The Blue & Gray Press

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Recipes and reviews: a new Netflix release viewing guide

6 min read

Kaytlyn Bidde | The Blue & Gray Press


Senior Writer

Death Note: Review

Death Note is a Netflix original that came out Aug. 25 this year. Based on the highly successful weekly shonen manga, Death Note, the movie revolves around a 17-year-old boy named Light Turner. He comes across a mysterious notebook that has power over death, with conditions of course. Turner discovers this power and various shenanigans ensue.

Turner gains the attention of a certain infamous detective that goes only by the name of L.

I was excited for this movie but the excitement was quickly dampened given the controversy surrounding it since its announcement last year. The movie came under fire for it’s apparent whitewashing of the cast and the fact that the movie was moved from the story’s original location, Japan, to the western location of Seattle.

These changes to the story were choices that many fans, including myself, were concerned about. My concerns were valid, however, somehow I was still able to enjoy. The first half of the movie made me feel like the movie was produced by a fan whole only showed the highlight reels of a tv series. The second half drags on with the typical flair of a who dunnit mystery.

However, this movie redeems itself through various other components. The director was fantastic when it came to the theme of the movie. Their vision is clearly laid out and maintains itself throughout the movie. The performances of the actors shine through, especially the performance by veteran actor, William DaFoe, who lends his voice to the mascot of the film, Ryuk.

Each actor blends the original qualities of the characters with their own unique spin. It was their performances that made me keep watching. The plot of the movie differs from the manga series, however it maintains the unique qualities that made the series stand out originally. That’s as far as the authenticity goes but it may have been for the best.

Something the movie also did well was the callbacks to the original story. Two of the ones I noticed particularly were Ryuk’s love for apples and L’s habit of eating sweets. Inspired by those two callbacks, I decided to include two recipes that I made for my own personal viewing party of this movie. As both a college student and known disaster in the kitchen, I tried to find things that connected with the movie while still being simple to make. I felt like I was L when I was watching the movie, stuffing my face with cake and cider.

Recipe: L’s Strawberry Cake Bites                                                 

Recipe makes 28 to 32 servings


1 box of strawberry cake mix

1 can of vanilla icing

2 bowls (one for the cake and one for mixing)

Whisk (beater)

Spoon (cookie scooper)

Tray (plate)


  1. Bake the cake mix, according to the instructions. If you bought a pre-made cake you can skip this step.

  2. Once the cake is cooled, crumble the cake into one of the bowls. Try to make the pieces as small as possible. Larger chunks of cake are harder to roll into bites.

  3. Once the cake is crumbled completely, put the whole can of icing into the second bowl.

  4. Slowly mix the crumbled cake into the icing.

  5. Once the icing and the cake are completely mixed, use a spoon (or cookie scoop if you have one available) to create even amounts of the cake and icing mixture.

  6. Roll each spoonful of mixture into the shape of a ball (you can make these as big or small as you want).

  7. Place the ball on the plate or tray.

  8. Repeat this process until all of the mixture is used or until you’ve made the desired amount of bites.

  9. Place the tray in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. I left mine in overnight.

  10. OPTIONAL: If you want, you can cover the bites in chocolate chips, candy, sprinkles, or even melted chocolate. This is up to you. I striped mine with melted chocolate.

  11. ENJOY!!!

    Light’s Butterscotch Spiced Apple Cider

Recipe makes one serving (can be modified for multiple servings)


Box of apple cider mix OR jug of apple cider

Water (for apple cider mix)

Butterscotch chips



Whipped cream





  1. Heat your water or cider in the microwave. I heated my water for two minutes.

  2. In the mug before you pour your cider or water, put a couple of butterscotch chips at the bottom, along with a dash of cinnamon. You can also put nutmeg if you have it. If you have a cider mix, put the mix in as well.

  3. Once your water (or cider) is done heating up, pour it into the mug.

  4. Use the spoon to mix up the spices and chips at the bottom of the mug. By mixing the drink, the chips should begin to melt.

  5. Top the drink with whipped cream (butterscotch chips and cinnamon are optional).

    Beauty and the Beast: Review

    The Beauty and the Beast live-action movie was a remake people didn’t ask for. Coming to Netflix on Sept. 19, the movie features an all-star cast and veteran director, Bill Condon. Much like other live action versions, general audiences felt the remake could never live up to the Disney classic.

    I shared this opinion with my fellow viewers, and watched the film with a heavy amount of skepticism. With a new gilded flair, three new songs and a longer running time, “Beauty and the Beast” tries to mix nostalgia, fan-service and originality to create something we hadn’t seen before. The problem is that we had. Most people who were coming into this movie had seen the previous 1991 Disney version. There were thousands of different ideas and expectations that were put into the production, however I, among other avid fans felt doubtful.

    When I first heard of the production of the film I thought it was going to hit every mark and bring just enough fresh air to the original framework. It did just that, every actor seemed perfectly placed, with Dan Stevens putting more emotion into a performance than I had thought CGI could allow. The new songs blended seamlessly in with the old and everyone seemed to come out of the movie singing one of them.

    I’m not saying this movie is perfect. Of course it has it’s flaws, however, given that it was under such intense scrutiny and high expectations, I could not have asked for more. On Sept. 19, I will happily be sitting in front of my computer, singing right along.

    For this movie, I knew I had to do the “grey stuff” (mug cake). As a college student, and mess maker extraordinaire, I had to find something that wouldn’t cause me to start any fires. That is why I included the “Be Our Guest” mug cake. It was so easy and so simple that I was worried it had to taste awful. Lo and behold, it’s the perfect mini cake. I’m going to be eating this all the time, and will definitely have two prepared for viewing day.

    Beauty and the Beast:

    Recipe: Be Our Guest Mug Cake


    1 box of cake mix (I used chocolate cake mix)

    1 tub of buttercream frosting

    Unsweetened applesauce

    Edible silver glitter or silver sprinkles

    A 12 oz mug

    Ziploc bag


    1. Measure out 6 tablespoons of cake mix and put into the mug

    2. Add 2 tablespoons of applesauce and 1 tablespoon of water into the mug

    3. Mix together ingredients until batter is smooth

    4. Microwave for about 1 min.

    5. OPTIONAL: Using the ziploc bag, cut triangles into the bag to create a star tip

    6. Getting the tub of buttercream icing, put a small amount into the ziploc bag.

    7. Ice the top of the cake to create a swirl, like an ice cream cone.

    8. Dust the icing with the silver glitter and serve

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