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Movies to watch on HBO while waiting at home

Photo: Home Box Office
Movies to watch on HBO while waiting at home
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About the Author

Tyler Collins

Tyler Collins

Tyler Collins has been a reporter with Oakville News since 2016. Covering local news and live events, he specializes in film, theatre, and entertainment. He comes from Campbellton, NB, and has lived in North Oakville over 20 years. Tyler is a proud graduate of Journalism and Performing Arts from Sheridan College. Twitter: @MrTyCollins

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Home Box Office (HBO) may be better known as a premium television network, but HBO Movies are equally worthwhile watching. And just because the movies are often overlooked by their wide variety of series doesn’t mean that same variety isn’t in their films.

HBO Films have been creating excellent movies for more than 25 years. Many of them are Emmy-winning masterpieces that most people don’t even know exist. HBO specializes too in historical drama and adaptation of rarely seen works in literature, theatre, music and sports.

With HBO being more accessible in Canada thanks to their partnership with Crave, seeing HBO movies is easier than ever. So which titles should you start with? What are the best films you can watch while waiting at home?

I’ve gone through the catalogue and chose some of my personal favourites for you to watch. Here are some of the (criminally unknown) HBO movies for you to see.

Photo: Home Box Office

Photo: Home Box Office

The Laramie Project (2002)

Probably among the most famous of HBO Films’ is their adaptation of the Tectonic Theatre Project’s heartbreaking docudrama. It tells the true story of the aftermath of the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyoming. When a group of reporters and actors heard what happened, they went to Laramie and interviewed the town, hearing hundreds of stories about what happened.

Translating the story to film gives the biography amazing realism, even though everyone on camera are actors. Still, the impressive ensemble is among the largest ever assembled for any movie, and the story is one that deserves to be heard.

(For those further interested, a production of Moisés Kaufman’s play of the same title is coming to Oakville this year. West End Studio Theatre is scheduled to present The Laramie Project to open the 2020/2021 Oakville Drama Series.)

Photo: Home Box Office

Photo: Home Box Office

All the Way (2016)

Based on Robert Schenkkan’s 2014 Tony-winning best play, All the Way is a biopic about Lyndon B. Johnson’s first year as president of the United States. Bryan Cranston reprises his role as LBJ from the moments after John F. Kennedy was shot to the 1964 election.

What takes up most of the film, however, is how Johnson handles the country’s civil rights movement. Anthony Mackie and Melissa Leo co-star as formidable allies. It’s an excellent drama that focuses on a bullish president using force to do the right thing.

Photo: Home Box Office

Photo: Home Box Office

The Normal Heart (2014)

Finally, another ensemble piece, but this one coming from veteran television director Ryan Murphy. He’s better known for his hit TV shows Glee and American Horror Story. But in 2014 he quietly released this lifelong passion project of his. It’s a film about a dozen men in New York City at the beginning of the HIV/AIDS crisis.

Mark Ruffalo leads the cast of families, neighbours, doctors, lovers and enemies all fighting to solve the mystery disease. At first you might think it’s the wrong time to see a movie about the start of an epidemic. But what makes The Normal Heart different is its fervent and uncompromising optimism.

Some other good choices include Recount (2008), The Wizard of Lies (2016), Behind the Candelabra (2013) and Tyson (1995). While I haven’t personally seen last year’s adaptation of Fahrenheit 451 starring Michael B. Jordan, I’ve had it personally recommended to me as well.

These are the best offerings from HBO movies for you to watch while at home. This concludes Oakville News’ two-week series on the best titles to see across various streaming platforms. Read our previous stories by clicking here about Netflix, Amazon and Disney+ services.

If you’d like to read about a wider range of movies to watch in a variety of places, Tyler Collins (this story’s author) is watching 365 movies this year. You can read about his project at www.2020inCinema.com

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