True to its name, HBO has always aimed to bring the box office into people’s homes. That is easier than ever thanks to the network’s twin streaming services — HBO Go and HBO Now. At any given time, the service offers hundreds of films, from obscure documentaries to summer blockbusters — but not all of them necessarily qualify as “great.” If you feel like streaming a movie and don’t want to waste your time on dreck, we’ve rounded up the best movies on HBO.
Each month, the premium network adds a wealth of new content for subscribers to view. It can be annoying to search through, so we’ve compiled lists for the best movies on HBO, as well as the best movies on Netflix and the best movies on Hulu. If you’re in more of a TV mood, we’ve also got picks for the best shows on HBO, the best shows on Netflix, and the best shows on Hulu.
After the success of 7 Days in Hell, a mockumentary about a legendary tennis match between two fictional idiots, the Andy Samberg-led team earned a second go-round via HBO. The result? Tour de Pharmacy, a similar story that spoofs the Tour de France by focusing on competitors’ use of performance-enhancing substances in the early 1980s. Samberg returns to play Nigerian rider Marty Hass, while Orlando Bloom, Freddie Highmore, Daveed Diggs, and John Cena appear as the other made-up competitors on whom the film is focused. Tour is filled with classic slapstick comedy, and the concept is bolstered by the inclusion of several veteran actors — we won’t spoil the hilarious surprises here — who play the “modern-day” versions of the film’s protagonists. Lance Armstrong’s cameo doesn’t hurt, either.
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As a wise man once said, “there’s a time and place for everything … it’s called college.” Nothing exemplifies this point more than National Lampoon’s Animal House, a 1978 film that follows the mischievous antics of the scofflaw-riddled Delta Tau Chi fraternity. After a series of events lands the fraternity on “double-secret probation,” the ragtag crew of misfits must get their act together or risk losing their charter. The timeless classic showcases stupendous performances from the likes of John Vernon and John Belushi, along with Donald Sutherland, Tim Matheson, and others. Will Delta house make things right with the dean, or will it set its sights on its rivals and go out in a flaming ball of glory? Animal House is the blueprint upon which nearly all frat comedies are built.
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This heartwarming 2007 dramedy follows Jenna (Kerri Russell), a pregnant waitress in the American South who finds herself stuck in a dead-end life with a deadbeat husband (Jeremy Sisto) and an unusual proclivity for baking pies. When she starts seeing a new doctor (Nathan Fillion), things get a little complicated — you can guess why — and Jenna is forced to take stock of her life and make some big decisions regarding her future. Thanks to excellent performances from the film’s leads, plus some support from Cheryl Hines and Andy Griffith (yes, that Andy Griffith), this portrait of small-town Americana is the perfect blend of indie-movie weirdness and high-wattage star power. It’s worth mentioning that this was the last film from director/actor Adrienne Shelly, who was murdered shortly after the movie’s debut.
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Based upon Bryan Lee O’Malley’s graphic novel series, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World follows a young musician (Michael Cera) who falls in love with the enchanting Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), but finds that he must first defeat her seven evil ex-lovers if he wants to truly win her heart. Cera is perfectly cast as Scott, a do-gooder hero with more good luck than brains or brawn, and the film quickly morphs from a mumblecore love story to a crazy, effects-laden superhero flick once the battles begin. Fittingly, the list of evil exes includes both Chris Evans (now Captain America) and Brandon Routh (who previously played Superman), in addition to Jason Schwartzman.
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Starring the late Robin Williams in one of the first leading roles of his career, Good Morning, Vietnam is loosely based upon the exploits of manic Armed Forces Radio Service DJ Adrian Cronauer. Cronauer (Williams) is sent to help raise morale in Vietnam, only to find himself in trouble with his superiors for his “irrelevant tendency” time and again. The DJ makes friends with both soldiers (Forest Whitaker) and local Vietnamese people, learning about the complex politics of war in the process. The sometimes funny, sometimes bittersweet film is enhanced by Williams, who improvised nearly all of his radio broadcasts on the spot, deviating from the script entirely.