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Culture Movies/TV

The 20 Best Scary Movies On Hulu to Watch Right Now

Although Netflix was at one point the dominating force in streaming for all genres, their horror selection as of late has been a bit lackluster. Services like Shudder have filled in some gaps with an overwhelming selection of indie and foreign films, while HBO Max has a substantial list of classics. Hulu’s selection is pretty varied: the streaming service has a collection of under-appreciated arthouse movies alongside Oscar-winning thrillers.

Just ‘cause it’s almost summer doesn’t mean the spirit of Halloween is waning for real horror junkies, so we’ve curated a list of the 20 best scary movies we could find on Hulu. From sci-fi dystopias to home invasion to postmodern thrillers, here are 20 films that’ll keep your blood curdled.

20. ’28 Days Later’

Although needlessly gritty revampings of previously campy genres have become so totally overdone, Danny Boyle’s reinvention of the zombie sub-genre in 28 Days Later is absolutely astounding. Shockingly artistic and with breathtaking cinematography, this film is one of the best zombie movies ever made. Don’t expect slapstick humor or silly misadventures a la Return of the Living Dead, the Oscar-winning director’s clever take on post-apocalyptic terror remains a dark standout in a genre otherwise beaten to death.   

19. ’28 Weeks Later’

Danny Boyle did not return for the sequel to 28 Days Later, but director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo did a fantastic job of holding up the previous film’s aesthetic and tone. 28 Weeks Later is a post-post-apocalypse — it tells the story of what happens months after the world ends, and how humanity’s last survivors have since reshaped a rudimentary form of society. It’s equally as gritty and artistic as its predecessor, and about as violent. There are a few clever twists on the zombie mythos in here too.

18. ‘Blair Witch’ (2016)

At least one reviewer had described Blair Witch as “the worst of any 2016 release.” It’s definitely not — and figuring out why there’s such antipathy for this film is difficult. Perhaps critics are still angry they were duped by the avant-garde viral marketing of the original Blair Witch? In this reboot of the franchise which began in 1999, there are some pretty clever plot devices introduced to the Blair Witch cinematic universe: apparently, the entity commonly known as The Blair Witch can manipulate time! Either way, Blair Witch (2016) certainly doesn’t measure up to the pure terror of the first movie, but it’s a clever twist on the now-infamous urban legend nonetheless.

17. ‘Bug’ (2006)

Bug flopped big at box offices upon its release in 2006, partially because it was advertised as a traditional horror movie instead of what it actually is: an artsy and melancholic thriller about severe mental illness. But even though Bug is lacking in obvious scares, it’s one of the most frightening — and emotionally devastating — movies ever made. Based on the play by Tracy Letts and directed by horror master William Friedkin (best known for helming the original Exorcist film in 1973), Bug tells the story of two depressed drug addicts whose utter loneliness draws them into mutual madness and shared delusions of government conspiracies. It’s oddly prescient in the age of QAnon, and the human story — about a mother’s loss and longing — is extremely touching. Excellent acting from Ashley Judd and Michael Shannon would make this an Oscar-worthy film — if the Oscars weren’t so averse to anything resembling horror. (Note: there’s another, entirely unrelated horror movie also titled Bug on Hulu that is absolutely not worth watching.)

16. ‘Cabin in the Woods’

A post-modern love letter to the horror genre, Cabin in the Woods is a Scream-adjacent deconstruction of obvious horror tropes. Like Scream, the movie has a pretty good sense of humor that doesn’t take away from the more serious scares. We won’t get too much into the plot — there are too many twists and turns to reveal — but it also means that re-watches are equally as rewarding as first-time viewings. Writer Drew Goddard, who was behind some of the best episodes of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, provides excellently witty dialogue throughout. 

15. ‘Children of the Corn’ (1984)

A24’s Midsommar was hailed as a highly original horror masterpiece shortly before the pandemic, but more casual moviegoers might not be aware there’s an entire sub-genre of harvest horror. An early example of this is Stephen King’s Children of the Corn, an occultic tale of rural terror. The movie itself is appropriately unnerving — lots of creepy children worshipping a mysterious agricultural deity — but the bombastic finale is pure silliness. 

14. ‘The Descent’

It’s hard to imagine straight-up monster movies could still be scary in the new millennium, but director Neil Marshall’s claustrophobic nightmare actually delivers. In The Descent, an all-female crew of cave explorers encounters a cannibalistic species of underground humanoids, as they’re picked off by the creatures one by one. It sounds pretty corny, but the amazing acting and use of darkness and shadow help this movie transcend its pretty simplistic concept. There’s also a shocking amount of emotional depth to the movie, too.

13. ‘The Haunting’ (1999)

The Haunting (1999) is based on the iconic horror film of the same name from 1963, which itself is based on the 1959 novel, The Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson (confusingly, none of these are actually related to The House on Haunted Hill movies). This Y2K era movie has a star-studded cast and shockingly good special effects considering the year it was released. The acting is all absurdly over-the-top — as is the violence — but it’s a supernatural joyride filled with campy pleasures. Like a carnival ride in Hell.

12. ‘Hellbound: Hellraiser II’

Although the sequel to Hellraiser is pretty incomprehensible without knowledge of the first film (which, itself, is pretty incomprehensible without reading the Clive Barker novel on which both are based), the special effects and insane character design of the perverse world of the Cenobites is undeniably enthralling. In Hellraiser, demonic entities who pursue pleasure and pain to their absolute limits enter our dimension to find new victims. An extended metaphor for forbidden, queer desires, Hellraiser 2’s surreal and gruesome imagery is hard to forget.

11. ‘The Host’ (2006)

Casual cinema-goers finally recognized the immense talent of director Boon Joon-ho when he won a much-deserved Oscar in 2020. Horror fans have been aware of him for a while, partially thanks to his beloved monster movie, The Host. Laden with social commentary about the hyper-competitiveness of post-war South Korean capitalism, this movie is a sympathetic story of survival, featuring much more three-dimensional characters than you normally see in Western cinema.

10. ‘Hollow Man’

Director Paul Verhoeven is known for both ultra-violent social commentary in movies like Robocop and Starship Troopers — and for sleazy sensuality, as in Showgirls. Hollow Man was a particularly salacious and sexually nasty movie, especially for the year 2000. In it, rogue scientists discover a chemical that can turn people invisible. But when the lead researcher realizes he can’t return himself back to normal, he begins going insane. The special effects are impressive to this day, and the story’s damning statement on masculinity’s corruptibility is starkly pessimistic.

9. ‘Little Joe’

Little Joe is a slow-paced, psychological sci-fi/horror film about scientists who genetically modify a plant so that its scent cures depression — but everyone who smells the flower starts acting really strange. Are they being driven to propagate the plant through its olfactory mind control, or are the protagonists becoming increasingly paranoid? Think Little Shop of Horrors, but taken totally seriously. Ben Wishaw and Emily Beecham star as the lead researchers in this Jessica Hausner-directed slow burn.

8. ‘My Friend Dahmer’

Based on the graphic novel of the same name by Derf Backderf, this film adaptation explores the childhood and adolescence of the serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. Backderf was, in real life, a classmate of Dahmer’s and had a unique insight into his lonely life. Although the film depicts no actual violence whatsoever, the build-up to Dahmer taking his first victim is intense — and quite emotionally complex. My Friend Dahmer was criticized for glamorizing serial killers, but perhaps the film is a test of our capacity for empathy more than anything else. 

7. ‘The Omen’

Often put in a pantheon of classic horror alongside Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist, The Omen is a Hitchcockian suspense movie about a creepy child who may or may not be the Antichrist. The devil is afoot as a diplomat and his wife try to solve some unexplained deaths in the area — and begin to fear their own child is to blame. It’s all for you, Damien!

6. ‘Pandorum’

In this extremely well made 2009, German/British, sci-fi/horror movie, humanity has built an interstellar ark to carry 60,000 people on a 123-year trip to colonize an inhabitable plane. Some time into the mission, flight crew members awaken from their hypersleep chambers, leaving them with partial amnesia, while possibly suffering from Pandorum — a space-related sickness that causes psychosis when under emotional duress. With seemingly no one else on board, and no memory of their mission, it quickly becomes clear that they’re not alone. While searching the massive ship, the space cadets encounter an alien race of hunters, as well as other crew members who’d thawed from their sleep too soon. But have they encountered a terrible future or are they all going totally insane?

5. ‘Parasite’

Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite was so good that even the Academy had to overcome their statistically-proven racism to give it proper accolades. Although it’s not as conventionally scary as most of the films on this list, the movie’s chilling commentary on the cruelty of capitalism — and some actually stunningly violent twists in the film — make it far more impactful than your standard horror fare. 

4. ‘Possessor’

Although it’s probably unfair to compare Brandon Cronenberg to his father, David Cronenberg, the pair’s movies — at least so far — have a lot of thematic similarities. Exploring body horror, psychedelia, postmodernism, and the implications of technology on identity, Possessor tells the story of a near-future spy agency that can insert an agent’s consciousness into another person’s mind. It’s a deliriously deranged movie with a devastatingly original aesthetic.

3. ‘Predators’

Adrien Brody plays an unexpectedly buff action hero in this reboot of the classic sci-fi franchise which began in 1987. Although Predator is often remembered for its stylized 80’s aesthetic and iconically excessive performance from Arnold Schwarzenegger — this reimagining is deadly serious. The action scenes are well choreographed and the plot is pretty engaging considering the not-so-sophisticated subject matter.

2. ‘XX’

Horror movies directed by women are rare gems, thanks to the misogyny of Hollywood — and they’re are usually considerably better than the mediocrity produced by most men. Celebrating horror from a female perspective, this collection of four short films is hyper-stylized and varying in subject matter and brutality. “The Box,” directed by Jovanka Vuckovic, is the most disturbing of the tetralogy and deals with trauma and anorexia — but Annie Clark (better known as Saint Vincent) also showcases a dark quirkiness with her entry, “The Birthday Party.” 

1. ‘You’re Next’

It’s unclear what was happening in pop culture around 2010 such that home invasion horror had such a moment, but You’re Next is one of the standout entries in the sub-genre that became oddly popular at that time. The movie is deeply nihilistic — it’s never exactly revealed why the murderous masked individuals are so bloodthirsty — but the clever violence throughout is darkly humorous while still staying pretty scary. There’s a story of family dysfunction buried under a thick layer of blood.

Categories
Culture Movies/TV

Spotify’s ‘Best of Star Wars’ Playlist Is All You Need to Listen to Today

First things first, May the Fourth be with You all.

May 4th is Star Wars Day, the annual day in which fans celebrate all things related to the franchise set in a Galaxy Far, Far Away. Whether you’re watching the movies, shows, celebrating with Baby Yoda, or all the above, you’re also going to need a great soundtrack to go along with it. And there’s no better soundtrack to throw on than Spotify’s ‘Best of Star Wars’ playlist.

As expected, streams of John Williams’ legendary score, as well as the tracks that appeared in other movies and shows, such as Ludwig Göransson’s songs created for The Mandalorian, skyrocket on May the 4th. Don’t believe us? Spotify has the numbers to prove it.

Per Spotify’s official stats: “On this day last year (May 4, 2020), [Spotify] saw more than a 530 percent increase globally in streams for the “Best of Star Wars” playlist, with a 729 percent increase in the U.S. alone.”

Not only that, the streaming service reported that “global Spotify users have created more than 613,000 Star Wars playlists, 78,000 “Yoda” playlists, and 30,000 Mandalorian playlists.”

Spotify

The top-streamed Star Wars tracks should really come as a surprise to no one, as they are arguably the most famous entries in the franchise’s score.

The main theme sets the tone for any Star Wars-related marathon; the Imperial March lets you know that shit is about to go DOWN, and the Duel of Fates is the perfect addition to any sort of competitive atmosphere you’re trying to set.

Also, it plays during, in our opinion, the best lightsaber fight in the whole saga.

Observe:

Yes, we know that it might come from one of the worst Star Wars movies, but this fight is the GOAT, bar none.

At this point, you’re probably tired of hearing us ramble on about how great the playlist is, so put those headphones on (or blast it throughout the house, we won’t judge), crank the volume up, and hit the lightspeed button.

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Gaming New Releases

The Video Game Movies and TV Shows You’ll Want to Keep an Eye On

Video game adaptations have been a major facet of the Hollywood pipeline since Super Mario Bros. jumped onto the big screen in 1993. 

And to be completely honest with you all, a lot of the TV shows/films based on your favorite gaming franchise have been…well, crappy. But in recent years, there have been a few noteworthy shows and films based on video games that have ranged from decent to shockingly good. Sonic the Hedgehog, Detective Pikachu, The Angry Birds Movie 2 (yes, we’re serious about that one), and the Netflix Castlevania animated series are clear examples of TV/production studios doing right by their properties’ source material. We’re smack dab in the middle of 2021 and there’s a ton of video game-themed shows and movies on the horizon.

We’ve already gotten past the Warner Brothers reboot of Mortal Kombat (YEESH!) and are now looking forward to the next batch of live-action/animated adaptations of some big-name video game IPs.

‘Castlevania’ (Season 4) – May 13, 2021

Konami’s dark and gothic world that’s ruled by vampires, werewolves, and a host of other night terrors has looked amazing via its Netflix animated series. For three seasons, Castlevania has told an engrossing tale about a band of demon hunters going on a crusade to beat back the vampire menace that terrorizes the world at large. The last season of this beautifully animated Netflix series is right around the corner. And by the looks of the trailer footage released for it, it looks like we’ll be returning to some familiar locales, come to grips with the final machinations of the big baddies, and witness the resurrection of Dracula himself. Castlevania is definitely looking to go out with a bang and we can’t wait to be there when it does.

