Best movies on Amazon Prime Video right now

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Amazon’s Prime Video has been surpassed by the sheer number of Netflix original movies, which seem to come out weekly. While Netflix has caught up in terms of quality, the service still concentrates more on mainstream entertainments. Amazon, on the other hand, is more focused on artful movies and risk-taking.

Updated September 17, 2021 to remove three films that have rotated out of Amazon Prime Video’s offering.

The streaming service is nurturing great directors: Leos Carax, Spike Lee, Gus Van Sant, Park Chan-wook, Richard Linklater, Steve McQueen, Jim Jarmusch, Todd Haynes, Lynne Ramsay, and more. Ditto for talent; actors like Joaquin Phoenix, Adam Driver, and Kate Beckinsale all appear in more than one Amazon Studios film. Additionally, Amazon’s library of catalog titles—several examples of which are on this last—is far more vast than Netflix’s, especially when it comes to titles made before 1980.

Here are our top picks:

The Big Sick

The Big Sick Amazon Studios

Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon wrote their extraordinary real-life story into this romantic comedy screenplay and earned an Oscar nomination for their work. The Big Sick (2017) was a critically acclaimed indie success, and yet despite the great behind-the-scenes story, it’s a pretty typical romantic comedy, following most of the same beats. It’s not helped by its full two-hour running time and by the presence of Ray Romano, who, suffice to say, not everybody loves.

Kumail plays a comedian named Kumail, who meets Emily (Zoe Kazan). The movie depicts the awkward beginnings of their relationship with tender realism; there’s a great scene in which she is too shy to use his bathroom. They eventually have a big fight, she gets an infection in her lungs and goes into a coma. Her parents (Romano and a great Holly Hunter) visit, and Kumail finds himself hanging out with them. In another great scene, Hunter absolutely demolishes a brain-dead frat-boy heckler. The final act takes a long time to get itself together, but it is a good movie, likable and entertaining.

Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot

Dont Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot Amazon Studios

Gus Van Sant’s biopic of cartoonist John Callahan might have fallen into goopy self-importance, but instead it’s loose and rambunctious, and at times exhilarating, and bathed in warm, orange tones. It’s even more irreverent than his Oscar-winning Milk (2008). Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot (2018) begins with Callahan (Joaquin Phoenix), abandoned as a child, and now an alcoholic.

At a party, he meets Dexter (Jack Black), and decide to head to an even better party. But, driving drunk together, they get into an accident that leaves Callahan a quadriplegic, with only some limited mobility in his hands. He begins drawing his infamous, near-blasphemous cartoons, often with disability as a subject, but even after becoming published, he still has demons that need wrestling. Rooney Mara plays a physical therapist, a sadly underwritten role, but Black and Jonah Hill, as an AA sponsor, are both top-notch.

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