Xuenou > Movies > 73 Of The Best Movies To Stream On HBO Max In May
73 Of The Best Movies To Stream On HBO Max In May
<i>The Batman</i>, <i>The Blair Witch Project</i>, <i>Tony Hawk: Until The Wheels Fall Off,</i> and more great titles you'll want to stream this month.

1. 20 Feet From Stardom (2013)

Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

The newest in the long line of semi-recent Batman movies is a quintessential neo-noir, giving us a more holistic look at Gotham’s underbelly rather than a character study of the caped crusader. Robert Pattinson is moody and thus fitting as the latest Bruce Wayne, whose newest iteration leaves the moniker of billionaire playboy behind in favor of tortured loner. Zoë Kravitz, Paul Dano, Colin Farrell, and Jeffrey Wright round out the cast as Catwoman, The Riddler, Penguin, and Commissioner Gordon, respectively — a compelling group of supporting characters I truly hope we get to see together in a sequel. The Batman can at times feel like simply an introduction to a new Batman interpretation, and it would be a treat to see these characters really be let loose. 

Watch it on HBO Max. 

5. Batman Begins (2005)

Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

“I love Batman Begins because it’s the story of how Batman began” is a refrain you’ll hear from me all the time. While it might sound like a bit, I really mean it. I love this movie for explaining to me — someone who was extremely uninterested in any kind of superhero movie until I *eye-roll* decided to become a Christopher Nolan completist over quarantine — how this sad little prince became the king of vigilante justice. Kicking off the trilogy that changed comic book movies…forever? Batman Begins, with Christian Bale at its helm, brought us a Bruce Wayne who’s as tortured as he is slick, with a voice so gravelly and unnatural, it goes beyond cool into funny and then somehow back to cool again with every word. Thanks to this film — which, by the way, features SO many actual bats — I’m fully in my Batman era. I hope you join me. 

Watch it on HBO Max. 

6. Batman Returns (1992)

Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

DC Comics is a world both plagued and blessed with chaos, and I’m down with that. To this very day, anyone can have a take on Batman. We can have as many Batmen, as many Jokers, as many Catwomen as is necessary, and it turns out, that number is infinite. I’d argue that this trend really started when Tim Burton took over the franchise with 1989’s Batman, a totally normal take on Gotham in comparison with 1992’s perfection of the form, Batman Returns. Michael Keaton takes his second run at Bruce Wayne, becoming everyone’s favorite Batman but mine (I can’t totally explain it, but I think his lips are too “smoochy”), but most importantly, he’s joined by Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman and Danny DeVito as the Penguin in what are two of the most memorable Batman side-character performances to date. 

Watch it on HBO Max. 

7. Best in Show (2000)

Castle Rock Entertainment / Ronald Grant / Courtesy Everett Collection

The Jennifer Coolidge renaissance is upon us, and Best in Show should be a required rewatch for all. This iconic mockumentary about a dog show and its, erm, unique human entrants is one of the best by director Christopher Guest — how could a premise like that miss? It’s cowritten by Eugene Levy, whose Schitt’s Creek moment seems to be never-ending, and to top it off, Catherine O’Hara plays his wife here as well. The late Fred Willard as commentator Buck Laughlin is one of my favorite comedy performances, full stop, and *checks notes* show dog Exxel’s Dezi Duz It With Pizaz is nothing short of breathtaking as Coolidge’s dog Rhapsody in White the Standard Poodle. 

Watch it one HBO Max. 

8. Blade Runner (1982)

Warner Bros. / Everett Collection

When a group of androids known as replicants escape their space colony and come back to Earth, retired “blade runner” Rick Deckard is tasked with hunting them down. But as they’re nearly indistinguishable from humans and are even programmed to have memories, it’s a difficult task, and one with a thin ethical line. Though there have been many cuts of the film over the years, this one is the version that director Ridley Scott had final say over, making it the definitive version in the court of public opinion. 

Watch it on HBO Max. 

9. *Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

Stephen Vaughan / Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

I’m usually the last to admit that a revival or late sequel of a beloved movie was a good idea. “It’s a cheap money grab!” I yell as everyone else manages to just have a good time. But even I will break and say that Blade Runner 2049 is a film absolutely worth resuscitating Ridley Scott’s original work for. While the original movie centers on humans wondering if they’re replicants, 2049 chillingly has beings who assume they’re replicants asking the reverse, in a same-but-different take on the neo-noir. The sets are to die for — some of my favorite production design I’ve ever seen — and the script strikes the perfect balance between reverence and originality. Ryan Gosling reminds us that he deserves to be considered one of the greats, and even Jared Leto is watchable. Now, that’s good casting.

Watch it on HBO Max. 

10. *The Blair Witch Project (1999)

Artisan Entertainment /Courtesy Everett Collection

Though there were, of course, films that used the technique before, The Blair Witch Project feels like the ultimate found footage movie, bringing the technique into commercial popularity and making Blair Witch one of the most successful independent films of all time. It’s a simple premise — three film students walk into the woods to investigate the Blair Witch, an urban legend that locals recall in snippets as a century of rumored kidnapping and ritualistic murder. The Blair Witch Project is far from the campy, loud horror we’ve become accustomed to, often opting to put fear in the hearts of millions with only the sound of snapping twigs. It’s easy for me to sit around and say that it’s not that scary, but would I ever watch this before going on a camping trip? Absolutely not. 

Watch it on HBO Max. 

11. *Bottle Rocket (1996)

Columbia Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

Bottle Rocket is Wes Anderson’s feature directorial debut, offering a glimpse into what would become his signature style without such tight grip. The script, cowritten by Owen Wilson and based on a short film by him, is the beginning of a long collaboration. It’s also the first acting credit for both Owen and Luke Wilson, starring as conspirators in a hypothetical 75-year-long heist plot that doesn’t quite go according to plan. It’s refreshing to go back and watch Anderson and the Wilson brothers in such a low-budget picture before they all skyrocketed to stardom. And while it’s somewhat a relief to encounter Anderson more casually, it also makes you appreciate his later, larger work even more. 

