The 20 Best Movies to Stream on HBO Max Right Now

Daniel Craig and Jeffrey Wright star in Casino Royale (2006).
Daniel Craig and Jeffrey Wright star in Casino Royale (2006).
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

A formidable new entry in the streaming service landscape has arrived in the form of HBO Max, a premium offering from the Warner-owned media giant. For $14.99 a month, subscribers can choose from a vast library of movies and television shows. If you’ve already made your way through the Police Academy series—all seven films are there—take a look at some of the best movies currently available on the service.

1. Joker (2019)

Joaquin Phoenix delivers a sensational performance in this disquieting take on the Batman villain. As Arthur Fleck, a disenfranchised and marginalized member of society, Phoenix channels his frustrations into sowing the seeds of anarchy in Gotham City.

2. Blood Simple (1984)

The debut film from Joel and Ethan Coen is a spare film noir about a bar owner (Dan Hedaya) who enlists a private detective to kill his wife (Frances McDormand) and her lover (John Getz). Naturally, things don’t go as planned.

3. Cinema Paradiso (1988)

This Italian-language film follows two emotionally affecting stories—the bond between a boy (Salvatore Cascio, Marco Leonardi, and Jacques Perrin at various stages of his life) and a movie projectionist (Philippe Noiret) as well as the bond between the pair and the movies they embrace so passionately in post-war Sicily.

4. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Despite advances in special effects, few films have come close to the grandeur and visual impact of director Stanley Kubrick’s 2001. Co-written with Arthur C. Clarke, the film takes viewers on a psychedelic journey through space in the guise of a manned mission to Jupiter that’s soon thrown off-balance by the sentient HAL, a computer with plans of its own.

5. Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)

Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, and Ed Harris lead a terrific cast in this charged adaptation of director David Mamet’s potent stage play about a group of real estate salesmen who begin to crack under the pressure to perform. Alec Baldwin’s motivational speech remains a classic.

6. Bicycle Thieves (1948)

A seemingly mundane story of a blue-collar Italian worker (Lamberto Maggiorani) who finds his job in jeopardy when his only mode of transportation—a bicycle—is stolen turns into a mediation on the challenges of morality and ethics in the face of desperation.

7. Point Blank (1967)

Lee Marvin is a blunt-force object in this crime drama based on author Donald E. Westlake’s The Hunter. As Walker, Marvin is left for dead by his criminal associates but soon returns in a Terminator-esque bid for vengeance.

8. Babe (1995)

A farmer (James Cromwell) becomes fond of a pig named Babe, who quickly takes a position of prominence on the family farm because he believes he can operate as a sheepdog for livestock. The film has become a family classic, and its sequel—1998’s Babe: Pig in the City, which is a bit darker and directed by Mad Max creator George Miller—is also available on the service.

9. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)

Two vagabonds (Humphrey Bogart, Tim Holt) join up with a prospector (Walter Huston) to search for gold in the Sierra Madre mountains of Mexico. Unity soon crumbles as the men are faced with a series of obstacles, both natural and man-made.

10. Casino Royale (2006)

Daniel Craig’s first turn as James Bond is arguably the most compelling, with the character a recently-minted secret agent out to foil the plot of Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen), a financial backer for terrorists who happens to be an excellent card player.

11. Breaking the Waves (1996)

A nuanced story of love in a time of crisis, Breaking the Waves features Emily Watson as Bess McNeil, a Scottish woman who falls for an oil rig worker named Jan Nyman (Stellan Skarsgård). When tragedy befalls Jan, Bess must navigate their relationship through uncharted emotional waters.

12. Battleship Potemkin (1925)

This Russian silent film continues to pack an emotional punch nearly 100 years after it was made. Treated poorly on a Soviet vessel, a group of sailors decide to revolt against their superior officers, setting off a chain reaction of violence with far-reaching consequences. The film's "Odessa Steps" scene is one of the most analyzed sequences in the history of cinema, and has been partially recreated in a diverse slate of movies, from The Untouchables to Revenge of the Sith.

13. Cast Away (2000)

Few actors could hold an audience as they navigate the perils of an island as the lone survivor of a plane crash. But few actors are as versatile as Tom Hanks, who makes marooned man Chuck Noland a compulsively watchable survivor.

14. Titanic (1997)

The fate of star-crossed lovers Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Rose DeWitt Bukater (Kate Winslet) is well known by now, as is the fate of the luxury cruise liner. But spoilers fail to diminish the impact of director James Cameron’s ambitious and reverential account of the great ship’s collision with history. It remains a spellbinding epic, one that stretches the boundaries of what monumental film productions can achieve.

