The AE team is back at it again, bringing you our Pop Culture Picks from our home offices! We’re focusing on the things that support our physical and mental health while practicing social distancing. Keep scrolling to find out what’s helping us through these challenging times – we hope they can help you too!
Annabel Youens, CMO & Co-Founder
Waffles and Mochi (TV series, available on Netflix)
In short: Sesame Street meets Julia Child with a dash of Lonely Planet.
If you’re like me and craving light and joyful entertainment to lift your mood, and waiting very impatiently for season 2 of Ted Lasso, go ahead and watch Waffles and Mochi.
Best friends, Waffles (part-yeti, part-frozen-waffle) and Mochi (just that, a frozen mochi dessert ball) have grown up in a “freezer”. Through the series these two besties discover a world filled with fresh, colourful and vibrant food on their journey to become chefs.
Produced by Michelle and Barack Obama Waffles and Mochi is like Sesame Street meets Julia Child with a dash of Lonely Planet. Loveable, grumpy and excitable puppets meet and cook with global chefs and report back to Mrs. Obama, who runs the grocery store where they work.
Each episode focuses on a specific ingredient where Waffles and Mochi travel the world in their “magic cart 3000” and meet food producers, chefs and children. There are 10 themed episodes, and while the salt episode is my absolute favorite, anytime chef Massimo Bottura arrives on screen I smile with delight.
I find the joy in this show comes from all the people involved, from the artistic directors to the cast. You can tell everyone involved loves food, they love sharing food and they love connecting with people. It’s exactly what I need right now.
Sing it with me…Waffles and Mochi!
Jason Scriven, Head of Enterprise Sales
L.A. Confidential (A.K.A “3 Aussies Make a Crime Movie”, available on Amazon Prime)
TL;DR: L.A. Confidential is an academy award winning crime movie set in 1950’s Los Angeles starring Russell Crowe, Kim Basinger, and Kevin Spacey. Watch the trailer here.
L.A. Confidential, which was originally released in 1997 and that I rewatched on Prime this last weekend, was the best in a year of very good movies. It won two Oscars after being nominated for 9 against a stellar field that included Good Will Hunting, Donnie Brasco, Wag the Dog, and some movie about a doomed love affair on a boat.
Kim Basinger won Best Supporting Actress and while she was solid, it is a shame that so many good actors in juicy roles were overlooked for awards recognition. Let’s give them their due here (and suggest some movies with each that you may not have seen yet):
- Not quite the leading man that he would later become, Russell Crowe makes his US debut in a repeat of the Aussie role that made him famous, Romper Stomper. The physicality, menace, and blood lust of his portrayal of Bud White is the adrenaline that pushes the movie forward at top speed. (A Good Year)
- Another Aussie, Guy Pearce, perfectly plays his opposite in temperament and experience, while shrewdly, politically using bad situations for his own gain. (The Count of Monte Cristo)
- Kevin Spacey was the biggest “name” in this production and played the cop who wanted to be a movie star, like, well, a movie star. (Elvis and Nixon)
- Danny Devito is so good at entertaining the audience and his role as the publisher of a sleazy tabloid is perfectly cast. (Other People’s Money)
- James Cromwell, who is American but let’s face it, will always be an Aussie after playing Farmer Hoggett in Babe, is the police captain who looks the other way, a lot, and calls everyone “boy” like a proper copper from the old country. (Space Cowboys)
- The last Aussie is Simon Baker (who later went on to play the Mentalist on TV) who played a small but recognizable role (you can’t miss that head of hair). (Margin Call)
Morgan Deno, Captain of Customer Success
Brooklyn Nine Nine (TV series, available on Netflix)
In Short: If you’re looking for a lighthearted comedy series with lovable characters, don’t skip Brooklyn Nine Nine.
Lately, my wife and I have taken to rewatching some of our past favorite shows that have been uploaded to the all-mighty Netflix. These are shows that we loved when we were previously subscribed to Cable TV (do people still do this?).
We’re currently re-watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine and while it isn’t over yet (the final season coming later this year 😢), this will be going down as one of my all-time favorite TV comedies and gets my recommendation for the month.
I’m a long-time Andy Samberg fan and his roles in anything from The Lonely Island to Hot Rod. Brooklyn Nine-Nine is nothing short of brilliance and all the characters have great development from season to season. Andy nails his character of Det. Jake Peralta and keeps with predictable but never tiring ‘Samberg’ humor. While Det. Jake Peralta will make you chuckle, no one leaves me in stitches like Captain Raymond Jacob Holt. He has perfectly timed comedic delivery and probably the best deadpan humor since Ron Swanson from Parks & Recreation. His character development starts slow but he quickly evolved to my favorite character on the show.
Roxanne Baker, Marketing Magician
Snowpiercer (TV series, available on Netflix)
TL;DR: If you like post-apocalyptic sci-fi with more than a dash of class politics and incredible world building, check out Snowpiercer!
My first introduction to the world of Snowpiercer was Bong Joon Ho’s 2013 movie adaptation with Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton and Ed Harris in starring roles. As a huge fan of post-apocalyptic sci fi and trains in general, I absolutely adored the movie (but not the Willy Wonka fan theory – don’t even get me started).
When I heard that Netflix was adapting Snowpiercer into a series (with Jennifer Connelly!!), needless to say I was all aboard the 1001 cars long hype train.
Both Snowpiercer the movie and Snowpiercer the show are based on the French graphic novel Le Transperceniege. The premise is that an environmental catastrophe has turned the earth into a frozen wasteland and the only surviving humans live aboard a 1001 car long, self-sustaining train called Snowpiercer. Snowpiercer is divided by class, with the rich people who could afford the expensive tickets living in luxury at the front of the train, second and third class passengers in the middle, and those who boarded illegally living in squalor at the back (the “tailies”).
The TV begins as a murder mystery, but evolves beyond that as we learn more about the creator of Snowpiercer (Mr. Wilford), the Head of Hospitality (Melanie Cavill, played by Jennifer Connelly) the politics of the train, and the frozen world itself. There’s so much to spoil, so I don’t want to say too much, but I can say that Season 2 takes it up a notch and is just fantastic.