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The Best Movies on Showtime Right Now (2017)

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The Best Movies on Showtime Right Now (2017)

In addition to original series like Shameless and Homeland, Showtime offers more than 500 movies streaming on demand. We’ve gone through the catalog and selected our favorites to recommend. Many of these aren’t available on any of the premium cable channel’s streaming competitors. And Showtime is no longer just available to those with a cable package. You can add a subscription to your Amazon, Hulu or PlayStation accounts or access it via Apple, Android or Roku devices.

For extensive guides to the best movies on other platforms like Netflix, HBO, Amazon Prime, Hulu, On Demand, YouTube, Shudder and The Best Movies in Theaters, visit the Paste Movie Guides.

Here are the 40 best movies available on Showtime this month.

tiny-furniture.jpg 40. Tiny Furniture
Year: 2010
Director: Lena Dunham 
Tiny Furniture is a slice-of-postgraduate-boho-life from Lena Dunham before she was a voice of a generation. It’s a talkie, low-fi dramedy with witty dialogue and lots of static shots. Dunham cast her mother (the artist Leah Simmons) and sister as her character’s mother and sister, shot in her mother’s SoHo loft and cast friends as most of the other characters. And the film is about—wait for it—Lena’s character’s attempts to navigate life after film school. It’s a formula that would drive many viewers screaming from the lobby of the indie theater, but there is much to love about his film. Dunham and cinematographer Jody Lee Lipes compose compelling tableaus on the screen, especially those framed by the stark, almost oppressively minimalist white backgrounds in the loft. The writing is sharp and often funny, and some of Dunham’s actors are especially winning. It was enough to overcome a story that’s disjointed in places and nab the 2010 South By Southwest Narrative Feature Film Award.—Michael Dunaway


The Hurricane.jpg
39. The Hurricane
Year: 1999
Director: Norman Jewison
 Denzel Washington stars as Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, a top-ranked boxer in the 1960’s. Rubin was boxing his way to the top, until he was wrongly convicted for the murder of three individuals in a Paterson, NJ bar. The sentencing shocked many, including Pulitzer Prize winner Bob Dylan who would write the song, “The Hurricane” in protest. Years later, an inspired young man (Vicellous Reon Shannon) reads Carter’s autobiography, and helps spur a number of legal pleas in an effort to free Carter from the racial injustice that landed him in prison.—Gregory Eckert


Rocky Balboa.jpg 38. Rocky Balboa
Year: 2006
Director: Sylvester Stallone 
Most of us were thinking that a sixth Rocky movie seemed completely unnecessary (especially after the brain damage story from the fifth) and quite possibly a career-ender for Sly. What we didn’t expect was a man who still had “stuff in the basement.” Without his wife Adrian, and a shaky relationship with his son Robert, Rocky is as a man trapped in his glory days. At fifty-nine years old, Rocky owns an Italian restaurant named “Adrian” and spends his evenings retelling the stories of his matches against Apollo Creed to customers. Due to a televised computer-simulated match between Rocky in his prime and the current champion Mason “The Line” Dixon, the thought of returning to the ring enters Rocky’s mind. This is a must-see for those who grew up during the golden-era of the Rocky series.—Gregory Eckert


gangs-of-new-york.jpg 37. Gangs of New York
Year: 2002
Director: Martin Scorsese 
This one split critics and audiences, but for all the times that the story about Leo and Cameron Diaz’s characters drains momentum from the movie, Daniel Day Lewis’ star turn as William Cutter, also known as the meat cleaver-wielding Billy the Butcher, really ratchets everything up to 11. Every villain deserves a grand entrance. Not many get better than Bill the Butcher’s. Within the opening scene, we are treated with a bloody brawl. From there, the character’s disturbed psychosis only spreads until its reaches one of the greatest climaxes in Martin Scorsese’s career. Oh, also Daniel Day Lewis. Did we mention that?—Paste Staff


