Last Updated: May 7th
In addition to being America’s most trusted source of Carnivale episodes, HBO Go/HBO Now has a lovely collection of movies available ranging from trashy action thrills to elegant period pieces to star-studded comedies. Here is a ranking of the 30 best movies on HBO Go/HBO Now that you could and should be watching right now.
1. Inception (2010)
Run Time: 148 min | IMDb: 8.8/10
Christopher Nolan’s mind-bending thriller is a masterclass in story-telling and the right way to do CGI. The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Dominick Cobb, a thief or “extractor” who steals ideas from people’s minds. Joseph Gordon Levitt plays Arthur, his partner in crime. The two take on an impossible job — instead of stealing an idea from someone’s subconscious, they’re tasked with implanting a memory, effectively making someone believe an idea they want them to have is actually their own. Cobb does this to clear his name after the death of his wife, the rest of the team (played by Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, and Dileep Rao) do it for the thrill and the money, but things quickly go south in their subject’s dreamscape, and the group is forced to come up with clever ways to complete their mission. The film never feels long, despite its 2 hour-plus runtime, and along with gripping action sequences and inventive story-telling techniques, Nolan manages to infuse just enough character study and relationship drama to get you invested in his sci-fi adventure.
2. Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (2018)
Run Time: 94 min | IMDb: 8.5/10
Everyone’s favorite friendly neighbor gets the documentary treatment with this expose on the beloved TV icon. Fred Rogers left his mark on the world through his show, one that sought to bridge cultural, religious, and racial divides by teaching children the importance of kindness, acceptance, and compassion. He taught us all how to be better human beings, but the doc dives further, exploring the man behind the TV personality, a guy who fought Congress for funding for the arts and who left a legacy worth celebrating. Bring tissues for this one, folks.
3. BlacKkKlansman (2018)
Run Time: 135 min | IMDb: 7.5/10
Spike Lee does some of the best work of his long, impressive career with this true story about the first Black detective in the Colorado Springs Police Department. John David Washington plays Ron Stallworth, an African-American cop struggling to balance his duties on the job with his personal life and his involvement in the Black Panther movement. Stallworth is able to pass as a white man over the phone and soon launches an undercover operation, infiltrating the Ku Klux Klan and befriending its leader, David Duke (a brilliant Topher Grace). When Stallworth is forced to meet members of the Klan face-to-face, his partner, Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver) assumes his undercover identity, and both men lead an investigation that exposes the sinister core of the local KKK chapter.
4. Crazy Rich Asians (2018)
Run Time: 120 min | IMDb: 7/10
John Chu’s Asian-led rom-com became a breakout hit last year, so it’s only right that HBO let us binge-watch it whenever we choose. Constance Wu plays Rachel, an economics professor at NYU who travels to Singapore with her long-term boyfriend Nick (Henry Golding) and discovers he’s been less-than-honest with her about just how many zeroes reside in his bank account. Faced with a wealthy family who refuses to accept her American roots, Rachel goes to extreme lengths to impress Nick’s mother and learns a valuable lesson about family and heritage in the process. Awkwafina and Michelle Yeoh are highlights here, but it’s Wu who carries this flick and elevates it beyond just a two-hour laugh riot.
5. The Bourne Identity (2002)
Run Time: 119 min | IMDb: 7.9/10
Director Doug Liman knew something the rest of us didn’t when he cast Matt Damon as the amnesiac super-agent, Jason Bourne. The 2002 film would kick off a trilogy starring Damon and even spawn a movie without him but the original is hard to top in terms of action and suspense. Damon plays Bourne, a man washed up on a fishing vessel with no memory of who he is. He’s able to do impossible things and quickly discovers he’s a target. Who’s chasing him and why are secrets we learn over the course of the three films, two of which are on HBO.
