The only exciting part of March is the hope for a warm day and your potential drinking plans for St. Patrick’s Day (even though you aren’t even Irish). It’s kinda easy to hate March—it’s really just a filler month. Like, it’s not exactly spring yet, but everyone is so over winter (as if we were we ever into it). Sure, there’s March Madness, but that doesn’t even start until mid-March, and anyway, we know you’ll forget to check your bracket like, the day after you fill it out, and you only chose UCLA to win because you hooked up with a guy who went there one time.
But here’s something we can truly celebrate this March: binging all the new shows and movies on Netflix. From classic rom-coms to new seasons of our faves, there’s a lot in store for us this month on Netflix. Grab your weighted blanket, a bottle of wine, and your bag of SkinnyPop, and get ready to spend countless hours on your living room couch.
‘He’s Just Not That Into You’
Every woman is aware of the basic concept that if a man is not showing interest in you, he really, genuinely, does not have any interest in you. Seems easy in theory, but in practice, we’ve all been through the mental gymnastics that is trying to convince ourselves otherwise. I blame this disconnect on society and movies like this one, that claim to present a realistic take on how relationships actually work, when in reality, they just feed us more of the same bullsh*t like “you’re the exception, not the rule”. But whatever, still a good movie to watch on your couch with a bottle of red.
‘Life As We Know It’
This romantic comedy is the perfect lighthearted movie to watch while texting, even though the premise is slightly grim. Basically, rom-com royalty Katherine Heigl (Holly) and Josh Dumahel (Messer) are set up on a blind date by their married friends (which goes horribly). However, when their friends die in a car accident, Messer and Holly are named the guardians of their toddler and have to co-parent. Even though Messer is the stereotypical frat boy you hooked up with once in the Sig Chi basement and you wonder why he never calls, he ends up being Prince Charming, and we forget the douchey side of him even existed. Spoiler Alert: This doesn’t happen in real life.
No slumber party of any kind can ever live up to this. Four best friends on a scavenger hunt, which involves stealing a guy’s underwear, breaking into nightclubs, and—perhaps the most radical one of all, considering the girls in this movie are supposed to be in EIGHTH GRADE—hijacking one of their dads’ cars to finish all their tasks. All to secure the ever-coveted lunchroom spot next to the water fountain once they reach high school. Anyone who’s seen this movie can try and try, but your slumber “party” will always end up being you and a friend eating way too many chocolate chip cookies, crying to a rom-com, and passing out by 11pm. If you manage to replicate this movie in real life, please give me a call.
‘The Shawshank Redemption’
Without giving away too much, The Shawshank Redemption is about banker Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins), who was sentenced to life in prison after being wrongfully convicted for the murder of his wife and her lover. While in prison, he befriends Red (Morgan Freeman), who teaches him about life and prison. Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins? Like are you kidding me? It cannot get better. If you haven’t seen it, make sure you have nothing planned besides the movie for the day. You will need 24 hours to absorb it all.
This is one of those movies that follows like a million different storylines, and they’re all sort of connected at the end and your mind is blown. Valentine’s Day compiles the stories of a bunch of different couples and how they celebrate the day, from planning a proposal to planning to lose their virginity to planning an “I Hate Valentine’s Day” party. Mark me as attending for that one. Okay, so I love this movie, mostly because every beautiful person at the end of the 2000s is in it, and also Taylor Swift for some reason.
Anything directed by Seth Rogen is bound to be hysterical, so you def won’t be disappointed watching this. The Interview is about two guys who run a celebrity tabloid show—and the show’s biggest fan is North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un. The CIA hears of their plans to travel to North Korea to interview him, and recruits the two to assassinate him instead. Remember when real-life Kim Jong-Un was pissed about this movie? Lol, good times.
‘Ghosts of Girlfriends Past’
Serial womanizer Connor Mead (Matthew McConaughey) attends his brother’s wedding and basically convinces his brother not to get married. But after he is visited by his dead uncle, who tells him that he is wrong about women and relationships, Connor has a transformation and has to save the wedding. Not before he is haunted by all his ex-girlfriends, who come to teach him a lesson, of course. Wow, that’s literally like my dream. *Presses play*
‘Ugly Delicious’: Season 2
Chef David Chang (who runs the Momofuku restaurants) travels around the world tasting the best, but maybe not best-looking, food from different cultures and explores how it evolves. Think cooking show-meets-history-meets-mouthwatering meals. Chang usually brings some celebrities along with him, and season 2 features some of my faves, Nick Kroll and Padma Lakshmi. Make sure you have your delivery ready before diving in.
‘On My Block’: Season 3
It might be just another show navigating the horrors of high school, but On My Block is one of our faves for its diverse cast and its ability to make us laugh and cry in the same episode. And it’s back for season 3. If you’re into teen drama and danger, get started catching up before starting season 3. If you’ve already binged, then I know you’re just as excited as I am to find out who kidnapped Jamal, Ruby, Cesar, and Monse in the literal last second of season 2. I have been on the edge of my seat for an entire year.
