Best Movies On HBO Right Now (January 2020) | Screen Rant
What are the best movies to watch on HBO? Subscription streaming services are the fastest growing sector of the entertainment landscape, but before Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu came to dominate that arena, premium cable companies like HBO were offering consumers a way to watch movies and TV shows without commercials for a set monthly fee. Not content to let streaming run away with their market share, HBO also now allows people to subscribe to an entirely online version of their service called HBO Now, after fans begged for such an option for years.
Nowadays, cutting the cable cord is the preferred way to go for many, especially younger pop culture devotees. Cable packages are bloated, full of content very few people want, and contain multiple additional fees. Still, whether one subscribes to HBO through cable or via streaming, the service offers a great selection of movies with which to pass the time, even if the line-up isn’t quite as robust as those of the subscription streaming big three.
Before the list of the best movies on HBO begins proper, there are some important notes to be made. First, the movies below are available to watch on HBO and stream on HBO Now at the time of this writing. As movies expire, the list will be updated, and new great options will be added. Also, the 15 films below, while numbered for convenience, are not ranked.
Last updated: January 2, 2020
15. Shutter Island
Directed by Martin Scorsese and starring his modern muse Leonardo DiCaprio, 2010’s Shutter Island centers on U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels, who’s sent to investigate a mysterious disappearance at a mental hospital on the titular island. Unfortunately for Teddy, nothing is what it seems, and the mystery threatens to swallow him whole. The star-studded cast also includes Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Max von Sydow, and Michelle Williams. Those looking for a thriller designed to keep them guessing should definitely stream Shutter Island on HBO.
Director Paul Verhoeven has always been known for peppering his films with subversive messages, and making films that were uniquely his. That very much extended to his more commercially successful fare, such as 1987’s Robocop, which proved popular enough to spawn a franchise that’s still ongoing (and almost entirely available on HBO), but also overflowed with satirical attacks on consumerism and capitalism as a whole. For Omni Consumer Products, nothing comes before profit, and not even murder is too far to go to make another buck. Thankfully, Robocop ends up disagreeing with his makers.
After the Oscar-winning success of his debut film Get Out, the eyes of the world’s moviegoers looked to director Jordan Peele’s second film, Us, in the hopes it would prove his talents behind the camera weren’t a fluke. While maybe not quite as good as Get Out, Us is a great horror film in its own right, presenting an ingenious concept: everyone on Earth has a secret duplicate, and those duplicates now want to take over their counterparts’ lives. Black Panther‘s Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke star in this new to HBO selection.
While by no means the greatest DC movie of all time, there’s something undoubtedly appealing about director James Wan’s Aquaman solo film, one of the most successful superhero outings in recent memory and new to HBO. Jason Momoa stars as Arthur Curry/Aquaman, who’s forced to face his destiny and return to Atlantis after a lifetime above the surface. Arthur is recruited by Mera (Amber Heard) to unseat his villainous half-brother King Orm (Patrick Wilson), who’s assumed the throne and rules with an iron fist.
11. The Manchurian Candidate
While not quite the exalted classic its 1962 inspiration is, director Jonathan Demme’s 2004 remake of political thriller The Manchurian Candidate is still an enjoyable piece of work. Denzel Washington stars as a war veteran named Ben Marco, who begins to suspect his experiences overseas might not have been what they seemed. Before long, his investigation leads to the revelation that vice presidential candidate Raymond Shaw (Liev Schreiber) might be an unwitting puppet of a dark conspiracy. Meryl Streep, Vera Farmiga, and Jon Voight also star in this prime HBO pick.
10. Thank You for Smoking
The directorial debut of acclaimed filmmaker Jason Reitman, 2005’s Thank You for Smoking is a pitch black satire of just how unethical the world of high-powered corporate lobbying can really be. Aaron Eckhart as Nick Naylor, a good-looking, fast-talking, alpha male-type lobbyist for the tobacco industry. Cigarettes are of course a product that slowly kills its users, making lobbying it for a job best done without moral hangups. Katie Holmes, Maria Bello, David Koechner, William H. Macy, and more fill out the star-studded cast of this top HBO pick.
9. True Lies
While his acting career continues, pop culture icon Arnold Schwarzenegger will probably always be best known for three movies: The Terminator, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and Predator. However, one of his all-time biggest hits at the box office was 1994’s True Lies, which reunited him with director James Cameron. Arnold plays Harry Tasker, an outwardly boring yet loving husband to his wife Helen (Jamie Lee Curtis), but in reality a covert operative working for the U.S. government. When an attempt to spice up his marriage ends with the couple taken hostage by nuclear-armed terrorists, it’s then up to Harry to save both the world and his family in this top HBO addition.
8. Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
One of the most beloved documentaries in recent memory, many moviegoers were outraged when director Morgan Neville’s Won’t You Be My Neighbor? was snubbed in the Oscars best documentary category. Despite that sad turn, the film’s exploration of the life and career of Fred Rogers – host of legendary kids show Mister Rogers Neighborhood, and lifelong advocate for children – remains utterly compelling, and enough to pierce just about anyone’s cynical exterior. HBO subscribers should get acquainted with it as soon as possible.
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