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Free apps vs. paid subscriptions

There’s really nothing like making it through a good book. It can expand your understanding of the world, give you something to do while you wait at the doctor’s office, and everything in between. But not everyone has the time to sit down and crack open a tome. For those people, audiobooks are the way to go.

Listening to audiobooks during those little free moments of your day is now easier than ever, but the number of ways to do it can be kind of overwhelming. With dozens of apps to choose from and a whole slew of compatible devices, audiobook listeners have tons of options, but also tons of choices to make.

First, get your hardware in order

If you’re going to listen to audiobooks, then you need something to listen to audiobooks on. It’s pretty safe to assume that anyone reading this has at least one device that fits the bill, as you can listen on pretty much any smartphone or tablet, most Kindle readers, and even an Apple Watch. 

A smartphone is probably the most straightforward way to go here, with most of the popular apps being available on both iOS and Android. Aside from that, the only other hardware issue you need to sort out is what sort of audio delivery contraption you’ll use. Let’s be real, phone speakers exist for a reason, but that reason is not to annoy everyone around you by blasting an audiobook of The Three-Body Problem. 

You can use literally any headphones or Bluetooth speaker you own for this. I don’t care if you use the Marshall Mode II earbuds, the Sonos Roam speaker, or some wired earbuds you picked up for $15 at the gas station. They’ll all work. There’s no need to be picky.

Use a paid audiobook app…

Amazon’s Audible app is perhaps the best-known audiobook app.

Image: Thomas Trutschel / Photothek via Getty Images

Just as there are a bunch of different apps for any simple task, audiobook fans have a pretty sizable number of apps to choose from. Many of the most noteworthy audiobook apps require payment in some form or another, whether it’s a monthly subscription, à la carte book purchases, or sometimes a combination of both. 

Some well-known names in audiobook apps include:

  • Audible (Android, iOS), Amazon’s app with a $14.95 monthly subscription that includes access to an on-demand audiobook catalog as well as one free title from a premium audiobook store per month.

  • Scribd (Android, iOS), featuring an $8.95 monthly fee that grants unlimited Netflix-style access to a catalog of audiobooks, magazines, and even government documents.

  • (Android, iOS), a $14.95 monthly fee gets you access to an on-demand library as well as two credits for free books from the premium store every month.

  • Google Play Books (Android, iOS), a free-to-download app that lets you purchase audiobooks individually from the Google Play marketplace,

  • Apple Books (iOS), an Apple-only option where audiobooks are sold individually.

If it isn’t obvious by now, there are lots of ways to get audiobooks by throwing down a little bit of cash. But there are also ways to get them without spending any money at all.

… or support your local library

You don't even need to walk into the beautiful Brooklyn Public Library building to get audiobooks for free.

You don’t even need to walk into the beautiful Brooklyn Public Library building to get audiobooks for free.

Image: Roy Rochlin / Getty Images

Public libraries are a precious, treasured resource that exist to serve without taking. They provide numerous important services to their communities without a profit motive getting in the way, and that includes the free distribution of audiobooks. 

The best part is you never even need to actually go to the library to take advantage of this. Simply get your library card out and input the information into any of the following apps to digitally borrow audiobooks:

If you don’t have a library card, getting one is as easy as walking into your local branch. Or, if that doesn’t work, you can get one online by going through your city’s public library website, calling them on the phone, or even through apps like OverDrive and Libby. 

The only caveat to this approach is that library systems have limited supplies of audiobooks. So you might have to put books on hold (or simply pay money for them elsewhere if you’re impatient) depending on your library’s supply.

Make space in your schedule

This last point is something that only you can figure out for yourself, but it’s worth mentioning: Identify the best points in your day to throw on an audiobook and you’ll get through it in no time.

If your commute to work is any longer than a few minutes, go ahead and press play on that audiobook. If you work from home, well, you can listen pretty much anytime you aren’t speaking out loud to another human being, as long as it doesn’t break your concentration. Household chores, long walks, and grinding experience points in World of Warcraft are just a few other situations where it might make sense to listen to a book since your brain probably isn’t being fully engaged.