Watch it on HBO Max. 

12. Chicago (2002)

Miramax / Courtesy Everett Collection

Considering that the film won the 2003 Academy Award for Best Picture and the stage revival is one of the longest-running Broadway shows in history, it’s hard to believe that the original production of Chicago in 1975 wasn’t so popular. But as time has gone on, and as we as a people come to love salacious celebrity scandal more by the minute, this tale of showbiz, affairs, and murder has only become more popular. You already know the hit tunes — “All That Jazz,” “Cell Block Tango,” “Razzle Dazzle” — and they’re committed to film flawlessly by leads Renée Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Richard Gere, with a shockingly good supporting performance by *checks notes* John C. Reilly?!

Watch it on HBO Max. 

13. *Chungking Express (1994)

Jet Tone Production

Chungking Express is the intertwining of two unique romance stories. Both set in Hong Kong and involving cops who have lost their girlfriends, the stories are loosely connected and only truly cross paths at the Midnight Express takeout stand where Faye (Faye Wong) — with her iconic pixie cut — works. Written and directed by Wong Kar-Wai and soaked with his signature color-filled style, Chungking Express is an essential ’90s film we’re lucky to have access to on-demand. 

Watch it on HBO Max. 

14. Citizen Kane (1941)

RKO Radio Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

It’s likely that 1 million (annoying) people have told you to watch Citizen Kane, and now you can add my name to the end of that list. it’s always a pleasure to revisit this film — cowritten, directed, and starring early film wunderkind Orson Welles (fellow cowriter Herman Mankiewicz is rolling in his grave at Welles being called a “wunderkind,” but it stands, imo) — and be reminded that it truly is one of the all-time greats. The story of fictional newspaper magnate Charles Foster Kane, Citizen Kane is a pseudo-biography of the real-life news barons working at the time, especially William Randolph Hearst, who wasn’t particularly thrilled to see “himself” portrayed onscreen. Nevertheless, the damning tale of control and both the greed and the loneliness it can afford you overcame bans and fabricated bad press to become one of the most beloved pictures ever made. 

Watch on HBO Max. 

15. Cloverfield (2008)

Paramount / Courtesy Everett Collection

I’m a huge fan of the year 2008, so it stands to reason that I’m a huge fan of Cloverfield — what I remember as one of the biggest movies of the year. It brought the found-footage trend kicked off by The Blair Witch Project and continued by Paranormal Activity out of the woods and the home and into the streets of New York to its logical end: a creature’s apocalyptic invasion. If you just saw The Batman and loved the look, great news. Director Matt Reeves was also at the helm of Cloverfield working in a similar style. Though packed with breathless running, fruitless strategizing, and some well-designed monsters, the standout moments are the flashbacks — it’s been 14 years since I first saw this movie, and I still can’t look at a Ferris wheel without a tear coming to my eye. 

Watch it on HBO Max. 

16. Clueless (1995)

Paramount / Courtesy Everett Collection

Clueless is fully back in the cultural conversation, but did it ever really leave? Loosely based on Jane Austen’s Emma, it follows Cher Horowitz (Alicia Silverstone) as she socially navigates high school in Beverly Hills as a kindhearted if overbearing popular girl. Stacey Dash plays her best friend, Dionne, who imo has the best style in the movie, and Brittany Murphy plays Tai, a “tragically unhip” new girl at school whom Cher gives a makeover. The fashion is *chef’s kiss*, especially if you’re watching it in a time when every single outfit could be photographed at fashion week and be considered the coolest thing there. 

Watch it on HBO Max.

17. *The Color Purple (1985)

Warner Bros / Courtesy Everett Collection

Based on Alice Walker’s 1982 Pulitzer Prize–winning novel, The Color Purple is a classic with an undeniable all-star cast. The plot follows Celie (Whoopi Goldberg), a Black woman living in the American South at the turn of the century who is horribly abused, and the group of women who surround her throughout her life. Goldberg is stunning as Celie, giving a powerhouse performance that brought her into the forefront of Hollywood. Oprah also supports as Sophia in her first film role, proving that she shines at whatever she does, including acting. 

Watch it on HBO Max. 

18. Coming to America (1988)

Paramount / Everett Collection

Akeem Joffer (Eddie Murphy), prince of the African nation Zamunda, wants to shirk the tradition of arranged marriages and find someone who loves him for him, even without the money and titles. How? You guessed it: coming to America, where he tries to live a normal life in Queens, New York, along with his assistant and friend Semmi (Arsenio Hall). In this smash hit, Murphy is as charming as a prince as he is as a janitor at a fast-food joint, and it’s wonderful to see someone who was already so popular still firing on all cylinders at the height of his stardom. 

Watch it on HBO Max. 

19. Crazy Rich Asians (2018)

Warner Bros. Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

Crazy Rich Asians wins my award for “New Movie That Became a Comfort Watch the Fastest.” I truly cannot count the number of times I have watched this, especially during quarantine, when designer clothes, parties on skyscrapers, and multimillion-dollar weddings were things that sounded even more incredible and out of reach than usual. If you’re not already all in on Henry Golding, Constance Wu, and Gemma Chan, get with the program! It’s far past time to hail them as some of the best in the game, and having the trio all in one movie is a treat that I’ll enjoy over and over forever. 

Watch it on HBO Max. 

20. Dirty Dancing (1987)

Vestron Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

As someone who has lived on the property of an inn where I worked for the summer, I can confirm that there *was* indeed a movie’s worth of drama going on behind the scenes. It was NOT as sexy as it looks in Dirty Dancing, but hey, Patrick Swayze wasn’t there, and that’s what movies are for anyway. Frances “Baby” Houseman (Jennifer Grey) is spending the summer with her family in the Catskills when she meets and falls in love with Johnny Castle (Swayze), the resort’s dance instructor. Her parents don’t approve, so it’s a summer of sneaking around for the two, whose romantic summer full of adventure and dance lessons (lol) is not to be missed. 

