13 Best Movies on HBO Right Now

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13 Best Movies on HBO Right Now

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There are those who were so enraged with the end of Game of Thrones that they cancelled their HBO subscriptions, and then there’s those who were smart enough to wait. For the people who opted to hang around, on top of the huge list of prestige shows, HBO has a whole catalog of films that rival even Netflix. Sure that big red N has a library that spans for days, but HBO has the substance. With a collection of major franchise installments, Academy Award winners, and crowd favorites, HBO is a contender, dammit.

When you’ve exhausted that Netflix queue or just find yourself scanning through the same titles with the regular tired frustration, remember that HBO is more than just prestige television. The premium cable channel title is literally short for Home Box Office, so don’t sleep on the titles that are just a few clicks away. Who needs that final season of GoT when you got Ma in your queue?

Alien

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.

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Ma

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.

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Fast Five

Everyone knows that the best iteration of Fast and the Furious is Tokyo Drift (fight us), but Fast Five is a blast of a watch if you’re looking for any of the films currently streaming. Justin Lin’s third turn as director follows the fam through a world-saving adventure. Being chased by Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), Fast Five takes the crew down to Rio de Janeiro for a heist unlike any before.

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Quantum of Solace

Daniel Craig’s second outing as Bond is the twenty-second installment (!!) for the 007 series. On a mission for vengeance, Bond makes his way around the globe to find those responsible for the death of his lover. If he also manages to save the world in the process? So be it.

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Us

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.

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Big

Tom Hanks is almost always a safe bet, but his endearing turn as a thirteen year old who just wants to get it over with and grow up is one of his best. After being rejected by an older girl, his dreams come true and he lands himself as an adult in New York City. As it turns out, being a grown up isn’t as easy as he hoped it would be, even if you’re dating Elizabeth Perkins.

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Winter’s Bone

Unpopular opinion: Jennifer Lawrence shouldn’t have won for her turn in Silver Linings Playbook. Instead, she was due a trophy for her first nomination, playing a hard-pressed high school teenager in Winter’s Bone. Set in the Ozarks of Missouri, her character gets embroiled in inter-family politics of the mountains while trying to ensure that her siblings and her don’t find themselves homeless.

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Can You Ever Forgive Me?

The story of Lee Israel is a wild one. The once-thriving author had her autobiography transformed into the 2018 biopic starring Melissa McCarthy. Hard up for work, Israel once started a business of forging letters between popular celebrity figures of yesteryear only to discover that there’s only so long you can get away with that tomfoolery. The role locked McCarthy in for her second Academy Award nomination.

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Black Swan

It was perfect.

Natalie Portman stars in this psychological thriller all about ballet. Don’t let that simplified synopsis dissuade you though. The sinister film directed by Darren Aronofsky is all about the crossroads of perfection and passion. The film also eatures a strangely (possibly imagined) lesbian storyline and a fair share of cringeworthy gore. Essentially, don’t sleep on the terror-inducing reality of ballet.

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Fight Club

First rule of Fight Club: Watch Fight Club.

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The Favourite

For much of America, The Favourite was their first introduction to Olivia Colman, who won an Oscar for her role as Queen Anne. The black comedy is directed by the always bizarre Yorgos Lanthimos and stars Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz as two handmaidens plotting to be the favored handmaiden of Queen Anne, but the battle is hardly frivolous. The nepotism comes with its own share of political power in 18th century England.

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The Manchurian Candidate

In this remake of the 1962 classic, Denzel Washington stars as a Gulf War veteran who discovers that he is part of a larger mind-control experiment that leads him straight to the White House. Also, Meryl Streep and Jeffrey Wright are in this version, so our boy Denzel is in good company.

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A Star is Born

Yes, this movie has been remade an impressive four times now, but there’s a reason for that. In the newest iteration, Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga star as a seasoned country star and young pop ingenue, respectively. When the latter starts becoming more popular than the former, their romance and mentorship begins to break apart, leading to a devastating ending. We’re not going to ruin it. Just watch.

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Justin Kirkland is a writer for Esquire, where he focuses on entertainment, television, and pop culture.

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