To The Max: Mara's 5 WATCH NOW Movies Streaming on HBO Max

image courtesy HBO

With the new streaming service HBO Max introduced and with its content immediately available to HBO Now subscribers there are more choices than ever to be entertained or educated! Among the “hubs” of content, yours truly was most excited about the Turner Classic Movies hub. As I browsed through the selections, I was thrilled to add a number of movies that I have wanted to watch, as well as some favorites that I love to revisit time and again. By the time I had added a healthy number of movies to my watch list, I thought about a few that stuck out at me as so highly recommended, that I became fearful that they could be looked over and covered up by nostalgic classics such as “The Goonies” or “Gremlins”, or by Old Hollywood Oscar winners, like “Casablanca” or “Mildred Pierce”. I hope you’ll watch those movies, too- they’re great! But here, without further ado, are my top 5 movies available to stream right now on HBO Max, under the TCM hub. 

Warren Beatty & Julie Christie in 
McCabe & Mrs. Miller, 1974 (Warner Bros.)

McCabe & Mrs. Miller

Anyone who knows me knows this is one of my favorite films of all time! Directed by Robert Altman (a true auteur known for his overlapping dialogue, treatment of actors as not tools but as artists in their own rights, and last but certainly not least, his genre revision), McCabe & Mrs. Miller is perhaps the most bizarre Western you’ll ever see. From its anachronistic Leonard Cohen soundtrack, to the strange almost “anti-chemistry” between the main stars, played by Warren Beatty and Julie Christie, this movie has a unique vibe and I can’t recommend it enough. 

Veronica Lake in I Married a Witch, 1942  (Warner Bros.)

I Married a Witch

Released the night before Halloween (Devil’s Night to us here in the Detroit-area) 1942, I Married a Witch is a whimsical supernatural romantic comedy (albeit with some outdated cultural representations that sadly run rampant through early Hollywood films). This movie is THE screwball comedy for those of us who typically hate those types of movies but love campy spookiness. The special effects used to represent the supernatural powers of the witches are delightful and impressive for the time. It’s almost like a precursor to Bewitched, which came a couple decades later. 

Mink Stole looks on as Lady Divine tells 
off a cop in Multiple Maniacs, 1970. (Janus Films)

Multiple Maniacs

This is not the only John Waters movie available to stream on HBO Max right now; you can also stream the more popular, more digestible, and undeniably fabulously amazing Hairspray. But, let’s assume you’ve seen that one. Do yourself a favor and go back in time with Mr. Waters and watch his first full-length “talkie” (as he puts it), back even before Pink Flamingos. It’s vile, disgusting, and at times, can be tough to watch. But I can guarantee you that it will make you laugh- that is if you got the guts for it.

Gena Rowlands, sick of Peter Falk's shit 
in A Woman Under the Influence, 1974. (Warner Bros.)

A Woman Under the Influence
The movie that made Richard Dreyfuss go home and puke after viewing it. That’s right. A powerful and (melo)dramatic movie full of conflict that showcases the acting of its stars, Gena Rowlands (in a role specifically written for by her husband John Casavettes) and Peter Falk, A Woman Under the Influence can be tiring, but it’s so worth it. 
Tim Robbins in The Player, 1992. (Warner Bros.)
The Player

Yeah, I’m starting and ending this list with a Robert Altman movie. Jumping ahead to 1992, and shifting lanes as seamlessly as only Robert Altman can, The Player is a satirical dark comedy that takes on Hollywood and the movie industry. Tim Robbins stars as a Hollywood executive who is being stalked and threatened by an anonymous rejected screenwriter. There are other dark comedies and films that satirize the movie making biz, but Robert Altman’s unique directorial choices usually breed fascinating discussions. I would especially recommend this movie if you’re looking for an undeniably early-'90s aesthetic. It delivers in spades!

-Mara Powell