The 30 Best Movies on Xfinity Streampix

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Comcast recently launched a competitor to Netflix Instant, Amazon Prime Instant Streaming and Hulu Plus called Xfinity Streampix. We wanted to see what the $4.99/month service had to offer. While it’s light on new releases and documentaries, we found a nice selection of classic films—many of which aren’t offered by its competitors. It’s got a ways to go before it’s seen as a replacement for Netflix, but it’s biggest advantage is that you don’t need any device beyond your cable box to watch it on your TV (and you can still watch on the go on your laptop). When considering Xfinity Streampix movies, here’s the best of what you’ll get.

30. The Blues Brothers
Year: 1981
Director: John Landis
They don’t call him “Joliet Jake” for nothing: when we first meet John Belushi’s character in The Blues Brothers, he’s being released from Joliet Prison and picked up in an old cop car by his brother Elwood, who promptly informs him of his plans to get the band back together. A mission from God, one of the best chase scenes in movie history, and a final performance of “Jailhouse Rock”—with a little help from James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Cab Calloway and Ray Charles—makes this one of our favorite fictional bands of all time.—Bonnie Stiernberg

29. Empire Records
Year: 1995
Director: Allan Moyle
Before High Fidelity’s Rob Gordon, there was the staff of Empire Records, the coolest record store in movieland, even on Rex Manning Day. The staff may be ‘90s-era slackers, but they give a shit about real music and they care about their store, which is due to be turned into a soulless chain, and they’ll go to extravagant lengths (okay, Atlantic City) to save it. Viva independence.—Josh Jackson

28. Elizabeth
Year: 1998
Director: Shekhar Kapur
Cate Blanchett is scary good as the daughter of Anne Boleyn and the Queen responsible for England’s glorious “Golden Age.” Blanchett plays the young queen in the time just before she claims her crown and in her early years on the throne, when she must win over (or, do away with) bishops and men in power who wish her dead. “But how can I change your minds?” she asks coyly in one meeting. “I’m just a woman!”—Shannon M. Houston

27. Best in Show
Year: 2000
Director: Christopher Guest 
Fred Willard is one of Christopher Guest’s favorite actors, always portraying the raunchy, inappropriate, fun-loving foil to other more conservative characters. This contrast is the starkest in Best in Show, which sees Willard playing Buck Laughlin, a sports commentator dreadfully out of place at the Mayflower Kennel Club Dog Show. Next to him is a straight-laced and serious dog analyst, who has a hard time hiding his annoyance at Laughlin’s buffoonery. It’s just one of many wonderful pairings in this classic from the mockumentary king.—Ryan Bort

26. Senna
Year: 2010
Director: Asif Kapadia
Kapadia was already a BAFTA-award-winning narrative director, but there are plenty of narrative directors who haven’t made the transition to documentaries effectively. He doubled the degree of difficulty by deciding to use all period footage of his subject, ’80s and ’90s Gran Prix legend Aryton Senna. He pulled it off in spades, and Senna is one of the greatest sports documentaries of all time.—Michael Dunaway

25. Serenity
Year: 2005
Director: Joss Whedon 
We may have never gotten a Season 2 of Firefly, the much beloved alien-free space-travel show from Joss Whedon. But at least we got a movie. In Serenity, River Tam (Summer Glau) got to really stretch her legs, kicking the asses of all kinds of Alliance baddies. And Browncoats everywhere rejoiced.—Josh Jackson

24. The Constant Gardener
Year: 2005
Director: Fernando Meirelles
In The Constant Gardener, diplomacy is overstepped by both those with corrupt intentions and those who see it as a bureaucratic divide to human charity. Combining the oft-convoluted storytelling of novelist John Le Carré and the violently dazzling visuals of Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles (City of God), its message is emboldened by the failure of its well-intentioned characters to intervene in the robbed lives of others.—Cameron Bird

23. Slap Shot
Year: 1977
Director: George Roy Hill
Believe it or not, there was a time before sports movies were required to be bland monoliths preaching banal virtues and imparting a moral lesson. Slap Shot, starring Paul Newman as a washed-up player-coach on a minor league hockey team, makes no effort to be anything but gritty and funny. The Charlestown Chiefs stink, and they’re in a depressed town where a closing mill is about to put 10,000 people out of work. When the Hanson Brothers arrive, Reggie Dunlop (Newman) discovers that he can win games, sell tickets, and unite the town by embracing a thug mentality that puts violence above sportsmanship. This is the opposite of the cliched, feel-good story we’re used to from sports movies, and it never stops being hilarious.