‘Werewolves Within’ – June 25, 2021

This might be the first instance of a video game movie being based entirely on a VR game. That game is Werewolves Within, which is a multiplayer mystery caper where everyone must figure out which one of the townsfolk close to them is a werewolf in disguise. The film adaptation of that clever concept is coming soon and it actually looks like a fun horror romp worth paying attention to. The film’s plot follows a forest ranger as he looks to keep a small town full of stressed residents physically & mentally intact and discover the monster that’s terrorizing the people he’s entrusted with protecting. How crazy would it be if it turns out the forest ranger is actually the werewolf? That’s a hell of a plot twist!

‘Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness’ – July 2021

We gotta keep it all the way real with you guys – the CGI-animated Resident Evil films simply aren’t that good. There’s a new one coming to Netflix that features the beloved zombie-busting duo of Leon S. Kennedy and Claire Redfield though, so we’re slightly excited to see how this latest animated installment plays out. Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness takes place in 2006 and sees both characters coming to grips with a new zombie outbreak. And to make matters even worse, it’s happening in the nation’s capital. The White House is going to have a severe bioweapon infestation – thankfully, Leon and Claire have all the know-how and gunpowder needed to properly confront it.

‘Resident Evil: Welcome To Raccoon City’ – November 24, 2021
Capcom

We gotta keep it a stack with you guys all over again – the entirety of the live-action Resident Evil movies have largely been doo-doo butter. Sure they made a ton of money at the box office. But from a critical standpoint, director Paul W. S. Anderson and leading star Milla Jovovich’s work has produced nothing but garbage on the big screen. Now that that unfortunate duo has finally stepped away from the Resident Evil IP, hopes are high that the rebooted film franchise ends up being a million times better than its predecessor. This film is going to take place in the infamous small town known as Raccoon City and follow a collective of familiar characters from the game as they deal with the pharmaceutical company known as Umbrella Corp. This movie is going to feature Jill Valentine, Claire, Leon, Chris Redfield, Albert Wesker, Ada Wong, and William Birkin. With all those characters in place, it just has to be good…right?

‘Arcane’ (‘League of Legends’) – Fall 2021

The massive online battle arena phenomenon known as League of Legends is finally getting a small-screen adaptation on Netflix. We’re surprised it’s taken this long but better late than never right? Arcane will largely take place within the locales of Piltover and Zuan. We’ll get plenty of deep insight into two noteworthy League of Legends champions during this introspective CGI-powered journey, who happen to be Jinx and her sister Vi. Here’s hoping we’re treated to some fast and furious battles that evoke the onscreen action that intense League of Legends matches regularly deliver.

‘Uncharted’ – February 18, 2022
Sony

The often-delayed Uncharted film adaptation finally has a solid release date! Fingers crossed that it actually stays in the release date slot that’s officially been penciled in by the film distributor behind it. Speaking of said studio, Sony Pictures Releasing is betting big on this 2022 movie release. Tom Holland, who plays the part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Spider-Man, is playing the part of a young Nathan Drake. Mark Whalberg (yes, Marky Mark himself!) is stepping into the role of Victor “Sully” Sullivan. And we’ve got Sophia Taylor Ali playing Chloe Frazer and even the inclusion of Antonio Banderas! The cast is huge for this Uncharted film, to say the least. We just hope this film ends up a whole lot better than the last Indiana Jones movie and also sticks close to what the Uncharted games do so well. Tom is usually on-point with the funny quips and all, so he’s practically much perfect for his starring role as the famed treasure hunter.

‘Sonic The Hedgehog 2’ – April 8, 2022
Paramount Pictures

So the first Sonic the Hedgehog live-action adaptation was surprisingly decent. Thank God everyone rebelled against the original look of the speedy hedgehog and got a much better representation of him on the big screen in the process. This major change did a great job of rebuilding the movie’s goodwill amongst diehard fans and making a lot more moviegoers give it a chance. Thanks to the film’s box office success, we’re (unsurprisingly) getting a sequel. And this time, Sonic’s not coming alone. Miles “Tails” Prower and Knuckles the Echidna will pull up alongside Sonic as he deals with Dr. Ivo “Eggman” Robotnik (who’s wonderfully played by Jim Carrey) once again.

Video Game Adaptations With Unconfirmed Release Dates
2K Games

There’s a ton of video game movies (and one noteworthy HBO series) in the works that has us equally excited and horrified at what they’ll end up looking like by the time they’re finished filming. Check out the list below to stay in the know about what’s on the horizon:

Borderlands

CrossFire

Detective Pikachu sequel

Five Nights at Freddy’s

Gears of War

Ghost of Tsushima

Just Cause

Just Dance

Mega Man

Metal Gear Solid

Minecraft

Rabbids

Space Invaders

Tomb Raider 2 (sequel to rebooted film franchise)

Saints Row

Yakuza

The Last of Us (HBO series)

Categories
Culture Movies/TV

The 16 Best Sci-Fi Shows and Movies on Hulu

Robot police dogs, a global pandemic, a hentai addict covertly controlling an international cult from his home in Japan, social media networks for children, and helicopters on Mars: 2021 is already a bunch of different sci-fi movies smashed into one. It’s an odd time to want to engage in fictional dystopias considering the world we live in is … pretty dystopian.

Whether you look towards sci-fi for space-opera escapism or incisive questions about identity, there’s an appropriately overwhelming amount of media currently available for streaming. Hulu’s selection in particular is impressively expansive. Ranging from anime classics to original spins on important literature to trashy reboots of beloved franchises, we’ve picked out the 16 best TV shows and movies we could find — all currently available to be beamed directly into your brain!

16. ‘Aniara’

After the Earth becomes uninhabitable, an ark of survivors travelling to Mars is thrown off course, causing them to drift through space for eternity. A device used to calm the anxiety of the passengers begins malfunctioning, causing the ship’s passengers to hallucinate. This existential space drama’s vision of humanity is pretty ghastly, but its visual styling and shockingly dark ending are impressive, especially for a relatively under-the-radar release. 

15. ‘Possessor’

It’s a shame Possessor never got a proper theatrical release and thus flew under the radar in 2020, as it’s easily one of the best films released in that accursed year. In this hallucinatory, cyberpunk noir by Brandon Cronenberg — yes, he’s the son of legendary auteur David Cronenberg, and yes his filmmaking style is quite similar to his father’s — a shadowy agency invents a way to implant an undercover agent’s consciousness into a human vessel. But traversing various identities takes its toll on the agents, and some begin to lose their minds. Fleshy, dispassionate psychedelia abounds. 

14. ‘Tetsuo: The Bullet Man’

The third movie in the Tetsuo series, Bullet Man continues the nightmarish and absurdist non-narrative sequences of the previous films. In each movie, men’s sexual problems are metaphorized through complicated animation sequences in which tortured bodies become cyborg monstrosities without warning or explanation. Rife with psychoanalytic symbolism, these deeply strange movies have been shockingly influential on contemporary cinema and anime.

13. ‘Cowboy Bebop’

Netflix’s choice to reboot Cowboy Bebop is almost insulting considering the beloved anime series is actually perfect in every way. Why bother trying to improve on something with no flaws? This legendary 90’s anime uses a rousing jazz score to set the mood for various space-age, neo-noir adventures. The handsome but curmudgeonly Spike Spiegel leads a crew of misfit bounty hunters including a non-binary super hacker, a buxom femme fatale, and an adorable Welsh corgi on a series of ill-fated raids while slowly confronting his haunted past. Despite its seemingly shallow, action-oriented premise, the story is emotionally compelling and plays with both typical sci-fi themes about the ramifications of technology and more complicated questions about existential meaning and the ephemerality of identity and love.

12. ‘Dollhouse’

From the production company that created Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, Dollhouse is a precursor to the near-future sci-fi of Black Mirror. When a rogue scientist discovers a way to temporarily wipe peoples’ memories and replace them with modular personality traits, a nefarious entertainment company begins renting out living humans as dolls to be used as sex workers and assassins. Although the first few episodes are a standard monster of the week sci-fi, the story unravels quite quickly into a post-apocalyptic nightmare when the technology of this agency is used as a weapon. Eliza Dushku plays the protagonist and is ultimately quite overworked — she essentially has an entirely new personality every episode — but a talented supporting cast rounds out this shockingly intelligent cyberpunk hellscape.

11. ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’

When Margaret Atwood looked around at the growing Christian fundamentalism of the 1980s, she worried that the wild fanaticism of conservatism could result in widespread violence. She wrote The Handmaid’s Tale as a warning about the inherent misogyny of the American right — and frighteningly, many of her predictions came true. The first season of this Hulu original series sticks pretty close to the novel, but subsequent seasons veer in a different direction as the show moves through a handful of genres including torture porn and espionage thriller. It’s sci-fi in the sense that it takes place in some dark near-future, but don’t expect robots or space aliens.

10. ‘Gurren Lagann’

From the makers of FLCL and Neon Genesis Evangelion, Gurren Lagann is another giant robot anime with stunning hand-drawn animation. The story plays out like Gundam on methamphetamines as the protagonist frees himself from an oppressive underground society to find himself involved in intergalactic warfare. What it lacks in intellectual sophistication it makes up for in heart and excess: the fight scenes are beyond over-the-top and the characters’ iconic outfits are often totally absurd. 

9. ‘Futurama’

Originally debuting in 1999, Futurama is a long-running sci-fi comedy cartoon series created by Simpsons mastermind Matt Groening. When a pizza delivery guy wakes up 1000 years in the future after accidentally cryogenically freezing himself, he discovers how different the world he once knew has become. Hijinks ensue when he joins a motley crew of misfit space travelers including an alcoholic robot and an aging mad scientist. Don’t expect too much incisive social criticism — the show is mostly politically anodyne — but a few episodes are absolutely heart-wrenching and the cast is totally lovable. 

8. ‘Shape of Water’

Guillermo Del Toro’s Academy award-winning sci-fi film is a postmodern pastiche of creature feature tropes. In Shape of Water, a cleaning lady at a shadowy government facility discovers a captured aquatic monster — and begins to fall in love. Del Toro uses monstrosity as a metaphor for otherness so as to critique the emotional impact of racial discrimination and segregation. The anachronistic art direction is magically creative and stunningly executed using old-school special effects and makeup design. 

7. ‘All That We Destroy’

Hulu and the legendary horror studio Blumhouse (the production company behind contemporary horror classics like Get Out, Paranormal Activity, The Purge, Sinister, and many more) have partnered for an ongoing series of feature-length “installments” titled Into The Dark — basically, every episode is a stand-alone movie. Although the series is mostly more traditional horror, All That We Destroy You mixes in some elements: in it, a mother clones the same woman repeatedly to see if she can finally help her son conquer his murderous urges. All That We Destroy is one of a few sci-fi movies in that franchise along with I’m Just F*cking With You, Culture Shock, and a few others, but the other mini-movies in the franchise are worth investigating if you enjoy horror.

6. ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’

Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger reunite for this 2019 continuation of the Terminator franchise. It’s far from the best in the series, but the campy pleasures of this dynamic duo’s return are worth the price of entry. Schwarzenegger in particular hams it up — there’s a bizarre running gag that the T-800 has been reprogrammed to be an interior decorator? — and Linda Hamilton remains a butch icon. The special effects and action are all decadently cheesy and the plot is totally incoherent, but it’s a mindless, fun watch nonetheless.

5. ‘Mobile Suit Gundam Wing’

Although Mobile Suit Gundam Wing was not the first series in the sprawling Gundam franchise to be translated into English, it was the first to be aired on television in the United States — thus garnering it immense popularity. Wing is technically the sixth installment in this idiosyncratic universe, but no knowledge of the previous characters or continuity is necessary. The characters and design in Wing are all multidimensional and the animation — although sometimes a little cheap looking — is often stunningly dynamic and graphically impressive. The story is also far more politically complex and adult than what you’d expect from a show that was ostensibly geared for children — in fact, the series is essentially an ongoing depiction of the psychological trauma caused by neverending war. 

4. ’12 Monkeys’

Terry Gilliam’s surrealist sci-fi masterpiece from 1995 is the main inspiration for this psychological, future thriller. Gilliam’s cult classic, which starred a young Bruce Willis, was a sort of steampunk-inflected nightmare world. The show is a bit less dreamlike than its source material but won multiple awards for cinematography nonetheless. Although its first season was not exactly warmly received, critics realized what a fully imagined universe it contained by the time they got to later episodes. 

12 Monkeys is set in a post-viral, post-apocalypse: following the spread of a deadly disease that wipes out most of humanity, clandestine networks begin experimenting with time travel in the hopes of averting widespread destruction. It all sounds a bit nauseating — especially in the age of Corona! — but the multiple timelines of the show make it a fascinating and visually stimulating puzzle box of a series. 

3. ‘Roswell’

For a certain group of millennials, Roswell formed a holy TV trinity alongside Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel. These easily bingeable young-adult shows combined romance, horror, and science fiction in equal measures to create thoroughly enjoyable episodes featuring deliciously 90’s retro fashions. As Buffy and Angel, Roswell also featured surprisingly complicated characters engaging in teenage romances both emotionally touching and totally corny. Taking place in the infamous New Mexico town, Roswell follows a series of aliens attempting to fit in amongst normal high school students. They battle shadowy government agencies while navigating budding erotic feelings. It might all seem very silly at first, but it’ll be impossible to stop watching once you’re hooked.