shopgirl.jpg 36. Shopgirl
Year: 2005
Director: Anand Tucker
Steve Martin is the architect of the film (based on his novella) as well as its leading man, but the film’s real star is Claire Danes, portraying a young woman self-removed from the place of her birth (Vermont) and led utterly astray by the two-faced world Ray, Martin’s wealthy logician, inhabits (Beverly Hills). Shopgirl is a wonderful movie for a variety of reasons, including what Vermont means to Mirabelle, Danes’ struggling transplant and an aspiring artist striking out on her own in 90210. In the rushed, glitzy, plastic Beverly Hills ecosystem, Mirabelle finds herself spun about and taken advantage of by the emotionally distant Ray (not to mention her jealous, scheming co-worker, Lisa). The film makes an obvious moral judgment by comparing its two locales: if the Hills is a source of stress for Mirabelle, who we know is on antidepressants from the very beginning, then Vermont is a place of succor where all the ills of a life lived in the fast lane can be washed away by the comfort of hearth, family, and a blanket of fresh snowfall.—Andy Crump


sleeping-with-other-people.jpg 35. Sleeping With Other People
Year: 2016
Director: Leslye Headland
The romantic comedy is a genre crying out for an update. We’ve had a few worthy entries in the 21st century—the imaginative Amelie, the clever and quirky Silver Linings Playbook, even the irreverent Knocked Up. But none of those films embraced the genre and all its tropes quite like the latest from Leslye Headland does. With her third film, which is little more than 90 minutes of sexual tension building between two friends, Headland has managed to create a direct descendent of Frank Capra, Billy Wilder, Rob Reiner and Nora Ephron—and make it just as uproariously funny as its forebears’ best works. Sleeping With Other People pushes at every boundary without ever feeling unnecessarily tawdry; it’s the Cards Against Humanity version of When Harry Met Sally (there’s even an “I’ll have what she’s having” moment involving a bottle of tea). Alison Brie could be our decade’s Meg Ryan, and Sudekis could be our Hanks—but there’s no doubt that Leslye Headland will keep making us laugh for years to come. —Josh Jackson


song-one.jpg 34. Song One
Year: 2015
Director: Kate Barker-Froyland
In her first major role since winning the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for_ Les Misérables_, Anne Hathaway gets back in touch with her indie side for Song One, a modest but affecting drama that finds her delivering a gentle performance that contains none of the melodramatic fireworks of Fantine. Writer-director Kate Barker-Froyland’s feature debut about a woman reconnecting with her brother through his songwriting idol has a delicate, melancholy tone that’s fragile but strong enough to sustain this minor-key tale. Hathaway’s isn’t the only nicely understated turn in the film. Mary Steenburgen is particularly great as an outspoken but not over-the-top mother who has lived a rich life and must now be content with her long-ago memories. And Johnny Flynn, who’s an actor and musician, imbues James with the soulfulness of an artist, performing the character’s songs (written by indie songwriters Jenny Lewis and Johnathan Rice) with a simplicity that doesn’t try to oversell James’s talent. What could have been a mopey, self-obsessed portrait of a flash in the pan is instead a genuine portrayal of a floundering musician who fears that his peak is already behind him, no matter how many teen girls still think he’s a dreamy poet.—TIm Grierson


muppet-movie.jpg 33. The Muppet Movie
Year: 1979
Director: James Frawley
Muppet movies are a bonafide franchise now, but none of them—not even The Muppet Christmas Carol, Muppets from Space or Muppet Treasure Island—can compete with the original. The Muppet Movie set the standard for all subsequent releases starring Kermit, Miss Piggy and company with countless celebrity cameos (including Steve Martin, Richard Pryor, Mel Brooks, Bob Hope, Elliott Gould and Sesame Street’s Big Bird—on his way to New York to “try to make it in public television”) and plenty of memorable musical numbers like “Movin’ Right Along” and of course, the classic “The Rainbow Connection.”—Bonnie Stiernberg


zoolander.jpg 32. Zoolander
Year: 2001
Director: Ben Stiller 
 Zoolander was a landmark comedy in 2001, thanks to the wonderful chemistry between Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson as a pair of male models. Wilson’s Hansel cares more about what bark is made out of and idolizing Sting (not for his music, but for the fact the he’s out there doing it) than his rivalry with Ben Stiller’s Zoolander. Eventually, the two supermodels must work together to try and bring down Mugatu (Will Ferrell), after he brainwashes Zoolander with the Frankie Goes to Hollywood song “Relax.”—Ryan Bort


