entertainment

The Best Documentaries on Netflix

If you’re anything like me, you enjoy learning new information in nice, digestible chunks. There’s nothing like a good documentary to make you feel productive while watching TV. If you feel the same, then I have great news for you! Netflix has a plethora of documentaries for you to watch and absorb passively on your couch. So sit back, relax, and grab your popcorn. We’re delving into the realm of documentaries!

American Anarchist - Documentaries

American Anarchist

It’s a story of passion, fervor, and regret. In 1971, William Powell authored one of the most controversial books ever written, The Anarchist Cookbook. The book contained instructions on how to make everything from weapons to illicit drugs. It quickly became the book of choice for social deviants, including terrorists and freedom fighters. But, after converting to Anglicanism in 1979, Powell devoted the rest of his life to making sure nobody ever reads his book again. This is his story.

cosmos - Documentaries

Cosmos

When you look up at the night sky, isn’t in wonderful? Have you ever wondered what’s up there and how it all works? Wonder no longer! Neil Degrasse Tyson is here to tell you in his classic dulcet tones. Cosmos succeeds in making its subject matter accessible with easy to understand examples and comparisons. It’s a very humbling documentary, reinforcing how small we really are in the face of the universe. We are all made of stardust, which is a pretty cool idea to ponder on.

Pumping Iron - Documentaries

Pumping Iron

If you’re at all interested in bodybuilding as a sport, this is the documentary for you. Originally released in 1977, this film follows Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno as they vie for the title of most aesthetic man alive. Pumping Iron pulls back the curtain on how the sport is fraught with body image issues and subjectivity in judging. This documentary is also a deluge of information about Schwarzenegger and Ferrigno. It’s worth a watch if the sport even remotely interests you.

Do you have any favorite documentaries? Leave them in the comments below!

The Story of Spider-Man: Homecoming

Spider-Man

I absolutely love movies with behind the scenes special features. One of my favorite things is watching what goes into making a full length film. When I learned Spider-Man was not going to be part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), it set off my spidey senses. What behind the scenes tomfoolery could cause the absence of such a beloved character?

The answer is a story as convoluted and odd as you’d probably guess. It finally culminates with the return of Spider-Man to the MCU this summer in Spider-Man: Homecoming.

Marvel, Bankruptcy, and Spider-Man

Way back in the 90’s, there was a massive comic book boom due to inflating comic book values. People began to realize the rarity of old comics from the 40s and 50s, especially first editions. DC and Marvel both capitalized on this, printing millions of new comics and making collector’s editions as much as possible. Characters married each other left and right, superman died, it was a crazy time. It didn’t take long for people to realize the market was saturated.

The comic book boom ended shortly after and Marvel quickly encountered trouble. They were up to their eyeballs in debt from overprinting and underselling comics. The crash eventually caused Marvel to declare bankruptcy. As a result, the company desperately sold off movie rights to a number of characters. The rights to both Spider-Man and the X-Men properties passed though a number of companies, finally settling in the hands of Sony.

Sony’s Tragic Mismanagement

Sony handed the property rights to Sam Raimi after a number of failed attempts to bring Spider-Man to the big screen. Sam Raimi reimagined the web slinger in “Spider-Man”, directing both sequels in the series. The first two movies were massive hits! The third was a flop, both critically and commercially. Regardless, Sony allowed Raimi to move forward with a fourth movie slated for a 2011 release date. Unfortunately, Sony canceled the project due to creative differences.

Spider-Man underwent a reboot from Sony with the movie “The Amazing Spider-Man”. It became a cinematic hit and the studio decided to produce a sequel. However, this was the 5th Spider-Man movie in 10 years. Audiences became tired of the superhero, and having two reboots in 5 years is a tad confusing for the general public. The series ultimately ended before producing “The Amazing Spider-Man 3”.

The Return to Marvel

Possibly the only good thing to come out of the 2014 Sony email leaks was news about Spider-Man was returning to Marvel. Disney and Sony reached an agreement to allow the wall crawler to return to the big screen under the Marvel umbrella. However, the odds are stacked against Spider-Man Homecoming. As the third reboot in 15 years, audiences could have Spider-Man fatigue. For fans of the superhero, here’s to hoping that Spider-Man: Homecoming rises above the tangled web of past disputes and turns out to be a great film!

Female Country Music Artists Sticking to Their Values

Country music is a genre of music that has traditionally been dominated by men. When you think of the most popular artists of the past and today, most of the big names that pop up are those of men. However, a group of young female country music artists from the great state of Texas have popped up as of recent and have risen in popularity over the past few years or so. These women have been inspirational not in creating success for themselves, but by also sticking to their principles and standing by their roots. Here are three young female country music artists who have found success without compromising their values.

Kacey Musgraves

female country music artists - KACEY

Kacey was discovered in Austin, Texas in 2008. She got the first big break of her career touring with Lady Antebellum in 2012, and released her first album the next year. On her album “Same Trailer, Different Park,” Kacey made hits with her songs “Blowin’ Smoke” “Merry go Round” and the popular “Follow Your Arrow”, which eventually reached number 10 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs Chart.  Critics applauded Follow Your Arrow for its strong message about non-conformity and living one’s life to the fullest. On her second album released just a week ago, Musgraves has already found success with her hit song “Biscuits” which uses traditional southern customs as metaphors to explain her views on how to live life and treat others. Musgraves career is continuing to blossom, and her ability to stick to her roots has made her a fan favorite within Texas.

RaeLynn

female country music artists- RaeLynn

RaeLynn, another Texas born girl, exploded onto the music scene with her impressive performances on Season 2 of the popular singing show “The Voice.” Although she was eliminated in the quarterfinals, RaeLynn signed with Republic Nashville and is currently working on a studio album. She has since collaborated with her coach on “The Voice” Blake Shelton, doing backups on his popular redneck ballad “Boys Round Here.” RaeLynn release her first single “Boyfriend” in 2012, and followed up with the immensely popular “God Made Girls” in 2014. This song helped to catapult her onto the main stage as it reached number 7 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs Chart.  RaeLynn’s most recent success has come with the release of her new song “For a Boy.” Although RaeLynn has been criticized for her song “God Made Girls” which many feminists deemed as sexist and overly traditional, RaeLynn has stuck by her principles and Christian values and continues to do so in her music.  Having only just turned 21, RaeLynn has much room to grow as an artist and it should prove interesting to follow her career trajectory.

Danielle Bradbery

female country music artists - danielle

Bradbery followed RaeLynn as a voice contestant, competing on the show “The Voice” in 2013.  Danielle ended up winning the show under the tutelage of Blake Shelton. Bradbery, born in Houston blew judges away with her rendition of Taylor Swift’s “Mean” and with her powerful performances of other mainstream country songs. She was so impressive on “The Voice” that she had five studio performances on the show reach the top ten on iTunes! Danielle released her first single “The Heart of Dixie,” in July of 2013 and released her self-titled first album later that year. The “Heart of Dixie” reached number 16 on the Billboard Hot Country Song Chart. Danielle is currently working on her second album and hopes to release it in 2015. Although she has not had quite as much mainstream success outside of the Voice as some of her fellow artists, Danielle has a strong future ahead of her as she only recently turned 18! Danielle Bradbery continues to stick to her southern and Christian roots and has already made a name for herself. It will be just a matter of time till she finds the one song to really put her among the giants in the country music business.

It is increasingly hard to make it in the music business without compromising values, but these ladies have done a great job of sticking to their roots while climbing up the ranks. I expect more like them to follow despite the increasing trend of young stars compromising what they used to believe in.