2. ‘Akira’

Katsuhiro Otomo’s legendary 4000+ page manga was adapted into an astoundingly epic film in 1988 — with the help of every animation studio that had existed in Japan at the time. The story, an extensive exploration of the unwieldiness of youth and the atrocities of atomic weaponry, is hard to digest on a first watch-through, but subsequent viewings make the brutally ultra-violent scenes more legible. The stunningly crisp HD version currently available on Hulu makes every hand-drawn frame look impossibly beautiful and often gorgeously grotesque. 

1. ‘Melancholia’

Lars Von Trier, a pioneer in the cinema of evil, infamously suffered a nervous breakdown through the making of this movie. Upon its release, the director offered strange and controversial statements about artistry that caused the star of the film, Kirstin Dunst, to hesitantly disaffiliate from the auteur. It’s obvious this movie came from a place of immense suffering and sadness, but it’s truly a work of terrible beauty.

In Melancholia, a massive planet is hurtling towards the Earth and destined to destroy all life. With absolutely no hope for survival, humans totally give up and wonder if their lives are even worth grieving. An extended metaphor about the deep hopelessness caused by major depression, this masterpiece is far more emotionally complicated than your average big-budget sci-fi.

Categories
Culture Movies/TV

The 20 Best Thrillers on Hulu To Watch

Few genres are as slippery as thrillers: what exactly differentiates thrillers from horror, or noir, or espionage? Boiled down to the most obvious motifs, thrillers are about crime, suspense, and psychological terror — but it’s more than that. Thrillers have a feel, a tone, and a mood that are distinct, but it’s hard to say where the genre begins and ends. 

Hulu’s selection of thrillers ranges vastly in quality and sub-genre: they’ve got original TV series based on beloved sci-fi — mingled in with brutal and avant-garde interpretations of true crime stories and campy erotic classics. We’ve gone through the whole thriller section and sorted out what’s actually worth watching. Check out our list of the best 20 thriller TV shows and movies currently available to stream.

20. ‘The Act’

True crime fanatics became obsessed with the case of Dee Dee Blanchard, a woman in Missouri who was murdered under mysterious circumstances. The real-life story that unraveled was deeply unsettling: it turns out Dee Dee had been keeping her daughter captive by convincing her she was debilitatingly ill and severely brain-damaged. Hulu’s original series, The Act, is a dramatization of this true-crime nightmare. Impressive acting from Patricia Arquette and Joey King helped garner the show a handful of Emmy nominees.

19. ‘Antebellum’

Janelle Monae stars in this Jordan Peele-esque social thriller, written and directed by Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz. Dealing with the legacy and brutality of slavery in the United States, the movie is a horror-inflected tale of a woman trapped in a plantation, desperate to escape. Critics were divided about the movie’s implicit morality and emotional impact, but it’s a politically complex film that takes Black identity and trauma as a subject of serious inquiry. 

18. ‘Die Hard’

Often considered the greatest action movie ever made, Die Hard is quite obviously Bruce Willis’s crowning cinematic achievement (other than Fifth Element). The plot is somehow totally irrelevant, as the movie is a series of high-octane chase sequences with quippy and memorable catchphrases in between. Even if the plot is incoherent, the suspense builds into a hypnotic crescendo. The movie wound up spawning numerous sequels, at least one of which is also available on Hulu, but it’s best to stick with the original.

17. ‘Fargo’

Based on the iconic dark comedy of the same name by the Coen brothers, Fargo is a bleak and morbidly humorous thriller about crime in the midwest. The show’s got an absurdly star-studded cast and features an anthology story structure, meaning that each season is a self-contained narrative. Although each episode claims to be based on true events, the plot is in reality totally fabricated. Despite its cynical tone, the show snagged an astounding amount of accolades: out of 226 nominations, it snatched a total of 51 awards. 

16. ‘Free Fall’

Free Fall is a German, erotic thriller with a broodingly serious tone. A meditation on repressed desire, the movie contemplates a gay affair between two police officers and the ramifications of their illicit love. With the protagonist’s fragile masculinity at stake, violence threatens to erupt at every moment. Don’t expect laughs: even the film’s most playful and sexy moments are filled with desperate angst.

15. ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’

Based on the terrifying speculative sci-fi novel by Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale considers America’s penchant for evangelical fascism by contemplating what a conservative revolt and subsequent coup would actually look like in action. In Atwood’s hideous future, women are enslaved and used as receptacles for breeding while being fed a brainwashing regiment of hyper-religious extremism. In the TV show Elisabeth Moss plays Offred, a woman captured and tortured by the Gilead regime. But can she organize an underground movement to overthrow her fanatical overseers? As American conservatism’s fervency reaches new insane heights in reality, the predictions of this show have seemed more accurate by the second.

The show deserves a bit of a content warning: while the first season sticks pretty close to the original novel, the second and subsequent seasons diverge significantly. Also, because forced breeding is a central plot point of the story, the whole series contains a nauseating amount of sexual violence that many people have found to be simply unwatchable. The second season in particular sometimes resembles torture-porn more than melodrama, but the third season tones down the violence just a bit.

14. ‘The Purge’

Based on the movie franchise of the same name, the concept of The Purge is simple: One day a year, all crime is legal. The backstory behind the strange concept is actually somewhat politically sophisticated: in this imagined near-future, the American government devised a way to reduce widespread violence by allowing Americans one day a year to release the anger and rage that boils inside them. What began as an extended contemplation on the USA’s obsession with violence has turned into a sanguine thriller about corruption and class resentment and the fanaticism of the Second Amendment. The first season focuses on a single Purge night in the year 2027 and follows several intersecting stories. In our current political climate, what seems like an absurd concept becomes more prescient by the second.

13. ‘Only God Forgives’

Nicholas Winding Refn’s film Drive made waves in 2011 for its hyper-stylized, neon-drenched aesthetic. His follow-up film, Only God Forgives, continues the auteur’s ultra-violent thesis in a gorgeously shot and moodily scored thriller about criminal organizations in Thailand. Also starring Ryan Gosling, Only God Forgives is both mesmerizingly dreamy and stunningly bloody. It’s probably one of the most visually pleasing thrillers ever made, but it’s not for the squeamish or sensitive. 

12. ‘Vanilla Sky’

Based on the deliriously strange Spanish film Abre Los Ojos, Vanilla Sky is a philosophical exploration of the limits of reality. What the movie has in smarts, it lacks in aesthetic (and Tom Cruise’s terrible acting certainly doesn’t help) — but the existential questions it raises about the nature of dreams and our understanding of consciousness makes it an interesting film nonetheless. Loosely inspired by the hallucinatory novels of Phillip K. Dick, there’s a lot in here for people who love mindfucks.  

11. ‘Angel’

It would be easy to dismiss Angel as a cheaply made spinoff of the more popular Buffy The Vampire Slayer — but the show is just as lovable and sophisticated as the series that introduced its protagonist. After the eponymous demonic hero departs from Sunnydale, a strange series of events leads him to found Angel Investigations, a supernatural detective agency that winds up accidentally averting the apocalypse several times. Angel struggles with his own vampiric bloodlust while saving humanity from destruction. The show’s Lovecraftian fifth season, in particular, is astoundingly emotionally complex and well written.

10. ‘Hannibal’

ShowrunnerBryan Fuller takes a lot of creative liberties with novelist Thomas Harris’s Hannibal tetralogy in this mind-bending crime thriller about a super-genius psychologist with a taste for human flesh. The cannibal doctor and a detective investigating a bizarre series of murders engage in a terribly erotic dance of death over the course of several psychedelic seasons which at some points seem more like short art films than traditional TV. Excellent acting from Mads Mikkelson and Gillian Anderson elevates the drama and suspense to unparalleled excess. 

9. ‘Parasite’

Bong Joon-Ho’s widely celebrated social thriller about the cruelty of capitalism is an undisputed masterpiece. A family of con artists attempts to infiltrate a wealthy household, but discover deep, dark secrets hidden in the basement. We won’t say much more than that — there’s a lot of twists that aren’t worth spoiling — but the movie is an effective excoriation of how brutal and unrelenting South Korea’s enormous wealth gap has become.

8. ‘Hounds of Love’

Comparable to deeply vicious horror-thrillers like Snowtown Murders or Martyrs, Hounds of Love is a terribly nihilistic story, loosely based on the crimes of David and Catherine Birnie, a serial-killing couple in Australia. Although the movie is visually impressive and emotionally complex — especially in its portrayal of the dysfunctional relationship between the two murderous protagonists — the sexual violence throughout the film is hard to stomach, even for the most callous of audiences. It’s astounding that given the movie’s bleakness and graphic depictions of torture, it still managed to receive largely positive reviews and score several international awards nominations.

7. ‘Body of Evidence’

Few thrillers are as reviled as Body of Evidence, a movie which Roger Ebert frequently described as one of his most hated films. It’s tawdry, cheaply made, and stupidly written. But there are pleasures to be found in absurdly bad movies — especially ones starring Madonna! Often described as a ripoff of both Basic Instinct, this movie is an oft-ignored camp classic. 

6. ‘Twilight Zone’

Originally running from 1959 to 1964, The Twilight Zone set the standard for serialized sci-fi. The show’s episodes range from paranoiac thrillers to space-age psychosis — all in bite-sized 30 minute short stories. Rod Sterling drew from several authors for inspiration, and each mysterious tale usually came with a totally unexpected twist or moral warning. Although they’ve been endlessly spoofed and reinterpreted, the original episodes still make a strong impact.

5. ‘X Files’

Scully and Mulder can’t stop getting abducted by aliens in this 11 season sci-fi thriller investigating every conspiracy theory imaginable. Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny remain charismatic protagonists throughout the show’s expansive run, and their travels into the supernatural have had a lasting impact on almost every show that came after. The quality throughout is extremely inconsistent, so if you’re looking to skip a lot of filler, consider following a guide.

4. ‘Lords of Chaos’

Jonas Åkerlund, the drummer of the notorious metal band Bathory, directs this crime thriller based on the real-life murders associated with a shadowy cult of black metal enthusiasts. How accurate the movie is in its depictions of these killings has been hotly debated, but it’s an interesting insider look into the social isolation and extremism that compels such heinous actions. 

3. ‘Ingrid Goes West’

In a similar vein as this year’s Promising Young Woman, Ingrid Goes West is a feminist thriller commenting on expressions of womanhood in the digital age. After release from a psychiatric hospital, the eponymous protagonist becomes fixated on a social media influencer’s perfect life. Her courting of the young celebrity becomes dangerously close to stalking as her obsession takes a pathological turn. Although the movie is technically a black comedy, the humor throughout is notably dark.

2. ‘We Need To Talk About Kevin’

A suburban mother (played by Tilda Swinton) had always suspected there was something wrong with her son, but she couldn’t ever figure out what. Then, one day, he commits mass murder at his high school. This heartbreaking movie is a descent into every parent’s worst nightmare, rendered with extreme emotional sensitivity and artistic complexity. Based on the novel of the same name by Lynne Ramsey, We Need to Talk About Kevin is a powerful and disturbing exploration of sociopathy and identity.

1. ‘Twin Peaks’

TV critics often cite Twin Peaks as the greatest show ever made, and with good reason. Romantic, surreal, emotional, erotic, melodramatic, and endlessly alluring, David Lynch’s deeply avant-garde series about the dark underbelly of an American lumber town spans several genres. What begins with an FBI investigation into the death of a homecoming queen winds up having apocalyptic ramifications: Special Agent Dale Cooper (played by the impossibly charming Kyle McLaughlin) slowly solves this unfathomable mystery through his dreams and travels to other dimensions. It sounds zany — and it is! — but the characters all have real hearts, and the visual styling throughout is devastatingly beautiful.

Categories
Culture Movies/TV

‘Entourage’ Creator Doug Ellin Talks ‘Victory! the Podcast’ and Potential Reboot

Oh yeah.

What started as a small little project to pass the time in quarantine has now turned into a podcast that has been downloaded over three million times.

Called Victory! the Podcast, series creator Doug Ellin is “getting the gang back together,” so to speak, where he and Johnny Drama himself, Kevin Dillon, talk to members of the cast and recap the show, one episode at a time. Kevin Connolly, the podcast producer and “E” from the show, also pops in from time to time.

It would be hard to talk about television during the 2000s without mentioning Entourage. To this day, the show has a community of die-hard fans who frequently rewatch the show from beginning to end.

I’ve watched the show maybe six or seven times from start to finish. I saw the movie when it hit theaters. It is one of my favorite shows of all time.

So when I reached out to the creator of Entourage, Doug Ellin, and he responded back… I was f**king stoked.

Templin: How has it been getting those Entourage juices flowing again? Has the nostalgia really kicked in?

Ellin: It’s been great getting back together with the cast and reminiscing but it’s been even more fun talking about our lives now and things we’re doing outside of Entourage

Like the show, the podcast has been filled with star-studded cameos and appearances.

Ellin: Getting Charlie Sheen and Jordan Belfort… Having  Jeremy Piven surprising us with Mike Tyson has all just been awesome. And it’s had the same feel as the show—kind of the underdog. We didn’t have any expectations, and now everywhere we go, we’re hearing people talk about it, so that has been very cool. 