24-best-so-far-2015-Manglehorn.jpg 31. Manglehorn
Year: 2015
Director: David Gordon Green 
David Gordon Green’s film stars Al Pacino as the titular locksmith with nothing but time on his hands. Manglehorn lives a solitary life—his ailing kitty his only friend—but Green and first-time screenwriter Paul Logan hint at the world he once occupied. Periodically, the film will downshift so that a side character can tell a story about the Manglehorn they used to know: the father, the baseball coach, the loving grandfather. That we see little of the warmth or humanity these characters describe is Manglehorn’s great mystery: Where did that man go?Manglehorn finds Pacino delivering an agreeably modest, empathetic performance. Too many years of hoo-ah overkill have stifled his light touch and effortless charm, replaced with hammy intensity and Scarface parody. But the Pacino on display here mostly puts aside the actor-ly embellishments.—Tim Grierson


weiner.jpg 30. Weiner
Year: 2016
Directors: Josh Kriegman, Elyse Steinberg
“Why did you let me film this?” This simple question, posed at the end of Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg’s Weiner, is as baffling to the movie’s subject as it is to everyone else. Anthony Weiner gave a documentary crew incredible behind-the-scenes access to his 2013 New York mayoral campaign while his political career crumbled and his personal life turned to a shambles. He campaigned on (and the crew filmed on), refusing to acknowledge that he sunk himself by making the exact same mistake that sunk his career years earlier—maybe because he’s an egotist and couldn’t bear being out of the spotlight, or maybe because he’s an idealist, believing that people would see past his online indiscretions and vote based on his ideas. Or maybe he’s nothing more than a self-destructive glutton for punishment. Whatever the truth, the public will remember Weiner for his scandals, which fell from the sky like a host of divine gifts to late-night comedy. Directors Kriegman and Steinberg so superbly convey the sweeping excitement Weiner could generate that it makes things all the more depressing when he can’t even get five percent of the vote. The movie shifts from energetic editing, showing people’s love for the candidate, to a claustrophobic, drawn-out humiliation. If the filmmakers had an agenda besides studying Weiner’s character, they did a great job of hiding it. Weiner shows many facets of his personality: He can be charming and funny, but he can also be a petulant, entitled jerk. The veneer wears off as the stress mounts, making things increasingly uncomfortable—it’s excruciating to watch this man try to salvage respect from certain humiliation, but it makes for a devilishly intimate look into the madness of modern politics.—Jeremy Mathews


imitation-game.jpg 29. The Imitation Game
Year: 2014
Director: Morten Tyldum
The historical thriller The Imitation Game is precisely the type of film studios love to dangle as Oscar bait. It focuses on a relatively unknown, yet significant, World War II code-cracking project and features a socially awkward genius as its protagonist. It doesn’t hurt that the aforementioned hero and his compatriots are Brits. Noted mathematician and cryptanalyst Alan Turing is often considered the father of modern computer science, but his most consequential work—conducted as a WWII codebreaker—remained largely unknown until the British government declassified related documents in the 1970s. The Imitation Game, with Benedict Cumberbatch as the eccentric Turing, focuses on his wartime tenure at the Government Code and Cypher School in Bletchley Park, located about 50 miles northwest of London. In the confines of the nondescript Quonset Hut 8, Turing leads a team of prototype hackers to decipher Germany’s Enigma machine codes. Their work is said to have shortened the length of the war by several years. Cumberbatch gives an intense performance as the brilliant loner with behavior that registers along the autism spectrum. While he indulges in too much scenery chewing and stammering, Cumberbatch creates a memorable character who is at once fascinating and off-putting. The only person squarely on Turing’s side is Joan Clarke (Keira Knightley), an astute mathematician recruited for the testosterone-heavy team. Knightley shows off a dynamic range as she plays a dutiful daughter, torn between obligations to her parents and her country. Norwegian director Morten Tyldum, known best for 2011’s Headhunters, and scribe Graham Moore keep the tension high, even when the hackers and decoders are conducting tedious work. The supporting actors transcend their one-note characters and capture the audience’s attention.—Christine N. Ziemba