6. Deadpool 2 (2018)
Run Time: 119 min | IMDb: 7.8/10
Ryan Reynolds dons the spandex once more for this follow-up to the breakout superhero filth we can’t get enough of. The second film starts off rosy enough with Wade Wilson enjoying a successful career as a hitman and planning on starting a family with his girlfriend Vanessa, but then the movie fridges poor Morena Baccarin, Deadpool becomes suicidal, and eventually, he joins up with the X-Force, creating his own team of B-list superheroes. Things go south when he tries to help an unstable mutant kid with pyromania, and Josh Brolin shows up to, you guessed it, destroy everything just because he can. This is the rare instance where the sequel is as entertaining as the original.
7. The Prestige (2006)
Run Time: 126 min | IMDb: 8.5/10
Before Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, and Scarlett Johansson were playing superheroes that save the world, they were involved in this thrilling period piece about two rival magicians and the woman caught between them. Christopher Nolan directs this tale of two men, Alfred Borden (Bale) and Robert Angier (Jackman), who begin as friendly competitors and slowly push each other to madness as they stage tricks that become more elaborate, more infamous, more deadly. Johansson plays an assistant who flits between the two, and Nolan makes sure to keep things interesting by not revealing the secrets to his tricks until the very end.
8. The Hangover (2009)
Run Time: 100 min | IMDb: 7.7/10
Sure, the trilogy this film spawned should’ve ended before it began, but we must show some respect to the original Todd Phillips created the bro-comedy to beat all other bro-comedies with this flick about three guys throwing a wild bachelor party for a groom who mysteriously disappears. Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Zach Galifianakis play the groomsmen who wake up after a night of raging to find their friend (Justin Bartha) is missing. They have to retrace their steps, which include hasty marriages to strippers, stealing a police car, being roofied, and getting on the bad side of a local Chinese gangster, in order to find him.
9. The Tale (2018)
Run Time: 114 min | IMDb: 7.3/10
Laura Dern gives a hauntingly beautiful performance in Jennifer Fox’s autobiographical drama, The Tale. The film recounts Fox’s own history of sexual abuse at the hands of a riding instructor who was three times her age. Dern plays a grown-up version of Fox, a woman struggling to recall illicit memories of her past, to reconcile the relationship she thought she had as a teenager with a man old enough to be her father with what actually happened — years of grooming, mental, and physical abuse at the hands of adults she had put her trust in. It’s a brutal but necessary watch.
10. Paddington 2 (2017)
Run Time: 103 min | IMDb: 7.9/10
Rarely does a sequel match, let alone surpass, the original, but the follow-up adventure of Paddington, the marmalade-loving bear with a penchant for causing chaos, does just that. That’s partly due to the cast, particularly the addition of Hugh Grant as a maniacal villain with an extensive costume collection, but mostly, this film is a joy because of its heart. Paddington is still the same loveable goof from the original, trying his best to do good and making a mess of things. This time, he lands himself in prison after being falsely accused a thief, eventually befriending his fellow inmates and giving us all a lesson in kindness and compassion. If this movie doesn’t make you smile, we worry for your soul.
11. Temple Grandin (2010)
Run Time: 120 min | IMDb: 8.3/10
Inspirational without being self-congratulatory or condescending, Mick Jackson’s Temple Grandin places Claire Danes in the role of the real-life title character as she develops into a voice in animal science that cannot be ignored. A world that’s unaccommodating to autism and women in the ranching industry does not make things easy for Grandin and Danes portrays her with detail, intelligence and heart. Bonus points awarded for having the courage to include comedy and taking the effort to make something with warmth. You don’t get that too often in movies featuring the inner workings of slaughterhouses.
12. The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
Run Time: 109 min | IMDb: 6.8/10
Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway star in this dramedy about an aspiring journalist who nabs a job as an assistant to a demanding editor at a high profile magazine. Hathaway is Andy, a talented if poorly-dressed young woman who lands a job as an elite fashion magazine working for one of the toughest editors in the city, Miranda Priestly (Streep). Things go badly at first before Andy gets the hang of things (and a new look), but succeeding at her job comes at a cost: her personal life. Come for Streep’s fantastically wicked impersonation of Anna Wintour, stay for Hathaway’s charm, Emily Blunt’s humor, and the clothes.
