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The Best Romance Shows and Movies to Stream on Netflix Right Now

To All the Boys I've Loved Before | Photo Credits: Netflix

There is no greater way to treat yourself than curling up with a bottle of wine, some good cheese, and a rom-com. Despite the dearth of quality options on the big screen in the last few years, Netflix has been holding us down with its originals. From movies to anthologies to ambitious multi-season shows, there's truly something to suit everyone's tastes. TV Guide combed through the best of the best and made these recs just for you. Just make sure you pour an extra glass for us in spirit.

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To All The Boys I Loved Before
What its about:
After all her secret love letters get mailed to her crushes, a young Korean-American teenager finds herself in a fake relationship with a popular boy at school in order to avoid ruining her friendship with the crush of her dreams.
You should watch if: You crave a YA adaptation that goes above and beyond the novel. To All The Boys is possibly the best rom-com of the last 10 years, and it takes all of the best rom-com tropes and infuses them with a realistic, empathetic love story.

Love Per Square Foot
What its about:
Two coworkers scam to win the housing lottery for the apartment of their dreams. The only catch? They have to pretend to be engaged, and their families -- who come from very different religious and class backgrounds -- are not on board.
You should watch if: You're looking for a delightful twist on the classic scammers-getting-scammed-into-love narrative. This Netflix India original is a fresh Bollywood take on the modern millennial's greatest nightmare: actually becoming a responsible adult.

Candy Jar
What its about:
Two competitive high school debate stars are forced to work together to win a championship title that will get them into the college of their dreams. Along the way they find out that there's more to life than just studying.
You should watch if: You love a story about two loners finally finding someone who really understands them. It's nowhere nearly as popular as To All The Boys, but it should be.

She's Gotta Have It
What its about:
The Netflix reboot of the Spike Lee classic spins out Nola Darling's (DeWanda Wise) story in the modern era. Dating three wildly different men at once, Nola is being pulled in so many different directions that she has trouble figuring out what will really make her happy.
You should watch if: You're in the mood to laugh about how sweet and terrible all of your exes were. Nola might be brave enough at the end of the series to make the right (and surprisingly queer) choice, but watching her stumble through a bunch of romantic mistakes on the way there will have you reminiscing in a good way.

Ali's Wedding
What its About: The Australian born-and-bred son of an Iraqi cleric tells a white lie about his engagement that spins wildly out of control.
You should watch if: You're jonesing for an immigrant story that's not tragedy porn. A sweet, joyful experience, this movie is the uplifting note you've been waiting for.

Lovesick
What its About: A man -- with the help of his two beleaguered friends -- has to revisit all his exes to tell them that he might have given them an STD and finds out why all of his romantic endeavors failed along the way.
You should watch if: The British sensibility for scathing truths delivered via understatement calls to you. Don't let the goofy premise fool you, this series will wallop you in the face with emotions and by the end you'll have cathartically cried many times over.

The Hook Up Plan
What its About: To get their friend over an ex, two women hire a male prostitute to pretend to date her. Unsurprisingly, their connection turns into something real only to be ruined when the truth comes out.
You should watch if: You want a take on falling in love from the people who do it best -- the French. This charming Parisian sitcom will have you howling with laughter and cheering for our girls the whole time.

Crashing
What its about: A young woman crashes with her friend and his girlfriend at their squatter's complex and makes everyone's lives (including her own) a living hell when her latent attraction to her friend ruins his relationship.
You should watch if: You love Phoebe Waller-Bridge's particular brand of dark comedy. The show is just as sad as it is funny, and there's some delightful side characters as well as an amazing coming-out story to balance out the show.

Chewing Gum
What its about: A young virginal woman from the estates (that's British for projects) finds that the older she gets the less she knows about the world. Thankfully for her, she finds some small, but meaningful connections to help her find her place.
You should watch if: You're in the mood to watch a love story where there's no such thing as Prince Charming. A joyful, buoyant watch, this show is all about appreciating people -- warts and all.