Watch it on HBO Max. 

21. Drive My Car (2021)

Janus Films / Courtesy Everett Collection

Adapted from Haruki Murakami’s short story of the same name, Drive My Car follows fictional director Yūsuke Kafuku (Hidetoshi Nishijima) as he stages a production of Uncle Vanya in the wake of his wife’s death and the relationship he builds with his chauffeur, a young woman named Misaki Watari (Toko Miura). The film is long (coming in at about three hours) but fully engrossing, and was the winner of this year’s International Feature Film Oscar. 

Watch it on HBO Max. 

22. Dune (2021)

Chiabella James / Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

Let me first say that I was not a Dune fan before seeing the 2021 film adaptation, but since convincing myself to see it, despite not being a sci-fi fan generally, I have chanted “DUNE, DUNE, DUNE” at least once a day simply remembering the blessed experience of viewing it in the theater. The story, which is ultimately a sweeping political drama, is great, but what brings the movie home are the technical feats: spaceships and planets and even giant worms, all rendered with such verisimilitude, you can’t help but believe for a moment that they’re real, organic things, along with seat-shaking sound, all of which was handsomely rewarded with technical Oscars this year. Lil’ Timmy Chalamet gives it his all in this one and continues to convince me that maybe he’s just as great as we collectively believe, and Oscar Isaac delivers another stunning performance that gives me big, stupid heart eyes every time he’s onscreen. I am desperately looking forward to the next installment, where we are promised more than seven minutes of Zendaya and someone riding the damn worm. Heaven.

Watch it on HBO Max. 

23. Ella Enchanted (2004)

Miramax / Courtesy Everett Collection

Everyone loves to be like, “What bad contract sealed the deal for Anne Hathaway to be forced to do Ella Enchanted?” I think that’s ridiculous. You’re telling me perma-theater kid Annie Hathaway wasn’t champing at the bit to do a FULL rendition of “Somebody to Love” in front of a green screen so it looks like she’s in a bar for giants while wearing medieval clothing? Yeah, right. This is a soft, comfortable movie, and one that should be treasured, yes, for Hathaway at her silliest and hence best, but also for baffling appearances by Minnie Driver and Cary Elwes — three people who seem to be all in on this movie for children that mysteriously works for me. 

Watch it on HBO Max. 

24. The Eyes of Tammy Faye (2021)

Searchlight Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection,

Jessica Chastain’s version of “Jesus Keeps Takin’ Me Higher and Higher” has been stuck in my head for what feels like an eternity, and I’m not that mad about it. As famed televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker, Chastain is campy and bright, and while her physical transformation was at the forefront of the conversation during the run-up to her Best Actress Oscar–winning performance, it’s the outrageous amount of energy she’s able to sustain that I find most impressive. While I wish the script lived up to what Chastain was bringing to the table, it’s worth witnessing this performance, which earns the spotlight it gets though the film, and will certainly be at the top of her résumé for some time to come. 

Watch it on HBO Max. 

25. Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)

Gramercy Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

There’s no time like the present to watch a movie with floppy-haired Hugh Grant front and center, and Four Weddings and a Funeral is the obvious choice. Throughout the titular five events, Charles (Grant) finds himself falling for Carrie (Andie MacDowel) in a classic rom-com format that, simply put, couldn’t be more British. It was even the highest-grossing British film at the time of its release, which is cause for celebration via a spot of tea. 

Watch it on HBO Max. 

26. Free Guy (2021)

20th Century Studios / Courtesy Everett Collection

Even as a Ryan Reynolds skeptic, I had a good time watching Free Guy, in which an NPC (Non-Playable Character) named Guy (Reynolds) gets wise to the fact that he’s in a video game and works with game designers in the real world to help take down the eccentric billionaire who threatens to delete his city. If “brain off” entertainment is what you crave, absolutely put this on and enjoy the world building, fun graphics, Jodie Comer rocking an American accent, and even a bit part from my king Channing Tatum. 

Watch it on HBO Max. 

27. The French Dispatch (2021)

Searchlight Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

Wes Anderson’s latest curio is a love letter to the press and is told in a series of vignettes — each a story from the final edition of The French Dispatch after the sudden death of its editor (Bill Murray). It’s, of course, Andersonian in style, meticulously colored, timed, and crafted, but it’s impossible to say he isn’t getting even better over time, if the balance of precision and storytelling is our measure. And with a knockout cast, including many of his longtime collaborators, as well as new faces among his work like Timothée Chalamet, The French Dispatch is another bright feather in Anderson’s cap. 

Watch it on HBO Max. 

28. Friday (1995)

New Line Cinema / Courtesy Everett Collection

Ice Cube and Chris Tucker star in this iconic comedy as Craig and Smokey, unemployed friends who need to get $200 one Friday to pay off a local drug dealer before the end of the night or face deadly consequences. With a huge cast of characters, never-ending jokes, and a truly incredible soundtrack, Friday is a must-watch. And thanks to a knockout script from Ice Cube and DJ Pooh, backed up by big performances, we got two sequels, with a reported fourth coming this year. I mean, Friday birthed “Bye, Felicia.” How much more influential can you get? 

Watch it on HBO Max. 

29. *The Fugitive (1993)

Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

I’ll admit that I was initially drawn to watching The Fugitive for the first time because of the John Mulaney bit in The Comeback Kid, but nevertheless I was happy to be swept away into a ’90s thriller. Harrison Ford plays Dr. Richard Kimble, who is accused and sentenced for the brutal murder of his wife, but in a twist of fate escapes confinement and is on the run. If you’re into “did he really do it?” plots, court procedurals, and Harrison Ford in baggy pants, this movie was tailor made for you. 

Watch it on HBO Max. 

