The 15 Best Romantic Comedies You Can Stream Right Now

Sarah Shatz, Lionsgate
Sarah Shatz, Lionsgate

Romantic comedies don’t always get their due. The genre is as old as cinema itself, and has been making large audiences in dimly lit rooms flush with the sweeping highs and cringe-happy awkwardness of wuv (twue wuv) for more than a century. Rom-coms been through boom times and busts. They have made progress and been problematic. They've made hearts warm and eyes roll.

It also turns out that looking for the best romantic comedies available through online services is a sign of weakness for our streaming overlords. It’s not hard to find a few dozen gems, but the severe lack of any movies made before 1980 and a more general focus on schlock over substance is enough to make you want to call your congressperson. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, it’s time to up your rom-com game.

What’s more, if you don’t see a movie you absolutely love featured here, check your streaming service again. Chances are it’s not available anymore (au revoir, Amélie). Fortunately, there’s more than enough to crush a 24-hour rom-com marathon for any particular romance-centric days that might be coming up on the calendar.

Let’s cutely meet 15 of the best. (In alphabetical order.)

1. 2 Days In New York (2012)

It’ll help if you’ve seen its predecessor, 2 Days in Paris, but it’s not necessary to enjoy the all-too-real comedy at the heart of Julie Delpy’s canny sequel. The first film explored a minefield of sexual politics with a healthy side order of fragile male ego, but the second features Chris Rock as Marion’s (Delpy) new boyfriend, a fun visit from French family, and an awkward dance around casual racism. Delpy is deft at handling third-rail comedy topics while staying grounded in what it means to be human.

Where to watch it: Hulu

2. The Big Sick (2017)

Boy and girl meet. Boy and girl break up. Girl gets sick. Boy sticks around to hang with girl’s parents in a hospital waiting room. A tale as old as time. Based on their own relationship, Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani’s Oscar-nominated script was rightly hailed as a breath of fresh air when it hit Sundance, as it's filled with an overwhelming amount of emotion. In toying with the genre (by injecting real life), they’ve made a rom-com that begins with two young people falling in love but leads to a young man proving himself to her parents … who just happen to be played by a top-of-their-game Holly Hunter and Ray Romano.

Where to watch it: Amazon

3. Her (2013)

It’s possible that Spike Jonze’s sci-fi love story is sad. Maybe even depressing. But the ending is more sweet than bitter, and there’s way more silver lining than dark cloud if you squint. The movie features the stirring relationship between Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) and an AI virtual assistant (“Alexa, do you maybe wanna go out sometime?”). Scarlett Johansson voices Samantha the AI who lives on the internet and appears at whim on Theodore’s smart device. He teaches her to love, she proves that he’s worthy of it, and they both get an operating system upgrade.

Where to watch it: Netflix

4. Hitch (2005)

Truly living his Willennium to the fullest, Will Smith starred in this slapstick throwback as a dating consultant who can’t get his own love life in order. He braved water skis and an explosive fish allergy to win Eva Mendes’s character’s heart, all while helping the schlubby good guy Albert (Kevin James) stay true to himself and win an out-of-his-league crush Allegra (Amber Valletta). Even with its modern slant (which thankfully isn’t about negging women at bars), it’s still about sweetness beating cynicism.

Where to watch it: Amazon

5. The Incredible Jessica James (2017)

There’s nothing like this odyssey through dating life in the App Era. Former The Daily Show correspondent Jessica Williams owns the hyper-confident, profoundly magnetic main role as a woman with ambitions in every corner of her life. Her unlikely romance with divorcee Boone (Chris O’Dowd) is predicated on refusing to obsess over their exes’ social media accounts anymore, but it blossoms into exactly the best kind of supportive, frantic affair that the genre promises.

Where to watch it: Netflix

6. Jerry Maguire (1996)

This movie completes this list. Without it, there would be a Jerry Maguire-shaped hole. The most sprawling of the modern rom-coms, Cameron Crowe’s film is over two hours of Tom Cruise playing a character trying to climb back up the mountain after jumping into the ocean. Dorothy Boyd (Renée Zellweger) is the only one who sticks by him, setting up a fraught relationship about staying fiercely loyal and rejecting hollow status symbols. Would they have stayed together without the Tidwells’ (Cuba Gooding Jr. and Regina King) loving partnership as a guide? You tell me.

Where to watch it: Amazon

7. Kicking And Screaming (1995)

Noah Baumbach’s directorial debut is a new classic of angsty Gen X relationships. The kicking and screaming in the title refer to a group of recent graduates refusing to cut the academic umbilical cord completely as they head into the “real world.” It flashes between the meet-cute of Grover (Josh Hamilton) and Jane (Olivia d’Abo) in a college writing class and the relationship’s ultimate failure to weather a post-diploma adulthood. They’re dry and witty and compare their parents to presidents a lot. They’re also charming and unforgettable—especially if you’re constantly craving '90s nostalgia.