It’s all about what works for you. Whether that means forking over some money to Amazon for Audible’s enormous audiobook selection or borrowing from your local library for free, you don’t need to worry about getting easy access to audiobooks. You’ve got options. Just try not to get too lost in the story and miss your subway stop.

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‘Rick and Morty’ level of greatness

This post contains relatively minor spoilers for Solar Opposites Season 1 and 2.

Solar Opposites, spearheaded by Rick and Morty co-creator Justin Roiland, always had an uphill battle to climb: The inevitable, constant comparison to one of the most fanatically beloved and critically acclaimed animated shows of all time.

It’s a testament to the talent behind the scenes that Season 1 managed to be so promising, distinct yet of a piece enough with the Rick and Morty oeuvre to please fans and critics alike. 

Still, Hulu’s Solar Opposites couldn’t avoid coming off as kind of diet, “pretty good” Rick and Morty. Great, but in the context of an impossible standard, not as revolutionary or impeccable as the Adult Swim show that permanently changed the game for adult animated TV. The first season’s 78 percent Rotten Tomatoes audience rating (while far from a precise metric) captured the positive yet slightly unconvinced fandom which gave four seasons of Rick and Morty a 93 percent average. 

Season 2 transforms the little spin-off-that-could underdog into a bona fide juggernaut in its own right.

But Solar Opposite’s recently released Season 2 transforms the little spin-off-that-could underdog into a bona fide juggernaut in its own right, raising audience enthusiasm up to 92 percent. At the risk of only perpetuating the unfair comparison, the eight new episodes achieve a Rick and Morty level of greatness that previously eluded Season 1 by finally diverging from its predecessor in a big way.

For a quick recap, Solar Opposites is about two alien Schlorpians and their “replicants” (or, in human terms, children) who escaped their dying planet only to crash land on Earth. The two took very different approaches to assimilation, with Korvo (voiced by Roiland) remaining staunchly focused on the mission to find a new unpopulated planet to rebuild their society, while Terry (voiced by Silicon Valley‘s Thomas Middleditch, who it’s worth noting has recently been implicated in multiple sexual misconduct allegations) mostly just enjoys the worst pop culture our planet has to offer.

Out the gate, Episode 1 makes clear that Roiland’s show has finally found its own individual voice, stride, and (most importantly) approach to storytelling. Instead of carrying over the stakes from last season’s cliffhanger like Rick and Morty would, it quite literally throws it in the garbage, before promptly moving on with no big overarching fundamental change to the characters or show world.

Last season, we left the Solar Opposites — the new meta nickname Terry gives their little alien family unit in Season 2 — after finally repairing their spaceship, and as they were preparing to leave Earth for a new planet. But thanks to Terry bringing along the full series run of Cops on DVD and VHS (among other trashy Earth relics), the added weight causes a failure to launch. So the show goes on with the same premise described in the intro sequence.

In contrast, Rick and Morty infamously thrives off painting itself into and (arguably taking too long to write itself out of) tight narrative corners from season to season. Just look at Season 3’s acclaimed premiere episode as an example, or every other season finale for that matter. Raising the stakes and evolving the story world and characters is fundamental to that show’s DNA. 

So by Rick and Morty standards, Solar Opposites Season 2 commits a mortal storytelling sin: It unceremoniously abandons a hyped-up emotional stake, throwing it away with zero pay off after a full, season-long wait. Somehow, it pulls off this bait-and-switch flawlessly. 

What this departure (or failure to depart, really) exemplifies is the season’s overall newfound confidence. Roiland and company are now clearly doing their own thing, and it deliberately flies in the face of the strict storytelling structure now synonymous with Rick and Morty’s other co-creator, Dan Harmon.