30. Goodfellas (1992)

Warner Bros. / © Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

Is Goodfellas the greatest movie of all time? It’s definitely possible, and at the very least, it has the best intro hands-down (🎶 “I know I’d go from rags to richessss!” 🎶). Blah-blah-blah, great cast, blah-blah-blah, but I really just want to focus on Ray Liotta in a powerhouse performance that’s almost unbearable to watch, it’s so good. A balance of confidence, manic energy, and some undefinable X factor makes him excellent in almost any early role (check out Something Wild if you’re a Goodfellas fan), but it’s here that he’s most electric. I mean that — you literally feel as if there’s a low level of electricity running through him, but he’s just trying to keep cool. In case you don’t know, Goodfellas is adapted from the book Wiseguy by Nicholas Pileggi (also the cowriter of this film and Nora Ephron’s husband), which details the life of gangster Henry Hill (Liotta) and his time in the Mafia. If that doesn’t sound interesting to you, I’m gonna go ahead and say that really doesn’t matter. Killer performances, Martin Scorsese’s expert direction, and one of the great soundtracks make it easy to love. 

Watch it on HBO Max. 

31. The Harry Potter Series (2001–2005)

Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

I’ll admit to having a soft spot for all of the Harry Potter movies (Fantastic Beasts does not exist in my perfect little world), but Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is, in my opinion, among the best. It marks the series’ transition toward more adult themes, going so far as to depict the first onscreen death in the series, to great effect. There are hormones in the air at Hogwarts as our favorite students enter their fourth year. Everyone’s hair looks truly terrible, and the Triwizard Tournament brings a ton of fun new characters into the mix — a recipe for teenage angst, which is often when HP is its most enjoyable. Robert Pattinson also graces this installment, delivering one of his best performances to date as Cedric Diggory and setting him up for a fruitful career — something we should all be thankful for. 

Watch them on HBO Max: Sorcerer’s Stone, Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban, Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix, Half-Blood Prince, Deathly Hallows Part 1, Deathly Hallows Part 2. 

Editor’s note: BuzzFeed does not support discriminatory or hateful speech in any form. We stand by the LGBTQ community and all fans who found a home in the Harry Potter series and will work to provide a safe space for fans. If you, like us, feel impassioned about trans rights, learn more or donate here.

32. High Fidelity (2000)

Buena Vista Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

If you’re interested in John Cusack at his most John Cusack and Jack Black at his most Jack Black, chances are you already love High Fidelity. As a record store owner who’s unlucky (or unwilling) in love, Rob Gordon (Cusack) proves we were right all along: People who dabble with DJ’ing are horrible to date but do make great mixtapes. But we really have to give High Fidelity props for being one of the first movies to really showcase Black doing his thing, a gift that continued heavily for the next decade and continues to bless us to this very day. 

Watch it on HBO Max. 

33. The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard (2021)

David Appleby / Lionsgate / Courtesy Everett Collection

It’s difficult for me to overstate how much joy I felt watching The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, which was one of the first movies I saw in theaters after a year-and-a-half break during quarantine. Samuel L. Jackson, Salma Hayek, and Ryan Reynolds are entertainers in their purest forms, and this silly vehicle is just what I needed to remember that movies are good, and life is vastly enhanced when you can tune out and just vibe for two hours. As for plot, the title says it all, and expanding on it here would distract from the point: brain empty, movie fun. 

Watch it on HBO Max. 

34. In the Heights (2021)

Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s first — and Best New Musical Tony Award–winning — Broadway effort is brought to the screen in this recent film, which has Anthony Ramos starring as Usnavi, successfully filling the big (like, clown-size big) shoes of Miranda’s originated role. We hang a while at Usnavi’s corner store in Washington Heights, where we meet everyone in the neighborhood — from his abuela (“She’s not really my abuela, but she practically raised me; this corner is her escuela”), his cousin Sonny, and other local business owners and their families to Usnavi’s longtime crush, Vanessa — all of whom are pursuing their big dreams. 

Watch it on HBO Max.

35. Judas and the Black Messiah (2021)

Glen Wilson / Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

Daniel Kaluuya stuns as Fred Hampton in this biopic about the great Black Panther Party leader in Chicago. William O’Neal (played by LaKeith Stanfield) is a forced informant, delving deep into the party and getting close with Hampton to ultimately aid the FBI in his assassination when he was just 21 years old. Both actors are unshakable and stunning, with Kaluuya winning a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for the role, undoubtedly for his re-creation of the impassioned and moving speeches about the liberation of Black people that Hampton gave before his tragic early death.

Watch it on HBO Max. 

36. Jurassic Park (1993)

Universal / Everett Collection

“Hold on to your butts,” indeed! No time like the present to watch Laura Dern as a paleobotanist tend to an ill triceratops and love every minute of it. It’s hard for me to watch the first hour of Jurassic Park without wishing it could stay tranquil forever, that Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and Dr. Ellie Sattler (Dern) could just vibe and say “This park rocks” to get funding for their research. But famously, nothing gold can stay, chaos ensues, and it’s all thanks to that pesky Newman. Classic. 

Watch it on HBO Max. 

37. Kimi (2022)

Warner Bros. Pictures

Steven Soderbergh’s latest, Kimi, follows Angela (Zoë Kravitz), who is working for a tech company monitoring issues on Alexa-like devices when she hears something she wasn’t supposed to while checking an audio stream. Confirming that avoiding smart home products like the plague was a good move on my part, Kimi takes on big tech, surveillance, and the social effects of the pandemic and packages it as a very watchable thriller. But above all, shoutout to Angela’s blue hair, which I firmly believe is some of the best ever committed to film. 

Watch it on HBO Max. 

38. King Richard (2021)

Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

Will Smith’s portrayal of Richard Williams, father and coach of tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams, generated endless Oscar buzz, ultimately culminating in his winning this year’s Best Actor Oscar (I simply do not get paid enough money to provide a take on “the Slap” here and will be now be moving on as if it were just a normal year). He fully transforms without crossing into caricature and without the use of too much makeup (as is so prominent these days), delivering the kind of solid performance academy voters and viewers simply love. Aunjanue Ellis was also nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Brandi Williams, and she delivers a strong performance I only wish there were more of. 