13. Collateral (2017)
Run Time: 120 min | IMDb: 7.5/10
Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx star in this action thriller about a contract killer who holds a cab driver hostage. Cruise plays the engaging assassin, Vincent, while Foxx plays his reluctant chauffeur, Max. Max is forced to drive Vincent around the city, dropping him off to do hits in between. The two men form something of a bond when things go awry, and it’s the chemistry between Cruise and Foxx, plus some killer stunt pieces, that make this a worthy watch.
14. October Sky (1999)
Run Time: 108 min | IMDb: 7.8/10
A fresh-faced Jake Gyllenhaal and Laura Dern star in this biographical drama about Homer Hickam, the son of a coal miner who has dreams of reaching outer space. Gyllenhaal plays Hickam, a brilliant young engineer who dreams of building rockets after the Sputnik launch but battles against the small-mindedness of his hometown and his father, a salt-of-the-earth type who wants his son to follow in his mining footsteps. With help from his science teacher, Mrs. Riley (Dern), Hickam is able to overcome adversity, win a national science competition, and achieve his dreams of working for NASA. It’s a heartwarming film with a feel-good ending that’s all the more rewarding because it’s true.
15. The Post (2017)
Run Time: 116 min | IMDb: 7.2/10
This Oscar-nominated film stars the incomparable Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks in a gripping true story that feels more relevant than ever. Directed by Steven Spielberg, the movie follows Katharine Graham (Streep), the first female publisher of a major American newspaper, and Ben Bradlee (Hanks), the executive editor of The Washington Post. Graham fought against sexism and the prejudice of her era to publish the Pentagon Papers, classified documents that revealed the U.S. government’s role in the Vietnam War. Streep is brilliant as always, and Hanks is dependable as an ally who helps her defy some of the most powerful men in the nation in order to bring the truth to the paper’s readers.
16. Mommy Dead And Dearest (2017)
Run Time: 82 min IMDb: 7.4/10
Erin Lee Carr’s spellbinding crime doc Mommy Dead and Dearest plunges into the bizarre and absorbing true story surrounding the murder of Dee Dee Blanchard. It’s an absorbing, strange and disturbing watch that doles out enough jaw-dropping moments in 83 minutes to put full seasons of TV to shame. Sundance hopefuls would have a field day with the visuals in this documentary if they were to try and adapt this stranger-than-fiction tale of manipulation, murder, and motherhood.
17. Amelie (2001)
Run Time: 122 min | IMDb: 8.3/10
Audrey Tatou stars in this quirky French rom-com about a naive young woman who decides to help her Parisian neighbors and ends up finding love for herself. Amelie is a shy waitress struggling with her own sense of loneliness who decides to help the customers who frequent her cafe. As she returns lost treasures, makes matches between her friends, and pushes her father to travel the world, Amelie also finds love with an eccentric man named Nino. It’s a mischievous, light-hearted comedy that absolutely delights the imagination.
18. Tully (2018)
Run Time: 95 min | IMDb: 7/10
Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody team up for another collab with Charlize Theron, this time about a woman named Marlo who struggles with the demanding job of motherhood. Theron plays the exhausted, put-upon matriarch, a woman with a son who has developmental disorders and a new baby she hadn’t planned to take care of. She hires a night nanny to help ease her workload and through the pair’s relationship, she learns some harsh truths about herself and the situation she finds herself in. It’s a heartbreaking, unflinchingly honest look at motherhood and how draining it can be.