15. The Wages of Fear (1953)

Director Henri-Georges Clouzot offers a masterclass in sustained suspense in this riveting story of four men who volunteer to drive two trucks of volatile nitroglycerine to the site of an oil field fire in South America. One bump in the road too many and they’ll explode. Consider it a predecessor to 1994’s Speed—only far more stressful to watch.

16. Fanny and Alexander (1982)

Director Ingmar Bergman received great acclaim for this enchanting story of two children (Pernilla Allwin and Bertil Guve) who find their happy home in ruins after their father dies and their mother remarries. Only their sibling bond and an indomitable will to survive can help them endure the upheaval.

17. Fight Club (1999)

Director David Fincher’s adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk’s testosterone-fueled novel is still a potent anarchic fairy tale. Everyman Ed Norton is consumed by consumerism until he meets Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt), an instrument of chaos who pulls Norton into a life of hedonism.

18. A Fish Called Wanda (1988)

Kevin Kline, Jamie Lee Curtis, and John Cleese star in this heist comedy about a group of diamond thieves who encounter difficulties finding an agreeable resolution to their illegal activities.

19. Eyes Without a Face (1960)

This unsettling French film about a surgeon (Pierre Brasseur) who kidnaps young women in the hopes he can restore the beauty of his daughter (Édith Scob) who was in a disfiguring car accident by grafting their faces to hers is a study in restraint. There’s little gore but plenty of unease in what amounts to a highbrow take on the mad scientist genre.

20. Raising Arizona (1987)

Nicolas Cage and Holly Hunter star in this Coen brothers feature about a wayward couple who plot to kidnap one of the quintuplets of a wealthy furniture dealer. Stylized and surreal, it features one of Cage’s most interesting performances.

10 Products for a Better Night's Sleep

Amazon/Comfort Spaces
Amazon/Comfort Spaces

Getting a full eight hours of sleep can be tough these days. If you’re having trouble catching enough Zzzs, consider giving these highly rated and recommended products a try.

1. Everlasting Comfort Pure Memory Foam Knee Pillow; $25

Everlasting Comfort Knee Pillow
Everlasting Comfort/Amazon

For side sleepers, keeping the spine, hips, and legs aligned is key to a good night’s rest—and a pain-free morning after. Everlasting Comfort’s memory foam knee pillow is ergonomically designed to fit between the knees or thighs to ensure proper alignment. One simple but game-changing feature is the removable strap, which you can fasten around one leg; this keeps the pillow in place even as you roll at night, meaning you don’t have to wake up to adjust it (or pick it up from your floor). Reviewers call the pillow “life-changing” and “the best knee pillow I’ve found.” Plus, it comes with two pairs of ear plugs.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Letsfit White Noise Machine; $21

Letsfit White Noise Machine
Letsfit/Amazon

White noise machines: They’re not just for babies! This Letsfit model—which is rated 4.7 out of five with nearly 3500 reviews—has 14 potential sleep soundtracks, including three white noise tracks, to better block out everything from sirens to birds that chirp enthusiastically at dawn (although there’s also a birds track, if that’s your thing). It also has a timer function and a night light.

Buy it: Amazon

3. ECLIPSE Blackout Curtains; $16

Eclipse Black Out Curtains
Eclipse/Amazon

According to the National Sleep Foundation, too much light in a room when you’re trying to snooze is a recipe for sleep disaster. These understated polyester curtains from ECLIPSE block 99 percent of light and reduce noise—plus, they’ll help you save on energy costs. "Our neighbor leaves their backyard light on all night with what I can only guess is the same kind of bulb they use on a train headlight. It shines across their yard, through ours, straight at our bedroom window," one Amazon reviewer who purchased the curtains in black wrote. "These drapes block the light completely."

Buy it: Amazon

4. JALL Wake Up Light Sunrise Alarm Clock; $38

JALL Wake Up Light Sunrise Alarm Clock
JALL/Amazon

Being jarred awake by a blaring alarm clock can set the wrong mood for the rest of your day. Wake up in a more pleasant way with this clock, which gradually lights up between 10 percent and 100 percent in the 30 minutes before your alarm. You can choose between seven different colors and several natural sounds as well as a regular alarm beep, but why would you ever use that? “Since getting this clock my sleep has been much better,” one reviewer reported. “I wake up not feeling tired but refreshed.”