wristcutters.jpg 28. Wristcutters: A Love Story
Year: 2006
Directors: Goran Dukic
Most people are afraid to say the word “suicide” in polite company, not to mention making a film that engages the subject directly. But Goran Dukic had no reservations about adapting Etgar Keret’s novella Kneller’s Happy Campers—the story of an afterlife created exclusively for suicide victims—into the dark comedy Wristcutters: A Love Story. Starring Patrick Fugit, Shannyn Sossamon and Tom Waits, (with a cameo from Will Arnett), the movie somehow approaches suicide with both humor and compassion. “Everything’s the same here; it’s just a little worse,” main character Zia says after cutting his wrists and then finding himself in an unexpectedly familiar afterlife. “I’ve thought about suicide again, but I’ve never tried it. I didn’t want to end up in a bigger shit hole than this one.” Dukic’s characters work at pizza joints, live in apartments and shop for groceries. They’re in dysfunctional relationships, and they face everyday struggles. We even see an entire family of suicide victims—mother, father and two sons. Since the characters are so realistic, Dukic made a few distinct adaptations to the story to emphasize the absurdness of a world populated only by suicide victims. There are no stars in the sky of this Great Beyond, and nobody smiles. The suicide flashback scenes uncomfortable to watch, to say the least, but essential for understanding the characters and the idea that we can’t escape our problems without working through them.—Kate Kiefer


battle-royale.jpg 27. Battle Royale
Directors: Kinji Fukasaku
Year: 2000
It’s OK to compare Battle Royale to The Hunger Games movies—or, rather, to find how the lasting accomplishments of the latter franchise were essentially done better and with so much more efficiency by the former—because you probably will anyway. Battle Royale, like the immensely successful four-film crash course in crafting an action star who is really only a symbol of an action star, chronicles a government-sanctioned battle to the death between a group of teens on a weird, weapon-strewn island. (There are even regular island-wide announcements of the day’s dead as the sun sets on the remaining children.) Yet, Battle Royale is so lean in its exposition, so uninterested in dragging out its symbolism or metaphor, that one can’t help but marvel at how cleanly Fukasaku (who had a full career behind him when he made this, only three years before he died) can lend depth to these children, building stakes around them to the point that their deaths matter and their doomed plights sting. What the director can do with such a tenuous premise (which The Hunger Games takes multiple films to do, and without a single ounce of levity) is astounding—plus, he wrangled Beat Takeshi Kitano to play the President Snow-type character, which Kitano does to near-perfection. That Battle Royale II sets out to up the stakes of the first film, especially given the first film’s crazy success in Japan, is to be expected, but stick to the first: Battle Royale will make you care about kids murdering each other more than you (probably) would anyway.—Dom Sinacola


love-actually.jpg 26. Love Actually
Year: 2003
Director: Richard Curtis
When it comes to portraying love confessions of all varieties, very few can beat the kind on display in Richard Curtis’ epic romantic comedy Love Actually. In one of the many romantic threads, Juliet (Keira Knightley), a recently married woman, has just discovered that her husband’s best friend Mark (Andrew Lincoln) has been nursing a secret crush on her. One night, he arrives at their front door and silently delivers his long repressed feelings via hand-drawn cue cards. While certainly sweet and heart-warming, the inherent sadness that pervades this scenario—such a relationship can never work out between the two—prevents the exchange from being overly saccharine. —Mark Rozeman


bridge-of-spies.jpg 25. Bridge of Spies
Year: 2015
Director: Steven Spielberg 
Once again Steven Spielberg tells a story set in the past but about the present: In 1957, American lawyer Jim Donovan (Tom Hanks) is called upon to defend Soviet spy Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance) who is on trial for his life. Although taking the case makes him one of the most despised and misunderstood men in the country (not to mention his own home), Donovan throws himself into it with gusto. As he sees it, giving his client a proper defense vindicates and celebrates American values rather than undermining them. This is clearly Spielberg’s view, and there’s a superficially inspiring quality to the film—we’re invited to take pride in Donovan’s righteous stance and share his belief in the principles upon which the country was built. Yet that very sense of patriotism is undermined by the fact that the country in which Donovan and Spielberg believe is shown to be a place populated by morons who aren’t worth defending or saving. Thus the film takes on a strange, contradictory tone reminiscent of the best of Frank Capra’s work. It’s a movie intent on defending American values in an America where those values have been so corroded as to be practically nonexistent. Bridge of Spies is right up there with his most provocative work, yet it has a straightforward, deceptive simplicity—it doesn’t force its contradictions or complexities down the audience’s throat, and that makes them all the more fascinating.—Jim Hemphill