In Harmon’s “story circle,” each episode demands that the characters go through an eight-step arc. They start somewhere familiar, face new trials and adapt to an unfamiliar situation, then they return to the familiar fundamentally changed on the other side, with some sort of lesson learned or evolution or transformed emotional stakes. 

To an extent, Solar Opposites Season 1 tried and failed to stick to this tried-and-true formula. Yet while it shared so much with Rick and Mory — from similar art styles, a shared sci-fi premise, and comedic impulses — something always felt off. 

At first, it seemed like what might be lacking was Harmon’s mastery of this tight narrative structure. Often, the co-creator duo was characterized by Roiland being the raw, wild, chaotic creative energy that makes the show distinct, while Harmon served more as the sharpening stone that could translate it into very effective TV.

But multiple times throughout Season 2, Solar Opposites calls out Harmon’s successful yet stifling structure all but by name. Characters deliver winking, fourth-wall-breaking meta-commentary on how they’re not following it anymore, patting themselves on the back for the rare occasions when they do make good on some sort of emotional arc or overarching narrative stake.

In one episode, the two younger aliens find themselves cheating their way through laughably bigger and bigger, higher-stakes situations, expecting repercussions for their amorality. But from cheating to run the mile in gym class in record time all the way through winning the international teen Olympics with America’s entire economy riding on them not getting caught, nothing changes. They never “pay a price,” which is a key turning point in Harmon’s eight-step formula. 

Instead, the episode ends with the kids having impossibly gotten away with it all scot-free. The only price they pay is residual anxiety and guilt from getting everything they wanted without consequence or character evolution. So instead, they grab a Schlorpian tech-powered machine that teaches them random life lesson clichés like a morality crack pipe giving them character growth dopamine hits directly to the brain.

It’s hard to see it all as anything but a cheeky yet loving way to poke fun at how their more popular counterpart operates. It reads like Roiland and other Ricky and Morty talent finally releasing themselves from the creative shackles of what works for that show, to find their own uniquely satisfying rhythm.

And boy, do they find it.

Without getting into too many spoiler-y details, Solar Opposites Season 2 ironically manages to both deviate and beat the Harmon story circle at its own game. But it does so through a running B-plot from the last season, brilliantly and slowly transforming a joke that goes way too far into a genuinely thrilling, emotional, multi-part epic story arc.

Solar Opposites Season 2 ironically manages to both deviate from and beat the Harmon story circle at its own game

If you’ll remember,  Season 1 introduced Yumyulack’s Wall, an ant farm-like terrarium of shrunken human beings he has trapped in his bedroom. Well, during the running Season 1 B-plot about the inner workings of the Wall’s society, the totalitarian regime was overthrown, and Season 2 doubles down on the larger-than-life apocalyptic stories of these tiny wall people. In one of the most impressive bottle episodes I’ve ever seen on television, one character is given what feels like a feature-length film with a dramatic framework akin to an Oscar grab. The jokes take a back seat to her sincerely gut-wrenching journey, which sounds like a recipe for disaster in the world of a comedic animated series.

Instead, though, I inexplicably found myself more invested in her story than I did throughout two seasons of The Mandalorian. At several points, I got chills, and maybe even choked up a little bit.

I can’t begin to understand how they did it, but Season 2 of Solar Opposites is a singular work to behold. By simultaneously breaking away from and then reinventing the story wheel that defines Rick and Morty, it’s the ultimate flex for a show that’s both beholden to an OPed predecessor while also divorcing itself from that outsized influence.

Ironically, the Hulu show’s weakest point is its main character pairing. The rule-following Korvo and trashy Terry never come close to the kind of electricity captured in Rick and Morty’s core relationship. 

To be fair, it’s hard to compete with two characters brought to life by the same singular, improvisation-driven creative force that is Justin Roiland. But, increasingly, grounding the show’s premise on their “opposite” personalities is proving to be an unsustainable premise. It’s both too contrived to be interesting, yet also not immediately graspable enough to be a fruitful source of narrative tension.

