The 50 Best Movies on HBO Max

·19-min read

Trying to find the best titles to watch on HBO Max is no easy task—especially since the streaming platform boasts hundreds of popular movies. Should you choose the brand-new romantic thriller that your friends can’t quit raving about, or should you pick that one random documentary that you’ve had bookmarked for the past three months? TBH, we’ve all been there. And if you could use some help with the selection process, allow us to introduce you to 50 of the best movies on HBO Max right now, from You’ve Got Mail to Birds of Prey.

RELATED: 7 Movies to Stream on HBO Max, According to an Entertainment Editor

1. ‘Underwater’ (2020)

Who's in it: Kristen Stewart, Vincent Cassel, Jessica Henwick, John Gallagher Jr., Mamoudou Athie, T.J. Miller

What’s it about: When an earthquake strikes and destroys a research and drilling facility, mechanical engineer Norah Price (Kristen Stewart) and a team of survivors have no choice but to travel across the ocean floor by foot. During their journey, however, they encounter deadly creatures, further minimizing their chances of survival.

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2. ‘Joker’ (2019)

Who's in it: Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Frances Conroy

What’s it about: Get a deeper look into the fascinating origin story of the Joker, who goes from being a failed stand-up comic to being a terrifying, psychopathic killer. The film earned an impressive 11 Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, and a Best Actor win for Phoenix.

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3. ‘Birds of Prey: Harley Quinn’ (2020)

Who's in it: Margot Robbie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Rosie Perez, Chris Messina, Ella Jay Basco

What’s it about: The Suicide Squad spin-off follows the aftermath of Harley Quinn’s painful breakup with the Joker. Left unstable and without protection, Harley eventually teams up with Black Canary, Huntress and Renee Montoya to take down a dangerous crime lord.

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4. ‘Emma’ (2020)

Who's in it: Anya Taylor-Joy, Johnny Flynn, Josh O'Connor, Callum Turner, Mia Goth, Miranda Hart

What’s it about: Meet Miss Emma Woodhouse, the queen of meddling. Based on Jane Austen's novel of the same name, Emma sees its protagonist taking it upon herself to play matchmaker for her family and closest friends in Regency-era England.

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5. ‘Midway’ (2019)

Who's in it: Ed Skrein, Patrick Wilson, Luke Evans, Aaron Eckhart, Nick Jonas, Darren Criss, Mandy Moore, Dennis Quaid

What’s it about: This war film chronicles the Battle of Midway, a 1942 naval battle in the Pacific Theater of World War II. Fun fact: The film had a production budget of more than $100 million, making it one of the most expensive independent films of all time.

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6. ‘Goodfellas’ (1990)

Who's in it: Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci, Lorraine Bracco, Paul Sorvino

What’s it about: This riveting crime film, which is considered one of the greatest movies of all time, chronicles the true story of Henry Hill, a former mobster turned FBI informant. The movie earned Pesci (who played the Irish gangster Tommy DeVito) an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

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7. ‘Mortal Kombat’ (2021)

Who's in it: Lewis Tan, Jessica McNamee, Josh Lawson, Tadanobu Asano, Mehcad Brooks, Ludi Lin, Chin Han

What’s it about: Take a trip to Japan, where MMA fighter Cole Young makes a startling discovery about his heritage. After being hunted by a dangerous warrior, he finds sanctuary and trains with a team of skilled fighters before facing off against Outworlders to help save the universe.

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8. ‘A Star Is Born’ (2018)

Who's in it: Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga, Andrew Dice Clay, Dave Chappelle, Sam Elliott

What’s it about: It was the film that low-key made us think that Cooper and Gaga had a real-life romance behind-the-scenes. Cooper stars as Jackson Maine, a country rock star who privately struggles with alcoholism. When he discovers budding artist Ally (Gaga), the two fall in love. As her career takes off, however, it takes a huge toll on their relationship.

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9. ‘Rocky’ (1976)

Who's in it: Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young, Carl Weathers, Burgess Meredith

What’s it about: Break out the boxing gloves and crank up Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” as you revisit the inspiring story of small-time boxer Rocky Balboa, complete with training montages and intense boxing matches. The iconic film won three Academy Awards and was the highest-grossing film in 1976.

