These Are the Best Movies You Can Watch on HBO Right Now
The Home Box Office is good for much more than those prestige series.
Let’s talk HBO. Quietly, though! Really don’t want to distract them from getting on with filming Season Three of Succession, please.
Anyway. HBO. The veteran premium cable channel is known for its prestige TV, of course, but it also, with the addition of HBO Max, has a whole catalog of films that rival even Netflix. And although Netflix has a library that spans for days, HBO has the substance. With a collection of major franchise installments, Academy Award winners, and crowd favorites, HBO is a serious streaming contender.
So while we wait for Season Three of Succession together (have you caught our suggestion, y’all?), let’s turn to HBO’s movie offerings. The premium cable channel title stands for Home Box Office, which feels like the most fitting place to go in a year where there is literally no box office outside of your home anyway.
Nominated for ten Oscars, this 2010 Coen Brothers remake of the 1969 classic is a thrilling Western comedy. Hailee Steinfeld stars as Mattie Ross, who hires Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges) to help her avenge her father’s murder at the hands of an outlaw named Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin). A Texas Ranger named LaBoeuf (Matt Damon) is on the same quest for his own reasons, and the unlikely trio sets off together on a very entertaining journey.
Queen & Slim
Queen & Slim is a 2019 romantic drama directed by Melina Matsoukas with a screenplay by Lena Waithe. It’s the story of a Black couple’s first date gone wrong after a police encounter gets out of control and the man kills the cop in self-defense. The film follows the couple as they go on the run, becoming symbols of trauma and terror for communities across the nation along the way.
The Normal Heart
Ryan Murphy’s powerful Emmy-award winning 2014 adaptation for HBO of the 1985 play follows a writer (Mark Ruffalo) and his friends as they fight to dispel the truth about the AIDS crisis within the government and the gay community in 1980s New York.
Beasts of the Southern Wild
This gorgeous 2012 drama was the breakout film for Quvenzhané Wallis, who shines as six-year-old Hushpuppy. She lives with her father Wink, played by Dwight Henry, who falls ill as nature descends into chaos. With their community in danger and her father sick, Hushpuppy sets out in search of her absent mother.
The 1999 drama American Beauty follows a family in crisis as the patriarch (Kevin Spacey) becomes infatuated with his teenage daughter’s best friend (Mena Suvari). The moody movie won Oscars for Best Screenplay, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Film, and though Spacey’s standing in Hollywood has taken a nosedive, the film remains a classic.
They said a WWII comedy couldn’t be done, and Taika Waititi proved them wrong. Both deeply heartbreaking and laugh out loud funny, Jojo Rabbit tells the story of Jojo, a lonely young German boy who is dismayed to discover that his mother (Scarlett Johansson) is hiding a Jewish girl in their home. With only his imaginary friend Adolf Hitler to consult on the matter, Jojo must weigh his blind nationalism against his heart.
The Fast and The Furious
Everyone knows that the best iteration of The Fast and the Furious franchise is Tokyo Drift (fight us), but there’s nothing quite like the original. Rob Cohen’s original film follows Brian O’Connor, an undercover cop played by Paul Walker, on his mission to discover the identities of a group of car hijackers led by Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel).
Spielberg’s 2012 biographical historical drama depicts President Lincoln’s strife and determination as he resolves to end of the Civil War and abolish slavery. Daniel Day-Lewis won the Oscar for Best Actor for his performance as President Abraham Lincoln.
King of Staten Island
Judd Apatow’s King of Staten Island is a semi-autobiographical film about Pete Davidson, starring Davidson himself. In it, he works through losing his father on 9/11, his mental health, and coming up into comedy. The movie, like Pete himself, is young, dark, and deeply funny.
Tarantino’s revenge movie starring Uma Thurman is not for the faint of heart. The Bride (Uma Thurman) is a former assassin who wakes from a coma four years after a jealous ex attempted to murder her on her wedding day, and her quest to get even makes for one of the most violent movies of all time.
Ridley Scott? Tom Skerritt? Good reasons to watch Alien, but if you don’t think that Sigourney Weaver’s kickass turn as Ripley isn’t a benchmark and a half for the sci-fi genre, then get out of here. The late ’70s-extraterrestrial thriller is a standard for the genre and spawned (no pun intended) a litany of sequels to follow. It will kill every dream you had of being an astronaut, but it’s entertaining as hell.
No one said that Ma is high cinema, but it’s a damn good time. Octavia Spencer plays “Ma,” who turns out to be a high school reject hellbent on revenge for the worst years of her life. Rocking a bowl cut, she remains proof that if a total stranger says “Don’t make me drink alone!” it’s probably best to just let her drink alone, else you want to get your mouth sewn shut.
Jordan Peele’s follow-up to Get Out puts Lupita Nyong’o in the horror movie driver seat as a family on vacation discovers that not only do they have doppelgängers, but they’re fully out to kill them. But even when it seems that all the plot points are neatly laid out, the film turns on itself and unleashes a reveal that makes its viewers wonder who they should have been rooting for all along.