Despite that glaring flaw, everything surrounding Solar Opposites seems to be on the orbital path to an apex. If it continues, it could even one day eclipse the show that used to overshadow it.

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Facebook will reportedly reveal its Clubhouse competitor on Monday

Facebook is ready to introduce its answer to Clubhouse and other audio-only social media products such as podcasts. And it’s reportedly happening on Monday, April 19.

The range of so-called “social audio” products were detailed in a new report from Vox. It’s a little light on specifics at this point, but the report does note that it’s not clear when all of this stuff is actually launching. Facebook’s plan is apparently focused on the reveals, with maybe just one or two of the items arriving in short order. (Or maybe they all will, we’ll know soon enough.)

You can expect an audio-only version of Rooms, Facebook’s answer to the videoconferencing app Zoom that launched in 2020. Vox writer Peter Kafka speculates that this one will arrive the soonest, perhaps even alongside the reveal. The “Clubhouse-like product,” which isn’t named, sounds like it works pretty much as you’d expect, with groups of participants interacting with the host and other speakers “on a virtual ‘stage’.”

Another feature promises to bring user-created audio snippets to the Facebook news feed, which could be the most transformative reveal in terms of how it could impact a person’s day-to-day experience on the social network. The report notes that audio snippets will simply slide in alongside the text, images, and videos people can already share on their feeds.

Finally, expect Facebook to announce a Spotify partnership that aims to drive podcast discovery. Though as Kafka notes: “It’s unclear to me if Facebook intends to do more beyond flagging podcasts for its users and sending them to Spotify.”

The expectation is that Facebook users will see most of this stuff take shape, in beta form if nothing else, by late spring.

Facebook’s move toward “social audio” is a natural evolution for a company that has historically been just as willing to follow trends as it has to blaze them itself. Clubhouse exploded in a big way during the latter months of 2020, despite still being an invite-only service.

Twitter already introduced Spaces, it’s own answer to audio-only content creation. Reddit is reportedly working on something as well, though its so-called “power-up” feature is seemingly not as far along as Twitter’s. We’ve even heard some early chatter about Facebook’s take, which the company had previously confirmed, and it appears to be an extension of Facebook Messenger.

What’s not clear is how Facebook’s audio-focused expansion of Rooms would differ from its would-be Clubhouse competitor. The earlier reporting on Facebook’s plans didn’t differentiate between two products, though the description suggests that users will have the option of going with Live Audio or Private Audio. The former sounds more like a Clubhouse kind of thing whereas the latter could be the Rooms expansion mentioned in the Vox story.

Of course, the Rooms expansion could be one whole thing unto itself while the Clubhouse competitor could just be Facebook Hotline, which we’ve also heard about already. Whatever the reality turns out to be, it seems clear that Facebook is ready to show the world how it’s getting into the world of audio-only content creation.

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Steve-O returns to ‘Hot Ones’ for a finale stunt worthy of ‘Jackass’

Jackass star Steve-O first appeared on Hot Ones in 2017 and it was a memorable appearance. Now he’s back.

The hit YouTube series puts its celebrity guests through a taste test gauntlet of 10 increasingly spicy hot sauces, all while host Sean Evans peppers them with penetrating questions about their life and career. Steve-O is no stranger to subjecting his body to various forms of (voluntary) abuse, so Hot Ones is a no-brainer.

The Jackass star managed to make it through Evans’ gauntlet of sauces back in 2017, but he really upped his game for this 2021 repeat visit. After tearing through the full set using more sauce on each vegan “wing” than guests normally do, Steve-O capped off his appearance — also the Season 14 finale of Hot Ones — in truly epic fashion.

He drank an entire bottle of his own hot sauce, the aptly named Steve-O’s Hot Sauce for Your Butthole, and then dumped the bottle’s last few drops directly into his eye. It’s a lot to take in.

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What you should know about autism

There are a lot of misconceptions about autism.