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10. ‘Malcolm X’ (1992)

Who's in it: Denzel Washington, Angela Bassett, Albert Hall, Al Freeman Jr., Delroy Lindo, Spike Lee

What’s it about: This Spike Lee-directed drama follows the life of African-American civil rights activist Malcolm X, including his incarceration, his conversion to Islam and his subsequent fallout with the Nation of Islam. Oh, and did we mention that Denzel’s performance is phenomenal?

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11.’Wonder Woman’ (2017)

Who's in it: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Connie Nielsen

What’s it about: Gadot shines as the fearless immortal hero in this captivating film and, TBH, it’s impossible for us to imagine anyone else taking on this role. In the film, Diana Prince, princess of the Amazons, decides to leave her sheltered home and help prevent World War I, discovering her destiny along the way.

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12. ‘4 Little Girls’ (1997)

Who's in it: Maxine McNair, Chris McNair, Helen Pegues, Queen Nunn, Arthur Hanes Jr.

What’s it about: The Oscar-nominated documentary recounts the 1963 murder of four African-American girls in a Baptist Church bombing (carried out by the Ku Klux Klan) in Alabama, which lead to the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

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13. ‘Adventureland’ (2009)

Who's in it: Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Martin Starr, Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig, Margarita Levieva, Ryan Reynolds

What’s it about: Recent college graduate James Brennan (Eisenberg) has big plans to travel throughout Europe and attend grad school, but his plans are quickly foiled when he learns that his parents can’t afford to pay for his expenses. Instead, he’s forced to earn his own wages at an amusement park, where he meets the irresistible Em Lewin (Stewart).

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14. ‘The Graduate’ (1967)

Who's in it: Anne Bancroft, Dustin Hoffman, Katharine Ross, William Daniels

What’s it about: College grad Benjamin Braddock (Hoffman) strikes up an unlikely romance with an older woman named Mrs. Robinson, but things get complicated for Benjamin when he falls for her daughter, Elaine.

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15. ‘Rebel Without a Cause’ (1955)

Who's in it: James Dean, Natalie Wood, Jim Backus

What’s it about: Inspired by Robert M. Lindner's 1944 book, Rebel Without a Cause: The Hypnoanalysis of a Criminal Psychopath, this drama features Dean as troubled teenager Jim Stark, who moves to a new town in an attempt to get a fresh start. His plan backfires, however, when he falls for a girl who happens to be the girlfriend of troublemaker Buzz Gunderson.

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16. ‘The Matrix’ (1999)

Who's in it: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Joe Pantoliano

What’s it about: Nothing beats seeing Neo expertly dodge flying bullets in a black trench coat. Follow the skilled computer programmer as he unravels the truth about the Matrix and faces off against intelligent machines.

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17. ‘You’ve Got Mail’ (1998)

Who's in it: Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Parker Posey, Jean Stapleton, Dave Chappelle, Steve Zahn

What’s it about: Remember when “You’ve got mail” notifications were still a thing? This fan-favorite will take you right back to those nostalgic days and give you all the feels. Hanks and Ryan star as business rivals who, unbeknownst to them both, have fallen for each other anonymously online.

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18. ‘Se7en’ (1995)

Who's in it: Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Gwyneth Paltrow, John C. McGinley, Kevin Spacey

What’s it about: William Somerset (Freeman), a retiring detective, teams up with newbie David Mills (Pitt) for a final case that involves a series of gruesome murders. As they investigate, they come to realize that the string of victims are all connected to the seven deadly sins.

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19. ‘All the President’s Men’ (1976)

Who's in it: Robert Redford, Dustin Hoffman, Jack Warden, Martin Balsam, Hal Holbrook, Jason Robards

What’s it about: Two reporters at the Washington Post research a 1972 burglary gone wrong, not knowing that they’re about to uncover a historic scandal that will lead to the downfall of former president Richard Nixon.

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20. ‘Singin' in the Rain’ (1952)

Who's in it: Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor, Debbie Reynolds, Jean Hagen

What’s it about: Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont (Kelly and Hagen) have risen to superstardom through the silent film era, thanks to their on-screen chemistry. When talking films ("talkies") are introduced, the popular duo’s success is threatened by Lina’s awful voice. Fortunately, an emerging talent named Kathy (Reynolds) just might be the solution they need.

