Netflix can sometimes be a time machine

Netflix got the better of me the other day. There I was, looking for something to watch, and this movie kept popping up. I really did try to avoid it, but it just kept coming up. I watched the preview and I have to admit, it looked good. And so I caved.

The movie was called, “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.” The movie tells the story of a teenage girl whose secret love letters are exposed and wreak havoc on her love life.

Yes, my 34-year-old self was going to watch a teen romance movie. What can I say? I have no shame. And you know what, it was super cute. Probably the cutest movie I’ve seen in a long time. Well, at least the cutest movie that wasn’t animated.

I have to be honest that I felt a little weird about watching a movie that is clearly not geared to my age group. Shouldn’t I be watching a documentary of some sort, a riveting drama or maybe even one of those sappy romance movies that are based on a Nicholas Sparks novel?

I didn’t waste too much time obsessing over my decision to watch such, as I was actually pretty happy I found something worth watching. Netflix can really be a hit or miss sometimes and just because a given movie is recommended, doesn’t mean it’s good.

Case in point was another movie Netflix also recommended called “The Kissing Booth.” The trailer is good, but that’s about it.

After finishing the movie, “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before”, I was scrolling Facebook, when I came across a friend of mine who said she had just watched the same movie. I was elated. She’s old like me! Well, let’s just say she’s not teenager either. And the comments were also filled with other 30-somethings who’d watched the movie too.

I was instantly comforted that I was not the only one. Not that I needed a vote of confidence, but it did get me to thinking why anyone other than teens would watch a movie such as this.

And then it hit me.

I can’t count how many times I’ve watched “Pretty in Pink,” “The Breakfast Club,” “Sixteen Candles” and almost any other John Hughes movie. There are also the teen classics from my time as a teen, including “She’s All That,” “Ten Things I Hate About You” and “Can’t Hardly Wait.”

If I find any of these on TV while flipping through the channels, I’m in and on the couch for the remainder of the movie.

But why? While these are considered by many to be classics of their time, what makes us want to watch movies about one of the most awkward times of our lives?

Truthfully, I don’t know.

Maybe it just makes good cinematic fodder. Our teen years can be pretty humorous after all.

Maybe it’s because our teen years are the last years of true freedom we get while still having the safety net of our parents. It’s a time when really the only things we are having to worry about are whether our crushes even notice our existence, how to make it to class on time and to be home before curfew.

Nostalgia, for the most part, is always a good thing.

Plus, who wouldn’t want someone like Jake Ryan chasing after us or to be able to make an awesome prom dress from Goodwill find like Molly Ringwald did?

So, while I’m glad my teen years are behind me, I can say I do enjoy reminiscing with films such as these. If you’ve got some time, check out “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.”  It’s a cute movie with a good message and from what I understand, there’s going to be a sequel. So prepare accordingly.

Kali Bradford can be reached by email at