22. Ben Hur
Year: 1959
Director: William Wyler
Based on the 1880 book Ben-Hur: A Tale of Christ by Lew Wallace, William Wyler’s version with Charlton Heston was a remake of a 1925 silent film from MGM. It became a phenomenal hit, scoring a record 11 Academy Awards. The movie centers on the blood feud between Judah Ben-Hur and Messala. Growing up as friends in the Roman Empire, the two experience a rift after Judah encounters Jesus Christ and decides to change his ways. Messala eventual arranges so that Judah is sold into slavery on a Roman warship while his mother and sister are thrown into jail. Escaping captivity, Judah returns to seek revenge on Messala. Their personal war culminates in the film’s famous chariot race sequence.—Mark Rozeman

21. Brokeback Mountain
Year: 2005
Director: Ang Lee 
While his performance as the Joker in The Dark Knight certainly deserves the acclaim it’s been given, Heath Ledger’s true tour de force was his understated work in Brokeback Mountain. Ledger brought a driving force to the movie which complimented its contemplative tone and showed a true, classical brilliance in acting that left you convinced that his character was real.—Sean Gandert

20. All the President’s Men
Based on the true story of The Washington Post reporters who uncovered the Watergate scandal, All the President’s Men paints a portrait of the great lengths to which Woodward (Robert Redford) and Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman) went to expose Nixon—including risking their jobs, their reputations and their lives.—Caitlin Peterkin

19. Traffic
Year: 2000
Director: Steven Soderbergh 
Steven Soderbergh’s simulated documentary about modern drug culture twists and glides with a calculation as deep and complex as the cavernous topic it so effectively dissects. Ever the visionary, Soderbergh displays an objective, impartial eye (quite literally—he photographed the film as Peter Andrews), digging into his characters’ explosive trajectories as they reach their tragic and ambiguous ends, and leaving us with more questions than answers.—Sean Edgar

18. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Year: 1958
Director: Richard Brooks
In a film version of Tennessee, Williams’s play sanitized by the Hayes code, it was up to Paul Newman to channel the deep secrets and sorrows of Brick Pollitt (alongside Elizabeth Taylor as Maggie the Cat) without the benefit of the play’s full dramatic thrust. His quiet, restrained intensity earned him his first Oscar nomination.—Jeffrey Bloomer

17. Fletch
Year: 1985
Director: Michael Ritchie
A comedy that borrows heavily from film noir, Michael Ritchie’s Fletch offered Chevy Chase a chance to show his comic range. Irwin “Fletch” Fletcher is an investigative reporter who assumed several wonderfully ridiculous disguises from John Coctotostan (“Can I borrow your towel? My car just hit a water buffalo.”) to Harry S. Truman (“My parents were big fans of the former president”). Relentlessly quotable and filled with memorable scenes (like his colonoscopy—”Mooooon River…You ever serve time, Doc?...Using the whole fist, Doc?”)—this is a comedy that only gets better with age.—Josh Jackson

16. The Breakfast Club
Year: 1985
Director: John Hughes
We shouldn’t have to tell you what makes The Breakfast Club an all-time classic. There’s not a single weak link in the film’s ensemble cast, and Ringwald holds her own as Claire, the princess forced to spend her Saturday in detention with a brain, a basket case, a jock and a criminal. She gives a richly layered performance, turning what could easily be a one-dimensional character into someone we pity, empathize with and root for—which, if you haven’t seen the movie, is kind of the whole point.—Bonnie Stiernberg

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