19. Mean Girls (2004)
Run Time: 97 min | IMDb: 7/10
Lindsay Lohan and Rachel McAdams star in this Tina Fey-penned high school comedy that feels like a worthy follow-up to another snarky work of angst, Heathers. Lohan plays Cady, a mathlete moved from the wilds of Africa to suburban America and forced to make friends. She does, but quickly ditches them in order to enact a revenge plot against the most popular girl in school, Regina George. Quotable one-liners, surprisingly-deep commentary on teenage-dom, and burn books follow.
20. Real Women Have Curves (2002)
Run Time: 93 min IMDb: 7/10
Living up to the immense hype it earned at Sundance that year, Real Women Have Curves is a coming-of-age tale that balances drama and comedy while shining a spotlight on the acting skills of future Superstore star America Ferrera. (The film marked the actress’s cinematic debut.) Ferrera plays Ana García, a young Mexican-American woman navigating cultural, societal and familial expectations in Los Angeles as she works toward her goal of heading to college. Smart, dignified and occasionally bittersweet, Real Women Have Curves is a movie unafraid of its warmth and humanity.
21. Big Fish (2003)
Run Time: 125 min | IMDb: 8/10
This fantasy-comedy from Tim Burton stars Ewan McGregor as a young Edward Bloom, a man with a gift for story-telling and a lust for life. In the present, Edward Bloom is an old man, on the outs with his son and on his deathbed. His son Will (Billy Crudup), having grown up hearing his father’s tall tales, believes he’s lied to him his entire life. As Edward narrates his life, the fantastical adventures he went on, meeting Will’s mother, joining a circus, saving a town, meeting a big fish, Will decides to investigate his father’s claims and discovers that the truth is just a matter of perspective. In the end, the film is about reconciliation and appreciating life to its fullest.
22. Bring It On (2000)
Run Time: 98 min | IMDb: 6/10
This teen cult classic starring Kirsten Dunst and Gabrielle Union is about much more than just high school cheerleading. Sure, the film spends a copious amount of time on the mat, panning to girls doing flips in short skirts and shouting chants that rhyme, but the movie is also full of dark comedy and witty commentary on teenage angst. Dunst plays Torrance, the newly-elected leader of a premiere cheer squad that’s been winning trophies off of stolen routines for years. Her rival, Isis (Union) heads up the inner-city squad over in Compton, the team Dunst and her friends have unknowingly been ripping off. Hilarity ensues when Torrance tries to inject some originality into her routines, recruiting new members, making dangerous enemies and yes, having a spitting contest with Jesse Bradford. Swoon.
23. My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)
Run Time: 95 min | IMDb: 6.6/10
Weddings are often riotous affairs but when you add the traditions and expectations of culture into the mix, they become the perfect fodder for a romantic comedy. Nia Vardalos knows this which is why she wrote and starred in this movie about a middle-aged Greek woman who falls in love with a non-Greek beau and must convince her family he’s worthy of her hand in marriage. There are all kinds of sly digs and nods to Vardalos’ heritage here, but it’s her character’s extended family members that get the best one-liners.
24. Behind The Candelabra (2013)
Run Time: 118 min | IMDb: 7/10
It’d be rude for a Liberace-focused film not to be showered in sparkly awards upon release, don’t you think? Steven Soderbergh’s HBO Films take on Scott Thorson’s memoir Behind the Candelabra: My Life with Liberace earned Emmys galore for its blend of effective drama and dark comedy. Michael Douglas, Matt Damon, and Scott Bakula all scored well-deserved praise and trophies for their work in this gripping (and appropriately stylish) drama that will have you scrambling down many a Wikipedia rabbit hole after.
25. The Greatest Showman (2017)
Run Time: 105 min | IMDb: 7.6/10
Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Zendaya, and Zac Efron star in this musical biopic about the father of showbusiness, P.T. Barnum. Jackman plays Barnum, a man who hails from poverty, marries a woman above his station and sets out to prove he can create something of worth. He sees an opportunity in other outcasts and builds a circus full of interesting characters and daring acts to entertain the public, but with wealth and success come hardships he hadn’t expected. This is less a dramatic re-telling of Barnum’s extraordinary life, more a feel-good film filled with bangers, but hey, we’re not complaining.