Watch it on HBO Max. 

39. The Last Duel (2021)

20th Century Studios / Courtesy Everett Collection

Based on a true story of French medieval nobility, The Last Duel is the story of Jean de Carrouges (Matt Damon) and squire Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver), who is accused of assaulting Jean’s wife, Marguerite (Jodie Comer). Told in sections from all three points of view and culminating in the titular duel, the film is a gruesome show of patriarchy, but nevertheless a story well told. The choice to let the actors keep their own accents was honestly a treat, since the “British accent no matter where this historical drama is set” move needs to end, and literally nobody needs to watch half-baked French accents for two and a half hours. I like to picture Ridley Scott deciding to skip accents in this movie while going all in on accents in House of Gucci just as a lil’ experiment to see which was better received this year. Mmmm, I think the winner is clear. 

Watch it on HBO Max. 

40. Long Shot (2019)

Lionsgate

The romantic comedy proved itself to be alive and well in 2019 with Long Shot, in which struggling journalist Fred Flarsky (Seth Rogen) is hired by his former babysitter, his longtime childhood crush, and, oh yeah, current Secretary of State Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron) as a speechwriter during her run for president. Part globe-trotting romp, part political satire, part tender-hearted romance, Long Shot is one of my favorite movies of the past few years. I love Theron in a drama as much as the next person, but it’s equally wonderful to see her at the helm of a comedy and fully pull it off. 

Watch it on HBO Max. 

41. Love and Basketball (2000)

New Line Cinema / Courtesy Everett Collection

Sanaa Lathan and Omar Epps star as Monica Wright and Quincy McCall in this beloved romance between two lifelong friends who become much more as they both work toward their shared dream of playing professional basketball. This semi-autobiographical film written by Gina Prince-Bythewood was also her directorial debut, and what a running start. Beloved both as a Black romance film as well as a film in which a woman can be an athlete at the top of her game while being wholeheartedly desired and isn’t looked down on for her drive, it’s a must-watch. For a super-deep pe on Love and Basketball‘s history, I highly recommend this ESPN retrospective piece written 20 years after its release.

Watch it on HBO Max. 

42. Magic Mike XXL (2015)

Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

Channing Tatum is the name on everyone’s (well, at least the BuzzFeed entertainment writers’) lips again, and Magic Mike XXL is one of his best performances. That might be surprising if you’re not as familiar with his work, but it’s the most obvious thing in the world if you’re well versed in his career, which often has him flailing when cast as a soldier or tough guy because he Looks Like That, and truly soaring when cast as a cutie, softie, regular Joe who often happens to love to dance. Reprising his role as Mike Lane, Channing brings the same realism and raw talent that he does in Magic Mike, but this time in a script more aimed toward female pleasure. I couldn’t recommend watching these films more, especially as they’re soon to be a trilogy. 

Watch it on HBO Max. 

43. Malignant (2021)

Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

The newest from populist horror wizard James Wan (Saw, The Conjuring, Insidious), Malignant was one of the most-talked-about horror releases of the past year, inspiring everyone who saw it to text all of their friends about the twist. It opens with Madison (Annabelle Wallis) realizing that the recurring dreams she has about grisly murders are happening in real life. And the rest? It just needs to be seen to be believed. 

Watch it on HBO Max. 

44. The Matrix (1999)

Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

The list of movies, shows, and clothing that wouldn’t exist had The Matrix not been made is nearly infinite, as it’s hard to think of a more influential movie from this time period. Fully encapsulating the ’90s in all of their leather-clad, big-computer, tiny-sunglasses glory, The Matrix offered up huge questions about free will, identity, and technology to society, and boy oh boy, did we gobble them up, sometimes coming to the wrong conclusion (lookin’ at you, “men’s rights activists”). The Wachowskis’ greatest work is ripe for revisitation, and I feel like I always notice a new detail every time I watch it. While the rest of the trilogy — well, now a quadrilogy, I suppose, with the new release of The Matrix: Resurrections — can sometimes feels as if it veers too drastically between philosophy and action, the balance is struck perfectly in the first, where moments like “There is no spoon” and “I know kung-fu” live in perfect harmony. 

Watch it on HBO Max. 

45. Memento (2000)

Newmarket Releasing / Courtesy Everett Collection

The first in a long string of hits by Christopher Nolan, Memento set audiences up for more of what was to come is his career by playing with timelines, half-told stories, and memory. Guy Pearce plays Leonard, a man with severe short-term memory loss who is attempting to use his (presumed) routines, Polaroid photos, scrawled notes, and tattoos to help himself gain enough new information to solve his wife’s grisly murder. Told simultaneously backward and forward, the script feels like a feat of engineering as well as writing, alternating between color and black-and-white sequences in each respective timeline. But even with such intricacy, Memento is very watchable (those who have avoided Nolan since Inception, do not be afraid), and captivating performances by Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss as potential love interest Natalie, and Joe Pantoliano as hang-around friend Teddy will make you stick around even if you lose the thread. 

Watch it on HBO Max. 

46. Miss Congeniality (2000)

Warner Bros. / Everett Collection

Want to pregame for the upcoming release of The Lost City? Regardless, it’s always a treat to return to the early days of Sandra Bullock as one of our greatest comedic screen presences, whose physical comedy and wryness — first *really* put on display in Miss Congeniality — we still crave two decades later. She delivers “I’m not like other girls” like no one else can. It seems we’re collectively not annoyed by this movie, which has undercover FBI agent Gracie Hart teach us that smart women with brown hair can be nice AND pretty…with the help of a group of beauty professionals who are literally militarized. It’s far from revelatory, but it is a good time, and one that gave us a suite of rom-com goodness from Bullock in its wake. 

Watch it on HBO Max. 