Templin: The Entourage community is still so strong. The success of your podcast proves that. What is it that makes fans of the show so loyal? 

Ellin: I think our fans can feel that the friendships that were displayed on the show really carried off-camera as well. And I think the ideas of friendship and loyalty really resonate with people much more than any of the Hollywood stuff that some people think the show was about. To me, it was always about family and sticking together no matter what and I think people really can relate to that.

With the insane success of the podcast, the chatter has already begun. Can someone say, “reboot?”

Ellin: I really had no thoughts or desire to do a reboot before the podcast but now who knows. 

The bottom line is this: If you liked Entourage, then you will LOVE Victory The Podcast. In addition to some really fun behind-the-scenes details, the podcast also keeps that friendly vibe that Entourage fans love so much.

You can check Victory! The Podcast here or wherever podcasts are available and be sure to follow Doug Ellin on Twitter and Instagram.

Categories
Culture Movies/TV

Actor Mehcad Brooks On ‘Mortal Kombat’ Movie, Fatalities, and More

For the longest time now, video game movies have consistently been mediocre.

For every solid big-screen adaptation of a major video game IP, there’s a horrid film in tow that is better left to the garbage bins of cinema. But in recent years, the sub-genre of video game movies has shockingly improved. The first Wreck-It Ralph offered gamers young and old a deep dive into the world of gaming that was far better than expected. Then there are releases such as 2020’s Sonic The Hedgehog live-action thrill ride, Detective Pikachu, and The Angry Birds Movie 2 that also turned out to be halfway decent viewing experiences.

There’s another video game film that’s looking to continue the upward trend of the sub-genre as a whole. And what’s even cooler is the fact that it’s a complete blockbuster reboot that replicates the blood and gore that its associated franchise is known for. That film is Mortal Kombat, which looks like it’ll be a violently fun time that sticks close to what works so well in the games. The first trailer footage blew everyone’s minds and definitely got us excited to see the denizens of Earthrealm and Netherrealm duke it out over the fate of their respective worlds.

One of the fighters that will be a big part of the film is Jaxon Briggs aka “Jax.” And the actor that’s taking over such an integral role is Mehcad Brooks. Brooks took some time out of his busy schedule to chat with us about his experiences while working on the film, the video games he gets a kick out of playing, and what it took for him to become as buff as the badass character he plays.

Oh, and before we forget – Mortal Kombat is slated to hit theatres and HBO Max on April 23.

Emily Assiran

ONE37pm: The first scene everyone witnessed in the Mortal Kombat trailer is Sub-Zero brutally freezing your arms and smashing them to pieces. When you watched it back, what was the main thought running through your head?

Mehcad Brooks: “Wow this looks great, it’s incredible what our visual effects department was able to do.”

ONE37pm: So how’d you end up earning the role of Jax? And how’d you feel once you were selected for the part?

Brooks: I’m extremely honored to play Jax. I grew up playing Mortal Kombat so this is a big deal for me.

ONE37pm: Are there any attributes of Jax that you made sure to adhere to while filming this movie?

Brooks: Yes. Jax is huge, he’s much bigger than I am as a person, so I gained 45 pounds of muscles. I did boxing training 5-6 days a week, for 5 months.

ONE37pm: Besides yourself of course, who are some of your favorite characters from the film?

Brooks: I’m impressed with all the characters. Growing up a Scorpion fan, he does not disappoint, and growing up a Sub-Zero fan I was excited to see Joe Taslim bring him to life. And as a lifelong Mortal Kombat fan, all the characters are everything the fans would want and more.

ONE37pm: Did you watch the original Mortal Kombat films? And if so, what’d you think of them?

Brooks: Haven’t seen them in over 20+ years but I remember liking them as a kid.

ONE37pm: I’m sure you did plenty of research on the MK games when you got this role. Are there any Fatalities that truly made you cringe? And are there any that made you go “I hope we get to do that in the movie?”

Brooks: ALL OF THEM.

ONE37pm: A lot of people might not know this, but you actually had a role in the puppet movie Magic: The Gathering – The Musical. How’d you end up nabbing that role? And how was the filming experience overall?

Brooks: A friend of mine was the creator of the movie and she asked me to do it and I was happy to oblige. Being an all-around theatre nerd, I really enjoyed it and look forward to doing more voice acting. 

ONE37pm: Do you consider yourself much of a gamer? And do you have any games that you play on the regular?

Brooks: Sometimes I feel like I play Mortal Kombat and GTA to an unhealthy point.

ONE37pm: What’s a crucial bit of advice you’d like to pass along to all the aspiring actors & actresses out there?

Brooks: Keep going, understand that the word “No” does not mean “never.” “No” in the acting world means “just not right now.”

ONE37pm: Time to get into heavy promotion mode, Mr. Brooks. Feel free to tell everyone why they shouldn’t miss Mortal Kombat once it finally comes out.

Brooks: Mortal Kombat is a hell of a good time, it’s the best hand-to-hand combat in a movie I have ever seen. Even if you’re not a Mortal Kombat fan it is a bonafide action-adventure that feels as big as Star Wars, The Hunger Games, and The Lord of The Rings.

Categories
Culture Movies/TV

ONE37pm’s Mount Rushmore of Superhero Movies

We currently live in what could be called the ‘Golden Age of Superhero Movies.” While some of the best superhero movies, such as Tim Burton’s Batman and Christopher Reeves’ Superman, released before this era, never before have superhero movies been as popular as they are today.

Beginning in 2002 with Tobey Maguire’s debut as Spider-Man in Spider-Man, and continuing with Christian Bale as Batman in Batman Begins, we saw superheroes and “nerd culture” really begin to enter the mainstream. And then once Robert Downey Jr. took on the mantle of Tony Stark in Iron Man, kicking off the Marvel Cinematic Universe, superhero movies truly became one of the must-see releases every year.

All that being said, this begs the question:

There are certainly plenty of options, but here is our “Mount Rushmore of Superhero Movies”, the ones that stand above all the rest.

1. ‘The Dark Knight’

The undisputed GOAT, the one that will never be touched, and one of Christopher Nolan’s best, The Dark Knight, remains the greatest superhero movie of all-time.

The Dark Knight sees Batman (Christian Bale) facing off with his archenemy, The Joker (Heath Ledger), in an amazing action movie that also forces the audience to reckon with the question of “Where does the line between hero and vigilante begin and end?”. The Dark Knight possesses some fantastic action and has one of the best end sequences ever seen in a superhero film, with Batman attempting to save hostages as the Joker looks to blow up two ferries attempting to flee the city.

This is all not to mention that it features the best iteration of The Joker ever put to screen, with Heath Ledger embodying the sheer chaos and terror-inducing menace of the supervillain.

The film remains endlessly rewatchable and one that will continue to be talked about for years to come.

2. ‘Avengers: Endgame’

The culmination of the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe (up until that point), Avengers: Endgame saw our superheroes struggling to come to terms with the fact that the unthinkable had happened in the previous movie: They had lost. Half of all existence had been erased, and the heroes were left in shambles, forced to pick up the pieces.

It may not be everyone’s favorite Marvel movie, but it is arguably the most important one. Could a movie of this scale work? Would Marvel stick the landing after more than 20 movies? The answer was most certainly yes.

Plus, it is the only movie that I’ve ever sat in the theater for, which felt like I was at a sporting event. When this happened:

I still remember hearing people cheering so loudly that it drowned out the movie, and even saw some people shed a tear as they watched all this unfold.

Truly an unforgettable experience.

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/tg52up16eq0″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>
3. ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’

A movie that I think caught everyone by surprise, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is an animated film featuring the one and only Miles Morales. Following the death of his universe’s Spider-Man, Miles becomes the new hero, with the help of a few other Spider-Men (and Spider-Women) from different dimensions, as they battle the Kingpin, Doctor Octopus, and more.

It has a killer soundtrack, incredible visuals that make the movie look like it’s a comic book come to life, along with a ton of heart, Spider-verse is a must-see for any comic book fan.

I mean, if this scene doesn’t give you chills, then something must be wrong with you.

4. ‘Logan’

The swan song for one of the best portrayals of any comic book character ever, Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine. Logan very loosely adapts portions of the “Old Man Logan” storyline from the comics, where Wolverine has aged immensely, and his powers are beginning to fade.

Jackman played Wolverine in nine different films, and this movie served as the send-off for not just his character but also Patrick Stewart’s Professor X.

Logan sees Wolverine unexpectedly become the guardian of a young girl named Laura, who possesses powers similar to Logan’s and is later revealed to have been created in a lab using his DNA. They two form a “father-daughter” type of bond as they evade a team of mercenaries and assassins bent on capturing Laura.

For the first time faced with his own mortality, Logan grapples with the consequences of his actions and how to right the wrongs of his past.

Categories
Culture Movies/TV

The 50 Best Comedies on HBO Max That You Can Watch Now

Movie moods are definitely a thing. Sometimes you may want to watch more serious stuff, and other times you may be in need of something a little lighter. If you are looking for some new (or old) comedies to try out, HBO rMax has you covered from the classic household staples, all the way to those smaller independent films that you may not be familiar with. We’ve compiled a list of 50 different movies and shows you can currently check out on HBO Max right now. Enjoy.

1. Scoob!

Release Date: 2020

Tasked with their biggest mystery yet, Scooby and the gang are back as they try to uncover a plot to unleash the ghost dog Cerberus upon the world. Described as a ‘dog-pocalypse,’ Scooby and the crew have got a ton of work on their hands, and Scoob will have to dig deep within himself if they are going to have any shot at saving the world.

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2. Superintelligence

Release Date: 2020

A powerful superintelligence randomly chooses to follow the life of Carol, one of the most average people in the world. On the cusp of humanity ending, the fate of the world somehow ends up being left in the hands of Carol, who has to prove to the superintelligence agency, that human lives are worth saving.

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3. Downhill

Release Date: 2020

Downhill stars Will Ferrell and Julia Louis- Dreyfus as a married couple going through a trying time in their relationship after a near-death experience while skiing. The two are then forced to take a closer look at their lives, while re-evaluating their feelings for one another, and the future of their relationship.

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4. The King of Staten Island

Release Date: 2020

Comedian Pete Davidson recounts his life experiences in this semi-autobiographical comedy. Davidson touches on the early beginnings of his standup career, growing up in Staten Island, and overcoming the loss of his father during 9/11 in this poignant documentary.

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5. Impractical Jokers (The Movie)

Release Date: 2020

Starring Brian Quinn, Sal Vulcano, Joe Gatto, and James Murray as The Tenderloins, Impractical Jokers: The Movie is a comedy based on the truTV television series of the same name. Twenty-five years after an embarrassing mishap in which the group ruined a Paula Abdul concert, The Tenderloins have a chance encounter with Abdul, who gives them three tickets to a party. Realizing that one group member has to be left out, The Tenderloins embark on a road trip full of challenges to decide who will be the odd one out.

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6. Spies in Disguise

Release Date: 2019

A good movie for the entire family, super spy Lance Sterling teams up with scientist Walter Beckett to help save the world. The two are polar opposites of one another with Lance being the smooth popular kid, and Walter more of the ‘science nerd.’ With the world suddenly being in danger, the two quickly find out that they will need each other more than ever.

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7. Dolittle

Release Date: 2020

Starring Robert Downey Jr., Dolittle is a tale of a doctor living a life of confinement behind a lush manor in 19th century England. His only form of companionship is a group of exotic animals that he interacts with on a daily basis. However, when Queen Victoria becomes extremely ill, the doctor and his unique friends must go on the hunt for a magical cure.

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8. Tower Heist

Release Date: 2011

Produced by Eddie Murphy and directed by Ben Stiller, Tower Heist stars Ben Stiller as Josh Kovaks, the manager of one of New York’s most luxurious properties. The condo’s most famed resident Arthur Shaw (portrayed by Alan Alda), just so happens to be under house arrest for stealing more than $2 Billion from his investors (including Josh). On a mission to get back the $2 Billion stolen, the investors seek out the help of a crook named Slide (Eddie Murphy) to retrieve the money.

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9. Love Life

Release Date: 2020

Love Life is a romantic comedy series starring Anna Kendrick that chronicles the life of Darby Carter, a thirty-something who has spent her entire 20s and 30s looking for love. The show is an anthology series following a different person each season from their first romance to their last, and was renewed for a second season in June 2020.

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10. Search Party

Release Date: 2016

Search Party is a show focusing on a group of former students looking to investigate the mysterious disappearance of their college friend Chantal. The leader of the group, Dory, is on a mission to find out what happened to Chantal, and each person in the group has characteristics helpful to the search party. Elliot, who describes himself as being a narcissist, is very good at investigative work.

Portia, an actress, is good at getting information out of people primarily through flirting. Drew, who is extremely sheltered, joins the group as an attempt to repair his fractured relationship with Dory, and last but not least, Dory’s ex-boyfriend Julian is determined to use his journalistic background to find out what exactly happened to Chantal. This is a good show to binge watch if you are looking to try out a new investigative series.

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11. Silicon Valley

Release Date: 2014

Inspired by co-creator Mike Judge’s Silicon Valley experiences in the 1980s, Silicon Valley highlights the adventures of Richard Hendricks, a struggling engineer attempting to build his own company called Pied Piper. Richard and his friends are trying to hit the jackpot with his business, living together in a Bay Area start-up incubator.