glengarry-glenross.jpg 24. Glengarry Glen Ross
Year: 1992
Director: James Foley
Surely somewhere on the Internet there’s a catalog of all the potboiler plays that have been turned into lifeless movies; wherein the minimal settings came off as flat rather than intimate or claustrophobic, and the surgically written prose came off as stilted rather than impassioned. Glengarry Glen Ross is the exception and the justification for all noble stage-to-screen attempts since. This adaptation of David Mamet’s Pulitzer Prize winning play about workingman’s inhumanity to workingman still crackles today, and its best lines (and there are many) have become ingrained in the angrier sections of our collective zeitgeist. James Foley directs the playwright’s signature cadence better than the man himself, and the all-star cast give performances they’ve each only hoped to match since. Mamet, for his part, managed to elevate his already stellar material with his screenplay, adding the film’s most iconic scene, the oft-quoted Blake speech brilliantly delivered by Alec Baldwin. This is a film worthy of a cup of coffee and, as we know, coffee is for closers only.—Bennett Webber


clouds-of-sils-maria.jpg 23. Clouds of Sils Maria
Year: 2015
Director: Olivier Assayas
In just about anyone else’s hands, Clouds of Sils Maria could try one’s patience. A character study of actress Maria Enders (Juliette Binoche) revisiting one of her earliest theatrical triumphs—except this time, she’s playing the older, more tragic character, not the young, confident beauty—the latest from French filmmaker Olivier Assayas risks being such an insular, rarified project that it never escapes its navel-gazing concerns about creativity and celebrity. But Assayas largely transforms such potentially precious material into something far more rewarding and, ultimately, ambivalent. It’s not new for an artist to create a work about the nature of making art, but Clouds of Sils Maria soon becomes a larger portrait about how we interpret (and reinterpret) that art based on our own experiences and biases. A movie of internal puzzles, it consistently hints at something more sinister or provocative just around the corner. It’s a movie so psychologically rich that its outer trappings soon give way to universal anxieties about what exactly defines us. With a film this attuned to the complexity (and unraveling) of identity, it’s barely a surprise when one of the characters literally disappears from the story.—Tim Grierson


drug-war.jpg 22. Drug War
Year: 2012
Director: Johnnie To
When Hong Kong director Johnnie To finally released Drug War, his first film completely shot in mainland China, it felt like a culmination—of his unfussy knack for style; of his gracefully plotted potboiling; and, most of all, of the one thing he was probably put on this planet to realize: his effortless ability to direct elaborate action setpieces. Which isn’t to say that Drug War is built like Peter Jackson’s wet dream; instead, it just demonstrates that some of the best action films resist drumming up intensity through unhinged camera movement or breathless editing. Drug War is clean, it’s clear, it breathes with room despite its suffocating tension—it’s able to feel like some epic battle between good and evil borne of a bunch of simple pulp elements. And in its final 20 minutes it comes together as a beautiful, meticulously shoot-out that both decimates all life we’ve come to know and love in the slick 90 minutes before it, and does something even better: shows what purity looks like in an action movie. Nothing wasted, nothing unearned, and every moment completely realized. It’s brutal.—Dom Sinacola


scrooged.jpg 21. Scrooged
Year: 1988
Director: Richard Donner
We learn all we need to know from Bill Murray’s modern day Ebeneezer in his introduction: After viewing the latest promos for his television network, Frank opens his desk drawer, catches his reflection in a small mirror, smiles, fixes his hair and then closes it. In case it’s not clear: Frank Cross has a drawer in his desk devoted to a vanity mirror. While the rest of the film sometimes devolves into over-the-top nonsense, it’s Murray’s committed touches like these that make Frank Cross so memorable.—Greg Smith


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