‘Elite’: Season 3
Guess what? Another teen drama series. Elite is like the Gossip Girl of Madrid, Spain, and it is just as scandalous and unbelievable. High schoolers wear cute uniforms and designer dresses to parties and clubs, which they attend on weekdays like it’s NBD. There’s a murder. A pregnancy scandal. Drug dealers. Steamy hookups. Elite has it all. If you want to brush up on your high school Spanish, this is the one for you (and you will learn all the slang, too). Even if you don’t know Spanish, there are subtitles, and I promise you will be obsessed.
‘Greenhouse Academy’: Season 4
After their mother dies in an astronaut accident (as one does), siblings Alex and Hayley Woods enroll at a private boarding school for gifted future leaders. The siblings become rivals when they join two competing houses at the school, which gives me major Harry Potter vibes. However, when they discover a plot to destroy the world, the two houses have to work together. Let’s not forget that these heroes still have to deal with the trials and tribulations of high school. What could go wrong?
‘Ozark’: Season 3
Jason Bateman (Martin “Marty” Byrde) stars in this crime series, which begins when Marty has to move his family from the suburbs in Chicago to the Ozarks in Missouri in order to grow his money-laundering scheme, but soon gets involved with local crime groups there. Ok, yes please. This is everything you’re looking for in a suspenseful show. The show is fiction, but I know all you true crime fans will be all for this. I’m sure the third season will include just as many deaths and shady characters as the first two, and I’m already binging.
‘Self-Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker’
This new series is about to be epic. Self-Made is based on the novel On Her Own Ground, by A’Lelia Bundles, and tells the story of Madam C. J. Walker. She rose from poverty to become the first American woman to be a self-made millionaire by creating specialized hair products for African American hair care. This is the perfect watch during Women’s History Month, and I can’t wait to watch Octavia Spencer kill this role.
Now, here comes the sad part. Here are the movies and shows leaving Netflix this month: The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers , P.S. I Love You ,The Dark Knight, New York Minute, Hairspray, Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, Charlie’s Angels, A Wrinkle in Time, Eat Pray Love, Men in Black, Men in Black 2, and Black Panther (which is now on Disney+). Sad!
Images: GIPHY (12); Tumblr (1)
Heads up: this article contains a fair number of spoilers, so if you’re really committed to watching Noah Centineo make out with every 19-year-old C-list actress, be warned.
If you follow me on any social media, you probably know I have finally returned home from studying abroad. That means I’ll be spending the next few weeks hate-watching my friends’ tropical vacation stories and cheesy Netflix rom-coms.
Full disclosure, I love a good (and by good, I mean really bad) rom-com. There are few things I find more entertaining than watching Mila Kunis act “emotionally unavailable.” Not to brag, but I, too, have been called emotionally unavailable, which means my best efforts to do her proud are paying off. However, as Netflix continues to churn out sh*tty rom-coms faster than FashionNova makes knock-offs of what the Kardashians wear, it’s important to ask ourselves if these movies are doing more harm than good to the target audience—namely, young girls. Generally, rom-coms tend to take behavior that is questionable at best and make it into this romanticized, melodramatic story that is totally irresistible. After watching SEVEN Netflix originals and three classic rom-coms, I have produced a list of the top four unhealthy behaviors these movies promote.
Treating People Like Second Choices
This behavior seems to be a staple in Noah Centineo movies. Seriously, the only real differences between To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and The Perfect Date are that Centineo is way hotter in the first and a PG-13 escort in the second. It’s like Noah Centineo is the Little Mermaid, and instead of trading his voice with Netflix in return for legs, he gave up his good looks for a multi-picture Netflix deal. Anyway, I digress.
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No one should get in a relationship with someone who treats them like a second choice, which is extremely common in rom-coms, specifically in Netflix’s newer films. In To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, Centineo’s character Peter Kavinsky pretends to date Lara Jean, but only because he wants to get his ex back. Surprise, surprise, he ends up falling for Lara Jean, even though it seems pretty clear that it never would have happened if his ex took him back in the first place. In The Perfect Date, he basically asks the girl that likes him, Celia, to fake-break up with him in public, complete with personal attacks and all, so that he can get the girl he thinks he wants, as if that wouldn’t leave serious emotional damage. However, Netflix wraps this behavior up pretty neatly, with the two main characters declaring their love for each other on the school’s lacrosse field or a sub shop as if suddenly, all is well.
Call me cynical, but if it was me, it would be pretty f*cking sus if some guy spontaneously stopped being in love with his ex-girlfriend and claimed that he was all in for me. I don’t buy it when I see that happen in real life, and I’m sure as hell not buying it from a cheesy Netflix movie.
If you haven’t seen the movie After, stop everything and watch it. Immediately. Not sure if it falls into the rom-com category, but it was, by far, the most absurd thing I have ever seen. Honestly, it was a train wreck I couldn’t look away from. The movie delves into a lot of problematic behaviors, but one I want to address upfront is cheating.
