3 underrated (HBO) Max movies you should watch this weekend (June 28-30)

A girl looks at a boy in House at the End of the Street.

June is surprisingly over, and with it, a great month for movies comes to a satisfactory close. You’ve probably watched Inside Out 2 or Bad Boys: Ride or Die or maybe even The Bikeriders. From blockbusters to indie fare, the theatrical movie business has been robust and healthy.

The same goes for streaming. Netflix had a big hit with Richard Linklater’s Hit Man, while Amazon Prime Video recently premiered the latest bonkers season of The Boys. HBO and Max have been quieter, but their robust library speaks volumes to the streamer’s high quality. The following three films are older, but are just as worth your time as new hits like House of the Dragon season 2.

The Skin I Live In (2011)

A masked woman holds a knife to her throat in The Skin I Live In.
Warner Bros.

Oh, what a wild movie this is! The Skin I Live In is a twisty thriller involving sex, surgery, and stolen identities, and it’s so audacious, it puts any M. Night Shyamalan movie to shame. That’s not really a shock, as the movie is directed by Pedro Almodóvar, one of the best filmmakers alive today, who abandons his typical colorful, joyful style to craft a thriller that’s both overwrought and cold to the touch.

It’s hard to unpack the movie’s twisty plot, so here’s a fraction of it: Dr. Robert Ledgard is a brilliant plastic surgeon with a house full of secrets. He’s holding a beautiful woman, Vera, captive, with the help of his loyal chief servant, Marilla. One night, Marilla’s wayward son Zeca arrives, demands to stay at the house while Ledgard is away, and finds out about Vera.

What happens next is a dense narrative that goes back and forth in time as each of these character’s backstories, and all the sins they’ve committed or will commit, is revealed. Thrillers like these can tend to lose focus on the characters, but The Skin I Live In doesn’t fall into that trap. The ending is surprisingly poignant, and will haunt you weeks after you watched it.

The Skin I Live In is streaming on Max.

Heartbreakers (2001)

Two women look at an old man in Heartbreakers.

Sometimes, you need to digest a little fluff now and then to get away from some of the heavier stuff. Isn’t that why rom-coms exist in the first place? And it’s why Heartbreakers, a now-forgotten comedy from 2001, exists in the first place, and is worth another look in 2024. It’s as ephemeral as cotton candy, but like that sugary treat, it hits the spot when you’re in the mood for it.

Heartbreakers stars Aliens actress Sigourney Weaver and Party of Five cast member Jennifer Love Hewitt as a pair of mother-and-daughter con artists who use all their wits, and outrageous outfits, to hook their dumb male targets. Their latest target is a crusty old tobacco tycoon, William B. Tensy (Gene Hackman), who has enough money to get them out of a debt they owe to the IRS.

Complications, of course, ensue, when love, and a disgruntled victim of one of their past cons, enters the picture. In addition to the three leads, who all give fun performances, the stacked cast also includes Jason Lee, Anne Bancroft, Sarah Silverman, Zach Galifianakis, Nora Dunn, Ricky Jay, and Carrie Fisher.

Heartbreakers is streaming on Max.

House at the End of the Street (2012)

Two women look on in shock in House at the End of the Street.

Jennifer Lawrence, B-movie actress? For brief moment, that appeared to be the case, as the young actress had several movies where the material was less than Oscar-worthy. And yes, House at the End of the Street doesn’t deserve any awards, but it’s a nifty little thriller, one that shows how Lawrence can lift any movie she’s in, even one as enjoyably trashy as this one.

J.Law stars as sullen teen Elissa, who isn’t happy with her single mom when she decides to move them to a swanky new suburb. She befriends Ryan, a mysterious male peer, and quickly learns that her new home was the site of a brutal murder and a mysterious disappearance of a young girl years earlier.

What happened at Elissa’s new house? And how was Ryan involved? The ending is a wild one, and not at all logical if you think about it. Turn off your brain and enjoy all the campy turns House at the End of the Street has to offer.

House at the End of the Street is streaming on Max.