Netflix recommendations- Pepsi, Where’s My Jet

And Pepsi, where did my life go!?

As enjoyable a watch as ‘Pepsi, where’s my jet?’ was, however watching it just reminded me how we’re all just getting old. Boo!

When you hear of references to the 1940s and the Second World War, of course your mind associates those times with ancient history (at least to us Gen Ys). As we’re talking about grainy black & white footage here and the age before talking film!

And the 60-70s is also a long-time ago, as we’re talking about TV sitcoms with the wash-out colours.

And the 80s, that was old-school long time ago, as we’re talking about a time period when we were literal babies and people had big hairstyles, chunky sneakers, and large plastic accessories. A weird time, but you could call that modern history for us.

But the 90s, we’re talking about mid to late 90s here. That was just yesterday! Wasn’t it?  We’re talking about The Matrix and the birth of modern cinematic movies. We’re talking about PlayStation and overall, pretty modern tech here! And low and behold that was over 25 years ago! What the! How time flies!

And that’s the time period that we’re talking about in ‘Pepsi, where’s my jet’- where Netflix transports you back in time via this documentary series (4 episodes) capturing (and dramatizing) the legal case of a 21 year old University student who attempted to out-smart Pepsi by collecting (and purchasing) 7 million Pepsi points, so he could purchase the Harrier Jet as featured in the Pepsi Points commercials. At the time I was unaware of the goings on of this, as I was only 14 years old then (in Australia), and  this was before the days of affordable and accessible Internet. But for those who could remember the legal case, it would have been such a ‘O-yeah’ moment when reminded of it and appreciate the deep dive into a case which probably attracted some prominence and media coverage at the time, but probably also soon fizzed out  (like Pepsi left out at room temp for 2 hours), so perhaps many hadn’t followed the court case to its eventual ruling and conclusion. So, this series follows the case, how it unfolded, and the aftermath for its main players.

But for me who wasn’t aware of this court case, it was interesting enough to learn of this story for the first time. And Hats off to Netflix for turning the documentary into a docuseries, as 5 years ago Netflix would have presented this as a ‘struggle-to-get-through’ 90 minute documentary- but splicing it up into 4 30 minute episodes, made it a lot more binge worthy and a more compelling watch!

However, throughout the experience, it kept reminding me how old we’ve all become. All the original characters in the story were so young then but are so old now. John Leonard (the 21 year old Business student), he’s now middle aged and a family man. Todd Hoffman, the financial backer was a grown man then, but now he’s an elderly man. And Cindy Crawford, the face of Pepsi and the pinup girl for so many teenage boys in the 90s (yes, even I had a poster of her in my bedroom), even Cindy is now nudging 60 years old! Can you believe that!? It’s all pretty depressing actually.

But if you want to feel reminiscent about your youth, and don’t mind then staring into the abyss wondering where has your life gone? Then check out ‘Pepsi, where’s my jet?’, search for it in your Netflix app. It’s both fascinating and eye-brow raising at the same time. Let’s just say, ‘only in America’.

Netflix recommendations- Drink Masters

Alcoholics beware!

I always think to myself, what would they think of next!? The “They”, being Netflix, as they’ve tried pretty much everything in a competition style format, and I guess Cocktails and Mixologists were the next frontier!?

For those who have noticed ‘Drink Masters’ appear on their Netflix app but haven’t had the chance to watch it yet, it’s another Reality TV competition show ( like ‘Master Chef’ and other cooking competitions), where contestants are placed into high-pressure situations to be creative and to deliver. However, set aside the poultry and carving knives, and crack-out the cocktail shakers, the distiller, and Martini glasses, as this competition is all about the DRINK! From around the world, 12 of the most talented and creative Mixologists have been assembled to showcase their wares, and for one deserving winner they’ll take home $100K large! And here are my 6 big take-aways from the show:

One. Labour intensive

Holy cow! Who knew having 2 hours to prepare a single drink is almost not enough time!? The effort it took to create a single drink was just as labour intensive as cooking a highly involved meal!? I have to admit I have a greater appreciation for the guys and gals behind the bars now and have a slightly better tolerance/understanding  of the priciness of cocktails.