Buy it: Amazon

5. Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Light; $200

Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Light
Philips/Amazon

If you’re looking for an alarm clock with even more features, Philips’s SmartSleep Wake-Up Light is smartphone-enabled and equipped with an AmbiTrack sensor, which tracks things like bedroom temperature, humidity, and light levels, then gives recommendations for how you can get a better night’s rest.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Slumber Cloud Stratus Sheet Set; $159

Stratus sheets from Slumber Cloud.
Slumber Cloud

Being too hot or too cold can kill a good night’s sleep. The Good Housekeeping Institute rated these sheets—which are made with Outlast fibers engineered by NASA—as 2020’s best temperature-regulating sheets.

Buy it: SlumberCloud

7. Comfort Space Coolmax Sheet Set; $29-$40

Comfort Spaces Coolmax Sheets
Comfort Spaces/Amazon

If $159 sheets are out of your price range, the GHI recommends these sheets from Comfort Spaces, which are made with moisture-wicking Coolmax microfiber. Depending on the size you need, they range in price from $29 to $40.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Coop Home Goods Eden Memory Foam Pillow; $80

Coop Eden Pillow
Coop Home Goods/Amazon

This pillow—which has a 4.5-star rating on Amazon—is filled with memory foam scraps and microfiber, and comes with an extra half-pound of fill so you can add, or subtract, the amount in the pillow for ultimate comfort. As a bonus, the pillows are hypoallergenic, mite-resistant, and washable.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Baloo Weighted Blanket; $149-$169

Baloo Weighted Blanket
Baloo/Amazon

Though the science is still out on weighted blankets, some people swear by them. Wirecutter named this Baloo blanket the best, not in small part because, unlike many weighted blankets, it’s machine-washable and -dryable. It’s currently available in 12-pound ($149) twin size and 20-pound ($169) queen size. It’s rated 4.7 out of five stars on Amazon, with one reviewer reporting that “when it's spread out over you it just feels like a comfy, snuggly hug for your whole body … I've found it super relaxing for falling asleep the last few nights, and it looks nice on the end of the bed, too.” 

Buy it: Amazon 

10. Philips Smartsleep Snoring Relief Band; $200

Philips SmartSleep Snoring Relief Band
Philips/Amazon

Few things can disturb your slumber—and that of the ones you love—like loudly sawing logs. Philips’s Smartsleep Snoring Relief Band is designed for people who snore when they’re sleeping on their backs, and according to the company, 86 percent of people who used the band reported reduced snoring after a month. The device wraps around the torso and is equipped with a sensor that delivers vibrations if it detects you moving to sleep on your back; those vibrations stop when you roll onto your side. The next day, you can see how many hours you spent in bed, how many of those hours you spent on your back, and your response rate to the vibrations. The sensor has an algorithm that notes your response rate and tweaks the intensity of vibrations based on that. “This device works exactly as advertised,” one Amazon reviewer wrote. “I’d say it’s perfect.”

Buy it: Amazon

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Hamilton Cast Discusses the History and Impact of the Musical in New Disney+ Exclusive

The real work begins after the final bow.
The real work begins after the final bow.
Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

On Friday, July 10, Disney+ will release Hamilton: History Has Its Eyes on You, a conversation with key original cast members and creators that covers everything from personal memories to thoughts on how the musical can expand our understanding of America’s past.

Moderated by Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts, the program features Lin-Manuel Miranda, director Thomas Kail, Leslie Odom Jr. (Aaron Burr), Phillipa Soo (Eliza Hamilton), Renée Elise Goldsberry (Angelica Schuyler), Daveed Diggs (Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson), and Christopher Jackson (George Washington).

Also in attendance is Annette Gordon-Reed, a Harvard University history professor and leading scholar on Thomas Jefferson’s relationship with his enslaved maid, Sally Hemings. Hemings is mentioned briefly in Hamilton, and the contentious topic of slavery crops up in a few pithy insults directed at various characters, but some viewers have criticized how the production largely glosses over the issues and glorifies the Founding Fathers as sympathetic and respectable leaders.

Hamilton: History Has Its Eyes on You is a chance for Miranda and his team to discuss the decisions that went into fitting a long, complex history into a series of musical numbers—and for Gordon-Reed to offer a historian’s perspective on how we should interpret Hamilton.

“The really important thing, I think, is for people after they’ve watched it to go and find out more,” she says in a preview clip on Good Morning America. (If you’re wondering where to start, you might want to take a closer look at some of those history-packed lyrics.)

You can stream the special starting tomorrow, which leaves plenty of time to watch the musical on Disney+ again … and again. If you still need a subscription to Disney+, head here to sign up.

[h/t Good Morning America]