As the climate activist Greta Thunberg (who is on the autism spectrum) points out, autism isn’t “something you have,” nor is it a disease. Rather, the Centers for Disease Control defines autism as “a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication, and behavioral challenges.”

While there’s much to learn about autism to shed yourself of harmful misconceptions, here are some basics to know. 

1. Autism isn’t linear

Autistic people aren’t “more” or “less” autistic. These kinds of labels, such as “low” and “high functioning,” can actually harm autistic people because it ignores the fact that autistic people’s characteristics and skills can fluctuate — even within the same day, says Lydia X.Z. Brown, an autistic attorney. This kind of dismissal can make it hard for autistic people to get the support they need. 

Autism doesn’t operate on a linear spectrum, that is autistic people don’t fall somewhere on a line with “less autistic” at the beginning and “more autistic” at the end. Rather autistic people, like everyone else, have varying skillsets. 

2. Autistic people aren’t incompetent

Brown says one of the most dangerous assumptions about autistic people is the presumption that they’re incompetent. 

“…especially if [they’re] non-speaking or having higher support needs, are not capable of exercising agency, of making decisions, of having or expressing preferences or goals or desires,” says Brown. 

They say this belief is dangerous because it leads to controlling and managing autistic people, such as the legal practice of guardianship.  

3. Language matters

While person-first language is preferred when it comes to descriptors like person with a disability, that doesn’t usually hold when it comes to autism. 

Of course, you should always ask how someone wants you to describe them, as some autistic people may prefer you say “person with autism.”

4. Listen to autistic people 

The hashtag #ActuallyAutistic is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to learning about autism and autistic people. This is because many of the posts are written by autistic people.

One of the Brown’s gripes about the conversation about autism is they feel it is still dominated by non-autistic people.

“…to the extent that autistic people ourselves are offered more of a platform or an opportunity to be considered as collaborators in autism research or in policy-making that affect autistic people or in service delivery, the autistic people who are the most likely to have access to that position or platform are likely to be white,” says Brown. 

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Enjoy the awkwardness of John Boehner calling Chuck Todd ‘a shit’ on live TV

John Boehner is doing a book tour, and that means John Boehner is doing interviews. If you know anything about his new, pulls-no-punches tell-all, that means fireworks are always possible.

Boehner had those fireworks primed and ready to go during a Sunday appearance on CNN’s Meet the Press. Toward the end of the interview, host Chuck Todd asked the Ohio Republican and former U.S. House Speaker if he’d ever return to politics.

“I’d rather set myself on fire than to run for office again,” Boehner replied with a wry grin. But then, Todd immediately spoiled the whole game by admitting that he’d asked the question hoping for that kind of response. A bemused Boehner listens along, his face temporarily frozen, before responding.

“You’re a [BLEEP],” he blurted out, with CNN’s production team censoring out Boehner as he clearly called Todd “a shit.” Then he said it again with a slight — a very slight — chuckle.

Todd laughed. “I assume I’m getting that as a compliment. I’ll take that as a backhanded compliment,” he said, either misreading Boehner’s tone or just trying to move past the awkward moment. It didn’t work though. Boehner fell silent for the remaining 20 seconds or so of airtime — which is a lot of time in TV terms! — even ignoring Todd’s parting words and cue to say goodbye.

Boehner is of course the Republican leader who presided over the GOP in the House of Representatives during the rise of the Tea Party movement. He enabled party members who flirted with more open appeals to racists in America, and in many ways his time in office helped to set the stage for the United States’ steep decline under Donald Trump.

The former politician has started to rehabilitate his public profile in more recent years, getting behind a growing nationwide push to legalize cannabis and speaking in increasingly stark and mean-spirited terms about his former GOP colleagues, and Texas Senator Ted Cruz in particular.

All of which is to say: This clip is funny stuff, but let’s not lose perspective on who Boehner is and the ways he contributed to the ongoing degradation of U.S. society.