Two. Progressiveness

I have to admit I don’t usually partake in cocktails as I’m a simple man. But to see all the different techniques exhibited in the show, I’m utterly blown away in how creative and progressive modern bar tending/Mixology has become! Gone are the days of just mixing a few different spirits and serving it up with a wedge of lime!

Three. The cool factor

Have to admit, all of the 12 contestants (bar 1) were pretty cool catz- funky hairstyles/colours, arms covered in tattoos, and various piercings seemed like the standard look of the modern bar tender. Very cool, very cool!

Four. Terms like dry and wet

I’ve always wondered what people meant when they smacked their lips after taking a sip of wine and described it to be dry. But this question has been answered on Drink Masters! A dry alcoholic drink is a wine/spirit/cocktail which is less sweet, and wet implies that a certain ingredient has been applied more liberally than it is normally known for. *Nods sagely*.

Five. My wife is a closet alcoholic

Haaha, I’m just kidding. But Drink Masters has peaked my wife’s interest in alcoholic beverages (prior to this she hardly drinks). I’d say a visit to the ‘Smoking Panda’ may be on the cards for 2023! Woohoo!

Six. Tone Bell, where have you been all my life!?

And finally, how great is Tone Bell! Recently I’ve been uber impressed by Netflix’s casting decisions, as they’ve hit home-runs with all of their show Hosts! And Tone Bell is no exception. Funny, in a Suttle understated way. Smooth and cool when he interacts with the show’s judges and contestants. And his delivery was always spot on, no awkward moments here! So, standing ovation for Tone Bell!

But the one thing which I didn’t particularly like about the show, was the announcement of the winner. And I’ve found this to be the case in most of Netflix’s competition shows. They (they, being Netflix), really don’t know how to nail a suspenseful reveal! Perhaps it’s the lack of advert breaks to draw out the moment, or the fact that they can’t end the final episode on a cliff-hanger (which they’re great with mid-season), but I just find the big reveals to be a bit anticlimactic. That leaves me thinking…. “Really! That’s it? After 10 episodes, you finish on that note?”

But aside from that, Drink Masters was a whole lot of fun, and I hope this helps to bring people back out to their local bars and clubs post-Covid, as God knows how the hospitality industry needs this reinvigoration at this point in time! Add Drink Masters to the mix in your watch list, it’s definitely worth your time!

Netflix recommendations- The Mole (reboot)

It had us asking all week long, who is the mole!?

I’m thinking this might have been the best show we’ve streamed in 2022! It had us guessing right to the very end, ‘who is the mole’! It had us looking forward to each night when we sat down to consume the next episode! And we honestly felt a little bit empty inside, when the 10 episode season eventually came to an end, and we had to look for something else to fill in the void which the mole had left behind. *Sad look*. So, for those reasons alone, I’m saying it had to be the best thing we’d watched, 10 months into 2022!

For those who haven’t watched ‘The Mole’ before, it is a reboot of a previously airing  reality TV series from the early 2000s, where a bunch of contestants (around 8) aim to complete a series of both physical and mental challenges with the aims to win the prize pot some cash (some pretty large sums of cash). While all along in their midst, is a “Mole”, a saboteur who is working for the show to actively lose the team money. Moohaaha! And the sabotage can occur discretely or not so discretely- which makes it super funny. The dodgy-ness can come in the form of acting incompetent, purposefully withholding information to the detriment of the team, or taking bold and obvious actions of sabotage as an attempt to double-bluff the players.

And at the end of each episode, the contestants take a quiz where they answer questions related to the mole. And the individual who scores the lowest is kicked-off the show, until there is only One!

And to make the show that much more intriguing and difficult for the players, the players themselves are purposefully acting “mole-like”, to turn suspicion onto themselves in hopes that others answer their quizzes with them in mind- thus answering quiz questions incorrectly and bombing out of the game! It’s back-stabbing on-top of back-stabbing.

And all the while, we as the audience are guessing, “who is the mole?” As in the end, they all behave a little bit suspicious and Mole-like. For example, is this person trying super hard, because their trying their best to not look like the mole to deflect suspicion? Or is this person acting incompetent because they’re  the mole, or are they really as clueless as they seem? And in the end, in the final 3, I thought it could have been either one of two, so they were fooling me right to the end! So, it was a super fun and engaging show. So, you got to check it out! Really worth the watch!

