For a bit of a television history trivia, the original NBC peacock logo was first implemented in 1956 to highlight the network’s new color programming. Even though it’s gone through numerous iterations since then, the network has stuck with the colorful bird, in one form or another, for going on six decades now.
It’s fitting, then, that Peacock is known most for its TV programming, highlighted by shows like The Office, its spinoff situational narrative Parks and Rec, and the self-mocking (and hilarious) 30 Rock. If you are on Peacock for the shows, however, don’t overlook that the platform is also home to a number of great movies spanning cinema history.
Peacock offers both free (registered) and paid accounts. Subsequently, some movies are available for free, and others only for subscribers. This roundup culls titles from both groups. To be sure you can access all of these classics, you’ll have to fork over the $5-a-month service cost. Happy streaming!
In a 2015 interview with actor Colin Farrell, Seth Meyers noted that In Bruges was one of his favorite films but that it didn’t make a dent at the box office.
“Very few people saw it, but those who did tend to have a deep affinity for it,” Farrell replied.
It’s time for you to join those ranks. In Bruges has it all — bitter hitmen, sardonic one-liners, dry comedic action, a very European perspective, and tragic turns. An air-tight plot flows from two guilt-stricken hitmen after a job gone wrong, now experiencing a life-changing trip while hiding out in a storybook, medieval Belgian town. The peaceful, bucolic context juxtaposes with an escalating and exploding interpersonal conflict and a hunt for the men that lead to intense action scenes in addition to personal revelation.
If you’ve never caught an Alfred Hitchcock film, this meta commentary on voyeurism and making movies is a great place to start. The Golden Era thriller finds a wheelchair-bound L.B. “Jeff” Jefferies (James Stewart) spying on his courtyard neighbors with nothing to do all day. After spinning in place for so many day, the news photographer convinces himself (and eventually neighbor Lisa Fremont, played by a pitch-perfect Grace Kelly) that one of them has committed murder.
Filmed only in a single room, not only does Rear Window offer a ratcheting tension rarely achieved in film nowadays, there’s the constant undertone and symbolism commenting on our obsession with watching. It’s no accident, for example, that the row of windows that Jefferies watches resemble a strip of celluloid film. Obsessive and brooding, Rear Window reflects on where the tipping point on confinement pushes human curiosity past boredom into something crude and animal, an apropos examination after years of pandemic restrictions.
The Big Lebowski is a classic Coen brothers film and an essential watch to any film buff or anyone looking for a bit of distraction from a complicated world. Jeff Bridges plays Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski, a Los Angeles slacker who only wants to bowl, drink White Russians, and hang out with his similarly single, social outcast friends. This includes a milquetoast Donny Kerabatsos (Steve Buscemi) and the always fired-up Walter Sobchak in an inspired performance by John Goodman.
The Dude can’t be bothered by much, but fate pulls him into an ever descending series of mishaps (including porn actors, ferrets, bags of dirty socks, and severed toes) after he’s mistaken for another Jeffrey Lebowski — a wheelchair-bound millionaire. Be drawn in by the strange plot and stay for the incredible and quotable performances from an all-star cast.
A great modern love story and possibly Jim Carrey’s last great movie, Eternal Sunshine follows a couple who has erased the memory of their relationship after a nasty breakup. Another twisted classic arising from the mind of writer Charlie Kaufman, the surrealist journey occurs, for the most part, in the mind of Joel Barish.
In a complex romantic plot, Barish discovers love in the form of a cynical Clementine Kruczynski (Kate Winslet). Each character in the film is caught in the modern trap of trying to contain love’s pleasure while escaping its pain. Even the film’s name derives from a timeless epic, the 1717 Alexander Pope poem Eloisa to Abelard.
Cars fall from the sky and characters’ faces disappear as Barish tries to hold onto the relationship at the same time he’s trying to erase it. Catch what might the best dramatic love story of the 21st century before Peacock strikes it from its service.
Introducing a coming-of-age movie to a new generation is no easy task, but the original American Pie was able to succeed in its first attempt (we’ll leave off mention of the subsequent string of sequel bombs that somehow keep ensuing).
They involved a group of four teenage friends who find that losing their collective virginity isn’t as easy as they had thought after making a pact to “score” by senior prom because they can’t enter college without the experience.
What follows is a ridiculous set of circumstances highlighted by a monster party at Steve Stifler’s house (played by a game Sean William Scott). In addition to Scott, the film’s now all-star cast included Mena Suvari, Eugene Levy, Jason Biggs, Chris Klein, Alyson Hannigan, Shannon Elizabeth, and Tara Reid.
Before there was American Pie, there was Dazed and Confused, another high school classic. This one, however, is set a generation before on the last day of the school year in a Texas town in 1976.
An adventure to get a party going revolves around Randall “Pink” Floyd (Jason London), the star quarterback who moves between social groups — stoners, jocks, and geeks — with the ease of the popular kid. An excellent ensemble cast (featuring classic riffs from Ben Affleck and Matthew McConaughey) all face different time-of-life conundrums with differing reactions that all go toward engaging and fun action set with Richard Linklater’s precise feel for the 1970s. A killer soundtrack helps the funny, affectionate, and clear-eyed ride through typical high school days.
Another warm, nostalgic Texas ode from Richard Linklater, Bernie, however, involves murder.
Jack Black stars as Bernie Tiede in this true-to-life gossip magazine headline grabber. Everybody loves Bernie, the man who charms all the little old ladies in his Carthage, Texas, hometown. He even endures constant abuse from his crabby benefactor Marjorie Nugent (Shirley MacLaine). A man can only take so much, though, and before too long, Bernie loosens his pent up rage against the woman, sending shockwaves through the small town.
What carries the film is its chorus of real-life town residents who give the plot an undeniable local color through a series of talking-head interviews interspersed between the action.
Ever wonder what it’s like to be the livestock on a farm? Well, the horror flick The Farm presents one such version. And it’s pretty horrific.
After taking a wrong turn on the highway, a young couple decides to stop at a roadside diner for food and relaxation. Their fun trip soon becomes a fight for survival when masked kidnappers imprison them on a farm where humans are the main course.
The movie is all shock and disturbing scenes, but if you’re in the mood for pure, unadulterated horror, The Farm is here to deliver.
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