In February 2020, Netflix started a new section on their platform titled “Top 10," the content of which depends on what shows and movies are most popular in your country, updated daily. There were three suggestions that Netflix had on their list that stuck out to me. They were Cobra Kai, 17 Again, and We Can Be Heroes.
The first show I checked out on the list was the third season of the now Netflix Original Cobra Kai, which is number one on the list and was for a week straight after the new season was released. The reason I say, "now Netflix Original" is because Cobra Kai used to be a YouTube Red Original. Netflix bought the show and started streaming it on their platform on August 28, 2020 and released a third season recently on January 1, 2021.
Cobra Kai is the spin off series of the original 1984 film Karate Kid and all its sequels. The premise of the show is it is thirty years after the great All Valley Karate Tournament, when Daniel Larusso used the Crain Kick on Johnny Laurence taking the title of “All Valley Champ.”
Season three starts right from the get-go and shows us Miguel Diaz (played by Xolo Mariduena) in the hospital in the coma he was put in by a ex-fellow student, Robby Kenne, who was also Sensei Johnny Lawrence’s (played by William Zabka) son. But Miguel is not the only one suffering: Robby is missing and on the run and Sam, who is Daniel Larusso’s daughter, is scared attending school after getting attacked by a Cobra Kai student, Tory. Then the famous Johnny has fallen down a hole himself, and is seen angry and drunk in a bar.
The show was able to keep Miguel's condition secret until the show went live. I think this was a smart idea because it kept the fans waiting and getting hyped for the upcoming season, as well as tuning people in.
As the season went on, the bromace of Daniel (played by Ralph Macchio) and Johnny grew. Since Kreese took over Cobra Kai, we see his star students, Tori and Hawk, grow darker when following Kresse’s rules and beliefs.
Hawk easily became my favorite of the show, not because he “flipped the script” and grew into a confident guy after years of being bullied because of a scar on his lips. His character was my favorite because he has the most development throughout the whole series. His character, as I mentioned before, seemed as though he was going dark, following Kresse’s rules, but it does not last long, as the show hints throughout the latest season. His facial expression, done by actor Jacob Bertran, show that Hawk is feeling uneasy about what he's doing. He needed guidance, but he put the trust into wrong person, Kresse.
During the last episode of the third season, Hawk is shot into reality when he realizes he had turned into what he hated, the bully to his own friend. But his character is shown out of the dark when he goes against his Cobra Kai family, defends his old friend Demetri, fights with Miyagi-Do, and switches dojos in the end. This shows that he is bringing his old self back while keeping the cool look. Even when he became Hawk, you could tell his old, nerdy self was still inside, just stuck and lost.
But not all characters went through development, like Robby Kenne. Robby is a compilated character, to say the least. He grew up without his father and his mother always brought home new men, sometimes leaving him home without paying the bills. What is most frustrating as a viewer is even when Johnny is trying to show he wants to be in his son's life, Robby did not allow him to. He visibly gets angry, which shows us he is emotionally unstable. The reason he is my least favorite is because instead of trying to fix his relationship with his dad who is visibly trying, Robby does nothing but try to get revenge on his dad for not being in his life. At the end of the season, unlike Hawk, Robby went dark and joined Kresse’s Cobra Kai, because he now had it for Daniel Larusso as well for turning Robby into the police.
The show itself is something to check out for all ages. The show does an excellent job with keeping the the viewer with water on their toes and wanting more.
The second Top Ten, 17 Again, was made in 2009. The movie stars Zac Efron as the younger main character, Mike O’Donald, and Mathew Perry playing the older him. The movie starts off by showing us that Mike is a part of the basketball team and seems to be one of the top players.
I went into watching this movie a little skeptical and worried if the humor would hold up since it is 12 years old. But I was proven wrong: the film has honestly become one of my favorites, and I would definitely watch it again. Mike is first seen as a high school basketball player who is about to play in front of college scouts when he learns his high school girlfriend is pregnant. He decides to throw away his dream and be his potential future to help her with the kid.
