What to Watch Wednesday: HBO Max Edition

Apr 22, 2020

What to Watch Wednesday: HBO Max Edition

It’s been a bit more quiet than usual in the content world, since Coronavirus lockdowns put a halt to filming around the world, and it has been ROUGH.  Since then a lot of people have been seeking out new shows, new content, and thank goodness for the growth of tv binge culture that allowed us to do that!

HBO Max is one of  the newest streaming services on the block, and it’s absolutely packed with movies, shows and documentaries. Here’s our top picks for getting started on HBO Max.

Exclusively on HBO Max:

There’s a lot of exclusive content on Max, including all the HBO Original Series, but we’ve chosen two new highlights that have only ever been on Max for your enjoyment!

An American Pickle

An immigrant in 1920 is working in a pickle factory when he falls into a vat and is pickled and preserved for 100 years! It sounds very silly, but in truth is a humorous and touching look at life, legacies, and triumph in the face of adversity. Seth Rogan plays the main character, and his great grandson as they become the family they both have lost.

The Not Too Late Show with Elmo

Okay, this is an unconventional choice, but hear me out. Elmo and his pals have recreated the late show format, with Cookie Monster taking on the MC role, while Elmo is the host of this Not Too Late performance (because the titular character’s bedtime is 7:30), but studded with stars including Blake Lively, John Mulaney and Lil Nas X as interviewees. It’s a cute little part to add to a pre-bedtime routine that is as charming as it is silly.


So Good You Shouldn't Miss Out!

My Neighbor Totoro

No explanation of My Neighbor Totoro will be able to cast a spell over you the way this movie does. It’s a beautiful picture of childhood, where everything is pure and magical and anything can happen - even adventures with giant spirits of the forest. It’s happy and sad in turns, the way life is, and when it’s over you’ll feel like you’d been transported somewhere truly familiar and completely new.

Created by the Japanese animation studio Ghibli, this is just one of many movies that are included on HBOMax. Other notable titles include Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, and Howl’s Moving Castle.

For the purists: I’m sorry, this is the dubbed version. For the people who don’t like subtitles: Good News!


A Feel-Good Watch

Love Life

From childhood crushes, to the one that got away, to the Forever love, we all have a history. This is the love life of Darby Carter. Anna Kendrick, as Darby, brings the Kendrick-typical sarcasm and dry wit to her character as we travel with her from crush, to heartbreak, to triumph. Love Life is great for anybody that loves a good rom-com, or wants to have a good cry.

Fast & Furious: Hobbs and Shaw

Have you ever had a terribly hard day(week?) at work, and you just want to watch something fun and entertaining that you don’t have to work for? Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw is where it’s at, notably because you don’t really need to have seen any of the other movies for it to work. It’s popcorn viewing at its finest, with over-the-top chases that will leave you laughing at how ridiculous they are, just as preposterous posturing between the leads that ends in a grudging truce that looks like the start of a friendship, all set against a ticking clock, and Idris Elba doing his best very-aware-he’s-an-over-the-top-thank-you villain.

Make yourself a huge bowl of popcorn, turn your brain off, and enjoy.

Get Lost in Familiar Spaces

Samurai Jack

Aku, a dark shapeshifter, has risen to take over the world and only the lone Samurai Jack stands to oppose him. Aku flings him far into a bizarre future. Can Jack get back to the past?  Can he save the world from a the evil Aku? (No spoilers!) Does this show have a bop of a theme song? Yes!

Whether you watched it as it aired on Adult Swim in the early 00’s or maybe you only remember the channel ident where he and Johnny Bravo hang and do laundry together –  this will either send you back or engross you in a great story.


They’ll be there for you …

Sometimes you just want to sink into a deeply familiar place, and Friends is a great place to come home to. Even the antics in their familiarity feel deeply safe, even when we look back at haircuts and old technology  and wince a little. It’s also a little jarring to see tiny Cole Sprouse as Ben, and then remember that he’s all grown up and up to shenanigans on Riverdale. But there’s fun in the look back, which is why this takes our second nostalgia-soaked pick on the list.

HBO Max access is included in your current HBO Subscription through Mediacom!

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