Sex Education
What its about: The awkward son of a renowned sex therapist sets up an underground sex therapy practice at his high school, suddenly becoming the one guy everyone wants to talk about their relationship and sex problems with.
You should watch if: You revel in realistic and optimistic stories about teenagers that don't shy away from the tough conversations. Sex Education is a great reminder that no matter how alone you feel, there's someone out there who is in the same boat.

Easy
What its about: This anthology series interweaves the stories of loosely connected Chicago friends as they explore all the different ways people can love (and have sex).
You should watch if: You really can't pick what kind of romance you're in the mood for. Don't worry, Easy truly does have it all.

Juanita
What its about: Alfre Woodard stars in this Netflix movie about a woman so fed up with her life that she picks up and sets off into the unknown -- while leaving her grown children behind.
You should watch if: You want a romance that's all about a woman falling in love with herself and finding a new lease on life.

Sense 8
What its about: Eight strangers wake up one day to discover they're psychically linked, and as they unravel a massive conspiracy while running for their lives, they redefine the meaning of family and love.
You should watch if: You love the Wachowskis and want to delve into another one of their rich sci-fi worlds -- only this time it's an international and metaphysical thriller with, and I cannot stress this enough, the wildest mental orgies on TV.



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What's Fact and Fiction in Netflix's Mötley Crüe Biopic The Dirt?

Colson Baker, Daniel Webber, Douglas Booth, Iwan Rheon, The Dirt | Photo Credits: Jake Giles Netter

Netflix's Mötley Crüe biopic The Dirt is based on a book by the same name by the band with ghostwriter Neil Strauss, who later wrote the pick-up artist memoir The Game. For the most part it's a very faithful adaptation. It has, of course, undergone much of the condensing necessary when adapting a book for film, and many of the anecdotes in the self-consciously outrageous book are too depraved to be shown on-screen, like the part about how the band members used to stick their own members into breakfast burritos to hide the smell of other women from their girlfriends. (The Dirt is a very crazy book!) But most of the wild scenes in Jeff Tremaine's movie really happened, according to Nikki and Tommy and Mick and Vince, and the movie is upfront about a lot of the stuff that's fudged -- shout-out to vanished manager Doug Thaler. Consider this your book-to-screen compendium of truth.

The structure. The movie changes perspectives every few scenes to be narrated by a different band member, their manager Doc McGhee (David Costabile), or record executive Tom Zutaut (Pete Davidson), a technique taken directly from the book. The book is written in a very conversational tone that lends itself to narration, which the movie borrows liberally. The effect is a little different in the movie, because the book is heavily devoted to cataloging the band's bad behavior. Every page feels like the sequence where Tommy Lee (Colson Baker) describes life on the road from his wobbly, drunken, pukey, tunnel-vision point of view.

The characters. The personalities of the band members square with how they present themselves in the book: Nikki Sixx (Douglas Booth) is the visionary plagued by personal demons that turn him into an asshole; Tommy Lee is the goofy, impressionable kid who just wants to have fun but has a dark, violent side; Mick Mars (Iwan Rheon) is the cranky misanthrope whose age, chronic illness, and quiet form of alcoholism separates him from his drug-addicted, party-hearty bandmates; and Vince Neil (Daniel Webber) is the unknowable sex maniac. The biggest difference is in tone. The book's in-their-own-words style captures their relentless narcissism, which is sometimes obnoxiously cocky, sometimes pathetically self-loathing, and sometimes both at once. It also captures their disgusting misogyny and outright criminality. In the book they come off as lowlifes in a way that a biographical movie is unable to show, since the act of making a movie about them inherently mythologizes them. The Dirt has a hero's journey structure but no heroes.

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The opening scene. This is a SFW website, so I can't really get too graphic about what happens in the movie's opening scene between Tommy Lee and his lady friend with a certain aquatic ability. But many of the book's early pages are about Tommy's tumultuous relationship with a woman his bandmates cruelly nickname "Bullwinkle" and with whom Tommy will not break up because she can do that thing.

