Good Movies on Showtime

Wednesday, May 4, 2011 at 10:46 pm

Showtime Movies and Original Programming

For the longest time, Showtime was regarded as nothing more than a poor man’s version of HBO. But that has changed in recent years, largely due to Showtime original programming such as Dexter, Weeds, and Californication. When they aren’t showing these original series, Showtime offers tons of movies for viewers to choose from, including first-run rights to films from DreamWorks, Miramax, Summit Entertainment, The Weinstein Company, and many more.

Here are just a few of the good movies on Showtime:

Adventureland (2009) – When his parents can’t come up with the money to send him to graduate school, an aspiring journalist (Jesse Eisenberg) is forced to take a job at an amusement park in the summer of 1987. While his co-workers are mostly on the wacky side, he does find love in the form of Emily “Em” Lewin (Kristen Stewart). Will he finally lose his virginity, or will their relationship be derailed by the married man (Ryan Reynolds) that Em is having an affair with? Forty-one songs from the ‘80s are used on the movie soundtrack, so children of that era are urged to give it a try.

Remember Me (2010) – A romantic tearjerker about a pair of emotionally scarred youths (Robert Pattinson and Emilie de Ravin) who find healing and love together in New York City. Keep the tissues handy, especially during the film’s closing minutes.

The Brothers Bloom (2008) – Adrien Brody and Mark Ruffalo are the brothers Bloom, a pair of con artists who have taken their skills to a whole other level. But when they try to pull one final con on a socially awkward heiress (Rachel Weisz), they soon find their carefully constructed web of lies coming apart. Mostly played for laughs, The Brothers Bloom is recommended to anyone who has a soft spot for caper films. Co-starring Robbie Coltrane, Maximilian Schell, and Ricky Jay (as the narrator).

The Joneses (2010) – Demi Moore and David Duchovny star in this tale of consumerism run rampant as the Joneses, a seemingly perfect family who move into an upscale suburb and slowly begin advising their neighbors on the latest must-have items. But instead of being a real family, they’re actually a group of stealth marketers paid to influence those around them into making specific purchases. When the “father” falls for the “mother,” however, it creates a chain reaction that leads to all manner of difficulties.

Knowing (2009) – When his son receives a mysterious piece of paper from a school time capsule, MIT professor Jonathan Koestler (Nicolas Cage) doesn’t pay it much mind…at least until he figures out that the numbers scrawled on the paper represent the locations of disasters, the date they will happen, and the final death toll. With his son being followed by mysterious individuals, Jonathan races against time to discover the true significance of the numbers before it’s too late. A surprise hit at the box office, the film pulled in over $183 million (against a reported budget of $50 million).

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The Collector (2009) – Desperate to pay off his ex-wife’s debt to a loan shark, an ex-con named Arkin (Josh Stewart) decides to break into the house he’s been helping renovate and steal a rare gem from the safe. The family who lives there is supposed to be gone, but Arkin doesn’t count on a masked serial killer holding them all captive in the basement and littering the house with traps. When he decides to stay and come to their rescue, it touches off a cat-and-mouse game complete with giant bear traps, falling chandeliers, and a box that contains a decidedly twisted surprise.

Reuben, Reuben (1983) – Tom Conti received rave reviews and an Oscar nomination for his role as Gowan McGland, a drunken Scottish poet who ekes out a meager existence while seducing as many women as possible with his perfect smile. Kelly McGillis makes her screen debut as a college student who falls for the boozy Scot, and their time together leads to moments which range from darkly comic to utterly heartbreaking. If you’re a fan of sheer acting ability, you might consider this among the best of the good movies on Showtime.

Desperado (1995) – Antonio Banderas returns as the revenge-minded musician with a guitar case filled with weapons in this Robert Rodriguez action film. This time around, he must take on a drug lord (Joaquim de Almeida), dodge a master of throwing knives (Danny Trejo), and romance a sexy bookstore owner (Salma Hayek). For most, this was the first time they had seen Hayek on the big screen, and her sultry introductory scene is worth the price of admission alone. Also starring Steve Buscemi, Cheech Marin, and Quentin Tarantino.

The Big Hit (1998) – Before he became a superstar at the box office, Mark Wahlberg starred in this combination comedy and action movie as Melvin Smiley, an anxiety-riddled hitman who allows those in his life (especially girlfriends Lela Rochon and Christina Applegate) to walk all over him. But when he and his cohorts (including Lou Diamond Phillips) pull off the unauthorized kidnapping of an electronics magnate’s daughter (China Chow), they soon find themselves in all kinds of hot water. Produced by Hong Kong legend John Woo and directed by Kirk Wong.

Targets (1968) – Written and directed by a then-unknown Peter Bogdanovich and produced by low-budget icon Roger Corman, Targets details the shooting rampage of a deranged Vietnam veteran (Tim O’Kelly) and his subsequent run-in with an aging horror actor (Boris Karloff in his last major American film appearance). Surprisingly effective considering the budget, Targets shows numerous glimpses at the talent waiting to be unleashed by the director in later years.

That wraps up our look at some of the many good movies on Showtime. So the next time you’ve got a few extra bucks to spend on premium cable, be sure to bite the bullet and give them a try.

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