Best Movies Streaming Right Now High Life

(Welcome to Now Stream This, a column dedicated to the best movies streaming on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and every other streaming service out there.)

In this edition of Now Stream This, we have the first team-up of Scorsese, De Niro and Pesci; Robert Pattinson getting freaky in space; John Travolta and Nicolas Cage swapping faces; Thora Birch and Scarlett Johansson navigating the weird world of being a teenager; Ben Stiller getting dramatic; a quest for the Holy Grail; a guy with pins in his head; and a contortionist clown from another dimension. These are the best movies streaming right now. Let’s get streaming!

The Best Movies Streaming Right Now

1. Raging Bull
Now Streaming on Netflix

Release Date: 1980

Genre: Biopic

Director: Martin Scorsese

Cast: Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Cathy Moriarty

Next month, Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Martin Scorsese will reunite for the highly-anticipated The Irishman. As you await that film, why not go back to the first movie that brought this trio together: Raging Bull. A beautiful yet brutal portrait of boxer Jake LaMotta, Raging Bull finds De Niro playing the paranoid pugilist who is constantly lashing out both in and out of the ring. He’s close with his brother Joey (Pesci), but even that relationship takes a beating as Jake grows more and more full of self-loathing and rage. You can throw suspicion and jealousy into that mix as well, because after Jake marries the beautiful (and young) Vickie (Cathy Moriarty), he immediately becomes controlling – paranoid that she’s stepping out on him. LaMotta is not a sympathetic figure at all, but De Niro and Scorsese manage to make him painfully human.

For fans of: RockyGoodfellas, watching people pummel each other in beautiful black and white.

 

2. High Life
Now Streaming on Amazon Prime Video

Release Date: 2019

Genre: Weird Sci-Fi

Director: Claire Denis

Cast: Robert Pattinson, Juliette Binoche, André Benjamin, Mia Goth

Here’s some stuff from High Life: Robert Pattinson opens a normal-looking door on a spaceship that opens out into space, and just stands there looking out, defying all laws of physics; someone drives straight into a Black Hole; there’s an entire spacecraft full of dogs; people fight and scream at each other constantly; there’s a giant room that people use for sexual pleasure via robotic devices and it’s called the Fuckbox; lots and lots of semen. If any or all of that sounds like your cup of tea, then you should definitely check out Claire Denis‘ absolutely bizarre sci-fi opus. Jumping around in time, High Life follows a group of criminals onboard a spacecraft. They were all previously on death row, and offered a choice: be executed, or go to space. As the space adventure unfolds, the death penalty starts to seem like a much more pleasant option. High Life is mesmerizing and odd, and will definitely not be for everyone. But how can you hate a movie with a Fuckbox in it?

For fans of: Event HorizonSolaris, bodily fluids.

 

3. Face/Off
Now Streaming on Hulu and Amazon Prime Video

Release Date: 1990

Genre: Action Masterpiece

Director: John Woo

Cast: John Travolta, Nicolas Cage, Joan Allen, Gina Gershon, Alessandro Nivola

Travolta. Cage. Woo. Face/Off, mother fuckers. I’m tempted to just stop there and move on to the next movie, because what more do you need? John Woo’s best American film finds cop John Travolta and criminal Nicolas Cage swapping faces, and lives, and then trying to kill each other. This enables Travolta to do an incredibly spot-on crazy Nic Cage impression, and Cage to do an equally good job of mimicking Travolta’s quirks. It also enables John Woo to stage one wild action set piece after another. Bullets fly, things explode, and yes, doves flutter across the screen. All action movies should strive to be as unabashedly bonkers and thrilling as Face/Off.

For fans of: Hard BoiledFreaky Friday, peaches.

 

4. Ghost World
Now Streaming on Amazon Prime Video and Hulu

Release Date: 2001

Genre: Comedy-Drama

Director: Terry Zwigoff

Cast: Thora Birch, Scarlett Johansson, Steve Buscemi

Based on Daniel Clowes’ graphic novel of the same name, Ghost World is a funny-but-melancholy coming-of-age film that bucks tradition by concluding on a rather haunting, open-ended note. Most coming-of-age stories end with a valuable lesson and some sort of happy conclusion. Not Ghost World! The story follows two misanthropic teens, played by Thora Birch and Scarlett Johansson, as they drift through life post-high school graduation. After attempting to play a mean-spirited prank on a local loser (Steve Buscemi), Birch’s character Enid feels remorseful and strikes up an unlikely friendship with Buscemi’s character Seymour – who might just be more negative and miserable than she is.

For fans of: Lady BirdArt School Confidential, remembering how terrible it was to be a teenager.

 

5. Hot Rod
Now Streaming on Amazon Prime Video

Release Date: 2007

Genre: Comedy

Director: Akiva Schaffer

Cast: Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, Bill Hader, Danny McBride, Isla Fisher, Ian McShane, Sissy Spacek, Will Arnett

The Lonely Island movie people seem to love the most these days is Pop Star: Never Stop Never Stopping. And to fair, that film is pretty damn funny. But it doesn’t hold a candle to Hot Rod, a gloriously silly movie about an amateur stuntman (Andy Samberg) who attempts to pull off a giant, deadly stunt in order to raise enough money to pay for a heart operation for his mean-spirited step-father (Ian McShane). It’s all so ridiculous, but it’s also oddly sweet – and funny as hell. It also features the best cameo appearance from a Charles Dickens character in cinema history.