The first show. It seems unbelievable, but according to Vince, the band's show did break out into a brawl. "One meathead, in a black AC/DC shirt, hocked a loogey that landed on my white leather pants," Vince Neil Strauss writes. "Without even thinking, I leapt off the stage midphrase and put him in a headlock and started pummeling him." And then they won the crowd over.

Tom Zutaut. Pete Davidson doesn't look anything like the Elektra Records A&R guy who signed them to their first record deal, and the real story of how that record deal came about is much more complicated and arduous than the comically easy way it's portrayed in the movie. But Zutaut really did wear a rugby shirt. And Vince really did have sex with his girlfriend, which he found out about from Neil Strauss many years later. Tom's line, "Bottom line is don't ever leave your girlfriend alone with Mötley Crüe, ever. Because they'll f--- her," is true. They even f---ed each other's girlfriends. They were animals.

Ozzy Osbourne. An Ozzy Osbourne biopic would be even crazier than The Dirt. The scene where Ozzy (Tony Cavalero) snorts a line of ants, licks up his own pee off the ground, and then laps up Nikki's pee really happened. He did stuff like that all the time. In the book, he didn't portentously warn the Crüe that they'd go "f---ing mad" if they pushed things too far before he did all that, though.

Tommy Lee. Tommy Lee really did punch his fiancée in the face for insulting his mother. It's bad in the movie, but it's even worse in the book. In the book, he knocks her teeth out. This leads to a moment of introspection about how out-of-control they're getting, and then they get even more out-of-control. The movie just moves on, leaving it up to the viewer to connect this sordid act to the ones that come later. The movie downplays how bad these guys actually were. It shows the ugly stuff, but it doesn't show it as ugly as it really was. It's weird to call a movie this much sex, drugs, and violence "sanitized," but it is.

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Razzle. Vince's car accident that killed his friend Razzle happened pretty much just like that, though. In the book, Vince's legal troubles and their impact on the band as a whole gets a much deeper dive, but the fact that Nikki never went to visit him in jail or in rehab due to his own worsening heroin addiction is true and very depressing. More on Vince later.

Nikki's addiction. The movie does a good job of showing how squalid and paranoid Nikki's heroin addiction made him. And according to him, he really was revived from overdose death with two adrenaline shots to the chest, though former Guns N' Roses drummer Stephen Adler disputes this.

Zombie Dust. The drug cocktail favored by Nikki and Tommy gets name-checked in the movie, but it doesn't get explained. The book has the facts: "A mix of Halcion, a nervous-system sedative, and cocaine, a nervous-system stimulant. Crushed and stored in vial. When consumed, keeps body awake but shuts brain off."

Vince Neil. The movie's biggest fictionalization is how it portrays Vince Neil's life. His first wife, Beth, and his second wife, Sharise, are composited into the character played by Leven Rambin, and his daughters get composited, too. When Vince's wife left in the movie, it was after he came home from the Dr. Feelgood tour, and their daughter left behind a note telling him she loved him. In the book, however, there's nothing about a note. Vince says that he came home in 1986 from serving his 19-day manslaughter sentence to find that Beth had left with their two-and-a-half year-old daughter Elizabeth and took everything in the house except Vince's Rolex and his Camaro Z28. This is the only time Elizabeth is mentioned in the book. Their exit from his life prompts Vince to slide deeper into hedonism and build a mud wrestling ring in the backyard (Vince loved to watch strippers mud wrestle) and befriend a coke dealer named Whitey. Vince was on probation for manslaughter due to drunk driving at this time. His daughter who died, Skyler, was with his second wife, and that happened in 1995. The Dr. Feelgood era/Vince quitting/his daughter getting sick/the band reuniting section of the movie happened over a much longer period of time than it felt like in the movie. Vince's relationship with his family in the movie is played to make him sympathetic in a way he is not in real life. The real Vince Neil has continued to drive drunk and assault women (sometimes in the presence of Nicolas Cage).