Where to watch it: Netflix

8. The Lobster (2015)

Yorgos Lanthimos’s absurdist dystopia is a romantic black comedy that envisions a world where you’re either with someone or you’re turned into an animal. At least you get to choose your animal. David (Colin Farrell) eventually falls for a shortsighted woman (Rachel Weisz) rebelling against the whole system, determined to remain single and living in the woods with like-minded friends. If you need tons of sugar in your rom-com, this may not be for you. But if you can laugh at the sheer horror of finding a permanent partner and the pressure society places on all of us to do so, there’s nothing funnier than this.

Where to watch it: Netflix

9. Mamma Mia! (2008)

Like an antidote to despair, this insanely popular jukebox musical features a fantastic cast that looks like they were paid to drink fruity drinks and party on a Greek island for a few months. Undoubtedly the singing and dancing were hard work. It’s the story of Sophie Sheridan (Amanda Seyfried), who invites three of her mother’s (Meryl Streep) former lovers (Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan, and Stellan Skarsgård) to her wedding in the hopes of learning which one is her father. It’s as upbeat as snorting a line of breakfast cereal, goes big on the poppy musical numbers from ABBA, and tosses in a ton of love stories because one just isn’t enough.

Where to watch it: Netflix

10. Meet The Patels (2014)

It’s rare for a documentary to fall into this genre, but this movie is a real-life rom-com. Directed by siblings Geeta V. Patel and Ravi V. Patel, it focuses mostly on Ravi (an actor with bit parts in TV shows and movies), who—after breaking up with an American woman named Audrey—acquiesces to his parents’ wish that he find a partner through traditional, arraigned marriage. What results is a charismatic young man’s journey to discover himself by finding out what he really wants in a wife. It’s an absolutely charming movie that’s as realistic as it gets.

Where to watch it: Netflix

11. Moonstruck (1987)

This Oscar winner is all about personality. Cher won an Academy Award for playing Loretta Castorini, the widow who falls hard for her fiance’s younger brother Ronny (Nicolas Cage). Loretta is a slice of perfection and Ronny is a sweaty baker with a hot temper. Naturally, they look great at the opera together. Yes, it’s about falling head over heels, but it’s also about family so aggravating you’ve gotta love ‘em. It also serves as a potent reminder that Olympia Dukakis is the best.

Where to watch it: Amazon

12. Obvious Child (2014)

Tackling a topic other rom-coms are afraid to go near, Gillian Robespierre’s debut features a star-making performance by Jenny Slate as a comedian named Donna who discovers she’s pregnant and has to schedule an abortion on Valentine’s Day. Instead of hand-wringing about the choice itself, the film focuses on other elements of Donna’s life and features a grounding conversation where Donna’s mother reveals she had an abortion before giving birth to her daughter. It’s an incredibly funny movie featuring a romance that’s built on support and respect instead of mere compatibility.

Where to watch it: Netflix

13. Sabrina (1995)

It may be hard to find true classics on streaming services, but it’s slightly easier to find remakes of those classics. In this one, Sydney Pollack remade Billy Wilder’s three-way romance with Harrison Ford in the Humphrey Bogart role, Julia Ormond in the Audrey Hepburn role, and Greg Kinnear in the William Holden role. Though it's impossible to live up to the 1954 version, it’s still a delightful tale of a chauffer’s daughter enchanting two polar opposite billionaire brothers.

Where to watch it: Amazon

14. She’s Gotta Have It (1986)

There’s a new(ish) series on Netflix based on it, but you can also stream Spike Lee’s raucous movie about a young woman’s battle against monogamy. Tracy Camilla Johns stars as Nola Darling, a Brooklynite having sex with three different men who can’t handle the idea that she’s having sex with three different men. Their insecurity sparks a profound change which Lee mines for depth, heartache, and laughs with his cutthroat genius. It’s an evocative masterpiece featuring one of the most revolutionary modern characters and a healthy subversion of harmful rom-com tropes.

Where to watch it: Netflix

15. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)

Based on Jenny Han’s wildly popular novel, Susan Johnson’s adaptation is a thoroughly modern rom-com with nods to the 1980s classics as well as a powerful reminder that, if you’re going to write love letters to all your crushes, make sure your precocious little sister doesn’t mail them. That’s exactly what happens to Lara Jean Covey (Lana Condor), a shy teen trying to keep her head down while harboring strong feelings for her life-long friend Josh (Israel Broussard), who’s off-limits because he dated Lara Jean’s sister. After the letters go loose in the wild, Lara Jean agrees to fake a relationship with latter-recipient Peter (Noah Centineo) so she can pretend her feelings for Josh aren’t real and so he can win his ex-girlfriend back through jealousy. It’s a tangled web worthy of Shakespeare that’s funny, sweet, and as enriching as drinkable yogurt.

Where to watch it: Netflix

8 Sequels That Received Oscar Nominations for Best Picture

Jasin Boland, Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
Jasin Boland, Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

It’s rare when a movie sequel manages to stand up to the original entry in a film series. Even rarer? When a sequel is so good that it nabs an Oscars nomination for Best Picture. Here are eight movies that did just that.

1. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

When Mad Max: Fury Road was released in theaters in 2015, no one thought that it would be a critical darling—or an awards contender . But when the Academy Award nominations were announced in 2016, the latest entry in George Miller’s Mad Max franchise earned a whopping 10 nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director. Fury Road is the fourth installment in the series and was the first to hit theaters in 30 years (since the release of 1985’s Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome). It’s also the first movie in the franchise to receive any recognition from the Academy.

2. Toy Story 3 (2010)

A still from 'Toy Story 3' (2010)
Disney/Pixar

In 2011, Toy Story 3 was nominated for five Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Animated Feature. Though The King’s Speech ended up taking the night’s top prize, Toy Story 3 (which was named Best Animated Feature) made history that night, as it was the third ever animated movie to score a Best Picture nod; 1991’s Beauty and the Beast and 2009’s Up are the other two films to earn the same accolade.

3. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

Although the first two installments in The Lord of the Rings trilogy—2001’s The Fellowship of the Ring and 2002’s The Two Towers—were each nominated for Best Picture, it was the final movie that ended up winning the Academy Award in 2004. In fact, The Return of the King won 11 Oscars that year, sweeping every category in which it was nominated, and tying Ben-Hur and Titanic for the most awards received in one night.

4. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)

In 2003, The Two Towers won two of the six Oscars for which it was nominated, for Best Sound Editing and Best Visual Effects. Rob Marshall’s musical Chicago beat it out for Best Picture.  

5. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter in 'The Silence of the Lambs' (1991)
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

In 1992, The Silence of the Lambs made a clean sweep of the “Big Five” categories: Best Picture, Best Director for Jonathan Demme, Best Actor for Sir Anthony Hopkins, Best Actress for Jodie Foster, and Best Adapted Screenplay for Ted Tally. Although The Silence of the Lambs isn’t a direct sequel to Michael Mann’s 1986 film Manhunter, it’s based on the sequel novel to author Thomas Harris’s Red Dragon, on which Manhunter was based. It also features the character Hannibal Lecter in a major role, who was played by Brian Cox in Manhunter—before Hopkins made the role his own. Got that?

6. The Godfather: Part III (1990)

Though it’s often considered the far inferior film in The Godfather trilogy, The Godfather: Part III received seven Academy Award nominations in 1991, including Best Picture and Best Director for Francis Ford Coppola. Ultimately, it lost to Kevin Costner’s Dances with Wolves, making it the only installment in The Godfather Saga not to win a Best Picture Oscar.

7. The Godfather: Part II (1974)

Al Pacino in 'The Godfather: Part II' (1974)
Paramount Pictures

In 1975, The Godfather: Part II became the first sequel in Oscar history to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. It won the coveted award two years after the original film was named Best Picture. The sequel was nominated for a total of 11 Oscars, with three separate nominations in the Best Supporting Actor category alone: one for Michael Vincenzo Gazzo (who played Frankie Pentangeli) and Lee Strasberg (as Hyman Roth), and one for Robert De Niro, who took home the statuette for playing the younger version of Vito Corleone.

8. The Bells of St. Mary's (1945)

Though it lost Best Picture to Billy Wilder’s The Lost Weekend at the 1946 Oscars, The Bells of St. Mary’s is the first movie sequel to be nominated for the Academy’s biggest prize. The film is a sequel to Leo McCarey’s previous film, 1944’s Going My Way, which won the Oscar for Best Picture a year earlier. While Going My Way and The Bells of St. Mary’s feature different stories and casts, Bing Crosby stars in both movies as Father Chuck O'Malley.

An earlier version of this article ran in 2016.

James Cameron Directed Entourage's Aquaman, But He Could Never Direct the Real One

Tommaso Boddi, Getty Images for AMC
Tommaso Boddi, Getty Images for AMC

Oscar-winning director James Cameron is no stranger to CGI. With movies like Avatar under his belt, you’d expect Cameron to find a particular sort of enjoyment in special effects-heavy movies like James Wan's Aquaman. But Cameron—who directed the fictional version of Aquaman featuring fictional movie star Vinnie Chase in the very real HBO series Entourage—has a little trouble with suspension of disbelief.

In a recent interview with Yahoo!, Cameron said that while he did enjoy Aquaman, he would never have been able to direct the movie itself because of its lack of realism.

"I think it’s great fun,” Cameron said. “I never could have made that film, because it requires this kind of total dreamlike disconnection from any sense of physics or reality. People just kind of zoom around underwater, because they propel themselves mentally, I guess, I don’t know. But it’s cool! You buy it on its own terms.”

"I’ve spent thousands of hours underwater," the Titanic director went on to say. "While I can enjoy that film, I don’t resonate with it because it doesn’t look real.”

While Aquaman was shot on a soundstage, Cameron will be employing state-of-the-art technology that will allow him to actually be underwater while shooting underwater scenes for his upcoming Avatar sequels.

[h/t Yahoo!]

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