Our protagonist, Tessa, is a sweet, studious girl entering her freshman year in college and keeping her high school boyfriend. But, like, all it takes is one glance at a ~mysterious~ hot guy at a frat party and gone are all her morals. Okay, Tessa, we’ve all been there, but just do the right thing and break up with your guy from high school first. And for Christ’s sake, do NOT go hook up with your new man while your boyfriend is visiting! Yes, Hardin (aforementioned mysterious hot guy) also has all sorts of problematic qualities, which I will address later on, but right now I am just focused on Tessa’s cheating and how the movie makes us think it’s okay because she’s just super passionate.
Whether or not you believe “once a cheater, always a cheater,” it should give you pause if someone cheats on their significant other with you and then wants to have a relationship. First of all, wtf ever happened to the rebound period? Second of all, how do you even set boundaries on appropriate behavior with this person? The whole foundation of your relationship is based on them being a cheater so… good luck with that.
Cheating is literally never okay. It isn’t any less awful because you have feelings for the person you did it with (or, in the case of After, want to have a few super-hot, hate-fueled make-out sessions with).
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I don’t think this should have to be said, but I guess it’s necessary. Sierra Burgess is a Loser might actually be one of the best movies Netflix has ever made (don’t @ me, I said what I said). Nevertheless, the premise of the film is still pretty questionable. In the movie, Sierra Burgess catfishes Jamey, played by none other than Netflix’s resident generically hot guy Noah Centineo, texting him under the guise that she is a hot cheerleader named Veronica (who, conveniently, attends a rival high school, and, of course, is Sierra’s bully). Sierra and Jamey text regularly, and while there’s something to be said for falling for someone’s personality and not their looks, she still catfished him. To make matters worse, Sierra goes so far as to befriend the real Veronica so that she can keep up the act when Jamey inevitably asks to FaceTime.
Naturally, Jamey kisses the real Veronica when he sees her for the first time at a football game. Sierra assumes Veronica is still bullying her by kissing Jamey, whom she is now in love with, and publicly humiliates her during halftime. Uh, no, Sierra, Jamey literally has no idea who you are BECAUSE YOU NEVER TOLD HIM!!! How much easier your life could have been if you had told the truth from the beginning.
These huge lies are the foundation for the plot in so many romcoms, from How to Lose A Guy in Ten Days to Sierra Burgess is a Loser. But obviously—and again, I can’t believe this is something that even needs to be said—this behavior is unacceptable in real life. There’s a reason most of the relationships on Catfish don’t work out, and it’s because (among other things) people generally don’t like being lied to.
Listen, I’m not totally against some innocuous game playing, especially where f*ckboys are concerned. However, when the games become the whole relationship or when the other person isn’t into it, sh*t starts to get messy. And not in a fun Real Housewives way.
Back to my new favorite movie to hate on, After. The whole reason the male lead, Hardin, even talks to Tessa (and makes her cheat on her boyfriend) is because he bet his friends he could have sex with her and make her fall in love with him, and also he wants to make another girl jealous. She consequently loses her virginity to him, and
in the book One Direction fan fiction version of the movie, he SHOWS HIS FRIENDS THE SHEETS. It’s all just f*cked up on so many levels.
Hard pass on using a person to make someone else jealous without their knowledge, using a person to win a misogynistic bet, and an even harder pass on making a person fall in love with you under false pretenses. However, when alllll of this ludicrous behavior is reconciled with a half-assed apology and a hot kiss in the rain, it’s easy to forget just how toxic the behavior is.
Just because I can recognize these behaviors does not mean I’m not above falling victim to the negative messages these movies send. When I was a 16-year-old, nothing was more romantic to me than Chuck and Blair’s passionate relationship, which I now realize was toxic as hell. Despite what teen movies and shows will tell you, in reality it’s super unlikely that a f*ckboy will change his ways, and constant screaming and fighting is not the same as passion in a relationship.
And, really, I’m not trying to ruin the fun of rom-coms, mainly because I’ll be spending the next few weeks of my life binging them. But, before you start thinking that if Lara Jean and Peter could make it work, maybe your douchebag booty call will finally step up, it’s important to face the facts.
When we watch movies that romanticize cheating, manipulation, and borderline emotional abuse, we are teaching people that it’s romantic and okay. Because of these movies, instead of seeing the guy that hooked up with another girl while you were supposed to be exclusive as the douchebag he is, we start thinking he needs to (and can) be fixed. And then, of course, we start dreaming of the future relationship we might have with him once we fix him, and at the very least, end up disappointed.
Listen, not every movie can be He’s Just Not That into You (which, despite the name, does not present the healthiest relationship dynamics). But in 2020, I’m kind of thinking we can do better to provide young girls with positive examples of healthy relationships.
Images: Bettina Strauss / Netflix; aftermovie, sierraburgessisaloserig, toalltheboysnetflix / Instagram