Fortune Cookie Say: Life Spent Watching Netflix Potentially Wasted, Unless…

In honor of my summer writing apathy, instead of a brilliantly insightful post, I will give you insight into how I waste spend my off hours. Go ahead, make some popcorn. I can wait…

It Is Totally Worth Going Blind Reading Subtitles
It Is Totally Worth Going Blind Reading Subtitles


I finished an amazing series on Netflix the other day, and now, I am drained. I’ll reference it just so you can decide for yourself whether you’d dedicate twenty plus hours of your life to watching a Korean soap opera based on a novel. The series is called The Moon Embracing the Sun. It is a love lost/love re-captured story set in a mythical court during the Joeson (pronounced Chosun) Dynasty. And it’s entirely in Korean. You have to watch subtitles to understand it. Yeah. That’s how I spent a week of my life. I have no regrets, except that it ended and now I am bereft.

What is it about a gripping story and fantastic cast that weaves a magic spell around the viewer? I can’t say for sure, but I think in this saga it has something to do with life being lived to its fullest and yet always teetering on the brink of extinction.  There is love, passion, intrigue, betrayal, death, re-birth and ghosts. Basically it’s the Pu Pu Platter of entertainment with a little bit of everything to please all palates. You like romance? There’s a new one popping up between forbidden lovers every turn—almost all of it is star crossed or fatally doomed—but it never fails to twang the heart strings big time. Do you want action? Sword wielding maniacs will attack to move the nefarious plot along when it gets a little too saccharine. Hate someone in the story? Just wait. Eventually everybody gets what’s coming to them. It is absolutely delightful and yet still dramatically compelling when it does. And I have given nothing away by tell you this.

So, if you too are dragging this summer and don’t know what you want to do of an evening, might I suggest you find out where to activate your English subtitles and prepare to be mesmerized. And then, alas, desolated when the series ends. And then you’ll be on the hunt for a new epic drama to catch your eye. Beware, not all foreign films rise to this caliber. I made the mistake of watching “White Haired Witch” thinking it would compare. It didn’t.* Unless by compare you mean contrast so much as to make you wonder if good film making is possible. If you are a fan of seriously bad movies, watch it, the war porn is well done. Otherwise, skip the confusing mess. There are much better options out there.

Here’s a list of a few of my favorite foreign films:

Eat Drink Man Woman (Vietnamese)– A small family saga about a father and the three daughters who challenge his world view. Lots of beautiful meal preparation because father is a master chef who is now losing his sense of taste. You will leave the movie hungry for more.

Monsoon Wedding (Hindi) Think Father of the Bride set in India. Let hijinks with arranged marriages ensue. Or catch an even sillier take: Bollywood Bride and Prejudice. If you like lots of Bollywood dancing, this one’s for you. Bonus, both of these have spoken English in them.

Kung Fu Hustle (Chinese) Over-the-top fighting action sequences, totally ridiculous plot—on purpose. It is really a parody of Kung Fu movies. Absolute fun. Nice Matrix tie-in moment.

Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (Mandarin) Truly kick-ass fight sequences, compelling battle of good versus evil all filmed on the backdrop of a mystical, magical China. (The Chinese perfected fighting in tree tops long before the Twilight vampires ever set foot in Washington State.)

Like Water for Chocolate (Spanish) – A woman puts her emotions into her cooking. Suppressed desire sends a naked woman running through the desert after her lover. Need I say more?

Atame (Tie Me Up/Tie Me Down) (Spanish) Bondage and Stockholm Syndrome. Warning, explicitly sexual. Make sure the shades are pulled and the kids are in bed…with ear plugs.

There you have it. I highly recommend the occasional foreign film so that you can feel mildly superior to other people about what kind of brain candy you are consuming.** Please make some recommendations of your own. I really could use another fix like Moon Embracing the Sun. This is how I can afford to travel the world–one delightful movie at a time.

Asterisk Bedazzled Footnote:

*Don’t let the trailer fool you. It seems much more coherent when you aren’t trying to piece together which army is which and figuring out who the rebel infiltrators are actually fighting. Critically stupid ending as well.

**It’s gotta be better than watching reality television anyway.

11 thoughts on “Fortune Cookie Say: Life Spent Watching Netflix Potentially Wasted, Unless…

    1. There are tons of great films, the hard thing is knowing which ones are the goodies. Of the list above, Like Water for Chocolate is sensual, funny, dramatic and an all around romp. You could watch it with the sound off and totally enjoy the visual, even as you puzzled over some of the story lines.


  1. The Moon Embracing the Sun sounds really good. I’ll have to try it. I’ve seen a million foreign movies but I can’t come up with any favs except for this Irish children’s movie Song of the Sea that is absolutely beautiful–the artwork, the music, the story, everything. I highly recommend for kids and adults. 🙂


    1. I will put it on my Netflix roster. The hard part is turning Netflix off and having a life besides television sometimes. Augh. Turns out it is only available on DVD. You can’t stream it. Curses.


  2. I’d suggest “Le déclin de l’empire américain” (Decline of the American Empire) in Canadian (wait, is that a language?). It’s a fast-paced piece by Quebec film magician Denys Arcand about four men preparing the evening meal at the cottage by the lake while talking about sex, while four women are at the health club working out while talking about sex. They meet up for dinner where a bombshell or two are set off. Lots of flashbacks, including one scene of how one of the couples met and you swear you’re going to see the handjob in its full glory on the screen (originally saw this in an actual theatre back in 1986). The dialogue is quick and witty, and did I mention lots of talk about sex?

    As a bonus there’s a sequel (“Les invasions barbares” — The Barbarian Invasions) that takes place some 17 years after the first film where one of the characters is dying of cancer, and the great lengths his son goes through to bring together the old gang and make his father’s last days as comfortable as possible. Not as good as the first film, but still a treat to watch.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If you can get out and do things, then do that, I say. I, however, am often stuck in the house as a child minder. (Parent). Sanity requires escape of some kind.


  3. I’m an admitted Netflix addict and often think of all the projects I could have started and finished in the time I have spent watching old movies and TV shows that I could otherwise have lived quite happily without seeing… I like Bollywood movies and watched (and enjoyed) both Monsoon Wedding and Bride and Prejudice. One of these days I am going to either cancel my subscription or commit myself to rehab…

    Liked by 1 person

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