Particular highlights of this season was the fact that it was filmed in Australia! Shout-out to my home country!

And also, a big call-out to the show’s host Alex Wagner! Most times game show hosts annoy me somewhat, either they bring too much energy and it’s a bit too in your face. Or they don’t bring enough energy, and the show feels flat and impacts on our enjoyment. But Alex was the perfect combination of both! And I thought she really added to the show and how I enjoyed the whole experience.

Again, if you haven’t already, check it out! Just search for ‘The Mole’ on your Netflix app! I guarantee you’ll be entertained and left guessing right to the very end!

Netflix recommendations- Buy My House (season 1

What did we learn from ‘Buy My House’?

I’d explain it as Shark Tank meets Selling Sunset. And that is no exaggeration, as a panel of 4 property investors listen to a pitch presented by the homeowner, before the panel put forward their bids to own that piece of property!

We enjoyed it as who doesn’t like a sneaky beak into someone else’s home! And who doesn’t like to see the true value placed on bricks and mortar. So, in 6 half hour episodes a handful of sellers find out whether or not they’ll be walking away with a cash deal for their home, or be served with a cold harsh reality check, that their home perhaps isn’t worth as much as they imagined it to be. A famous Australian line comes to mind ‘Tell’em they’re dreaming!”. But it’s great to see that the majority walk away happy, and in the cases where Glenn Kelman (CEO of Redfin) is successful in his bid? Down the track there will be another happy family, moving into a newly refurbished affordable home!

What had we learnt from the show?

United States is huge! We had a reasonable understanding of US geography, but we’re even more clued in now after the 6 eps. So much useable/liveable space out there!?

Houses can be affordable! Now if you live in Sydney Australia, seeing those US home prices almost makes you want to cry. Sure, they’re talking US dollars, but where in Sydney can you buy a free standing home for under $400K? But in the United States you can!

Negotiation tactics. We’re pretty bad with negotiating, especially I! Perhaps I don’t want to come off looking like the ‘cheap Asian’, so the several times I put in a bid, I’ve actually offered a couple Gs above asking. As I want to be victorious with my first blow! But seeing those Property moguls’ low ball the sellers. It was quite incredible. A few tactics I’m going to exercise the next time we go property shopping. Moohaaha!

The role of the Agent. And as much as we enjoyed seeing the buyer and seller coming together in ‘Buy My House’, however several times you do hear the Property Tycoons, lamenting the reason why they don’t like meeting the sellers. As it puts a face and story to their situation, which then makes it more difficult to low ball them. Haaha. So yeah, let the Agent do all the work on your behalf!

And no one wants a condo! And I’ve heard it a thousand times, land is land and you must always have land! And in this hot property market, only homes on land are selling at a premium, while condos (apartments to us Aussies), they’re not selling at all! From the two condos which appeared on the show, if I remember correctly, neither of them sold. Boo!

So yeah, a quick glimpse into the “real” real estate market in the US, and the format of the show made it fun and insightful! If you want to check out ‘Buy My House’, just search for it in your Netflix app! Now who wants a holiday home in the US!? I  know I do!  

Netflix recommendations- Instant Dream Home (Season 1

Or was it Dream Home Makeover? *Shrug*.

One particular gripe I have with Netflix, is the lack of imagination when it comes to naming their shows! Half of the time I pass on programs due to the fact that the name of the show doesn’t grab my attention, and the one sentence blurb doesn’t do it either. But as you know, 95% of the time the show is amazing! But it just needs a show title ‘makeover’ of its own.

And that’s the case for ‘Instant Dream Home’, which sounds all too similar to their other home renovation show ‘Dream Home Makeover’. *Confused Look*. At least on 2 occasions, I asked our Google Home to play the incorrect show, and I’m sure I’m not alone in this.

