7 Great Comedies Leaving HBO Max This Week

Comedy Lists HBO Max
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7 Great Comedies Leaving HBO Max This Week

For movie lovers, HBO Max is probably the best streaming service out there today. And that’s for lovers of almost all kinds of movies, including comedies. Not only does HBO Max feature HBO’s current lineup of films and titles from the vast Warner catalogue, but it also has a large selection of movies currently in rotation on Turner Classic Movies. Unlike other streaming services, which pointedly seem to ignore almost all movies made before the ‘90s, HBO Max digs deep, all the way back to the silent era. There’s so much variety that it’s very easy to get overwhelmed, which is about the only bad thing I can say about HBO Max.

That large library means there’s a large amount of flux in what the service is streaming every month. HBO Max seems to have more churn than Netflix or Hulu, but fortunately the streamer makes it easy to see what’s new and what’s about to leave. HBO Max’s Last Chance section lists every movie that will be leaving at the end of the month, making it really easy to make sure you watch what you want to watch before it disappears. At this point when I load up HBO Max it’s almost exclusively to watch a movie from the Last Chance section; it’s not like I’m ever in a rush to watch the original Get Carter, but when I see that it won’t be available at the end of the month I’ll make it a priority. It’s a very convenient and thoughtful feature that more streaming services need to copy.

With April almost over, you only have a few days left to catch up on the movies leaving HBO Max this week. To save you time, we’ve gone through the list of what’s leaving and cooked up this list of the best comedies that will be gone from HBO Max by Saturday. Almost every movie below is a true classic, and the two I wouldn’t quite use that word for still feature a couple of must-see comic performances. If you’re looking for something to watch this week, and have a preference for comedy, here are some great comedies that only have a few days left on HBO Max.

After Hours
after_hours_poster.jpgYear: 1985
Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Griffin Dunne, Rosanna Arquette, Teri Garr, Linda Fiorentino, Catherine O’Hara, John Heard, Cheech Marin, Tommy Chong
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 89%
Rating: R
Runtime: 97 minutes

Watch on HBO Max

The SoHo-set After Hours, still probably the most overtly comedic movie Martin Scorsese has ever made, is as razor sharp today as it was in 1985. This pitch black comedy updates the screwball formula in the Lower Manhattan of the mid ‘80s, with the drugs, violence, and general grime you’d expect from that era of the city. Griffin Dunne is our yuppie in peril in a madcap journey through art world pretension, punk mayhem, decaying dive bars, and the general sort of chaos that made New York City seem like the most frightening place in America back in the ‘80s. Dunne’s fine as the central dupe, but it’s the women who really make After Hours fly, from Linda Fiorentino’s terminally hip artist, to Teri Garr’s sweet, ‘50s-besotted waitress. It even hints at the gentrification that would completely transform SoHo and the rest of New York over the next 15 years, with Dunne’s yuppie one of the first to struggle with the old spirit of the city.—Garrett Martin

An American Werewolf in London
american_werewolf_poster.jpgYear: 1981
Director: John Landis
Stars: David Naughton, Jenny Agutter, Griffin Dunne, John Woodvine
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 87%
Rating: R
Runtime: 97 minutes

Watch on HBO Max

Few directors have ever displayed such an innate tact for combining dark humor and horror the way John Landis does. At the height of his powers in the early ’80s, one year removed from The Blues Brothers, Landis opted for a much grittier, scarier story that stands as what is still the best werewolf movie of all time. When two travelers backpacking across the English moors are attacked by a werewolf, one is killed and the other, David (David Naughton), infected with the wolf’s curse. Haunted by the simultaneously unnerving and hilarious visions of his dead friend, David must decide how to come to terms with the monster he has become, even as he strikes up a relationship with a beautiful nurse (Jenny Agutter). The film lulls you into comfort with its witticism before springing shocking, gory dream sequences on the viewer, which repeatedly arrive unannounced. The key moment is the protagonist’s incredibly painful, traumatic full transformation, set to the crooning of Sam Cooke doing “Blue Moon,” which is still unsurpassed in the history of the genre. Legendary FX and monster makeup artist Rick Baker took home the first-ever Academy Award for Best Makeup and Hairstyling for creating a scene that has given the wolf-averse nightmares ever since. —Jim Vorel

Being There
being_there_poster.jpgYear: 1979
Director: Hal Ashby
Stars: Peter Sellers, Shirley MacLaine, Jack Warden, Melvyn Douglas, Richard Dysart
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95%
Rating: PG
Runtime: 130 minutes

