much darker than that. Or maybe he just wanted to get laid.

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