My 5 favorite new to HBO Max movies that you should watch this month

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We like to help you find new movies to watch, and often we pick the best HBO Max movies either by group consensus or by their Rotten Tomatoes scores. Sometimes, though, when we see a new list of movies that come out, we like to curate a list with a more personal touch.

From the February and March 2023 batches of new HBO Max arrivals come plenty of movies worth your $10 to $16 per month. And so I picked my five favorites of the bunch (which do include two extremely critically-acclaimed movies). 

These movies include a phenomenal and touching directorial debut, a gripping sports movie and a trio of comedies filled with laughs Each, in its own right, is a contender for your next movie night (even if you don't watch them all). 

This is the End (2013)

While they weren't The Brat Pack or The Frat Pack, the goofy bunch of actors who all had varying degrees of connections with directors Judd Apatow and Paul Feig had all been great in their different projects. But assembled into a hilarious and goofy ensemble, convening for a house party they don't know will precede the end of the world? These dudes form like Voltron for fantastic results — playing themselves.

The story begins simply enough, as Baruchel (the least successful of the bunch) is visiting Rogen, who's got all the money to buy all the stoner accessories ever made. Then, they decide to hit up the big party at James Franco's house, where Michael Cera is being the weirdest version of himself ever. And then come the End Times.

Watching a bunch of friends play twisted versions of themselves has never been better.

Arrived on HBO Max on: March 1, 2023
Rotten Tomatoes score:
James Franco, Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson
Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg
Watch now

Eighth Grade (2018)

While Bo Burnham may best be known for his Netflix special Inside, his directorial debut Eighth Grade is just as impressive, as it tackles the anxiety and stress of the pre-high school year in a loving and sensitive way. Burnham's cameras follow Kayla (Fisher), a middle school student who desperately wants acceptance, and publishes motivational videos online. 

Her father (Hamilton) wants more for his girl, and Kayla gets her chance among her peers at a pool party that leads her into interacting with her crush (Luke Prael) and a nice boy (Jake Ryan) who might be better for her. 

I still remember seeing Eighth Grade in theaters, and feeling like it was somewhere in between a drama and a thriller about the terrible world that is middle school.

Arrived on HBO Max on: February 1, 2023
Coming of age drama
Rotten Tomatoes score: 99%
Stars: Elsie Fisher, Josh Hamilton, Emily Robinson, Jake Ryan, Daniel Zolghadri
Director: Bo Burnham
Watch now

Creed (2015)

So successful that it spawned two sequels, Creed — which technically is a sequel itself — is the story of Apollo Creed's unknown son Adonis (Jordan), who convinces his late father's old rival Rocky (Stallone) to train him. 

Sometimes, all it takes for a movie to become permanently affixed to my "won't change the channel away" list is a single perfect scene. And while the first Creed movie is filled with amazing moments, I always think of its training montage, a staple of the Rocky franchise. After Adonis has been training in the gym and running the treadmill, he spend a moment with Rocky who's in rough condition, and it all builds the emotions of the movie to a boil that hits as Adonis runs down the streets of Philly. 

Adonis starts off on his own in grey workout sweats, but the entire neighborhood of motorbikes and ATVs join him on the road. While Rocky the boxer was an individual who climbed the stairs of success, this moment makes Creed feel like the product of a community.

Arrived on HBO Max on: March 1, 2023
Rotten Tomatoes score: 95%
Stars: Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad
Director: Ryan Coogler
Watch now

I Love You, Man (2009)

Making friends as an adult can be kind of challenging, especially if you're an introvert. Such is the situation faced by Peter (Rudd) a real estate agent who just got engaged to his girlfriend Zooey (Jones), because he's gonna have a hard time finding a best man for their wedding. Eventually, after flailing desperately to make male friends, Peter meets Sydney (Segel), and the two bond over the band Rush, among other things. The only problem? Well, Sydney's not a perfect best man, as he's a little too rough around the edges for some.

And, honestly, if you don't want to watch I Love You, Man off of the above description, I'm assuming you haven't seen enough of either Rudd or Segel's best work. Both play their characters in a casual, effortless way where they seem to instinctually know the roles. 

Arrived on HBO Max on: March 1, 2023
Genre: Bromantic comedy
Rotten Tomatoes score: 83%
Stars: Paul Rudd, Jason Segel, Rashida Jones, Jaime Pressly, Jon Favreau, Jane Curtin
Watch now

Wayne’s World (1992)

If it weren't for HBO Max, I would have to pay to watch the first movie I ever loved: Wayne's World (my VHS copy is worthless). While it's not the first movie based on an SNL skit, Wayne's World was the first comedy movie I couldn't stop watching (I'm shocked that my tape didn't get unspooled). 

In it, we meet public TV talk show hosts Wayne Campbell (Myers) and Garth Algar (Carvey), who record from the former's parents' basement. And while they're having fun, a slimy TV exec (Lowe) snakes his way into the scenario, looking to profit off the guys' passion and try and steal away Cassandra (Carrere), Wayne's girlfriend who fronts a rockin' band.

Laugh-out-loud funny, and focused on friendship, Wayne's World is the kind of movie that I'm happy to see hit HBO Max. Oh, and Parks & Rec fans should pay attention to how Mr. Lowe pronounces a certain word.

Arrived on HBO Max on: February 1, 2023
Rotten Tomatoes score: 79%
Stars: Mike Myers, Dana Carvey, Rob Lowe, Tia Carrere, Brian Doyle-Murray, Lara Flynn Boyle
Director: Penelope Spheeris
Watch Now

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Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.