Cutting room floor. There are so many crazy things in the book that didn't make it into the movie. Their manager before Doc McGee and Doug Thaler was a guy named Coffman who would get drunk and have Vietnam flashbacks. He made some shady deals with the band's money and disappeared. At one point in the book, Tom Zutaut claims that he saw with his own two eyes how Nikki's dalliances in the occult led to knives actually flying around Nikki's house of their own accord, and Nikki got so scared that he changed "Shout with the Devil" to "Shout at the Devil." There's a misadventure in Japan where even relatively level-headed Mick Mars lost his mind, and Nikki was arrested for hitting an innocent bystander with a bottle of Jack meant for their tour manager. The Japan trip is a turning point in the book, but it would have felt like a subplot in the movie. It's fine that all this stuff didn't make the cut. The movie is 90 minutes of uncut debauchery and degradation as it is.

The Dirt is now streaming on Netflix.

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The Blacklist Gets the Band Back Together

Megan Boone, The Blacklist | Photo Credits: Will Hart/NBC

It turns out the main character of The Blacklist did not receive the death penalty by lethal injection. Who would have guessed?

With the shadow of Reddington's (James Spader) execution hanging over, last week's episode played like a culmination of sorts -- for individual relationships and for The Blacklist's Season 6 storylines. The moments shared between Red and both Harold (Harry Lennix) and Liz (Megan Boone) gave the show an emotional heft it rarely achieves, to the point where even the newfound attention paid to a corrupt U.S. president couldn't drag the hour down.

But The Blacklist has to move forward from last week's cliffhanger, and from those wrenching conversations between key characters. Although there will surely be continued emotional fallout from Red's time in prison, the conclusion of the two-part "Bastien Moreau" leaned far more on the conspiracies and the cabals than the first part.

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Presidential involvement in the show's long-running shadow group gives the show a new antagonist and promises to inch Red closer to heroic territory. The show's challenge is making the moments along the way feel dramatic when it's operating in well-treaded territory for shows like this. If this episode is any indication of what the back half of the season looks like, it might be a long march toward the White House.

It's disappointing but understandable that the show would move past Reddington in jail and/or on death row. That's an untenable situation for a show that was recently renewed for another season. Little moments in this episode -- namely Red's confident declaration that he, in fact, knew nothing about the assassination attempt he claimed to hold secret intel on -- illustrated what The Blacklist gains from having its lead character out of prison and in the mix with everyone else. Bringing the proverbial band back together is great.


What the show gave up to produce those moments, and to move into a new phase of the story, is not great.

The handling of Liz's so-called investigation into Red's identity and her parents has been baffling. There's parsing out pieces of a story to fit the 22-episode season and there's this troubling approach. Liz's motivations have gotten all mixed up, and only so much of that can be attributed to her legitimate connection to her fake father. In fact, her current decision to punt on the investigation would have been more powerful had the show committed to exploring the investigation more in the first place. Given the absolute certainty that the thread returns in some form -- whether through a reveal that Liz was working Red and Ressler all along or a more earnest recommitment -- the show has made Liz look silly yet again.

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Meanwhile, the conspiracy angle has been given extra juice with the White House involvement. Yet the president and his aide aren't real characters, but monologuing evil cutouts for Red and the task force to eventually push over. There's no outcome that could hold real weight or impact the characters that the show truly cares about. If the task force takes down the president then, well, there's another season and so the cabal will reconfigure just enough to continue to pester. That evolution has already been established as fundamental to the cabal; why wouldn't it happen again?

Shows like this tend to believe that raising the stakes to the White House creates for more compelling TV. That's almost never the case. Dossiers, lists, jump drives -- all those MacGuffins don't help either. It's simply frustrating to see the capabilities of The Blacklist in part one of "Bastien Moreau." Too often, the show wants to be the version visible in part two.

The Blacklist airs Fridays at 9/8c on NBC.



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