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12. South Park

Release Date: 1997

Everybody knows just how iconic South Park is, and now you can relive all of its greatness on HBO Max. You’ll be able to rewind back to the beginning of the show and rewatch all of the legendary madness from 1997 to 2021. 

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13. Barry

Release Date: 2018

Barry stars Bill Hader as Barry Berkman, a hitman from Cleveland who travels to Los Angeles to execute a hit on an actor having an affair with a mobsters wife, but instead finds himself joining an acting class, and drawn to its students. Berkman winds up developing feelings for another acting student named Sally, and desperately wants to leave his hitman past behind by starting a new life.

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14. Final Space

Release Date: 2018

An astronaut named Gary meets a planet destroying Alien named Mooncake in the middle of trying to work off a prison sentence. The two instantly bond, but Gary fails to realize that his new best friend is under the ruling Lord Commander, an vicious dictator who will do anything to get a hold of Mooncake’s evil powers. 

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15. Ballers

Release Date: 2015

Spencer Strasmore (Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson), a retired NFL player, is trying to find the same success as a financial manager for current NFL players in Miami. Under the direction to only build relationships that are ‘money-based,’ Strasmore quickly finds himself drawn to his players, as he tries to help them find their way in the challenging world of being a professional athlete.

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16. Miracle Workers

Release Date: 2019

Daniel Radcliffe stars as the son of a tyrannical king, but has no desire to carry on the family tradition of brutal killings and evil deeds. Meanwhile the rest of the towns villagers are living in poverty facing mistreatment, inequality, and poor healthcare. Miracle Workers is an anthology series, and was recently renewed for a third season in August 2020.

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17. Girls

Release Date: 2012

An aspiring writer and her group of girlfriends (all of whom are in their early 20s), are going through the process of trying to figure out their lives after living in New York for two years. A different mixture of personalities, the ladies are each dealing with their own set of personal problems including; wanting to start a professional career as a writer but having an issue with finding the motivation to write, relationship problems, raging insecurities, and the desire to have a ‘Sex and the City’ lifestyle.

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18. The Big Bang Theory

Release Date: 2007

A young woman moves across the hall from two men who are brilliant, but painfully inexperienced at life. While Sheldon and Leonard may be able to tell you everything about science and quantum physics, they barely know how to operate in social settings, and can’t even begin to function properly when dealing with attractive women. A classic comedy worth revisiting or checking out for the first time if you haven’t already seen it.

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19. Whose Line Is It Anyway

Release Date: 1998

One of the best improv shows to ever hit airwaves, members of the studio audience suggest different skits, routines, and games that the actors should participate in, and everything is improvised on the spot. Whose Line Is It Anyway provided loads of hysterical, classic moments, and would be an especially good show for the younger generations who weren’t around to witness in real-time.

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20. Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey

Release Date: 2020

A 2020 film based on the DC comics team ‘Birds of Prey,’ Harley Quinn has a nasty target on her back after a breakup with the Joker (breakups can get pretty ugly). On the run from her enemies, Harley meets three other vicious women that soon become a part of her crew: Black Canary, Huntress, and Renee Montoya.

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21. Ocean’s 8

Release Date: 2018

Debbie Ocean has been dreaming up the biggest heist of her life for over five years, and knows it is going to take a group of the best people in crime in order to accomplish her mission. Ocean’s 8 features an ensemble cast including: Sandra Bullock, Rihanna, Anne Hathaway, Cate Blanchett, and Helen Bonham, and received positive reviews after pulling in nearly $300 million at the box office.

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22. Get Hard

Release Date: 2015

Starring Kevin Hart and Will Ferrell, Get Hard is a 2015 comedy about a rich hedge-fund manager named James (Will Ferrell) convicted of fraud, who is trying to get all of his affairs in order before leaving to serve his prison sentence. Aware that he is not cut out for jail life, he seeks the help of a business man named James (Kevin Hart) for help.

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23. Fifty Shades of Black

Release Date: 2016

A spoof on Fifty Shades of Grey, a wealthy entrepreneur named Christian Black (Marlon Wayans) is interviewed by a young college student Hannah Steele for roommate’s school newspaper. Black quickly finds himself attracted to Steele, and similar to Fifty Shades of Grey, introduces her into his world of S&M (albeit very differently). Black’s practices put a strain on their relationship, and two are forced to work through their problems.

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24. Going In Style

Release Date: 2017

Losing your income is always a sucky experience, and three lifelong gents (portrayed by Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, and Alan Arkin) are ready to buck the system upon losing their pension. Desperate to pay their bills, the trio sets out to destroy the very bank that stole their money.

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25. The High Note

Release Date: 2020

The High Note tells the story of Grace Davis (Tracee Ellis Ross), a superstar who is beginning to become a bit full of herself. Her personal assistant Maggie (Dakota Johnson) has always dreamed of being a music producer, and the two are presented with a pivotal career opportunity that could forever change the course of their lives.

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26. Project X

Release Date: 2012

So what do you do when you have been virtually ignored for most of your high school career? You throw a party so epic that you will be instantly catapulted into ‘cool status.’ That is exactly what three high school students aim to do in order to improve their ‘ranking’ amongst their peers, but things quickly go awry as word begins to spread about their upcoming party.

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27. School Dance

Release Date: 2014

Directed by Nick Cannon, School Dance features an all-star cast with familiar faces like; Tiffany Haddish, George Lopez, Mike Epps, Wilmer Valderrama. The film tells the story of a highschool freshmen who wants to be a part of the school’s most popular dance troupe to impress a girl he likes, but lacks the confidence to pass the imitation test due to his issue of ‘freezing’ when performing in front of audiences.

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28. Insecure

Release Date: 2016

Insecure has had so many different twists, turns, and storylines through the years that it would be nearly impossible to recap (and we wouldn’t want to spoil the show for those that haven’t watched it anyway), but with the series ending this year, now would be a great time to binge watch the previous four seasons. Episode times range from about 25 to 30 minutes, so you definitely have more than enough time to catch up before season five if you are new to the Insecure game.

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29. At Home With Amy Sedaris

Release Date: 2017

Comedian Amy Sedaris invites viewers into her home, with each episode centered around a specific theme. Previous themes have included episodes focusing on cooking, relationships, and even darker topics such as grief. At Home With Amy Sedaris ran from October 2017 to June 2020 on truTV, and now fans can check it out again on HBO Max.

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30. Eastbound & Down

Release Date: 2009

With his MLB career in ruins due to substance abuse and irrational behavior, Kenny Powers (Danny McBride) is forced to take a job as a physical education teacher at his old middle school. Determined to make it back into the major league, Powers must make some serious lifestyle changes if he wants a shot at playing again.

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31. Robot Chicken

Release Date: 2005

Robot Chicken was a comedic sketch show that used dolls and action figures to act out different scenes in stop-animation. The show ran for ten seasons, and frequently incorporated themes from Star Wars and DC Comics. 200 episodes were made over the course of its ten seasons, and all 200 are currently available on HBO Max.

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32. Arli$$

Release Date: 1996

Debuting in 1996, Arli$$ was a sitcom focused on the adventures of Arliss Michaels (Robert Wuhl). Consistently navigating the ins and outs of the sport business, Michaels is all about the money, and will stop at nothing to get what he wants (hence the dollar signs in the show’s title). Arli$$ ran from 1996 to 2002, and many of the episodes featured celebrity cameos from people who were well known in the sports industry.

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33. Wrecked

Release Date: 2016

After a commercial flight crashes on a random island, the group of survivors have to learn how to navigate their new habitat, while adjusting to the island not having any of the basic necessities (cell phones, restaurants, etc.) they are used to for survival. Wrecked ran from 2016 to 2018, and all three seasons are available on HBO Max.

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34. Locked Down

Release Date: 2021

Starring Anne Hathaway and Chiwetel Ejiofor, Locked Down tells the tale of a couple planning to rob a jewelry store during the COVID-19 lockdown. The movie is among the first to be filmed in its entirety during the pandemic, and is worth checking out for that reason alone

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35. Suicide Squad

Release: 2016

Most of us have already seen Suicide Squad as it was one of the most hyped movie releases of 2016, however it never hurts to rewatch a classic. Deadshot (Will Smith), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), and all of the other incarcerated villains must work together to save the world from an apocalypse while also battling the Joker (Jared Leto).

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36. Robots

Release Date: 2005

An excellent family-friendly film, Robots remains a generational classic whose impact is still felt nearly two decades after its release. Based in a ‘robot world,’ a young inventor joins Bigweld Industries as a way to gain more experience, but quickly finds himself in a corrupt situation.

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37. Happy Feet

Release Date: 2006

Another family-friendly classic, Happy Feet is a film that explores the world of Emperor Penguins who find their soulmates through song. However when little Mumble, the son of Memphis and Norma, discovers he can’t sing, he attempts to find his purpose through tap dancing.

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38. National Lampoon’s Vacation

Release Date: 1983

The Griswold family embarks on a cross-country trip to Walley World Theme Park, and boy are they in for an adventure! Clark Griswold, the head of household, finds himself in trouble with his wife Ellen as he can’t stop checking out a gorgeous young woman driving a very nice sports car, the two have to deal with their children bickering during the ride, and unfortunately the family suffers car problems and the death of a family member while on the road. You can catch the full adventure on HBO Max.

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39. Flushed Away

Release Date: 2006

After an awful landing in Ratropolis, a curious Rodent needs the help of a sewer scavenger to help him get back to East London. As if finding his way back home to his luxurious posh wasn’t hard enough, the rodent then has to deal with a rodent-hating toad that is out to kill both him and his cousin.

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40. Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked

Release Date: 2011

The Chipettes are on a cruise to the International Music Awards, and troublemaker Alvin can’t resist stirring up the pot. Alvin and the crew soon find themselves on a deserted island, and realize that they have some friendly company.

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41. Romeo Must Die

Release Date: 2000

A hip-hop drama-comedy starring Jet Li, Aaliyah, and Anthony Anderson, Romeo Must Die is an early 2000s take on classic Shakespear as an ex-policeman (Jet Li) breaks out of jail to seek revenge for his brothers death. While there he falls in love with Trish O’ Day (Aaliyah), who ends up becoming his partner in crime.

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42. What I Like About You

Release Date: 2002

The literal embodiment of Y2k sitcoms, What I Like About You ran four seasons, spanning 80 episodes. Centered around Holly Tyler (Amanda Bynes), a wild young woman who is forced to turn things down upon moving in with her conservative older sister, the siblings quickly discover that staying out of trouble is much easier said than done.

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42. High Maintenance

Release Date: 2012

A nameless marijuana dealer known simply as ‘The Guy,’ delivers all of the ‘good stuff’ to his clients in New York City by way of a bicycle, and every single one of his customers live very unique lives. Each episode dives into the adventures of his clients, providing quality entertainment that allows viewers to experience characters from all walks of life.

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43. Reno 911

Release Date: 2003

Don’t you miss shows like these? An unscripted comedy that literally takes viewers into the squad car as incompetent officers attempt to solve local crimes, you absolutely will not be able to contain your laughter with this show. Make sure you aren’t eating or drinking anything while watching as it could result an accident. Seriously.

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44. Heroic Losers

Release Date: 2019

A heist film based on the novel La noche de la Usina by Eduardo Sacheri, Heroic Losers is about a group of neighbors who set out to recover money swindled from their bank manager and shady lawyer. The group is determined to seek justice and get their money back at all costs.

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45. The Five-Year Engagement

Release Date: 2012

We could be wrong with this statement, but a five-year engagement can sometimes be an indication of relationship problems, and that is exactly what Tom Solomon (Jason Segel) and his fiancee Violet Barnes (Emily Blunt) are experiencing. As time continues to pass, the couple begins to wonder if they are truly meant to be.

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46. The Wedding Crashers

Release Date: 2005

What would you do if your wedding was crashed by a couple of ‘perfect gentleman’ who use their spare time to destroy people’s weddings? You would be pretty upset right? Well if you are looking for a blood boiling film with a bit of comedy mixed in, then consider checking out this 2005 hit film that remains a classic in the 2000s rom-com genre. We can assure that you won’t be disappointed.

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47. Curb Your Enthusiasm

Release Date: 2000

Spanning 10 seasons over a six-year period, Curb Your Enthusiasm was a dark-comedy in which Seinfield creator Larry David played a version of himself. The show was based on numerous improvised series that centered around the many different obstacles and annoyances that life can throw at you, and unfortunately for Larry, his small problems often turn bigger, making his life even more chaotic.

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48. Courage The Cowardly Dog

Release Date: 1996

Let’s take it back to the 1990s shall we. Courage The Cowardly Dog was about a timid dog named Courage whose personality was exactly the opposite of his name. Courage, who suffers from paranoia issues, is forced to overcome his fears when ghosts and paranormal spirits threaten his owners and their farm.

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49. Sex and the City 2

Release Date: 2010

Following the massively successful series, it was only right that Sex and the City hit the big screen for a second time with another feature film. Starring Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, and Cynthia Nixon, the four ladies returned to explore life, love, and fashion as they usually do, but with a twist. The girls take a vacation to Abu Dhabi, and the trip presents them with plenty of adventures, as well as temptation.

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50. Rick and Morty

Release Date: 2013

Last but not least Rick and Morty, one of the GOATS. An animated series that follows a genius scientists and his not so genius grandson, Rick and Morty is one of those late-night binge worthy shows that everybody should experience at some point. If you aren’t already a Rick and Morty fan, then do yourself a favor and become one. You won’t regret it.

