So far, May is full of classic movie titles from the ’80s, ’90s, and ’00s helping to make our list of the best movies on Amazon Prime a fun trip down memory lane. And while there is a ton of lighter fare such as Office Space, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, and Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, there’s also a lot of, er, baseball, with titles like Field of Dreams, Bull Durham, and A League of Their Own. Of course, there’s also a ton more movies to watch on Prime Video, but finding them isn’t always easy, so we curate this weekly-updated list of the best movies available to Prime subscribers for free, to help you cut down the searching and do more watching.
The second of back-to-back baseball films Kevin Costner did in 1988-89 (the first was Bull Durham, which you also watch on Prime Video now), this classic drama-fantasy is all about redemption and reconciliation, creatively wrapped by director/screenwriter Phil Alden Robinson in a charming film about baseball. Costner is Ray Kinsella, an Iowa farmer who is compelled by a mysterious voice to risk his livelihood and build a baseball field in the middle of his cornfield. When he does, the ghosts of several baseball legends, including disgraced Chicago White Sox player Joseph “Shoeless Joe” Jackson (Ray Liotta) and other players involved in the notorious Black Sox Scandal, appear to play in Ray’s field. Lead by the voice, Ray begins to piece the mystery together, and that the real reason he’s being compelled to continue may be more about his own demons than the players appearing to face theirs.
Jason Schwartzman made his acting debut in this Wes Anderson coming-of-age story as 15-year-old eccentric prep school student Max Fischer, a kid whose laundry list of extracurricular activities (among them, he’s the VP of the Stamp & Coin Club, lacrosse team manager, and the founder of both the Trap & Skeet Club and the Max Fischer Players theater club) is threatening his enrollment in the private Rushmore Academy. When Max meets Herman Blume (Bill Murray), the wealthy father of another student, the pair develop a close friendship. That is until Herman moves in on Max’s crush, the much older first-grade teacher Rosemary Cross (Olivia Williams), whom Max has fallen hard for. From then on, the gloves come off as Max and Herman engage in an all-out revenge war of pranks, slander, and sabotage to win Rosemary’s favor, but at what cost?
In this four-time Oscar-nominated adventure drama from writer/director Benh Zeitlin and co-writer Lucy Alibar, adapted from Alibar’s one-act play Juicy and Delicious, a six-year-old girl named Hushpuppy (Quvenzhané Wallis) struggles to survive in the flood-ravaged Louisiana bayou region known as The Bathtub. Her father Wink’s (Dwight Henry) health is ailing and he must teach Hushpuppy how to take care of herself as her overactive imagination leads her to believe that the universe is coming apart and that mythical creatures called aurochs are coming to terrorize them. As a vicious storm approaches and the levees are threatened, Hushpuppy tries to restore the balance between nature and the universe, as well as save her father and her home. Wallis is a wunderkind in the role, and it earned her a Best Actress Academy Award nomination, making her the youngest to do so in history.
Regina Hall (Nine Perfect Strangers, Insecure) stars in this social thriller/horror about an elite New England university that’s as old as the country itself and has just as many dark secrets. Hall plays Gail Bishop, the school’s new headmaster and the first Black person to hold the position. A Black student, Jasmine Moore (Zoe Renee), arrives as a freshman and is soon subjected to anonymous racist attacks that she is convinced are being done by an ancient presence from the school’s past — turns out the school was built on the site of some Salem-era witch trials. As Gail and Jasmine learn to navigate the school’s elite politics and privilege, they uncover the truth about the school and just how tied to its past it really is.
Sure, actors like Brando, Denzel, Pacino, and Day-Lewis are thespians of the highest order, commanding audiences with nuclear-strength dramatic skill. It is known. But no one, I mean no one, plays dead like Terry Kiser. In this classic ’80s comedy, Larry (Andrew McCarthy) and Richard (Jonathan Silverman) are two corporate-climbing financial bros desperate to impress their boss, Bernie Lomax (Kiser). When Bernie invites them to his swanky Hamptons beach house for the weekend, the boys see it as their big chance. But things get, um, weird, when Larry and Richard arrive to find Bernie dead, the apparent victim of a mob hit. In an attempt to not let Bernie’s rigor mortise stand in the way of their good time (and not be suspected in his killing) the guys throw a hat and sunglasses on the corpse in a hilariously-morbid marionette act to buy them some time to figure things out. To say that Kiser’s performance is stiff is an understatement but in the best possible way.
A film with one of the most compelling twists of all time, director Bryan Singer’s The Usual Suspects is the story of a group of hardened criminals, Hungarian mobsters, and a ghostly mastermind known as Keyser Soze, who may or may not exist. After a docked ship mysteriously explodes in San Pedro Bay killing 27 bad people, one of only two survivors, con artist Roger “Verbal” Kint (Kevin Spacey), recounts the entire story to U.S. Customs agent Dave Kujan (Chazz Palminteri) in an LA police station. Told in flashbacks, Verbal’s story is tall, involves drugs and jewels, and includes his crew of five, including Keaton (Gabriel Byrne), McManus (Stephen Baldwin), Fenster (Benicio Del Toro), and Hockney (Kevin Pollak). “The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist,” Verbal tells Kujan. But who is Keyser Soze? Is he the Devil? The Usual Suspects will have you asking the same questions.
Based on the true story of turn-of-the-century English artist Louis Wain, whose paintings and illustrations of cats depicted our feline friends with psychedelic colors and imagery that no one had ever seen in the early 1900s, prompting many to believe that Wain suffered from schizophrenia. Benedict Cumberbatch depicts the eccentric artist with power and control, but by his side as Wain descends slowly into madness is the equally-powerful Claire Foy (The Crown) as Wain’s wife Emily. It’s their deep love for one another that helps keep Wain above water during a dark time in Wain’s, and the country’s, life. “How you’ve managed to conjure images of such delight in such a dark time, I don’t know,” Wain’s boss (Toby Jones) at the Illustrated London News tells him. While not a critical darling, The Electrical Life of Louis Wain will definitely add some color to your movie night.
- The best Stephen King adaptations ranked by Rotten Tomatoes
- The 50 best movies on Netflix right now (May 2022)
- The best shows on Netflix right now (May 2022)
- The 60 best movies on Hulu right now (May 2022)
- The best movies on Disney+ right now (May 2022)