For fans of: Pop StarMacGruber, parties.

 

6. Permanent Midnight
Now Streaming on Hulu

Release Date: 1998

Genre: Drama

Director: David Veloz

Cast: Ben Stiller, Elizabeth Hurley, Maria Bello, Owen Wilson, Cheryl Ladd, Peter Greene, Janeane Garofalo

Hey, does anybody remember that time Ben Stiller went dramatic? I do – it was called Permanent Midnight, and it was a surprisingly good film that almost no one saw. Stiller is quite good here playing real-life TV writer Jerry Stahl. Stahl wrote for shows like thirtysomethingMoonlighting, and ALF. He was also a drug addict with a serious heroin addiction. Permanent Midnight tracks Stahl’s rise in the TV world, and his fall as his drug habit spirals out of control. The end result is a rather bleak movie – a fact that likely contributed to the film’s underwhelming performance. After all, it’s a movie loaded with funny people that isn’t very funny, and audiences just didn’t quite know what to make of that. But now it’s available to stream, and ready to be discovered.

For fans of: The Basketball DiariesHeaven Knows What, thinly-veiled references to ALF.

 

7. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Now Streaming on Netflix

Release Date: 1975

Genre: Comedy

Director: Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones

Cast: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin

I suppose everyone has their own personal favorite Monty Python movie, and for me, that’s Monty Python and the Holy Grail. None of the other Python movies even come close. This consistently funny and altogether silly take on the legend of King Arthur has the Pythons in top-form, dealing with all sorts of nonsense, including a killer rabbit, an unkillable black knight, and an enchanter named Tim. The film starts off as a comedic adaptation of the Arthurian legend before descending into pure, joyous chaos, and what a delight it is to watch.

For fans of: All-things Monty Python, the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch.

 

8. Hellraiser
Now Streaming on Shudder

Release Date: 1987

Genre: Horror

Director: Clive Barker

Cast: Andrew Robinson, Clare Higgins, Ashley Laurence, and Pinhead as Himself

Hellraiser was torn to shreds and corrupted by a series of sickly sequels that, while sometimes watchable, never quite understood what made Clive Barker‘s original so iconic. These sequels turned Pinhead into a wise-cracking Freddy Krueger-like slasher, but the world’s most popular cenobite is barely in the original movie. He and his fellow priests of hell only pop up here and there, mostly to throw some chains into people and then vanish. Barker’s movie is a sensory overload, full of so much tearing flesh and dripping blood. It’s the story of a bad man who comes back from the dead with all his skin removed, and then proceeds to have an affair with his sister-in-law, who brings him fresh victims to bump-off so he can restore his body. Lots of gooey kissing follows. It’s eerie and weird, and altogether nasty.

For fans of: NightbreedCandyman, puzzle boxes.

 

9. Frida
Now Streaming on the Criterion Channel

Release Date: 2002

Genre: Biopic

Director: Julie Taymor

Cast: Salma Hayek, Alfred Molina, Valeria Golino, Ashley Judd, Mía Maestro, Roger Rees, Edward Norton, Geoffrey Rush

Julie Taymor brings the life of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo to stunning life with this unconventional biopic. Salma Hayek gives a strong performance as Kahlo as Taymor follows the artist throughout her career and her marriage to temperamental painter Diego Rivera (Alfred Molina). Taymor, known for her stark, surreal visuals, finds ways to bring Kahlo’s paintings to life, and plunk Hayek down in the middle of them. On the page, this could’ve been a boring cradle-to-the-grave style biopic, but Taymor’s artistry rises above that, creating something that stands apart from the usual “based on a true story” riff-raff.

For fans of: I’m Not ThereTitus, somewhat distracting cameos.

 

10. Channel Zero: The Dream Door
Now Streaming on Shudder

Release Date: 2016

Genre: Horror TV Series

Director: Craig William Macneill

Cast: Brandon Scott, Maria Sten, Steven Robertson, Barbara Crampton, Gregg Henry, Greg Bryk, Troy James, Diana Bentley, Steven Weber

Channel Zero was under-watched and, as a result, canceled – and what a bummer that was. This was one of the very best horror shows on TV, and yet it never found the audience it deserved. The final season is now available to stream on Shudder, and let’s just say they saved the best for last. This violent finale focuses on a married couple (Brandon Scott and Maria Sten) who find a door that suddenly appeared out of nowhere in their basement. Curious, they open that door, and unleash the instantly iconic figure Pretzel Jack (Troy James), a silent contortionist clown who has a knack for brutally murdering people. Sten’s character, Jillian, realizes that Pretzel Jack is an imaginary friend she had when she was a child, and now he’s here as her protector. Unfortunately, his protection means murdering a lot of people. There are plenty of twists and turns (mostly from Pretzel Jack’s body) as the story unfolds, but of all the seasons, The Dream Door is perhaps the most satisfying. Sten is wonderful as Jillian, who starts out horrified by Pretzel Jack’s existence, but then slowly has something of a change of heart. Even though it’s a bummer that Channel Zero ended up canceled, at least it went out on a high note.

For fans of: Contortionist clowns.

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