47. *Monster-In-Law (2005)

New Line Cinema / Courtesy Everett Collection

I’m not sure that as a society we deserved a Jane Fonda and Jennifer Lopez collaboration, but thank goodness we were granted one anyway by way of this romantic comedy. Luckily, the central romance between Lopez and Michael Vartan as Charlie and Kevin doesn’t take up as much real estate as the relationship between Lopez and Fonda, who leads as Kevin’s formidable mother Viola. Is this the greatest of Lopez’s mid-2000s romantic comedies? No. But nevertheless, we should cherish them all as jewels in the crown of one of our best rom-com actresses. Extra points for featuring Elaine Stritch. 

Watch it on HBO Max. 

48. Moonstruck (1987)

MGM / Courtesy Everett Collection

If you’re a young person who hasn’t seen Moonstruck, I NEED you to stop what you’re doing and turn it on immediately. Nothing could prepare me to see Cher and Nicolas Cage — two icons who could not be farther apart categorically in my brain — together romantically. Cher plays Loretta Castorini, an Italian American widow who finds herself in a pickle when she falls hard for her fiancé’s hot-headed younger brother, Ronny. Quite often, I quote this movie, saying, “Yes, John Anthony Cammareri, I will marry you; I will be your wife” — a line from Cher that alone may have won her the Oscar. I have no notes.

Watch it on HBO Max. 

49. My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)

IFC Films / © IFC Films / Courtesy Everett Collection

The titular Greek wedding lives up to its name in this cult-favorite romantic comedy that was released as an indie picture and skyrocketed to mainstream success. John Corbett is stunning as the statuesque, non-Greek, early-2000s dreamboat Ian Miller, and Nia Varlados, who also wrote the screenplay, is perfection as the charming, extremely Greek Toula Portokalos. As her family stumbles though welcoming a non-Greek man into their family, everyone learns a whole lot about love and Windex in this heartfelt romp that has endless rewatch value. 

Watch it on HBO Max. 

50. My Cousin Vinny (1992)

20th Century Fox / Courtesy Everett Collection

Watching My Cousin Vinny is an exercise in control, as every time Marissa Tomei is offscreen, you will be tempted to do anything you can to bring her back, and fast-forwarding begins to sound like a viable option. Of course Joe Pesci is also great as smooth-talkin’ lawyer (kind of) Vinny Gambini. Tomei is his girlfriend, Mona Lisa Vito, and they make an absolutely perfect pair. But once you see Mona Lisa in all of her early-’90s glory, you never want to let her out of your sight. This is far from an original thought. Tomei won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for the role, a feat for a performer in a comedy, and incredibly well deserved. 

Watch it on HBO Max. 

51. Nightmare Alley (2021)

Kerry Hayes / Searchlight Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

It’s incredibly important to me that Bradley Cooper look worse for wear for at least 20 minutes of every movie he’s in from this point forward, as Nightmare Alley affirms my belief that shiny Coop isn’t always the most compelling. The opposite is true of Cate Blanchett, who is at her sleekest as Dr. Lilith Ritter, a psychiatrist who uses her understanding of human behavior to questionable ends. Come to Nightmare Alley for cowriter and director Guillermo del Toro’s signature macabre style and stay for the promise of Cooper with dirt on his face and Blanchett playing a true dame. 

Watch it on HBO Max. 

52. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

New Line Cinema / Courtesy Everett Collection

Until I saw A Nightmare on Elm Street for the first time last year, I never totally believed that Freddy Krueger was actually scary. His weapons of choice at first glance seem thoughtless and thrown together. His outfit is very silly — autumn stripes and a fedora? OK. “Freddy” is the name of a child, and kind of a wimpy one at that. And then the movie started. It opens with Freddy crafting the claw-glove hybrid — a detailed affair that involves a lot of filing, dripping water, and synthesizers — and within two minutes, there’s no way not to be like, “Yeah, fine, that would really hurt.” And hunting you in your dreams? That’s just not fair. But I will finally admit, it is scary, and a must-watch. 

Watch it on HBO Max. 

53. *The Notebook (2004)

New Line Cinema / Courtesy Everett Collection

Who among us hasn’t sobbed harder than ever before at The Notebook and done so over and over again with every rewatch? Curse you, Nicholas Sparks! Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams are iconic as Noah and Allie, the star-crossed lovers whose journey we follow through the decades. Few would argue against The Notebook being one of the most quintessential romances of the last 25 years, serving as a marker for every other in the genre to be measured against. But Gosling and McAdams are so magnetic, the story so saccharine and yet genuinely affecting, I’m not sure the Notebook effect will ever fade. 

Watch it on HBO Max. 

54. Ocean’s 11 (2001)

Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

Ocean’s 11, a remake of a 1960 film of the same name, is the ultimate heist movie, bringing humor and style to the genre like never before. At the center of any great heist is a rock star ensemble, and of course the famed 11 are a smash, with Brad Pitt, Don Cheadle, and Elliot Gould as some of the standouts. George Clooney holds the center as suave mastermind Danny Ocean, giving a cool, calm, and collected performance that grounds the madness of the plot and makes a $150 million heist sound almost reasonable. Practical, even. It’s always a pleasure to see Julia Roberts, but I always forget how much I love her as Danny’s somewhat estranged wife, Tess, until she’s there at dinner, giving Danny what for. 11 out of 10. 😎

Watch it on HBO Max. 

55. On the Waterfront (1954)

Columbia Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

Sometimes it feels like every old movie is about unions and organized crime, but ya know what? I love it! It’s impossible to tear your eyes away from Marlon Brando and Eva Marie Saint as Terry and Edie, who together are trying to find justice for Edie’s brother, Joey, who was murdered by a corrupt union boss on Terry’s watch. Watching older films is valuable for a million reasons, but one of the most fun reasons is to find out the original context of famous quotes you’ve been hearing all your life. Get ready to watch the “I coulda been a contender” speech in all its glory. 

Watch it on HBO Max. 