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21. Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021)

Who's in it: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Gal Gadot, Ray Fisher, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller

What’s it about: Inspired by Superman’s selfless sacrifice, Bruce Wayne joins forces with Wonder Woman, and together they create a team of superheroes to face off against a vicious new enemy. Although the plot is very similar to the 2017 theatrical release, this director's cut offers fans a rare glimpse at how director Zack Snyder originally envisioned the film before leaving production.

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22. ‘The Bodyguard’ (1992)

Who's in it: Kevin Costner, Whitney Houston, Gary Kemp, Bill Cobbs, Ralph Waite

What’s it about: Who could resist Houston's show-stopping performances of hits like "I Have Nothing" and "Run to You?” In this mysterious romance thriller, Costner stars as secret service agent turned bodyguard Frank Farmer, who agrees to protect Rachel Marron (Houston), a famous entertainer, from a dangerous stalker.

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23. ‘Pitch Perfect’ (2012)

Who's in it: Anna Kendrick, Skylar Astin, Rebel Wilson, Anna Camp, Brittany Snow, Hana Mae Lee, Alexis Knapp, Ester Dean, Kelley Jakle, Shelley Regner

What’s it about: Even if you've had "Price Tag/Don't You (Forget About Me)/Give Me Everything" on repeat since the movie first dropped (just us?), watching the Barden Bellas face off against rival acapella groups just never gets old.

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24. ‘The Shining’ (1980)

Who's in it: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Scatman Crothers, Danny Lloyd

What’s it about: Jack Torrance’s attempt to get over writer’s block turns into a literal nightmare when his new job takes a very dark turn. When a snowstorm leaves him and his entire family trapped at a hotel that harbors evil secrets, Jack’s sanity deteriorates to the point where he terrorizes his family.

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25. ‘Menace II Society’ (1993)

Who's in it: Tyrin Turner, Jada Pinkett, Larenz Tate, Samuel L. Jackson, Charles S. Dutton

What’s it about: Eighteen-year-old Caine Lawson is determined to escape his life of violence and crime in Los Angeles. He makes plans to leave the projects, with the support of his girlfriend and teacher, but this proves to be much riskier than he thought. It’s not an easy watch, but it’s packed with insightful messages about drug use and teenage violence.

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26. ‘The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants’ (2005)

Who's in it: Alexis Bledel, Amber Tamblyn, America Ferrera, Blake Lively

What’s it about: Adapted from Ann Brashares’s novel of the same title, the comedy-drama follows four best friends as they spend their first summer apart. But what keeps them together is a mysterious pair of pants that fits each of them perfectly, despite their different body types and sizes.

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27. ‘The Witches’ (2020)

Who's in it: Anne Hathaway, Octavia Spencer, Stanley Tucci, Kristin Chenoweth

What’s it about: When an orphaned boy goes to live with his grandmother in Alabama, he comes across a group of evil and deceptive witches. His grandma wastes no time in relocating to a seaside resort, but unfortunately for them, the witches have something bigger up their sleeves.

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28. ‘Elf’ (2003)

Who's in it: Will Ferrell, James Caan, Zooey Deschanel, Mary Steenburgen, Daniel Tay, Ed Asner, Bob Newhart

What’s it about: In one of his best films yet, Ferrell, plays Buddy Hobbs, a human-sized elf who’s like a fish out of water when he ventures to New York to find his biological father. Grab some festive treats and enjoy this one year-round.

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29. ‘Superintelligence’ (2020)

Who's in it: Melissa McCarthy, Bobby Cannavale, Brian Tyree Henry, Jean Smart, James Corden

What’s it about: Carol Peters (McCarthy), a former corporate executive, is given the opportunity of a lifetime when an anonymous network system decides to grant her a fortune and erase all her debt. Little does she know, however, that she’s being observed by an evil force who’s planning to destroy the human race. As always, McCarthy is a delight.

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30. ‘The King of Staten Island’ (2020)

Who's in it: Pete Davidson, Marisa Tomei, Bill Burr, Bel Powley, Maude Apatow, Steve Buscemi

What’s it about: Saturday Night Live star Davidson plays a high-school dropout named Scott Carlin, who's forced to carve his own path after his mother starts dating a firefighter. You won't get the same kind of humor that you're used to seeing on SNL, but Davidson’s moving performance proves that he's definitely got range.