Watch on HBO Max

In terms of directorial output in a decade, Hal Ashby’s run in the 1970s is impressive. Starting with 1970’s The Landlord and ending with Being There, Ashby’s films racked up 24 Oscar nominations and seven wins. But while Harold and Maude, Shampoo and Coming Home compete for the hearts and minds of Ashby fans, it’s Being There that stands out both for its timelessness and timeliness. In the story of the childlike Chance (Peter Sellers, in a role that redeemed a sagging reputation), a gardener whose innocence and simplicity confuses and gets misread by the “savvy” players of Washington, D.C., Ashby shows how gentle humor can express sharp truths about all-too-human foibles. —Michael Burgin

My Blue Heaven
my_blue_heaven_poster.jpgYear: 1990
Director: Herbert Ross
Stars: Steve Martin, Rick Moranis, Joan Cusack, Carol Kane, Melanie Mayron, Daniel Stern, Bill Irwin
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 71%
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 95 minutes

Watch on HBO Max

My Blue Heaven never quite lives up to the highs you’d expect from a comedy written by Nora Ephron and starring Steve Martin, Rick Moranis and Joan Cusack, but there’s enough comic spark here to recommend it to anybody who hasn’t seen it. Martin sometimes seems like he’s in a different movie than the other two leads—his stereotypical New York mobster impression feels like a cartoon dropped into an otherwise sedate romantic comedy—but then that fish-out-of-water concept is the whole point of the movie. Martin sticks out because Vinnie Antonelli is utterly out of place in California, and his sheer joy in fully embracing who he is can be infectious.—Garrett Martin

My Favorite Year

my_favorite_year_poster.jpgYear: 1982
Director: Richard Benjamin
Stars: Peter O’Toole, Mark Linn-Baker, Joseph Bologna, Jessica Harper, Bill Macy, Lainie Kazan, Adolph Green
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 96%
Rating: PG
Runtime: 92 minutes

Watch on HBO Max

The slight but funny My Favorite Year is a loving homage to bygone entertainment, from the 1930s swashbucklers of Errol Flynn, to the live TV comedy of Sid Caesar and Milton Berle. Peter O’Toole (whose record for Oscar futility was just tied by Glenn Close) scored one of his eight Oscar nominations and losses with his turn as Alan Swann, the permanently drunk faded movie star who has to be shepherded by young writer Benjy Stone during a guest appearance on King Kaiser’s Comedy Cavalcade. At once a parody of Flynn and a send-up of O’Toole’s own well-earned rep as a devoted alcoholic, Swann is a fantastic comic creation, and another reminder that O’Toole wasn’t just one of the greatest actors but also a brilliant comedian. Mel Brooks was one of the producers, and many characters are loosely based on him and his coworkers on Sid Caesar’s Your Show of Shows; fans of Brooks, Caesar, Carl Reiner, Neil Simon, or The Dick Van Dyke Show will probably want to check this out.—Garrett Martin

National Lampoon’s Vacation
vacation_poster.jpgYear: 1983
Director: Harold Ramis
Stars: Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Christie Brinkley, Anthony Michael Hall, Dana Barron, Randy Quaid, Imogene Cocoa, John Candy
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%
Rating: R
Runtime: 98 minutes

Watch on HBO Max

The ultimate family road trip movie also gives us Chevy Chase’s most enduring role as the selfish, obsessive, but generally well-meaning suburban dad Clark Griswold. It’s a good conduit for Chase’s inherent smugness—all of his best movies feature Chase as a charismatic asshole, which is apparently pretty much who he really is. In Vacation he’s surrounded by a top cast, with Beverly D’Angelo, Imogene Cocoa and John Candy deserving special notice, and is working with what might be John Hughes’ most hilarious script, all under the direction of comedy legend Harold Ramis. Griswold is a savvy parody of the boomer mentality, and that has seemed to grow even more pointed in the decades since the movie was released.—Garrett Martin

School of Rock
Year: 2003
Director: Richard Linklater
Stars: Jack Black, Joan Cusack, Mike White, Sarah Silverman, Miranda Cosgrove
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 91%
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 110 minutes

Watch on HBO Max

School of Rock gets plenty of comic mileage of the fact that Jack Black’s character, Dewey Finn, isn’t nearly as book smart as his students: “You’re gonna have to use your head, and your brain, and your mind, too,” he tells them. But it’s Dewey who uses his head, brain and mind as he becomes musical mentor, creator of lesson plans and manipulator of an inflexible educational system. (With school music programs being slashed at schools nationwide, School of Rock was ahead of its time.)

School of Rock doesn’t go overboard on the sentimental aspects—it establishes that young guitarist Zach has a controlling, overbearing father without beating the audience over the head with it. And while it advocates giving children a means of self-expression and catharsis, it doesn’t elevate rock music into something more than it should be.—Curt Holman