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Categories
Culture Movies/TV

The 100 Best Movies on HBO Max to Watch Right Now

With all the streaming options out there and exclusives dropping on each platform every day, it can be hard to figure out just what to watch. Luckily, ONE37pm has you covered with this list of the 100 best movies currently streaming on HBO Max. Whether you want to watch classic dramas or modern comedies, the massive platform has you covered. Before you plop down on the couch and let your dinner get cold as you try to figure out what to watch, check out this assortment of the 100 best movies on HBO Max!

100. ‘Snakes on a Plane’

Not all movies are supposed to be Oscar bait; sometimes audiences just want to watch an over-the-top, action-packed B-movie like Snakes on a Plane. In order to prevent a witness from making it to Los Angeles via plane, a crime lord rigs a series of snake cages to be unleashed on an unsuspecting flight midair. Starring Samuel Jackson as Agent Neville Flynn, this adrenaline-filled flick features iconic lines and some pretty spectacular man versus snake fight scenes. 

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99. ‘Inherent Vice’

Paul Thomas Anderson’s adaptation of a Thomas Pynchon novel, Inherent Vice tracks Larry “Doc” Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) as the stoner investigator suddenly finds himself on a far-reaching case having to do with his ex-girlfriend. A stylized look at corruption and the Los Angeles underbelly during the 1970s, this star-studded drama is a must-watch for anyone with a bit of time on their hands.  

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98. ‘Little Shop of Horrors’

Directed by puppet legend Frank Oz, Little Shop of Horrors is a fantastic adaptation of the off-broadway comedic musical. The film follows flower shop assistant Seymour (Rick Moranis) who is suddenly thrown in over his head when he discovers a terrifying, man-eating venus plant he has to try and satiate. 

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97. ‘American Splendor’

Comic book characters appear on screen all the time, but it’s uncommon for a movie to focus on a comic book writer. In Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini’s American Splendor, a super stylized biography of Harvey Pekar, Paul Giamatti plays the underground writer as he advances in his career, but he is often joined at times by the real-life Pekar and even animated versions of himself to add different perspectives to Pekar’s experiences. 

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96. ‘Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure’

A rockin’ good time through history, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure follows high-school students Bill Preston (Alex Winter) and Ted Logan (Keanu Reeves) as they suddenly come into possession of a time machine to help them better prepare for a history presentation. Filled with great vignettes in different historical periods, the hilarious film plays with time-travel tropes.

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95. ‘Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me’

Even for viewers who never watched David Lynch’s Twin Peaks television series, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me is an entertaining, twisted film that will stick with you. In Fire Walk With Me, Lynch follows investigations into the death of Teresa Banks (Pamela Gidley) and the final seven days of iconic Twin Peaks’ character Laura Palmer’s (Sheryl Lee) life in this multi-layered psychological horror film. 

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94. ‘Joker’

Even without Batman hunting him down, director Todd Philips showed the world that the Joker is a fascinating character who can carry a movie on his own shoulders. Joker is a Martin Scorcese-influenced take on the Clown Prince of Crime’s origin that sees Gotham City on the edge of violence and a counter-culture revolution building against the wealthy elites. Joaquin Phoenix’s intense turn behind the nihilist makeup won him both an Oscar and Golden Globe in 2019. 

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93. ‘After Hours’

A lesser-known Martin Scorcese film, After Hours is a comical film that follows Paul Hackett (Griffin Dunne) on one night full of building negative circumstances. Paul has to deal with everything from accidentally losing his $20 bill out of a taxi window to overcoming a random punk gang trying to give him a mohawk. At this point, Scorsese somewhat focuses on large ensemble pieces, but After Hours, released in 1985, is a nice reminder of when the maestro did very small-scale character-focused films.

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92. ‘Bullitt’

A Steve McQueen classic, Bullitt is an adrenaline-filled ride with some of the most iconic car chases ever put on film. Lt. Frank Bullitt (McQueen) is pulled into a political and action-packed nightmare after the witness he is protecting is murdered by hitmen as he tries to stay alive and investigate exactly what happened. 

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91. ‘Swingers’

This movie is so money, and it doesn’t even know it. Directed by Doug Liman, Swingers follows Mike Peters (Jon Favreau) a single twenty-something man in Los Angeles who is still reeling from a breakup. Thanks to his friends, but especially Trent Walker (Vince Vaughn), Mike is brought out on numerous late-nights and a Vegas trip to help him rebuild his self-esteem and get a taste of the good life.  

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90. ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’

Stanley Kubrick’s history of man, stretching from the discovery of fire all the way up to man floating in space stuck as a victim to a self-righteous computer, 2001: A Space Odyssey is an incredibly intelligent, sci-fi romp. Co-written by Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke, who wrote the book and a series of stories that inspired the film, 2001 features sparse dialogue and is praised for its practical effects.

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89. ‘All-Star Superman’

Rather than a simple story where Superman has to stop a big, spooky villain, the animated All-Star Superman sees Superman confront something else entirely: his own mortality. A beautiful adaption of the limited comic series by Grant Morrison and Frank Quietly, All-Star Superman is the perfect embodiment of why Superman is such a fantastic character and so easy to root for. 

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88. ‘Reservoir Dogs’

Quentin Tarantino’s debut feature film, Reservoir Dogs follows a group of criminals after their planned heist of a jewelry store goes awry. Featuring a stellar ensemble of performers like Harvey Keitel and Steve Buscemi, Reservoir Dogs is full of the long-winded dialogue, intense action, and nonlinear storytelling that has come to define Taratino’s storytelling sensibilities. 

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87. ‘Austin Powers’

A spoof on James Bond and other aspects of British pop culture, Austin Powers is a hilarious, over-the-top hit that sees an English secret agent from the 1960s cryogenically frozen and awakened in the 1990s. Starring Mike Meyers as both the charismatic, womanizing secret agent Austin Powers and the conniving, laser-loving Dr. Evil, Austin Powers is especially delightful for fans of the early Bond films, but everyone who watches will likely find themselves laughing throughout it. 

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86. ‘Saw’

A horror film that sees a group of people suddenly victims of a twisted man named Jigsaw’s sadistic game, Saw sees its characters be compelled to kill others or hurt themselves in order to survive. The James Wan helmed film went on to spawn a franchise and a reemergence of slaughter horror in the U.S., but the original and its low-budget shocks stand above all of its sequels.

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85. ‘Becoming Warren Buffet’

A low-key HBO original documentary, Becoming Warren Buffet tracks the slow-burning rise of the so-called “Oracle of Omaha.” An entertaining and enlightening ride, this look inside the life of one of America’s most notorious businessmen and best investors is worth watching for people who are interested in investing and those who aren’t alike. 

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84. ‘Wonder Woman’

Even though the character debuted in another film when Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman hit theaters the classic heroine finally got to share her origin story with the general audience. Ditching the modern setting of the film that established her, Wonder Woman explores the character’s first interactions with the outside world and men in general as the enchanted island Themyscira is breached during the outbreak of World War 1.

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83. ‘The Great Dictator’

In The Great Dictator, a film written, directed by, and starring Charlie Chaplin, Chaplin plays a satirical version of Adolf Hitler. When the silent comedy was released in 1940, the U.S. was formally still at peace with Nazi Germany, showing just how ahead of the curve Chaplin was on calling out and skewering fascism and antisemitism. 

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82. ‘Viva Las Vegas’

Elvis Presley shaking his hips and singing songs in Las Vegas, what more do you need to know? Directed by George Sidney and released in 1964, Viva Las Vegas follows Lucky Jackson (Presley) as he heads to Vegas to compete in a Grand Prix Race.

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81. ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’

Released in 2012, Benh Zeitlin’s Beasts of the Southern Wild follows six-year-old Hushpuppy (Quvenzhané Wallis) who is suddenly forced to become independent when her father falls ill, and the climate seems to go haywire alongside his illness. Hushpuppy must endure storms and outmaneuver fanciful beasts as she searches for her distant mother. 

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80. ’12 Monkeys’

A Terry Gillam classic, 12 Monkeys is a time-travel-filled story that centers around attempts to prevent the 1996 release of a deadly virus that wipes out most of humanity. Starring Bruce Willis as James Cole, a prisoner sent back in time from 2030 to find a sample of the original virus to help scientists develop a cure, 12 Monkeys is a zany, complex film that sees James struggle to find information or get any cooperation into his mission aside from mental health patient Jeffrey Goines (Brad Pitt).   

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79. ‘House’

A super-stylized and silly film, House is a 1977 Japanese horror movie about a group of girls who are all eaten by a countryside manor one-by-one while on vacation. Cheesy and awesome in all the best ways, House does a great job giving each character their own sharp, distinguished personality as the audience gets to watch them react to the slow-building madness taking place around them.   

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78. ‘Shaun of the Dead’

Another silly look at the horror genre, Edgar Wright’s Shaun of the Dead follows Shaun (played by the film’s co-writer Simon Pegg), a regular dude who is all of a sudden caught unaware by a zombie apocalypse. A hilarious film full of physical comedy and impressive choreography, Shaun of the Dead sees Shaun and a small group of loved ones try to survive and wait out the zombie outbreak in their local pub.

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77. ‘Speed’

A good old-fashioned 90s action movie, Jan de Bont’s Speed follows Officer Jack Traven (Keanu Reeves) as he tries to rescue a hostage-filled bus that can’t fall under a certain speed or a series of explosives that have been strapped to it will go off. Thanks to charismatic performances from Sandra Bullock and Dennis Hopper, Speed’s intense yet silly concept comes off as awesome rather than farcical. 

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76. ‘Babe’

An adaptation of Dick King-Smith’s book, Babe is a family-friendly, silly movie about a pig whose dream is to do the work of a sheepdog. All of the different kinds of farm animals talk to each other and have relationships, but it’s really Babe (voiced by Christine Cavanaugh) who carries the movie on his little shoulders.

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75. ‘The Mummy’

In 1999, Universal Pictures launched a new movie franchise revolving around one of its classic monsters with The Mummy. Set in the 1920s, the movie follows adventurer Rick O’Connell (Brendan Fraser) and Egyptologist Evelyn O’Connell (Rachel Weisz) as they explore and accidentally awaken an ancient mummy. The movie is full of exciting action and cheesy 90s goodness, but the chemistry between Fraser and Weisz is equally noteworthy. 

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74. ‘All the President’s Men’

A strong free press is one of the best defenses against government overreach, and the 1976 film All the President’s Men tells a real-world story of investigative reporting helping bring about substantial change. Based directly on Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward’s book about the events, the film follows Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman) and Woodward (Robert Redford) as they investigate the details of the Watergate scandal and ultimately help bring down then-President Richard Nixon.

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73. ‘Best in Show’

A Christopher Guest-directed mockumentary, Best in Show follows five dog owners before they enter a prestigious dog show. Stacked with an ensemble cast including Schitt’s Creek co-stars Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara, Best in Show is full of hilarious dialogue and gorgeous dogs. 

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72. ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’

A Studio Ghibli classic, Hayao Miyazaki’s Howl’s Moving Castle is set in a fantastical, magic-filled world where modernish technology has a firm footing inside the various fictional kingdoms. The film follows Sophie, a young woman who is cursed and turned into an old woman, as she tries to reverse the curse while inadvertently getting swept up into a larger anti-war movement. 

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71. ‘Wedding Crashers’

Wedding Crashers, a hilarious R-rated comedy that takes full advantage of its adult rating, follows friends John (Owen Wilson) and Jeremy (Vince Vaughn) in their favorite time of year: wedding season. These two wedding crashers make a habit of creating personas for themselves and slipping into the best parties to pick up women, but things suddenly turn upside down when John falls for Claire (Rachel McAdams), the daughter of a U.S. Senator who is in a long-term relationship. 

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70. ‘Dog Day Afternoon’

Long before he was caught potentially snoozing at the Golden Globes, Al Pacino was starring in dramatic, Oscar-winning films like Sidney Lumet’s Dog Day Afternoon. The story tells the real story of a 1972 Brooklyn bank robbery and hostage situation initiated by John Wojtowicz (Pacino) and Sal Naturile (John Cazale). Nothing goes quite as expected though, as the robbers realize the bank just had all of its cash picked up and are forced to improvise their way out of the tense situation as the police start to arrive. 

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69. ‘Bad Education’

An HBO original, Cory Finley’s Bad Education is a dramedy that follows the real-world story of the largest public school embezzlement scheme in American history. Starring Hugh Jackman and Allison Janney as a Long Island school district superintendent and assistant superintendent, Bad Education sees the two characters who are used to being in control scramble to cover-up a massive embezzlement scheme from an inquiring student reporter. 

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68. ‘Argo’

Directed by and starring Ben Affleck, Argo is a historical drama that follows an elaborate scheme that was backed by the CIA in the midst of the Iranian hostage crisis. Tony Mendez (Affleck) is allowed into Tehran under the assumption that he is producing a sci-fi movie, but he is actually part of an elaborate scheme that is trying to rescue the six diplomats that were being held hostage at the time. 

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67. ‘Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker’

In a future Gotham City where an older Bruce Wayne is mentoring a younger Batman, everything is all of a sudden thrown out of whack when the Joker makes a shocking and very public return. Featuring a stellar voice ensemble and fantastic animation throughout, Return of the Joker is an emotionally charged, explosive film that pushes all of its characters and the resilience of the Bat-mythos to the limits. 

