4 of the Best Things to Peruse on HBO Max

A few weeks ago, HBO NOW became HBO Max. The streaming service, which goes for $14.99 per month at the moment, competes with other options such as Amazon Prime, Disney+, and Netflix. All of these streaming services release new content often, and it’s hard to choose between them if you can only afford one. 

Let’s go over some of the best things to watch that you can find on HBO Max. 

East of Eden 

The world lost James Dean in a 1955 car accident, though some mistakenly believe he died in a motorcycle wreck. Statistically to die in a motorcycle accident than a car crash, but Dean was actually in a Porsche 550 Spyder when he hit a 1950 Ford Tudor and broke his neck. 

The reason many people think Dean died in a motorcycle accident is that he’s probably best known for “Rebel Without a Cause,” a film that catapulted him to superstardom. Before that, though, he starred in “East of Eden,” where he played the tortured soul Cal Trask in the Elia Kazan classic. 

The complexity of the performance made Dean a household name even before “Rebel” hit the big screen. You can see “East of Eden” on HBO Now and witness cinematic history. Dean’s performance is like that of a young Brando. 

Robot Chicken 

This Adult Swim gem has survived for ten seasons, and creators Matthew Senreich and Seth Green would probably tell you that’s because it’s so cheap to make. It’s all clay characters brought to life, often send-ups of popular shows, movies, ad campaigns, and anything else that’s a part of the current zeitgeist. 

The show is foul and often beyond ridiculous, but every once in a while, you’ll come across a borderline genius sketch that will make you laugh out loud. It has picked up six Emmys to this point, and it’s a place where Senreich and Green can flex their creative muscles in a setting where there’s no one to restrain them. 

The Alien Movies 

Also, on HBO Now, you can find the original four “Alien” movies. Scott returned to direct “Aliens” seven years later, a movie with a larger budget and a completely different feel. While the horror and sci-fi elements are still present, you also get a big-budget action movie that was more on par with what audiences expected in the mid-1980s. 

The first one, with Ridley Scott directing, is probably one of the most frightening films ever made. It’s a brooding sci-fi/horror mashup that perfectly instills a sense of creeping dread until the titular alien makes its first appearance. 

The third installment is a let-down but still features a fine performance from Sigourney Weaver, and also a young Charles Dance, who would go on to fame in the HBO series “Game of Thrones.” “Alien: Resurrection” is entirely skippable, a laughable misfire only suited for background noise. 

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air 

The quintessential 90’s sitcom, “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” introduced the world to an enthusiastic Will Smith, known at that point for his catchy-but-harmless schoolboy raps. White and black viewers both loved this fish-out-of-water story of an underprivileged teenager whisked away from Philadelphia’s streets and deposited in a Bel-Air mansion. 

What audiences might not have understood at that time was how groundbreaking the show was. Smith’s acting improved as the years went by, but it was the late James Avery’s performance as Uncle Phil that lent the show its gravitas.  

Avery was a classically-trained Shakespearean actor, and he was the perfect straight man for Smith’s off-the-wall antics. You’ll also find the “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” Reunion Show on HBO Now if you want to see what the whole cast is up to these days. 

However, some consumers feel like pulled ahead when they added thousands of new movies and shows to their library. If you’re a content buff, you can spend days inside without ever seeing the light of day, catching up on some of the best entertainment sites of the past hundred years. 

These are some random picks from the HBO Now library, but there are dozens more we could mention. You might spend time catching up on classics like “Citizen Kane” or the original “King Kong,” or dip into HBO originals like “The Sopranos” or “Six Feet Under.” There’s something for everybody here, and $14.99 per month sounds pretty reasonable, especially during a pandemic when we all need a suitable distraction. 

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Mark Meets
Mark Meets
MarkMeets Media is British-based online news magazine covering showbiz, music, tv and movies
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