[Warning the following contains spoilers for The OA: Part II. Read at your own risk!]
It doesn't matter if you're talking to someone who loves The OA or someone who hates it, both people will tell you that the Netflix thriller is insane. But Part II of the enigmatic series created by Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij takes the word insane to the next level as OA (Marling) continues her journey across dimensions to reunite with her soulmate, Homer (Emory Cohen). In fact, nothing encapsulates that word more than a character who debuts in the fourth episode of the new season: a telepathic octopus named Old Knight. This is not a joke. The OA: Part II features a giant octopus that can communicate directly with OA when his tentacles are pressed to her arms. It is the coolest thing you will see on television this year.
OA encounters Old Knight as she and her new private detective friend, Karim (Kingsley Ben-Adir), make their way to an underground club to find out more about OA's second-dimension alter ego, Nina Azarova. While only the other dimension-travelers can tell the difference between OA and Nina, Old Knight proves his wisdom immediately by sensing that OA is not who she is pretending to be. In fact, that introductory conversation reveals that Old Knight knows a lot more about OA, jumping dimensions, and the secret behind her ability to survive so many near-death experiences than she does. He is a telepathic octopus who knows all of the answers. Well, he was.
To help show OA the next step in her path, he has to strangle her -- with her permission -- to trigger her near-death experience vision. But OA was the only one who could hear Old Knight's conversation in her head, so those watching her interact with this giant octopus, including Karim, had no idea that he wasn't a threat. When Old Knight wrapped his tentacle around OA's throat, Karim rushed the stage and killed him in order to save OA.
The OA introduced an all-knowing telepathic octopus and then killed him after one scene before the audience ever got the chance to fully appreciate him. While this is definitely not the most controversial choice of the second season, it definitely is a huge missed opportunity. What makes Old Knight's short time on screen even more infuriating is that OA ends up getting answers from another all-knowing being. The next episode finds her hanging out with a giant, lit-up tree, which is visually stunning but does not incite nearly the amount of intrigue that Old Knight did. We get it, the tree is a symbol for the tree of life, but does it also have the secrets of the deep blue sea hidden in the depths of its giant pulsating brain?!
While Karim had the best intentions when he severed Old Knight's tentacles, we can't help but feel robbed of valuable time we could have had with the most batsh--, ridiculously cool character this show has ever conceived of (which is saying a lot). Old Knight was out there just trying to do what everyone else on the show is trying to do -- help OA along her path to her true power -- and he was killed for it. He frankly deserved a lot better. It's ridiculous that the tree will get the credit for the knowledge Old Knight was ready to impart to our hero before he was unjustly murdered.
So let's pour one out for Old Knight, whom we will never be able to get a beer with or interrogate about the secrets to life, but who absolutely deserves his own spin-off when this is all over with. If The OA Part II hadn't concluded with the most meta ending ever, we'd demand his rebirth in Part III.
Rest in peace, Old Knight. You knew so much and were gone too soon.
The OA Part II is now streaming on Netflix.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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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.
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.
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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