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66. ‘The Departed’

A Martin Scorsese gangster film that touches on the cat-and-mouse game between organized crime and the police, The Departed is a twist-filled movie that makes the audience question everything and everyone’s motivations. The Departed won multiple Oscars, including Best Picture, and is an entertaining, tense ride full of stellar performances from actors like Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon.

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65. Batman Begins

Christopher Nolan’s take on the Batman origin story and the superhero’s early days on the job, Batman Begins is a gritty, action-packed film that leans into the protagonist’s darker qualities. After an old figure from Bruce Wayne’s (Christian Bale) time training around the world reappears to wreak havoc in Gotham City, he is forced to push himself to the limits in order to save his home city before it’s completely destroyed. 

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64. Lincoln

A historical biography about President Abraham Lincoln’s (Daniel Day-Lewis) attempts to abolish slavery through the 13th amendment, Steven Speilberg’s Lincoln is a detailed, beautiful drama. Rather than focus on every moment of the President’s life or his time in office, the film does the historical giant a great service by just focusing on the last four months of his life-giving audiences an interesting look at one of the most divisive times in American history. 

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63. A Star is Born

A Star Is Born already appeared on the big screen three times before Bradley Cooper directed the 2018 remake, but this film strongly distinguishes itself from the pack. Starring Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga as two musicians who meet at radically different points in their career, the film is an emotional rollercoaster about fame, addiction, and the power of love. 

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62. Elf

A modern Christmas classic, Jon Favreau’s Elf follows Buddy the Elf (Will Ferrell) as he makes a big journey from the North Pole to New York City to try and find his long-lost father. Full of over-the-top laughs and holiday heart, Elf is entertaining and worth watching any time of the year.

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61. Unforgiven

Unforgiven may star Clint Eastwood as a retired outlaw, but it’s markedly different from many of the actor’s other westerns. More of a revisionist western film than just a traditional entry in the genre, this Eastwood helmed movie sees William Munny (Eastwood) pause his farm life to return to the life of crime for one more job. As he tries to hunt down a murderer, he comes into conflict with Sheriff Daggett (Gene Hackman), a lawman who despises the vigilante justice that defines most western features. 

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60. Phantom Thread

Directed and written by Paul Thomas Anderson, Phantom Thread is a film about a fashion designer named Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) and the intense, unhealthy relationship he develops with a woman named Alma Elson(Vicky Krieps). The meticulous film not only does a wonderful job exploring the fashion world of 1950s London, but it features the supposedly final performance Day-Lewis, who received an Oscar nom for his obsessive performance.

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59. Bonnie and Clyde

Starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway as iconic real-world outlaw lovers Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, Bonnie & Clyde is a dramatic and slick flick set during the Great Depression. A counterculture touchstone that spurred what some call the New Hollywood era, the 1967 film is often praised for its openness in its presentation of sexuality and violence.

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58. Blade Runner

Released back in 1982, Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner is set in the futuristic world of 2019 and follows Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) a former blade runner whose job was to track down humanoid replicants and “put them down” before they cause harm or havoc in human society. Based on the world created in Philip K. Dick’s Do Android Dream of Electric Sheep, Blade Runner is a philosophical, noir crime story that works even separately from its sci-fi qualities. 

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57. Cast Away

Directed by Robert Zemeckis, Cast Away follows Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks) after a plane crash leaves him stranded alone on a remote island. An excellent movie that tracks his attempts at survival and recovery while simultaneously tracking his mental deterioration, Cast Away earned Hanks an Academy Award nomination for his harrowing, believable performance. 

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56. Training Day

An Antonine Fuqua helmed crime thriller, Training Day is a twist-filled look at fictional narcotics officers. Officer Jake Hoyt (Ethan Hawke) is assigned to work with and be reviewed by Detective Alonzo Harris (Denzel Washington), a corrupt cop whose activities are known to several on their beat. Full of intense action scenes and PCP-laced joints, Training Day will keep viewers on the edge of their seats as they fall deeper into the corrupt world of the Los Angeles Police Department.  

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55. The Graduate

A romantic-comedy released in 1967, Mike Nichols’ The Graduate follows Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman), a recent college graduate who feels like he’s floating through a boring existence up until he develops an affair with an older woman who lives on his block. The film really captures the aimless feeling of post-college life and does a wonderful job adapting the novel written by Charles Webb shortly after he himself graduated from Williams College.

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54. Dangerous Liaisons

A star-studded adaptation of a French play, Dangerous Liaisons, is set in pre-Revolutionary Paris and sees Marquise Isabelle de Merteuil (Glenn Close) plot her romantic revenge on her former lover. Both to soothe her own pain and embarrass her former lover, she tries to arrange the seduction and hopeful disgrace of his new virgin fiancee Cécile de Volanges (Uma Thurman). The period piece is full of drama and low-key laughs, but it especially deserves praise for its excellent portrayal of mundane, jealous feelings among an aristocratic class that is normally shown as emotionless and stiff.    

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53. Batman: Mask of the Phantasm

In 1993, the creative team behind Batman: The Animated Series was given the green-ligt to create a feature film. In Mask of the Phantasm, viewers get to see the Dark Knight’s earliest days as a masked vigilante from a different light thanks to the introduction of Andrea Beaumont, a romantic partner of Bruce’s whose affection makes him question his vengeful vow. Otherwise, the inclusion of Mark Hamill’s vengeance-seeking Joker and some old-fashioned mobster elements make this a must-watch for any fans of pulpy action stories. 

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52. Maltese Falcon

A 1941 noir adaptation of the classic Dashiell Hammett novel, The Maltese Falcon follows private investigator Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart) as he is suddenly forced into a deadly mission to discover a jewel-studded statue of a falcon. Full of femme fatale fueled intrigue and fantastic, moody cinematography, this John Huston-directed movie is a must-watch for anyone who appreciates classic detective stories. 

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51. Seven Samurai

Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai is a samurai epic that follows seven ronin who assemble to combat a gang of bandits trying to steal a village’s crops after a harvest. An intricate production, Seven Samurai is an incredibly entertaining film, but it deserves extra praise for its excellent use of massive numbers of extras and constantly making sure every shot looks dynamic and eye-popping.

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50. Life is Beautiful

An Italian production co-written, directed, and starring Roberto Benigni, Life is Beautiful is a touching yet comedic story about a father and son who are forced into a holocaust concentration camp. As things become increasingly dark and dire, Guido Orefice (Benigni) relies on his goofy imagination and close-knit relationship with his son to try and shield the young boy from the horrible reality the two of them find themselves in.

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49. ‘Magic Mike’

Loosely based on Channing Tatum’s own experiences as a young stripper, Magic Mike follows 18-year old Michael “Magic Mike” Lane (Tatum) as he enters the male-strip club industry for the first time. Directed by Steven Soderbergh, this ensemble film is incredibly dramatic and full of impressive choreography that will leave both fans of male strippers and non-fans entertained alike.

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48. ‘Se7en’

Want to know what’s inside this box? A fantastic movie. One of David Fincher’s darkest films, Se7en follows rookie detective David Mills (Brad Pitt) and veteran detective William Somerset (Morgan Freeman) as they investigate a string of murders all related to the seven deadly sins. Released in 1995, the movie is delightfully tense and full of twists that keep viewers on the edge of their seats.  

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47. ‘Lord of the Rings: Return of the King’

The final entry in Peter Jackson’s adapted Lord of the Rings trilogy, Return of the King is an emotional, action-packed conclusion. The Best Picture Oscar winner features some massive action sequences in addition to some smaller, quieter moments that make the viewer’s final outing with their favorite hobbits an extremely dramatic and rewarding film.   

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46. ‘Last King of Scotland’

While this movie doesn’t feature any fantasy battles to lead a nation, Kevin Macdonald’s Last King of Scotland is another incredibly acted film that touches on the consequences of leading a nation and the violence that can accompany it. Loosely based on Giles Foden’s novel of the same name, the film follows Nicholas Garrigan (James McAvoy), a Scottish doctor who becomes Ugandan President Idi Amin’s (Forest Whitaker) personal physician. Despite Nicholas’ beliefs that Amin, who gained his power through a coup, is a good man, he slowly discovers that he is working for a dangerous individual who uses brute force to control his country. 

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45. ‘Aliens’

The James Cameron penned and helmed sequel to Alien, Aliens also stars Sigourney Weaver as Lt. Ellen Ripley as she and a crew of marines return to the moon base from the first film after a new group stationed there suddenly drops communications. This action-packed sequel not only garnered Weaver an Oscar nomination, but it opened the door for more lore that has carried the franchise forward to today.

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44. ‘Queen and Slim’

Released in 2019, Queen & Slim sees Queen (Jodie Turner-Smith) and Slim (Daniel Kaluuya) quickly have to hit the road together after a first-date goes terribly wrong with a racist cop at a traffic stop. The film was director Melina Matsoukas’ feature directorial debut, and she excels at making sure the movie stays energetic and engaging without ever straying from the racist themes that propel the movie forward.

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43. Princess Mononoke

Another Hayao Miyazaki classic, Princess Mononoke is a fantastical story about a young prince named Ashitaka who is cursed by a demon boar god and must find a cure before it kills him. A film about the symbiotic and splintering relationships between humans and nature, Princess Mononoke is both emotionally touching and visually stunning.

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42. ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’

After actor Daniel Hillard (Robin Williams) goes through a divorce and suddenly finds himself spending a lot less time with his kids, he disguises himself as an old-fashioned British nanny named Mrs. Doubtfire and gets to spend time with his kids from a completely different perspective. A heartwarming movie, Mrs. Doubtfire excels at being incredibly silly and also talking about important themes like family change and separation anxiety.

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41. ‘Inception’

A sci-fi twist on the heist genre, Christopher Nolan’s Inception sees Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) lead a group of operatives on a dangerous mission inside a businessman’s dreams in an attempt to subconsciously plant an idea. Inception is an emotionally charged, action-packed film that gives each member of its impressive ensemble a moment to shine.  

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40. ‘Misery’

Decades before social media put creators and their fans in too close of contact, Rob Reiner’s adaptation of the Stephen King book Misery tells a harrowing story that explores the blurred boundaries between writers/celebrities and superfans. Paul Sheldon (James Caan) is a famous novelist whose car spins out of control in a blizzard and he awakens to find himself under the care of Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates), a nurse and obsessive fan. Instead of simply caring for the hurt man, Annie traps and torments Paul as she pushes her literary desires on the writer in this psychological thriller. 

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39. ‘Corpse Bride’

A stop-motion animated film, Corpse Bride follows Victor Van Dort (Johnny Depp), a nervous man on the verge of entering an arranged marriage, who accidentally marries a reanimated corpse named Emily (Helena Bonham Carter) while practicing his vows in a forest. Co-directed by Tim Burton, the film is full of beautiful set design and silly dialogue that makes it worth watching again and again.

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38. ‘Shame’

Directed and co-written by Steve McQueen, Shame is an intimate look at sexual addiction. Starring Michael Fassbender as Brandon Sullivan, a well off executive and long-term bachelor who struggles with keeping his sexual appetite under control, Shame sees what happens when his life is all of a sudden thrown out of whack by his sister Sissy (Carey Mulligan), who is struggling with her own mental health issues.

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37. Night of the Living Dead

George Romero’s first foray into zombie film-making, Night of the Living Dead is a slow-burning, delightful horror film. Originally released in 1968, the black-and-white film follows a group of strangers who suddenly find themselves trapped inside a farmhouse as a group of mindless killers gathers outside.

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36. ‘Ocean’s Eleven’

Steven Soderbergh’s stylized remake of the rat pack classic, Ocean’s Eleven sees Danny Ocean (George Clooney) put together a special team of skilled criminals to pull off a multi-casino heist in Las Vegas. Stacked with an incredible ensemble featuring everyone from Brad Pitt to Bernie Mac, the film is incredibly charming but also adept at keeping its viewers on their toes as the heist finally gets going.

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35. ‘This is Spinal Tap’

One of the best mockumentaries of all time, This is Spinal Tap follows the fictional rock band Spinal Tap as they embark on their American tour and try to recapture some of their past success. Directed and co-written by Rob Reiner, the film not only nails the documentary aesthetic it was going for, but it also does a wonderful job at making fun of some of the ridiculous eccentricities that accompany bands on the road.

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34. ‘Ray’

A serious musical biopic, Taylor Hackford’s Ray focuses on the roller-coaster life of Ray Charles (Jamie Foxx). Touching on everything from his emotional struggles being blind to intense drug use, the film isn’t afraid to shine a light on some of the artist’s harder moments. Foxx won the Academy Award for his fantastic leading performance and the film’s sound mixing team also won an Academy Award for their important work in this sound-emphasized project.

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33. ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’

An adaptation of Ken Kesey’s novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is an emotional story about a group of patients at a strict mental hospital whose lives are suddenly turned upside down by the introduction of Randle McMurphy (Jack Nicholson), a veteran who has been convicted of numerous crimes and is sent to the institution rather than prison. While Nicholson’s Oscar-winning performance is the heart of the movie, its impressive ensemble also features stellar performances from a young Danny Devito and Christopher Lloyd.

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32. Pulp Fiction

The film that really put Quentin Tarantino on the cultural map, Pulp Fiction is a 1994 neo-noir crime film that pokes fun of its pulpy ancestors while also telling an entertaining, multi-faceted story with numerous entertaining characters. Jumping back and forth between character perspectives and sequential chronology, the film is full of snappy dialogue and over-the-top violence that the director is now known for. 

