The Best Movies Currently on HBO Max
You want movies? They've got you covered.
Let's face it: You can only watch so much Netflix. At a certain point, all those little floating movie posters start to blend together, and you groan, "I've already watched all these movies a dozen times." Well, that's what HBO Max is for. The still relatively new streaming service boasts original series and the HBO TV back catalog, but it also has a truly impressive library of movies. Dig into these beloved classics, box office hits, hidden gems, and recent award-winners currently showing on the premium sibling services.
Above the Rim (1994)Basketball dramas are plentiful, but only one has a scene-stealing performance from the late great Tupac Shakur. Many sports movies have since drawn from this classic, too, as a drama about a high school sports star (Duane Martin) pursuing his professional dreams while attempting to remain loyal to his friends and his family. And yet, despite the stacked cast (Bernie Mac, Marlon Wayans, etc.) and great soundtrack, Above the Rim has remained extremely underrated. Watch the '90s flick and see for yourself.
Alien (1979)Ridley Scott's chest-bursting, nerve-frying science-fiction classic doesn't mess around. After introducing us to the chatty blue collar workers aboard a commercial rig floating through the vastness of the galaxy, the movie goes into stealth mode and picks off characters one by one as the tension rises, leaving Sigourney Weaver's Ripley to fend for herself against some of the nastiest special effects ever dreamed up. James Cameron's militarized sequel Aliens is also on HBO Max at the moment, and some argue it's even better, but we're partial to the original. Check them both out and decide for yourself.
All the President's Men (1976)In a political climate that's called on the media to dig up no shortage of controversies, it seems fitting to revisit the newspaper heroes of yore. Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford co-star as Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, respectively, the two Washington Post reporters who unearthed the details of President Richard Nixon's now-infamous Watergate scandal. This Alan J. Pakula-helmed drama is a psychologically piercing classic that'll make you view the current political landscape with a healthy amount of cynicism and hope.
American Splendor (2003)Paul Giamatti plays the perfect curmudgeon in this quirky biopic of Harvey Pekar, the Cleveland-based illustrator behind the self-deprecating comic book strip also called American Splendor. Pekar shot to national fame thanks to combative appearances on David Letterman's late-night show, the last of which effectively turned into an on-air argument that ended their tense friendship. Part-documentary (with appearances from Pekar himself), part comic book, and part fictional biopic, there's nothing quite like American Splendor—a fitting tribute, because there was no one quite like Harvey Pekar.
Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)Yeah, baby, yeah! There’s no franchise that’s quite as groovy as Austin Powers, the Mike Myers comedy about a sex-crazed, mod spy cryogenically frozen and reanimated in the '90s. It's an absolutely absurd James Bond sendup, but that's half the fun in watching him take on the villain Dr. Evil (also Mike Myers). If you find the London swinger with those teeth and Victorian lace ensembles as irresistible as apparently every woman on the planet, you can also catch the second and third installments on HBO Max, too. Yes, please!
The Beguiled (2017)This remake of the 1971 Clint Eastwood-Geraldine Page drama returns to the Farnsworth seminary, a haven for proper young women avoiding the corruption of Civil War. Tucked away in the mist-swept backwoods of Virginia, the disciples of Miss Farnsworth (Nicole Kidman) live regimented days, a strain of well-intentioned repression eventually imploded by the arrival of John McBurney (Collin Farrell), an injured Union corporal. Hospitable to a fault, Farnsworth and her girls tend to the soldier, who draws out their carnal hunger (no one can resist Farrell's chest hair) before lashing out with his own animal instincts. Simple, stylish, and threaded together from the quirks of female and male behavior, The Beguiled is a sexual Southern Gothic fairy tale that is wisely more humid than hot.
Blade Runner (1982)Director Ridley Scott went out of his way to imagine 2019 Los Angeles as a pretty terrible place to be, and yet the look, sound, and feel of the world are so seductive that we want to visit regardless. Same goes for the story: Blade Runner's plot is a barely warmed-over detective yarn with Harrison Ford in the role of the hard-boiled investigator, but we can feel glimmers of the pain and confusion of artificial humans who realize they are powerless against their pre-determined fate. The movie is a triumph of world-building that still makes a mark on viewers and filmmakers years later.
Robert Towne's Chinatown script is often cited as one of, if not the greatest of all time. (And not just because of that iconic line.) As a struggling private eye, Jack Nicholson dives headfirst into a mystery that turns into a maelstrom of LA corruption. The result is a well-paced noir tale, equal parts frustrating and fascinating, that still lives up to its reputation.