Staff Picks: For the big and small screen


Photo courtesy of Netflix.

By Madina Safdari

Watch This! — Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj | Netflix Original Series

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Photo courtesy of Netflix.

The global news landscape is extremely saturated with stories that barely survive a 24-hour cycle. Often times important stories that deserve more attention get lost and don’t receive due diligence.

Enter “Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj,” a Netflix Original Series that dedicates each episode to thoroughly discussing a single, relevant topic with articles, interviews and research with a comedic touch.

The show was created and is hosted by Hasan Minhaj, a former correspondent for “The Daily Show” on Comedy Central. Minhaj took to Netflix to create his own news talk show, unique because of its unorthodox structure. As opposed to sitting in a suit behind a desk, Minhaj speaks dynamically on stage in front of a high resolution, ceiling to floor screen that displays interactive graphics, archival footage, collages and more.

Show topics range from more political ones such as censorship in China and immigration, to social and cultural ones like mental health, transportation and even an episode on the pervasiveness of the streetwear brand Supreme.

All episodes are well written and researched but also possess lighthearted bits of humor and satire that make the show engaging to watch. New episodes are released every Sunday on Netflix, however they are also uploaded to the Patriot Act YouTube channel for free.

Listen to this! — Hidden Brain Podcast

Photo courtesy of NPR.

From the brilliant minds at NPR, the “Hidden Brain” podcast answers all the questions about humans you didn’t know you had. Journalist and science correspondent Shankar Vedantam hosts the podcast and uses psychology along with neurobiology to explain patterns that drive human behavior.

With new episodes every Monday, Vedantam explains clearly and concisely the mechanics behind things like where the fear of death comes from, if there is meaning in baby babble and the psychology behind what we eat.

The episode “What Twins Tell Us” analyzes a case study on two pairs of twins, one of each who were accidentally given to the wrong mothers. Psychologist Nancy Segal conducted a study on the twins after they were reunited decades later and appears as a guest on the episode. Vedantam and Segal dive into her subsequent research on the age old nature vs. nurture argument.

Depending on the topic, episodes can range from 20 minutes to an hour long and are enjoyable on a drive to and from school. Episodes can be streamed on NPR One, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Pocket Casts.

Consider This! — AMC Stubs A-List Subscription

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Photo courtesy of AMC Theaters.

The demise of MoviePass left a hole in the subscription movie ticketing industry that has been filled by AMC Stubs A-List. If you’re a fan of movies and enjoy watching them in IMAX, Dolby or PRIME quality, then a subscription to A-List is in your best interest.

For just $23.95 a month in California, A-List members can watch three movies a week. A-List members also enjoy perks like priority lines at the box office and concessions, free size upgrades for popcorn and drinks, discounted tickets on Tuesdays for friends and more.

Considering the price of an AMC adult ticket is $13.69, the subscription pays for itself after watching just two movies a month. But for those who aren’t avid movie goers, AMC offers two lower tiers of subscriptions, Premiere and Insider with fewer perks, the latter of which is free.

A-List is an especially nice way to treat yourself to breathtaking sound and picture quality while enjoying the best cinema has to offer. More information on AMC A-List can be found on AMC’s website.