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31. ‘Judas and the Black Messiah’

One of the films most recently released both in theaters and on HBO Max simultaneously is X’s Judas and the Black Messiah, a story that explores the life of Freddy Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya), a Black Panther Party leader who gained the attention of the FBI and was ultimately being betrayed by FBI informant William O’Neil (Lakeith Stanfield). Kaluuya recently won a supporting actor Golden Globe for playing the forward-thinking Hampton, and his fantastic performance alone is reason enough to watch.

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30. ‘Clerks’

The last year has been full of awkwardly tough days, but Kevin Smith’s first feature film Clerks follows Dante Hicks (Brian O’Halloran) as he embarks on an all too familiar struggle: a long day at work when he’s not even supposed to be there. Released in 1994, Clerks is a straight-shooting, raunchy comedy about Dante, a convenience store employee, and his friend, a video-rental employee named Randal Graves (Jeff Anderson), who talk crap to each other all day and do whatever they can to avoid actually working. 

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29. ‘Persona’

Directed and written by Ingmar Bergman, Persona is a Swedish psychological drama that follows Alma (Bibi Andersson), a nurse, and her famous patient Elisabet Vogler (Liv Ullmann), as they move to a cottage as part of her care after Elisabet suddenly stops speaking. As the trip unfolds, Elisabet starts sharing secrets with Alma, and the two form a deep emotional bond that causes the nurse’s understanding of her own self to start slipping in this black-and-white classic. 

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28. ‘Birds of Prey’

Say what you want about Suicide Squad, but at least it introduced Margot Robbie’s take on the zany Harley Quinn to the world. Directed by Cathy Yan, Birds of Prey is a colorful and humorous tour-de-force that pushes Harley into a leadership role as she joined forces with some of DC’s other classic street-level heroines to defeat the villainous Black Mask (Ewan McGregor). 

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27. ‘Rocky’

Written by and starring Sylvester Stalone, Rocky is a sports film that tells the inspiring rags-to-riches story of fictional boxer Rocky Balboa. An average joe, Rocky is all of a sudden given a shot at the world heavyweight championship and has to kick his old-fashioned training into overdrive in order to stand a chance at winning the title. 

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26. ‘Eraserhead’

At this point, David Lynch’s name is associated with strange, dark stories, but the 1977 film Eraserhead was the first time feature audiences were exposed to the director’s strange ideas. A twisted metaphor about the stresses of fatherhood, Eraserhead is a tense and horrific story that pushes its main character Henry Spencer (Jack Nance) to his mental limits.

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25. ‘School of Rock’

Struggling rocker Dewey Finn (Jack Black) finagles his way into a substitute music teacher gig and suddenly turns all of the private school students’ lives upside down when he decides to turn them into his new rock band for an upcoming contest. Directed by Richard Linklater, School of Rock is a hilarious film about the power of self-expression filled with some fantastic performances from its young ensemble members. 

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24. Rashomon

Rashomon, directed by Akira Kurosawa, is an inter-weaving he-said-she-said story that tells multiple people’s accounts of an incident rotating around the murder of a man and the sexual assaulting of his wife. Like so many Kurosawa movies, Rashomon has an amazing cast, but it is really held together by an amazing, sometimes unhinged performance by the always iconic Toshiro Mifune as the outlaw Tajōmaru, one of the four individuals who share their interpretation of the incident that highlights their ideal selves.

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23. Citizen Kane

Forget Mank, because I’m talking about Orson Welles’ debut feature film Citizen Kane. Citizen Kane tracks the life of media magnate Charles Foster Kane (portrayed by Welles himself) by cutting back and forth between flashbacks and various interviews that flesh out his feelings and motivations at different times in his life. Often praised for its editing, the film itself is laid out as a journalistic investigation as a young reporter is tasked with deciphering the meaning of Kane’s final word: Rosebud.  

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22. Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring

In 2001, director Peter Jackson brought Middle Earth to life for the first time in Fellowship of the Ring. The first of three Lord of the Rings films, Fellowship of the Ring may be lighter on the action side compared to its two sequels, but it does an amazing job at establishing the complex setting and exploring the emotional motivations of the large ensemble as they are tasked with destroying a legendary ring in a far-off volcano.   

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21. Scream

Wes Craven’s satirical yet seriously twisted take on the slasher genre that he helped establish, Scream follows a group of high school students after a mysterious killer strikes in their town. The film not only breaks down and examines the genre’s tropes, but it twists them just enough to make the film a refreshing film in its own right rather than an exhausting in-joke for long-term horror fans. 

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20. Michael Clayton

Even in “normal times” the political and business arenas are dirty places with multiple parties constantly vying for power and influence. In Tony Gilroy’s Michael Clayton, George Clooney plays Michael Clayton, a fixer for a top legal firm who suddenly finds himself over his head as a colleague loses his mind while approaching the end of a year’s long, multi-million dollar lawsuit for a chemical conglomerate. Clayton is forced to put his ethics – and potentially own well-being- aside in order to get things back in order and finish the job. 

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19. A Streetcar Named Desire

Elia Kazan’s adaptation of the Pulitzer-Prize winning play of the same name, A Streetcar Named Desire follows Blanche DuBois (Vivien Leigh) as she ditches her small-town setting and moves in with her sister and brother-in-law in New Orleans. Blanche’s southern belle charm ends up exacerbating marital problems in her new household, opening the door for some good old-fashioned 1950s conflict. An entertaining film in its own right, it is often credited with making the then-unknown Marlon Brando an A-list actor for playing Blanche’s host and brother-in-law. 

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18. The Matrix

With massive sci-fi blockbusters dropping on an almost annual basis now, it’s hard to understate just how big a deal The Matrix was when it first dropped in 1999. Directed by the Wachowski sisters, the film is set in a dystopian world where people are trapped in a simulated reality without them knowing it. It’s only when a hacker who goes by the name Neo (Keanu Reeves) discovers the truth and joins a rebellion does humanity stand a chance to reassert their control over their own destinies. This cult classic is equal parts heady philosophy and awesome fight scenes.

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17. Blade Runner 2049

When it was announced director Denis Villeneuve was making a sequel to Blade Runner, the internet nearly broke in half. Set 30 years after the original, Blade Runner 2049 is every bit as gritty and entertaining as the original, but it is also visually stunning and filled with great performances from original franchise star Harrison Ford and newcomer Ryan Gosling as K, a new blade runner who gets pulled into a large conspiracy involving the corporation that creates replicants. 

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16. Superman

Before superhero films dominated the box office and every streaming service, director Richard Donner brought the granddaddy of all superheroes, Superman, to the big screen for the first time in 1978. Superman is wonderfully charming and features an iconic score from John Williams, but the whole thing is propped up by Christopher Reeve’s fantastic performances as both Clark Kent and Superman that exemplify just why the big blue Boy Scout and his affable alter-ego are so easy to fall in love with. 

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15. The Shining

A visually stunning adaptation of Stephen King’s The Shining, this Stanley Kubrick helmed psychological horror film follows the Torrance family after they suddenly move to the remote Overlook Hotel during the off-season. Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson), the patriarch of the family, takes a job as a caretaker there and thinks the isolation will allow him to spend some time writing. As the family settles in for the winter, things start to unfold around them as the hotel turns out to be a place filled with dark spirits that infect Jack and test the supernatural abilities of the young Danny Torrance (Danny Lloyd).

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14. Jojo Rabbit

Holocaust comedies isn’t necessarily a genre I seek out, but Taika Waitit’s Jojo Rabbit,  falls right on the dramatic, goofy sweet spot. The 2020 Oscar winner for best-adapted screenplay, based on a book by Christine Leunen, Jojo Rabbit tells the tender story of Johannes “Jojo” Beltzer (Roman Davis ), a 10-year old member of the Hitler Youth, whose life and understanding of the world is suddenly thrown out of whack when he discovers his mother is hiding a young Jewish girl in their walls.

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13. Batman

Not only does Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman feature some of the most beautiful gothic set designs I’ve ever seen, but it also unlocked the door for even more dark superhero stories to hit the big screen throughout the next two decades. Starring Michael Keaton as the titular hero, Batman follows the early days of Bruce Wayne’s crime-fighting career. While on patrol, Batman fails to save Jack Napier (Jack Nicholson), a mobster who falls into a vat of chemicals and is inadvertently transformed into a devilish crime lord named the Joker.

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12. The Dark Knight

Maybe it’s cheating putting The Dark Knight this close to Batman, but the tonally different movies both do a wonderful job showing audiences just why the Caped Crusader is such an iconic, empathetic character. The second installment in Christopher Nolan’s Bat-trilogy, The Dark Knight also sees Batman (Christian Bale) confront a chaos seeking Joker (Heath Ledger), but Ledger’s twister performance and the film’s ability to display the psychological torment protecting Gotham City has on Bruce Wayne helps it stand out from its counterparts.

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11. Alien

A Ridley Scott classic, Alien is best described as a good-old-fashioned suspenseful horror film set on the Nostromo spaceship. Instead of zombies or a giant bear, the Nostromo crew is awakened from their cryo-chambers to deal with a sudden alien distress signal. As the crew investigates the signal, they discover a host of alien eggs and a dangerous, fully-grown creature that is driven to hunt down each and every one of them. The film has a fantastic ensemble, but it’s really Sigourney Weaver’s performance as the uber-badass Ripley who gives the audience someone to root for in the terrifying fight for survival. 

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10. City of God

A Brazilian production, City of God tells the multi-layered story of multiple people inside Rio de Janeiro suburbs as organized crime and the spread of drugs slowly take hold of people’s lives. Taking place between the late 1960s and 1980s, the film shifts between different point of view protagonists, allowing the audience to see certain figures from different lenses as the story unfolds, and is full of incredible performances that make it easy to empathize with every character as the action unfolds. 

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9. Spirited Away

The final Hayao Miyazaki film on the list, Spirited Away follows a 10-year old girl named Chihiro Ogino whose life falls apart after she and her family move to a new city and inadvertently enter a different dimension while taking a shortcut. After stopping at a restaurant in this strange setting, her parents are turned into pigs by an evil witch, and Chihiro is forced to work for her until she can figure out how to free her parents and return back to the normal world. 

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8. Hot Fuzz

The second Edgar Wright film on the list, Hot Fuzz is an action-comedy satire film that follows Office Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) as he shakes up a quaint English town with his intense dedication to the job. The hilarious film ultimately tells a compelling story about the evils associated with trying to keep things the same and not allowing areas and people to change or grow. 

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7. Mad Max: Fury Road

Not only is Mad Max: Fury Road the best and first Mel Gibson-less Mad Max film, it is one of the most visually stunning films ever made. Set in a desert wasteland where civilization has fallen and resources are scarce, Max (Tom Hardy) is suddenly dragged into the crossfires of the evil Immortan Joe when he crosses paths with Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron), who is smuggling away Joe’s five slave wives. Directed and co-written by franchise creator George Miller, Fury Road features incredible choreography and practical effects that make every action scene feel larger than life. 

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6. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

The center-piece in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, many fans consider The Two Towers to be the most entertaining chapter. With the Fellowship splintered, Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Sam (Sean Astin) continue their quest to transport the ring to Mt. Doom as Mordor’s evil forces continue to gather and prepare for war against the Kingdom of Rohan. Featuring some incredible action and incredibly emotional scenes, The Two Towers is a must-watch for any cinephile.  

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5. A Clockwork Orange

A Stanley Kubrick adaptation of a novel by Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange sees Alex (Malcolm McDowell), the leader of a small gang who delight in spreading ultra-violence and sexual assaults, jailed and forced to submit to behavior modification therapies to be eligible to return to normal society. Full of shocking images, classical music, and incredible performances, A Clockwork Orange is a brutally honest social commentary that doesn’t hesitate to say how nasty people can be and the long-winded mental consequences of violence on victims.

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4. Jaws

Directed by Steven Speilberg and released in 1975, Jaws is often called the first summer blockbuster. Based on the novel by Peter Benchley, who co-wrote the screenplay, the film follows what happens after a giant great white shark starts attacking beach-going tourists during summer vacation. Jaws does a great job utilizing less is more, making the moments the shark does appear to feel much more terrifying and is full of fantastic performances from its ensemble cast.

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3. The Exorcist

A horror classic, The Exorcist is a tense, dramatic film all about the demonic possession of the young Regan MacNeil (Linda Blair ) and the exorcist attempts by investigating priests. While the visuals might not appease modern horror fans who are addicted to CGI jumpscares, The Exorcist still stands up as one of the most compelling, mentally terrifying films of all time.

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2. The Producers

The Producers is a witty, over the top story following Leo Bloom (Gene Wilder) and Zero Mostel (Max Bialystock), two producers who devise a plan to release a failing musical all about Hitler in an accounting scheme that should land them more money than if they developed a hit show. Shockingly, this bold concept was actually Mel Brooks’ debut directorial film and landed him an Academy Award for best screenplay. 

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1. Yojimbo

Another amazing Akira Kurosawa movie featuring another iconic Toshiro Mifune performance, Yojomibo follows a wandering ronin who happens into a small village on the brink of civil war between its rival gangs. The master swordsman plays both sides, using his charisma to make everyone believe he’s working for them, and does whatever he has to do to return peace to the village. Full of expressive performances and entertaining, tense action scenes, Yojimbo is one of the few movies I sincerely rate a 10/10 and tell everyone they have to watch.  

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