Although the show titles are eerily similar, however they’re quite dissimilar when it comes down to it- as Instant Dream Home is a home renovation show on copious amounts of PEDs! Not only are the homeowners completely unaware that their home is being made over, but the transformation is achieved in under 12 hours! Yes! 12 hours! And it’s not just one room, or a smallish space which realistically could be made over in the given time, but the transformation occurs to the entire house! Both inside and out, and inclusive of the front and back yards! And no, its not just a team of 5 handymen, but it’s 200! Yes! 2 0 0 human beings! And not only do they achieve the task due to overwhelming man-power, but they bring in the big guns as well! A forklift is a given, but they even use a helicopter in one build, and a high tech robot to do the heavy lifting! I’d say it’ll be up there with the largest budget shows for Netflix!?

So over 8 episodes the core team made up of Paige Mobley (Stylist), Adair Curtis (Interior Designer), Erik Curtis (Carpenter), Nick Cutsumpas (Landscaper), and host and comedic relief Danielle Brooks sweep into a property early in the morning (7am), and keep going and going until 7pm when the unknowing family returns home. The camera crew focuses on the 5 as they trouble-shoot their way through various problems during their whirlwind 12 hour build. And throughout the show it cuts over to footage from weeks prior, during planning meetings and test runs as they plan and trial their design creations in their project warehouse (not always to success).

My wife kept exclaiming throughout the season “Surely one of them has to be an Engineer!” As they demolished walls, added annexes to homes, and generally transformed old, tired houses into nothing the homeowner could ever dream of! But sure enough, armed with only a Carpenter as the most technical of their team, they re-built the homes, to a level when the owners eventually come back, they could barely recognised their old cribs anymore! And the looks on their faces? PRICELESS!?

Being suckers for a feel good reality TV show, Instant Dream Home hit on all marks with us! Only if they had an Australian version of this, as we have 2 tired bathrooms and a crumbling kitchen desperate for a rapid makeover!

To check out Instant Dream Home, just click HERE! And instant ‘warm & fuzzy’ feeling coming your way!

Netflix recommendations- Somebody feed Phil (Season 1

A little late to the party, but better late than never!

I’d seen ‘Somebody feed Phil’ on my Netflix recommendations for years now, but oddly enough I was never compelled to check it out- which is weird, as we’re massive fans of the travel documentary genre. But we did check it out (when we ran out of stuff to watch), and aren’t we glad we did  so!?

For those who aren’t familiar with Phil Rosenthal, he was the Producer behind the hit comedy series  ‘Everyone Loves Raymond’, and he’s just a thoroughly likeable/loveable guy. From his comical facial expressions, his cheeky voice, his ability to connect with anyone and everyone he meets, and his ability to make you smile- not through jokes, but just being his adorable self? I just think he’s got a gift, a gift to make people happy.

Each episode of ‘Somebody Feed Phil’, Phil explores a new city in a new country, either being guided around by a local guide, eating his way through the local delights, and when he’s not eating he’s getting involved with community groups to better understand the culture and the people of the country. And throughout the 45-60 minutes he’s basically making you feel like you want to be there too!

And I’d say he’d change my perception on a few places, locations which I had never, never considered visiting before (Telaviv  and Mexico City), but now I’m a little bit curious and open minded to explore those locations in the future.

And the serendipitous thing was this, we watched episode 1 of season 1, and it was good we enjoyed it (I thought it was a bit long though). And the very next morning I listened to the weekly episode of ‘The Sporkful’, and guess who Dan Pashman happen to be interviewing for that episode? Yeah, you guessed it, Phil Rosenthal! That blew my mind, as what was the chances of that happening!?

So, after listening to the interview, I fell in love with Phil a little bit more, it’s the way that he always sounds so light-hearted and fun, and then learning about his back story and who he was (to that point I didn’t know if he was a Comedian or  a lesser known Actor). So, that Sporkful episode really helped to place him in context, and now when we tell people what we’re watching-  We always say, ‘he’s the Producer behind Everyone Loves Raymond’.

I just can’t describe it, just hearing/seeing Phil makes me happy- so if you just want to feel good about the world even just for 45-60 minutes at a time, check-out ‘Somebody Feed Phil’, there’s 5 seasons to binge on Netflix right now! Just click HERE! *Smiling with a wide open grin*.