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Google Chrome now lets you link people to highlighted text on a website

Recently, Google Chrome unveiled some new features that can help boost your productivity — most notably including a way to link people to specific text from, say, an article or blog.

When you create one of these links, clicking it highlights the text you want to emphasize so it’s obvious what you want the receiver to focus on, whether it’s a statistic or an alluring quote from your favorite actor. All you have to do is highlight the text, right click, choose the option “Copy link to highlight,” and send the link. 

It feels immediately like an extension of featured snippets, a type of Google Search result that works in basically the same way. When you search for something and get a featured snippet result, clicking that link (ostensibly) takes you directly to the text that applies, highlighting it in yellow.

The “link to highlight” feature is already hitting desktop versions of Chrome, and it should be coming to Android and iOS soon.

Also new is a more streamlined approach to managing digital documents. While you might already know about filling out and saving PDFs in Chrome, the browser has a new sidebar to look at thumbnails and access pages quickly. It also has a new presentation mode, in which you can eliminate on-screen distractions like toolbars, the address bar, and tabs. 

Other new features include a two-page view and an upgraded top toolbar which puts helpful PDF commands like “zoom” “jump to page” “save” and “print and more” into one click. These additions are launching now.

For people who frequently find themselves sharing Chrome windows with an audience, this next one ought to be a welcome addition: Now when presenting or sharing Chrome windows, the browser silences all notifications. It also turns them back on when you’re finished. You’ll no longer risk yourself or your audience being distracted while delivering important news. 

Google also promises that the newly updated Chrome has received some CPU usage optimizations, making it less likely to overheat your computer or chew up as much battery life.

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Snag a refurbished HP touchscreen laptop for under $200

Products featured here are selected by our partners at StackCommerce.If you buy something through links on our site, Mashable may earn an affiliate commission.

This refurbished HP laptop has brand-new hard drives ready to store all your data.
This refurbished HP laptop has brand-new hard drives ready to store all your data.

Image: Mashable Photo Composite

TL;DR: Score a refurbished HP ProBook x360 11 G1 EE touchscreen laptop for just $197.99 — a 49% savings — as of April 18.

Sometimes you just want life to be easy. Like, pull your new computer out of the box and instantly start doing your work a minute later easy. If you’re shopping for a new device, it is possible to eliminate the headaches and just get exactly what you need without the hassle.

With this HP ProBook x360 11 G1 EE touchscreen laptop, you can make things easier on yourself. This refurbished model has undergone rigorous quality control checks to make sure it works just like a brand new model. It even has replaced hard drives, so you can start from scratch with a new-to-you device. The only difference is that you pay way less for the same product.

How is it possible that you can start using it straight out of the box? With a freshly installed digital product key for Windows 10, you don’t have to key in 25 tiny, hard-to-see characters to activate. All you have to do is accept the license agreement and get to work.

With a 1.10 GHz Intel Celeron processor and 4GB DDR3 memory freshly installed, you can be sure you’re getting a computer that supports your habit of multitasking. It can handle all of your work needs and stream a Netflix show at the same time (although that may not help your productivity). Windows 10 Home 64 Bit is also already installed, so you’re up to date and can get started ASAP.

The HP ProBook is basically like a tablet and laptop in one, since the monitor screen is fully touch-enabled. It converts seamlessly from a notebook to a tablet, and from a stand to a tent for ultimate flexibility and portability.

Normally, this HP ProBook retails for $389, but for a limited time, you can slash 49% off and take home this refurbished touch screen laptop for just $197.99.

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The 13 best classic movies on Hulu

Sure, Hulu’s got a great catalogue of current and recent TV hits, not to mention a pretty impressive originals lineup of its own. But sometimes, you’re in the mood for something more classic — a feature film that’s stood the test of time, say. 

That’s where we come in to help. We’ve scoured Hulu to find the best old movies from a range of genres, from action-packed Westerns to goofy comedies to swooning romances. Below is our list of the 13 best classic movies on Hulu, listed in order of release. 

