So, I can bare
So, I can barely explain how HBO Max actually works, and the user interface isn’t great yet (why the fuck can’t I see my entire watch list?).
But the line-up… Holy shit guys. Obviously, it has all the movies and TV shows HBO has made, but their catalog of films is straight-up bonkers now. From art house films to trash horror, they have TONS of stuff to recommend. I did a quick scan of their library to pick some movies you should see, some movies you might have never heard of, and even a couple of surprising TV shows.
Blood Simple (1984)
The very first film from the Coen Brothers (the directors of No Country For Old Men, Fargo, and so on), Blood Simple has everything you love about their work. Characters too stupid to carry out a crime successfully? Check. Shocking double-crosses? Check. Frances McDormand playing a great character Check (and this was her first movie ever too).
If you’ve somehow missed this, give it a shot.
Throne of Blood (1957)
Whoever told you Shakespeare adaptations have to be boring was full of shit. This version of Macbeth takes place in Feudal Japan, and comes courtesy of legendary director of Akira Kurosawa (
Seven Samurai, Ran, and MANY more), who’s work has influenced countless directors. When it comes to Shakespeare films, this is one of the best of all time.
One of the earliest sound films in film history, this one packs a BRUTAL punch. Despite the limits of older filmmaking, this bleak story about a serial killer hunted by cops and criminals alike is a classic. To be fair, if you’re not into older films, I wouldn’t make a strong recommendation, but if you do love classic film and you’ve missed this somehow, correct that immediately.
This is probably the most art-house movie I’ll recommend (well, sort of), but I do really hope you check this out. Directed by Federico Fellini, this film depicts the year in the life of a small Italian town in the late 1930s, and it’s one of my favorite films ever made. I know this is a vague description, but this film is full of weird surprises that I wouldn’t dare give away, alternating between unbelievable fantasy stories to reflections of World War II Italy. It’s absolutely fantastic stuff.
The Circus (1928)
Charlie Chaplin has several films on HBO Max, but this one is sadly overlooked from time to time. A classic story about “the Tramp” falls for a circus performer. With some (literal) high-wire stunts and a boatload of charm, this is a classic silent movie that you need to see.
Eyes Without a Face (1960)
No, it’s not just the name of Billy Idol song. This old-school horror-sci-fi film goes to some truly dark places, mostly because the plot necessitates it. A surgeon will do anything to restore his daughter’s disfigured face, including kidnapping and murder. For a film from 1960, it still manages to shock to this very day.
This is easily the most batshit movie I’ll recommend on here. In fact, I don’t even know if I fully recommend it at all.
House is a movie about a group of high school girls that got a house. They disappear one by one, as if the house is haunted.
That banal description is technically true, but from demonic cats to man-eating pianos, this is the most unpredictable movie in existence. With no exaggeration, I can say I’ve never watched a single movie like it. Only recommended for those looking to see the strangest movie they humanly can.
Lady Snowblood (1973)
If you’ve ever wondered where most of
Kill Bill Vol. 1’s story and visuals came from, here you go. This classic revenge tale from Japan is as stylish as it is bloody, and it has plenty of both to spare. Seriously, this samurai classic is essential viewing, especially for fans of Tarantino.
Destroy All Monsters (1968)
So, I’m mostly using this space to tell you that damn near every single Godzilla movie from 1954 to 1975 is on HBO Max, including this all-out-monster-brawl. It definitely has a slow pace to start, but the ending brawls between the monsters are as fun as old-school monster movies get.
Over 40 years later, this satire of news media is still one of the greatest American films ever made. Besides giving us that gem of a line above, it also continues to be relevant in ways that only a handful of movies can truly claim to be. The first movie where an actor won an Oscar for his performance after his death (Peter Finch), there’s a damn good reason for that.
You want to know how fun this movie is?
It was basically a tongue in cheek rip-off of
Jaws, but it was released the same year as Jaws 2, which pissed off Universal Films. They filed an injunction against this film to prevent its release until Steven Spielberg saw it and loved it. After that, Universal backed off, and Spielberg loved this movie so much that he produced Gremlins for the director of this movie, Joe Dante. So yeah, you should totally enjoy the low-budget charm of Piranha.
Rome, Open City (1945)
There’s a misconception that older films aren’t “dark” or “gritty” in any way.
Rome, Open City will rip that misconception directly out of your mind. A film about Nazis occupying Rome and the resistance that fights them, this film never pulls a single punch. Characters die, people are tortured, and hope is in short supply. Considering how close this film literally was to World War II (look at the date it was released), I still can’t believe it exists.
…you know how that GIF ends. Hell, there’s an argument to be made that
Scanners’ head explosion scene is one of the most common GIFs you can find during a certain era of the internet. It’s also a solid movie about mutants and mind battles, and frankly, we don’t have enough of those.
Time Bandits (1981)
A cult classic of the early 80s,
Time Bandits is like a Monty Python fever dream, somehow barely appropriate for kids, but too surreal for the adult mind to comprehend. It’s hilarious, filled with amazing cameos, nightmare imagery, and a very British sense of humor. The only thing weirder than this movie is that George Harrison of The Beatles produced it (no, that’s not a joke, that’s completely real).
Yeah, I included another Akira Kurosawa film, but you NEED to watch this one, especially if you’re a fan of westerns.
Yojimbo’s plot was basically stolen by
A Fistful of Dollars, the Sergio Leone/Clint Eastwood classic (it was stolen enough that Kurosawa successfully sued Leone for 15% of the profits of A Fistful of Dollars), but this film has plenty more to offer. Plenty of intrigue, samurai duels, and gorgeous black and white imagery, this is a film that everyone should see.
Hey, as a bonus, here’s a couple of TV shows on HBO Max you should check out (I’ll be honest with you guys, I don’t watch a lot of TV shows, so I’m not recommending nearly as many here):
This show’s premise is a bit of a tough sell. It has no dialogue, and its main characters are literally a caveman and a dinosaur, essentially wandering through ancient history if it was happening the same universe as Conan the Barbarian.
But it’s directed by animation genius Genndy Tartakovsky (the mastermind behind
Samurai Jack), and as you can see, it’s beyond violent. Primal’s title is a mission statement, delivering a wordless, gruesome, and unforgiving story about survival.
This is an odd one. You see, most of the classic
Looney Tunes cartoons are available on HBO Max.
But they’ve also made new cartoons, and while they feature modern technology, they’re a throwback to the 1940s era of
Looney Tunes in terms of style (Bugs has yellow gloves again). They’re not perfect, but I watched a couple and I was surprised by how anarchic and fun they were. Check them out!
Speaking of movie recommendations, we’re still signing away and thrilled to get these ridiculous cards out to our 3-year subscribers ASAP, and if you get one of mine, you’re getting a random movie recommendation (apologies in advance).
Thankfully, after much dev construction, we now offer a sleek feature for those who already have a subscription that will seamlessly let you trade up for our
superior 3-year Plan!
So snag your own BFM Gold Coin (tucked in with a signed and noted card from John or one of the Editors) with all the perks
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