Tag Archives: Movies

A Netflix Survival Guide for the Long Holiday Road Trip

Pack Your Phone - Big Kid

Three years ago we took a family trip up to New Hampshire to the Christmas Farm Inn for Thanksgiving. This is a three hour ride. It is a long ride for a couple of little kids but it isn’t too terrible. We had some DVDs to take with us and a car that had a DVD player for the kids. Now, thrown in a blizzard and an extra four hours to the ride plus the kids’ desire to watch the same DVD repeatedly for those extra four hours. You can only imagine how keyed up I was. Luckily that turned out to be one of the best trips ever as a family.

If we were to make the trip again one thing that I would make sure we do is check out all the shows that we could download on our Netflix app. That way we could load up the kids’ devices with some great content that they could watch on the ride. I think we’d be safe putting at least six hours of downloads on each device. That would be enough for many episodes of their favorite shows like Beat bugs, Super Monsters, Trollhunters and Project MC2. It is really easy to do, too. Just fire up the app and choose “Available for Download” then search and download your favorite shows. Definitely make sure that you choose “available for Download” first. This will save you from getting your hopes up that a show is downloadable only to find out that it is not. There are a ton of shows that are available for download but there are also some that are not. Follow my advice to prevent any unwanted frustration. Netflix shows you how road trips can be better in this video which has a re-purposed popular show intro.

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The Netflix Original ‘Atypical’ is a Sweet, Coming of Age Dramedy

Sam - Atypical - Netflix

As a Netflix #StreamTeam member I often get to view screeners for upcoming shows and movies. I was able to watch the first three episodes of the upcoming Netflix Original dramedy series that launches on August 11th, ‘Atypical’. This series stars Keir Gilchrist as Sam Gardner, Jennifer Jason Leigh as Elsa Gardner, Brigette Lundy-Paine as Casey Gardner and Michael Rapaport as Doug Gardner. The story centers around Sam, an 18-year-old on the autistic spectrum searching for love and independence. While Sam is on his funny and emotional journey of self-discovery, the rest of his family must grapple with change in their own lives while exploring the question: what does it really mean to be “normal”?

For Sam’s mom, Elsa, played by Jennifer Jason Leigh this is a very difficult time. She has spent her life looking after Sam, protecting him from the world and taking care of his every need. Sam’s growing independence is almost a threat to who Elsa is as a person. Her whole identity has been a mother of an autistic boy. along the way she has forgotten her own identity. Sam’s journey and life-changing path is also a life-changing moment for everyone else in the family.

A Family Dinner - Atypical - Netflix

For Doug, Sam’s Dad, played by Michael Rappaport, this new change means the possibility for finally connecting to his son. This is something that Doug has tried to do all of Sam’s life. Doug desperately wants to find some common ground with Sam. I immediately identified with Doug. When Andrew was born things were clicking along like clockwork. Eva was out of diapers and was becoming more independent and easy to do more exciting things with. Then along comes Andrew. He will not sleep, he has a food allergy and he screams and cries constantly. At the same time I had taken a night job and my sleep rhythm was all out of whack. Andrew and I butted heads for most of his first few years. I worried about ever being able to connect with him and immediately saw that in Doug. Luckily , for me, I have been bonding really well with Andrew these past few years.

Rounding out the cast is Sam’s younger sister, Cassie, played by Brigette Lundy-Paine. Cassie is tough, focused and athletic. She and Doug have their bond. However, Sam’s actions also set things in motion for changes in Cassie’s life as well.

I watched the first three episodes of this 8 1/2 hour episode series. I really wanted more when my screeners were over. It is interesting to see how Sam interacts with the world around him and how his family dynamic works. I can’t say much more about the show without any spoilers to plot points but it was something I enjoyed and I think that more people will also enjoy it.

Sam and Cassie - Atypical - Netflix

With eight, half-hour episodes filmed in Los Angeles, Atypical was created and written by Robia Rashid and Academy-Award winning producer Seth Gordon. Together, Rashid and Gordon serve as executive producers alongside Mary Rohlich, with Jennifer Jason Leigh as producer. Michelle Dean, who received her PhD from UCLA and worked at the UCLA Center for Autism and Research and Treatment before joining the faculty of CSU Channel Island, was also brought into the production to help guide an accurate depiction of autism spectrum disorder. The series is produced by Sony Pictures Television for Netflix.

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