56. *Paddington 2 (2017)

Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

Who could have predicted that a sequel about a very British animated bear would be such a commercial *and* critical hit? Not I. And yet, Paddington 2 has a 99% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and my friends, most of whom are in their late 20s and none of whom have children, won’t stop talking about it even five years after its release. With certifiably cute performances by Hugh Grant, Brendan Gleeson, and Sally Hawkins, Paddington 2‘s story of pop-up books, incarceration, and, of course, marmalade is one that’s cemented itself as part of the culture, and it’s a great watch for kids and kids-at-heart alike. 

Watch it on HBO Max. 

57. Rent (2005)

Columbia Pictures / © Columbia Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

It would be wrong for me to bury the lede: This is one of my favorite movies. I know it’s my job, but I can’t even be subjective. I saw this movie at the perfect time, when my preteen brain was sucking up the media that I would, apparently, love forever, and I know I’m not alone. Rent is the quintessential alt-musical gone mainstream. We follow a group of bohemian New Yorkers just trying to survive and make art (and, you guessed it, rent) in the city amid rapid gentrification and the AIDS epidemic. Performances by some of the stage musical’s original cast (Anthony Rapp, Jesse L. Martin, Idina Menzel, Wilson Jermaine Heredia, Adam Pascal, Taye Diggs) bring authenticity to this rather faithful translation of playwright and composer Jonathan Larson’s last work. It’s easy for people to roll their eyes at Rent, but I encourage you to revisit the rock musical to end all rock musicals, and listen to the opening notes of “Seasons of Love” as if for the first time. 

Watch it on HBO Max.

58. Say Anything… (1989)

20th Century fox / Courtesy Everett Collection

Director Cameron Crowe’s reputation for saccharine work, especially in his later films, precedes him, so I didn’t expect to love Say Anything… for its grounded character work, nuanced take on familial relationships, and depiction of that weird summer post–high school and precollege that rings true. If you only know Say Anything… from its memeable boom box–over–the–head moment, expect way more than overwrought romantic gestures. Prepare instead for a movie that interrogates the parent-child relationship and has an oddly compelling subplot about tax evasion, along with John Cusack at his mumbliest, of course. 

Watch it on HBO Max. 

59. Selena (1997)

Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

Talk about one of the most fortuitous pieces of casting in memory. Jennifer Lopez gave this performance as the late Mexican American Tejano and pop star Selena as her star was rising, and it is still one of her most beloved film performances to date, combining her undeniable charisma and warmth with music and dance, to great result. The movie follows Selena’s life from her childhood in the family band Selena y Los Dinos through her breakout stardom and ultimately her tragic murder by the former president of her fan club. Selena is a celebration of the joy she brought so many people though her music that continues today, as well as a remembrance of a short but brilliant life. 

Watch it on HBO Max. 

60. Shaft (1971)

MGM / Courtesy Everett Collection

God, Shaft is cool. The character. The clothes. The theme. The whole thing. This iconic early blaxploitation work directed by Gordon Parks stars Richard Roundtree as Shaft, a private detective who is hired to untangle a mobster’s daughter from a rival gang. A comment I couldn’t agree with more on a YouTube video of the Shaft theme (which won Best Original Song at the 1972 Oscars for composer Isaac Hayes, the first Black person to receive the award, and only the third Black person to receive any Oscar) says, “The 1970s officially began five seconds into this track,” and that about sums it up. While the film and the genre as a whole were a bit controversial, Shaft was the start of an evocative franchise, with movies now with Samuel L. Jackson at the helm being released as recently as 2019. 

Watch it on HBO Max. 

61. The Shining (1980)

Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

Stanley Kubrick’s take on Stephen King’s 1977 novel, The Shining, makes use of a sparse cast and an even sparser setting as the Torrance family takes up residence in the Overlook Hotel to tend to it during the off-season — to dreadful result. As you likely know from being alive on planet Earth, the family is plagued by a series of supernatural happenings — first subtle, then lurid, and each increasingly unsettling and terrifying. With Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, and Danny Lloyd each in their most iconic performances, it’s always a treat to visit the ill-fated Torrance family at the hotel via a rewatch, though I’ll admit it often leaves me sleepless, no matter how many viewings in I am. 

Watch it on HBO Max. 

62. Shiva Baby (2020)

Utopia / Courtesy Everett Collection

Running into your sugar daddy *and* your ex-girlfriend while at a shiva with your whole family is a nightmare situation that I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemies, and Shiva Baby plays it with all of the tension and, frankly, horror it can muster. Coming in at a tight 80 minutes, the film packs a wallop in a short amount of time; and fantastic performances from Rachel Sennott, Molly Gordon, and Polly Draper are a master class in knowing glances rife with personal history. 

Watch it on HBO Max.  

63. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2005)

Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

I unabashedly love The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, a book series I devoured as a preteen and whose first movie I watch conservatively once a year. Tibby (Amber Tamblyn) was originally my blue-haired icon, who taught me to distrust minimum wage and carry a grudge no matter how nice my friends are. As I grow up, Lena (Alexis Bledel) is my girl, and the scene where she goes on a date with Kostas and he’s wearing, of all things, a baby blue turtleneck just means the world to me. Even the soundtrack rocks with 2005 hits and nonhits I have nevertheless committed to memory. 

Watch it on HBO Max. 

64. Spirited Away (2001)

Buena Vista Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

My personal favorite of Hayao Miyazaki’s films, Spirited Away is about 10-year-old Chihiro Ogino (Rumi Hiiragi in the film’s original Japanese, Daveigh Chase in the English dubbed version), who enters a spirit world and must work in a bathhouse after her parents are turned into pigs, hoping to free them so they can all make their way back to their normal life. It would be disingenuous of me to say that I totally understand what Spirited Away is about, since, although technically made for the young, Miyazaki’s work is so rich with symbolism that it can be difficult to nail down. And that’s a good thing — the feeling you get from watching this, and his other films, is profound, and I find they always lend themselves to a great discussion with whomever I watch them with. 

Watch it on HBO Max. 

