15 Comedies to Catch on Streaming Before They Disappear at the End of the Month
While we’d all love to be able to watch our favorite movies whenever we like, streaming movie and TV content is — to paraphrase a certain android from Blade Runner — like tears in the rain. A number of great comedies are set to vanish from streamers like common HBO Max programs this month, so now’s your chance to cram in as many as possible before December ends. Or, you know, just buy a DVD player.
The World’s End (HBO Max)
While Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz hog a lot of the Cornetto Trilogy glory, Edgar Wright’s The World’s End is a surprisingly emotional story about regret and addiction (inspired by Simon Pegg's own struggles with alcoholism) wrapped up in an old-school sci-fi B-movie framework.
Harlem Nights (HBO Max)
The only film ever to be written and directed by Eddie Murphy, Harlem Nights is a wacky old-timey crime movie featuring him playing a 1930s nightclub owner. The ambitious project was decimated by critics when it came out in 1989, and, sure, a lot of it doesn’t hold up today (like Murphy getting in a back-alley brawl with Della Reese). However, it’s still worth checking out the movie that teamed Murphy with Richard Pryor, not to mention that Harlem Nights is the kind of big swing comedy Hollywood doesn’t really make anymore.
The Back to the Future Trilogy (Peacock)
Look, we know that you’ve probably seen the Back to the Future movies already, but there’s truly no limit to how many times you can watch them — as evidenced by how some of us started obsessing over ridiculously granular details like newspaper headlines and potential insurance fraud schemes.
Pre-dating the superhero movie explosion by more than a decade, 1994’s Blankman is an unapologetically goofy comedy that poked fun at comic book tropes by making the hero a complete dum-dum in a homemade costume with an arsenal of ridiculous gadgets — which, in retrospect, is a far more realistic interpretation than most superhero origin stories.
Why not enjoy a steak sandwich or two and watch Fletch, the original comedy-mystery starring Chevy Chase as the titular reporter with a penchant for aliases. It’s so good it will make you forget all that other stuff Chase did throughout his life (although we recommend staying away from Fletch Lives as if it were a plague-infected dog turd).
Mystery Men (Peacock)
In a world full of superheroes, a team of Z-grade amateurs attempts to rescue the famed Captain Amazing — what a premise. While the “MTV VMAs directed by Tim Burton” aesthetic may have put some people off at the time, how can anyone not love a cast featuring Ben Stiller, Janeane Garofalo, William H. Macy and Paul Reubens as a guy with superpowered farts? And this is before we even mention Tom Waits playing a mad scientist.
Is it pretty much just a shameless reworking of Superbad, literally including the sibling of one of its stars? Yeah… Still, Booksmart is obviously a ton of fun, and it’s the only movie directed by Olivia Wilde that doesn’t end with a plot twist seemingly found in a dumpster next to M. Night Shyamalan’s half-eaten sandwich.
The Big Lebowski (Peacock)
It’s worth revisiting the Coen Brothers’ The Big Lebowski before it drifts away like a tumbleweed. And it even makes for a great holiday film. Think about it — it’s about a kindly bearded man who enjoys milk-based beverages and is tasked with making an important delivery using a bag containing gifts/ransom money.
Mo’ Better Blues (Peacock)
Spike Lee followed up Do the Right Thing with this vibrant, underrated dramedy, starring Denzel Washington as a celebrated jazz trumpet player. Come for Denzel, stay for the music by the Branford Marsalis Quartet and Terence Blanchard.
Blast From the Past (Hulu)
The king of “guy resurfaces in a time period he’s not really familiar with” movies, Brendan Fraser stars in Blast From the Past. This time he’s a dude navigating the strange world of 1999 after growing up in a Cold War-era bomb shelter with only his parents for company. Somehow it’s a romantic comedy with Alicia Silverstone, not a horror movie.
Not Another Teen Movie (Hulu)
While the Airplane-style parody sub-genre would completely implode not long afterward, 2001’s Not Another Teen Movie is a surprisingly solid lampoon of everything from 1980s John Hughes movies to the gross-out teen comedies of the late 1990s and early 2000s. Hot take: Chris Evans admiring a photo of himself, admiring a photo of himself, is as good as anything in the MCU.
Blazing Saddles (Hulu)
People love complaining that “you couldn’t make Blazing Saddles today,” but as we've pointed out, that’s just dumb (further evidenced by the fact that they literally remade Blazing Saddles this year). The fourth wall-breaking finale is an all-timer.
Romancing the Stone (HBO Max)
This year’s The Lost City blatantly cribbed from Robert Zemeckis’ 1984 blockbuster Romancing the Stone, another movie about a romance novelist who gets thrust into a jungle adventure with a handsome dude. The Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner-starring film was scripted by Diane Thomas, whose promising career was tragically cut short when she died in a car accident in 1985. Also, it has Danny DeVito. Case closed.
Role Models (Peacock)
Directed by the great David Wain (The State and Wet Hot American Summer), with a script co-written by Paul Rudd, Role Models has been kind of forgotten, but it’s still hilarious. Plus, it features a surprisingly large amount of LARPing — if that floats your imaginary boat.
National Lampoon’s Vacation (Netflix)
While it’s not a seasonal staple like its yuletide sequel, there’s really no bad time to watch National Lampoon’s Vacation, the story of a family road trip to a popular theme park that doesn’t exactly go smoothly for a variety of reasons. One being that the Griswold patriarch keeps hitting on random women despite the fact that his wife is objectively one of the most beautiful people on Earth, who, and we’re just going to say it, could do way better than Clark.
You (yes, you) should follow JM on Twitter (if it still exists by the time you’re reading this).