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31. ‘Locked Down’ (2021)

Who's in it: Anne Hathaway, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Stephen Merchant, Mindy Kaling, Lucy Boynton, Dulé Hill, Ben Stiller

What’s it about: Set during the COVID-19 pandemic, Paxton and Linda (Ejiofor and Hathaway) find themselves in a sticky situation when they’re forced to quarantine together. But things start to look up when they take advantage of an opportunity to pull off a high-stakes robbery.

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32. ‘Let Them All Talk’ (2020)

Who's in it: Meryl Streep, Dianne Wiest, Candice Bergen, Lucas Hedges, Gemma Chan

What’s it about: The legendary Streep stars as best-selling author Alice Hughes, who embarks on an exciting cruise across the Atlantic to receive a literary award. During the journey, Alice tries to make the most of the experience, celebrating with her old friends and nephew as she tries to deal with her troubled past.

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33. ‘Persona’ (2021)

Who's in it: Kyle Behm, Roland Behm, Lydia X.Z. Brown, Susan Cain

What’s it about: It turns out there’s more to those harmless personality quizzes than meets the eye. This intriguing doc dives into the history of the Myers–Briggs personality assessment and discusses how it became a potentially dangerous tool.

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34. ‘The Day Sports Stood Still’

Who's in it: Chris Paul, Donovan Mitchell, Danilo Gallinari, Karl-Anthony Towns, Mark Cuban, Adam Silver, Michele Roberts, Mookie Betts, Natasha Cloud

What’s it about: The eye-opening documentary offers some insight into the abrupt shutdown of sports in March of 2020 (due to the pandemic) and how it has impacted the lives and careers of athletes.

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35. ‘Bessie’ (2015)

Who's in it: Queen Latifah, Michael Kenneth Williams, Khandi Alexander, Tika Sumpter, Tory Kittles, Mike Epps, Oliver Platt, Bryan Greenberg, Charles S. Dutton, Mo'Nique

What’s it about: The TV film explores the life of blues singer Bessie Smith, who went from struggling artist to the famed "Empress of the Blues," in the 1920s. It's worth noting that Bessie became the most watched HBO original film of all time in 2016, and it also won four Primetime Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Television Movie.

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36. ‘Fahrenheit 451’ (2018)

Who's in it: Michael B. Jordan, Michael Shannon, Sofia Boutella, Lilly Singh, Khandi Alexander, Martin Donovan, Dylan Taylor, Andy McQueen

What’s it about: Based on Ray Bradbury's acclaimed novel, the film centers on Guy Montag (Jordan), who lives in a dystopian world where nearly all literature is banned and burned by "Firemen." But Guy starts to question this system he meets a woman who loves to read.

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37. ‘Dolittle’ (2020)

Who's in it: Robert Downey Jr., Antonio Banderas, Michael Sheen, Harry Collett, Emma Thompson, Rami Malek, John Cena, Kumail Nanjiani, Octavia Spencer, Selena Gomez

What’s it about: Step aside, Eddie Murphy, there's a new Dr. Dolittle in town. Downey Jr. stars as the famous veterinarian in this charming remake, which sees he and his animal friends embark on a journey to a mythical island. It’s sure to be a hit with the whole family.

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38. ‘Spies in Disguise’ (2019)

Who's in it: Will Smith, Tom Holland, Rashida Jones, Ben Mendelsohn, Reba McEntire, Rachel Brosnahan, Karen Gillan, DJ Khaled, Masi Oka

What’s it about: Chaos ensues when a suave super spy named Lance is accidentally turned into a pigeon. Can his intelligent scientist partner get him out of it?

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39. ‘Hobbs & Shaw’ (2019)

Who's in it: Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Idris Elba, Vanessa Kirby

What’s it about: This fast-paced action flick takes place after the events of the 2017 film, The Fate of the Furious, in which Deckard Shaw and Luke Hobbs form an unlikely alliance to defeat a cybernetically-enhanced terrorist.

