School’s back, but first: must-watch movies and shows

in Entertainment/Music, Technology, TV & Books by

During this past winter break a large number of movies and shows were released on television, streaming apps such as Netflix, and movie theaters. To save you some time since third quarter has started and our work will start piling on, I have compiled a list of the most “must watch” shows and movies that you may have missed this winter break or just haven’t had time to see.

1.“Bird Box”

This newly-released Netflix original film has blown up via social media. The story centers around a mysterious entity that turns into one’s biggest fear at the sight of it, causing viewers to take their own life. The survivors conceal their sight with blindfolds in order to avoid seeing this mysterious entity. Many fans of the film have taken to capturing pictures with blindfolds on, creating fan accounts and even created their own filters with a blindfold mimicking the movie on the popular social media platform, Snapchat. Not only has the film gained a lot of popularity since its recent premiere Dec. 13, but it has become very popular within its first few weeks of premiering.

“Bier does an impressive job in offering the apocalypse as a deeply traumatic, claustrophobic and utterly hopeless experience . . .” (Linda Marric,

2. “Mary Poppins Returns”

The well-promoted sequel to the 1964 “Mary Poppins” film features the popular and esteemed creator of the musicals “Hamilton” and “Into The Heights,” Lin-Manuel Miranda, alongside British actress Emily Blunt. This film seems to be a must-watch since it is the first film that Miranda has physically starred in. Blunt, who has prior singing/acting roles on-screen such as The Baker’s Wife in the 2014 classic remake of “Into the Woods,” stars as the iconic Mary Poppins.  “Mary Poppins Returns” continues the tale of the Banks children as adults in need of help, as Michael Bank’s house will soon be foreclosed. His troubles are met with his beloved, mysterious childhood nanny, Mary Poppins.

“Blunt unquestionably makes Mary Poppins her own while also keeping nostalgic viewers happy with tributes to the original in this whimsical, playful sequel.” (Sandie Ángulo Chen,

3. “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch”

The popular British television show that centers around different physiological thriller stories having to do with technology, “Black Mirror,” recently debuted their first episode since 2017 on Netflix. However, “Bandersnatch” presented a new feature: the interactive feature. In this episode, the audience is able to decide the main character’s fate by making different decisions for him. As the episode moves along, the viewer clicks one of the choices that pop up on the screen when the character has a chance to make a decision. There are many different outcomes to this episode, as the watcher’s choices really do affect what happens. Taking about ninety minutes to watch, “Bandersnatch” is a worthy episode to explore.

In “Bandersnatch,” you make the choices on screen for what happens next in this riveting psychological thriller. (Photo/The Polygon)

4. “On My Block”

Ranked with the highest average watch time per viewing session, “On My Block”  blew up during 2018. “On My Block” focuses on four high school students who come from different minority neighborhoods trying to navigate their lives both in school and out of school. This type of “coming-of-age” theme applies to students as they struggle with their own obstacles throughout their high school careers.  

“. . . the series is set in present-day South Central Los Angeles, confines much of its action to a single neighborhood, and mixes shenanigans, melodrama, and uplift.” (Matt Zoller Seitz,

5. “The Haunting of Hill House”

This notable horror series that premiered on Netflix October 12, 2018 joins “On My Block” on the list of the highest average watch time per viewing session as number seven . Adapted from the book written by Shirley Jackson, this story tells the history and experiences of the Crain family who grew up in Hill House, one of the most famous haunted houses in the country. Now that the Crains are adults,  this series switches between current day and childhood flashbacks of the Crain children, exploring some of the darkest secrets from their childhood and revisiting their nightmarish haunted home.

Hugh Crain, the father in the Crain household, grips his son Steven as he is the only Crain child who has never seen the haunting spirits before as the spirits walk toward them in the House.  (Photo/The Vulture)

6. “A Series of Unfortunate Events”

Similar to “The Haunting of Hill House,” “A Series of Unfortunate Events” is adapted from a novel (actually a series of novels) written by Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler). With a 95% rating on the popular television review website Rotten Tomatoes, “A Series of Unfortunate Events” explores the forlorn tale of the Baudelaire orphans. They are hunted down by a mischievous Count Olaf who is after their apparent fortune left to them by their late parents. This series follows the three orphans who investigate the odd death of their parents and the secret organization that links everything together. With a bubbly and comedic approach and Neil Patrick Harris as Count Olaf, this show seems to have just the right amount of mystery as it does comedy.

The Baudelaire children go through many adventures as they are chased by Count Olaf and search for answers about VFD, the secret society their late parents trained them for. (Photo/The Independent)

Madison is a junior at American Heritage School in Plantation, Fla. This is her first year on the newspaper staff and is so excited for the many amazing things coming this school year for the Patriot Post. Madison is also a part of TASSEL and the Best Buddies club. She has a passion for photography and loves all types of music.

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