After this, we go to the present day, 18 years later, where he now is staying with his best friend, because his marriage is falling apart, and feels as though maybe he should have gone to college. After he does not get a job promotion, he ends up falling into a time warp after jumping into water and becomes his 17-year-old self in present time.
This movie shows how time has changed from teens back then and teens now. It shows how bullies have gotten worse after he sees his own son duct-taped to a school toilet. He then helps his son gain confidence by helping him get on the basketball team and talk to a girl. Not only does he help his son, but he also helps his daughter get out of a very toxic relationship. While that is going on, his best friend, who is pretending to be his dad, is trying to get with the school's principal, and they end up being together after bonding over being huge nerds.
One of the heartwarming aspects is that Mike was fixing his marriage by learning more about his kids and finding out what bothered his wife the most; but because he is a 17-year-old, it is difficult. By putting out hints, like calling her the nickname Scar, dancing to their wedding song, and doing work around the house that older him did not do, he tries to show her that he is her husband.
The movie does not make everything so easy though, which I like. I like when movies do not make things cookie-cutter perfect because life itself is not. The fact that it shows that even though they were happy in high school later problems happen, shows it understands the struggles real people go through. The movie itself, even with its sad parts, is very heartwarming. When Mike and his wife are seen in the end at a basketball game, when he turns back into an adult, we see that he really does not regret not going to college.
I would recommend this movie: in fact, I already did to some friends. The movie is not just a romance or sci-fi movie, it is a feel-good movie. It has comedy, sad heart string pulling moments, and moments that have you shocked. In the end, things are not perfect, but they are better than they were before.
The last Top Ten is a movie as well, We Can Be Heroes. Now this might be marketed as a kids movie, but older Shark Boy and Lava Girl fans got excited to hear one of the most iconic movies from when they were younger would be getting a sequel. They, however, were quickly let down after seeing it had almost nothing to do with the original plot.
In the original Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl, they lived on a "Planet Drool," which Max created along with the villains in his dream. The reason they were real is because he could remember them when he wrote them in his dream journal. In the new movie, there is no Max, no Planet Drool, and no dreaming. Instead, there is an organization that is a combination of a bunch of superheroes, but where did they come from? I have no clue; the movie never mentions if they too came from Planet Drool, were made in Max’s dream, or from other kids' dreams.
Within like the first fifteen minutes of the movie, we meet the new main character, Missy, played by young actress YaYa Gosselin. Her father is a part of the organization and was a hero himself, but she has no powers. So, when the world gets attacked by aliens and needs heroes, all their kids including Missy get locked away to stay safe. Here we meet the other heroes' children, but their powers are not interesting. One kid's power is strong muscles and a strong brain, but he's in a wheelchair. Another's power is just that she is a talented artist, but her art seems like a normal elementary student's.
The coolest one, in my view, was Sharkboy and Lavagirl’s kid, Guppy, who can move water and has "shark strength," as could be seen when she takes a full-grown man to the ground. We get to see Sharkboy and Lavagirl as adults only for around five minutes before they and the rest of the heroes are taken by the aliens.
The rest of the movie is just the kids running away and trying to figure out a way to stop the aliens and save their parents. We see them train, and then we also see the adults, who are trapped, fighting in their like cell on the alien ship. The original Lavagirl is back, played by Taylor Dooley, but a different Sharkboy is in We Can Be Heroes, played by Jeffrey J. Dashnaw instead of Taylor Lautner. He never says one word throughout the whole movie. In the end, we learn that it was all just a set up to train the kids and show their ability so they could fight crime with the adults.
The movie, if it was a standalone film, would probably been viewed differently, but it was advertised as a sequel to The Adventures Sharkboy and Lavagirl, and things did not really add up to the original plot. As a movie lover and a fan of the movie when I was younger, I was left disappointed (although I could see newer viewers making it their new favorite).
In the end, the Top Ten section of Netflix is a reliable source to find new favorites. I would keep in mind that the list is not really built for you, but it is based on what gets most traffic. So, there could be one or more that do not play in your favor, and that is okay. The series offers more on the list that you could take interest in. With it changing daily, you can stay updated with what others are watching.