65. Tenet (2020)

Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

The newest from Christopher Nolan, Tenet is yet another take on temporality, this time proposing a world in which some people and objects move backward in time. At least…I think. I could be wrong, and honestly, that’s fine. I’m not watching Tenet to ace Nolan Physics 101. I’m watching because an action drama with an over-the-top budget and barely any CGI (yes, they crashed a real airplane into a real hangar) is a beautiful thing, especially with relative newcomer John David Washington and the always enigmatic Robert Pattinson at the helm. Tenet may not have gotten the super-wide theatrical release the studio was hoping for (though it was still a fair showing, considering the circumstances), but it’s absolutely worth watching now. And if you don’t think you’ll be a fan, I encourage you to remember that almost all of the effects are in-camera — it’s a feat of craft, and truly cool to see. 

Watch it on HBO Max. 

66. This Is Where I Leave You (2014)

Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

My friends love to make fun of me for loving this movie about siblings who return home for a week to sit shiva for their recently deceased father, but they will never be able to convince me that a movie in which Adam Driver dates Connie Britton is not worth watching over and over again. “Dysfunctional family stuck at home together” is one of my favorite genres (see also: The Family Stone, Dan in Real Life), and one with this much of an all-star cast is almost too much for me to handle. Look no further for a movie to smash play on if you’re interested in Rose Byrne as an ice-skater with an American accent, Jane Fonda as a mother with a secret, and Kathryn Hahn generally. 

Watch it on HBO Max. 

67. *Tony Hawk: Until The Wheels Fall Off (2022)

HBO

If there’s anything we’ve learned from his Twitter over the past few years, it’s that everybody knows Tony Hawk and nobody knows Tony Hawk. But we get a little closer in this new doc about his life and rise to fame that feels like a spiritual successor to Dogtown and Z Boys. It’s always wild to watch how one of the best people in their field came up, but especially when the popularity of the sport comes up with you, and exponentially at that. It’s great to see legends like Stacy Peralta and Rodney Mullen reflecting on Tony and on the time. Highly recommended for both skateboarding fans and anyone for whom this would be an intro. 

Watch it on HBO Max. 

68. The Truman Show (1998)

Paramount / Courtesy Everett Collection

Who among us hasn’t looked at the wild world around us and wondered, Am I on a TV show right now? Apparently not Truman Burbank for the first few decades of his life, despite being the first baby to be adopted by a corporation and raised as an unwitting star of The Truman Show. His whole life is televised, his friends and family are paid actors, the world around him is a set, and he’s the most popular TV star in the world — he just doesn’t know it. But as he catches on, everything changes, both for him and the audience at home. Jim Carrey was wise to take on this more dramatic role, proving he can honestly do it all and setting himself up for a well-rounded career. 

Watch it on HBO Max. 

69. West Side Story (2021)

Niko Tavernise / 20th Century Studios / Courtesy Everett Collection

While there has been much debate over whether a West Side Story remake was actually necessary for the year 2021, I’d like to believe that Steven Spielberg struck a perfect balance of finding the “new” in this classic while maintaining its original charm. Also, it gave us some of this year’s most exciting performances, notably Rachel Zegler as Maria and Ariana DeBose as Anita, in an Oscar-, Golden Globe– and SAG-winning turn. Mike Faist as Riff is also a standout, and his jumpy, unpredictable energy is hard to tear your eyes away from, even in huge numbers where everyone is giving it their all. 

Watch it on HBO Max. 

70. When Harry Met Sally… (1989)

Columbia Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

Nora Ephron can do no wrong, but I think most would agree that When Harry Met Sally is her greatest “right.” Her signature quick, frank dialogue rings against a backdrop of New York City looking its best, and Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal are magnetic as rom-com leads. I grew up with my parents constantly quoting this movie, and I’m eternally grateful that I was born after this movie was made so I never had to know a time without it. It’s a simple plot explained by the title, but characters written so genuinely and deftly make Ephron’s masterwork a thing that reaches out and touches you at any point in your life. I know I’ll be returning to this film over and over again, gleaning something new every time and always cackling at them singing, “The Surrey With the Fringe on Top.”

Watch it on HBO Max. 

71. *Where the Wild Things Are (2009)

Warner Bros / Courtesy Everett Collection

Spike Jonze directs this adaptation of the children’s book of the same name, giving it a subdued, moody feel perfectly suited for an indie rock era coming-of-age film. Where the Wild Things Are was announced with a trailer featuring Arcade Fire and is buoyed by an otherworldly soundtrack by Karen O and the Kids (which I still regularly listen to), positioning itself as a hit with millennial pre-teens at the time of its release to great effect — at least among the kids at my school, who went on to hold a “wild rumpus” in the woods themselves with all of the local teen bands playing sets.

Watch it on HBO Max. 

72. The Wizard of Oz (1939)

MGM/Courtesy Everett Collection

It would be difficult to overstate the impact of The Wizard of Oz on pop culture, as you already know. Of course the music, cast, and early use of Technicolor all went toward making this film the phenomenon that it is and no doubt will continue to be until the end of humanity (10 years?). But there’s some mercurial secret sauce that makes The Wizard of Oz greater than the sum of its parts. Better watch it for the hundredth time to try to figure out what it is, and here’s hoping Cynthia Erivo and Ariana Grande do too before starring in the at-long-last-announced Wicked movie. Who am I kidding? We all know they’re gonna kill it. 

Watch it on HBO Max.

73. *Young Adult (2011)

Paramount / Courtesy Everett Collection

Watching a woman-led movie written by Diablo Cody is always *chef’s kiss*, and Charlize Theron is incredible as Mavis in Young Adult. Upon hearing her high school boyfriend has welcomed a baby with his now-wife, Mavis returns to her hometown to try to win him back, hitting a lot of bars, making a few friends, and reuniting with a few enemies along the way. Directed by Jason Reitman (Juno), Young Adult  continues his collaboration with Cody, bringing another complex and at times alarmingly relatable story to life. 

Watch it on HBO Max. 

* Denotes title has been newly added to HBO Max for May.

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