26. Grey Gardens (2009)
Run Time: 104 min | IMDb: 7.5/10
Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore star in this HBO remake of the 1975 documentary of the same name. Lange plays “Big Eddie,” aunt to former First Lady Jackie Kennedy, while Barrymore plays “Little Edie,” Kennedy’s first cousin. The two women became famous when it was revealed that their estate, Grey Gardens, was in ruin and they’d been living there in squalor for years. The film chronicles their journey to destitution, following “Little Edie” as she tries and fails to make a name for herself away from her mother while “Big Eddie” tries to prevent the end of her marriage. It’s a gripping, tragic tale, one made more visceral thanks to some stellar performances by Lange and Barrymore.
27. Brexit (2019)
Run Time: 92 min | IMDb: 7/10
Benedict Cumberbatch plays political strategist Dominic Cummings, the man largely responsible for Britain’s Brexit mess. The guy spearheaded the campaign for the U.K. to separate from the European Union in 2015 but managed to skirt most of the bad press by ducking out after the vote passed. instead, he left it to the Prime Minister and party leaders to figure out what’s next. Cumberbatch plays the mastermind, a socially awkward, data-driven genius who seems to delight in the destruction of his own government, with a certain reserved glee that feels even more chilling than the boisterous nationalism his colleagues are known for.
28. Love, Simon (2018)
Run Time: 110 min | IMDb: 7.7/10
Nick Robinson and Jennifer Garner star in this coming-of-age comedy about a young teen named Simon, who must come to terms with his identity after a classmate outs him as gay. Robinson plays the titular hero, a kid who picks his friends up for school and likes to actually hang out with his family on their schedules movie nights. He lives an all-around comfortable life until he begins corresponding with an anonymous person online, someone he develops feelings for, someone who’s also gay. When people begin to find out, Simon’s forced to come out to his family, his friends, and himself. It’s a moving look at what it means to grapple with your sexual orientation at a young age, but it never feels overdramatized or preachy, which is a good thing.
29. Fahrenheit 451 (2018)
Run Time: 100 min | IMDb: 4.9/10
Critics didn’t seem to love Michael B. Jordan and Michael Shannon’s interpretation of a literary classic, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth a watch. The film imagines a terrifying future in which the written word is viewed as something to be feared. To that end, Jordan plays Guy Montag, a fireman whose job is to literally burn every book he comes across, but when Montag meets a woman who makes him question the very nature of his world and work, life begins to spiral out of control for Montag. Gloomy dystopian dramas are hard to watch right now but they are necessary if only to remind us of how bad we don’t want things to get. Plus, Michael B Jordan wielding a flamethrower? Yes, please.
30. My Friend Dahmer (2017)
Run Time: 107 min | IMDb: 6.3/10
Ross Lynch and Alex Wolff star in this biographical drama about the notorious serial killer’s teenage years. Lynch plays Dahmer, a young man struggling to fit in with his high school peers. Wolff plays Derf, an aspiring graphic artist who befriends Dahmer and pushes him to be more socially active. The two share a superficial friendship, given that Derf has no idea about Dahmer’s fixation with men, rape fantasies, and killing animals. Even if he did, the movie argues that Dahmer’s predilections coupled with his strained familial situation — his father abandoned him, and his mother suffered from her own mental illness — meant that the young man was always destined for darker things.
Recent Changes Through May 2019:
Removed: Goodfellas, Fargo, The Shape Of Water, Justice League, Wonder Woman, Phantom Thread, Anchorman, The Lost Boys
Added: Mean Girls, October Sky, The Lost Boys, My Friend Dahmer, BlacKkKlansman, Crazy Rich Asians, Amelie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding
from UPROXX http://bit.ly/2Gqtkw5