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40. ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’ (2012)

Who's in it: Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth, Sam Claflin, Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins, Ray Winstone, Nick Frost, Toby Jones

What’s it about: In this magical retelling of the classic tale, Snow White grows up as a prisoner under her evil stepmother and sorceress, Queen Ravenna. But when Snow finally escapes, the queen convinces a Huntsman to capture her after promising to resurrect his dead wife. (Are we the only ones getting Thor vibes from that photo of Hemsworth with his giant axe?)

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41. ‘Dreamgirls’ (2006)

Who's in it: Jamie Foxx, Beyonce Knowles, Eddie Murphy, Danny Glover, Anika Noni Rose, Keith Robinson, Jennifer Hudson

What’s it about: The Dreamettes, a girl group from Detroit, get their chance to rise to fame when they’re discovered by an ambitious manager. But as they get more popular, only one becomes the star, leading to tension in the group. FYI, we still get chills when we hear Hudson’s rendition of “And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going.”

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42. ‘Dirty Dancing’ (1987)

Who's in it: Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Grey, Jerry Orbach, Cynthia Rhodes

What’s it about: Frances 'Baby' Houseman spends her summer with her relatives at a Catskills resort, where she meets and falls in love with the handsome instructor, Johnny Castle. That iconic lift during the final dance gets us every single time.

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43. ‘The Photograph’ (2020)

Who's in it: Issa Rae, LaKeith Stanfield, Lil Rel Howery, Rob Morgan, Courtney B. Vance

What’s it about: When journalist Michael Block crosses paths with Mae, the daughter of the photographer that he’s been researching, sparks immediately fly between the two. But as we see their love story unfold, we also follow the life and career of Mae’s late mother, before she had Mae.

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44. ‘The Lucky One’ (2012)

Who's in it: Zac Efron, Taylor Schilling, Jay R. Ferguson, Blythe Danner

What’s it about: Had a random stranger found our picture, used it as a good luck charm and then tracked us down to pursue a relationship, we'd probably be all kinds of suspicious. (OK fine, maybe not so much if that person happened to be Zac Efron.) That’s the gist of this adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks novel.

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45. ‘It’ (2017)

Who's in it: Jaeden Lieberher, Wyatt Oleff, Jeremy Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Jack Grazer, Chosen Jacobs, Nicholas Hamilton, Owen Teague, Jackson Scott

What’s it about: A group of kids are terrorized by a sinister, shape-shifting character who takes the form of a clown called Pennywise and feeds on people’s worst fears. Definitely not for the faint of heart.

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46. ‘Life of Pi’ (2012)

Who's in it: Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Tabu, Rafe Spall, Gerard Depardieu

What’s it about: In the aftermath of a deadly storm, an Indian teenager named Pi survives, along with a Bengal tiger. He decides to care for the animal, helping them both stay alive and forging an unforgettable bond in this adaptation of Yann Martel's novel.

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47. ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ (2018)

Who's in it: Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeoh, Awkwafina, Ken Jeong, Gemma Chan

What’s it about: Rachel Chu, a Chinese-American economics professor from New York, travels to Singapore with her boyfriend, Nick Young, to meet his family. But she’s in for quite the surprise when she learns that Nick's family is extremely wealthy.

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48. ‘Joyful Noise’ (2012)

Who's in it: Queen Latifah, Dolly Parton, Keke Palmer, Jeremy Jordan

What’s it about: When choir director Bernard Sparrow passes away, his widow, G.G. and the new director, Vi Rose, struggle to see eye to eye about the direction of the choir—and it certainly doesn't help matters that the church is suffering budget cuts. Can they solve this by leading the choir to victory at their next national competition?

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49. ‘Never Rarely Sometimes Always’ (2020)

Who's in it: Sidney Flanigan, Talia Ryder, Theodore Pellerin, Ryan Eggold, Sharon Van Etten

What’s it about: After learning that she’s several weeks pregnant, 17-year-old Autumn decides to have an abortion. But due to lack of support, she and her cousin, Skylar, embark on a journey to New York together for medical assistance.

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50. ‘The Wizard of Oz’ (1939)

Who's in it: Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, Bert Lahr, Margaret Hamilton

What’s it about: We can’t be the only ones who’ve made a tradition of watching this classic. Follow the yellow-brick road with Dorothy and the rest of the gang as they seek answers from the great Wizard of Oz.

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