1. The Furies (1950)

Hulu boasts a surprisingly decent selection of classic Westerns from over the decades, as you’ll see on this very list. One to seek out is Anthony Mann’s The Furies, a Criterion-approved psychodrama starring Barbara Stanwyck as a strong-willed heiress to a sprawling New Mexico cattle ranch and Walter Huston, in his final role, as her equally strong-willed father. The two lock horns over her choice of a husband and his choice of a wife (yes, Freud would have a field day), and ultimately break entirely over a fatal decision regarding management of the ranch itself. If you like sprawling Western vistas, shadowy film noir style, and epic Shakespearean family drama, The Furies is one to put on your to-watch list.

How to watch: The Furies is streaming on Hulu.

2. Johnny Guitar (1954)

13 best classic movies on Hulu for when you're feeling nostalgic

Image: Republic / Kobal / Shutterstock

Though Nicholas Ray’s Johnny Guitar takes its name from the handsome gunslinger (Sterling Hayden) who arrives in town at the start of the movie, this is really the story of his former lover, saloon owner Vienna (Joan Crawford). Having aroused the animosity of a powerful pack of locals led by her bitter rival (Mercedes McCambridge), Vienna is targeted over her (wrongfully) suspected association with a recent killing, lack of evidence be damned. Brimming with heated emotion, rendered in bold Technicolor style, and anchored by a ferocious leading performance from Crawford, Johnny Guitar is a unique Western whose queer undertones and political messaging still feel fresh, even more than half a century later.

How to watch: Johnny Guitar is streaming on Hulu.

3. The Bellboy (1960)

The Bellboy opens with a (fictitious) studio exec laughing hysterically after explaining that the film you’re about to see has no story and no plot, and is just “real silly” — and, well, the film itself turns out to be exactly as promised. Comic legend Jerry Lewis stars in his own directorial debut as a comically inept bellboy at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami, whom we follow through a series of mostly disconnected gags, each of which last just long enough to elicit a giggle. And if you’re still in the mood for more goofiness once you’ve breezed through The Bellboy‘s 72 minutes, Lewis’s The Patsy and Cinderfella are on Hulu, too. 

How to watch: The Bellboy is streaming on Hulu.

4. The Pawnbroker (1964)

Directed by Sidney Lumet, The Panwbroker is considered to be one of the first American films to grapple with the Holocaust from a survivor’s perspective — and the picture it paints is utterly devastating. The survivor in question is Sol Nazerman (Rod Steiger), a former professor who’s managed to start a new life running a pawn shop in Harlem, but who remains so profoundly traumatized and embittered by his experiences that he has all but shut himself off from human connection. As the 25th anniversary of his wife’s death approaches, and painful memories intrude on his thoughts, Nazerman is pushed to another breaking point. Needless to say, The Pawnbroker is a harrowing watch — but it’s also a powerful, thought-provoking one. 

How to watch: The Pawnbroker is streaming on Hulu.

5. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) 

There’s a reason Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid has a reputation as a stone-cold classic: It’s really that good. The story, which centers around two outlaws on the run after a train heist gone bad, provides plenty of thrills, but what really the film special is the chemistry between its two leads, Paul Newman as the charismatic Butch Cassidy and Robert Redford as the sardonic Sundance Kid. Bolstered by witty dialogue from screenwriter William Goldman, their friendship set the gold standard for countless buddy films to come — and remains irresistibly endearing to this day. 

How to watch: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is streaming on Hulu.

6. Young Frankenstein (1974)

Young Frankenstein has the audacity to imagine a world where a descendant of Victor Frankenstein, the mad scientist who created the famous monster, forsakes his family name. “It’s ‘Fronkensteen,” young Frederick repeatedly insists.

That gag, and so many others, give this absolute classic from Mel Brooks so much of its propulsive energy. Like all the best comedies, Young Frankenstein‘s humor is timeless. Carried by two incredible stars in Gene Wilder and Peter Boyle, and also featuring legends like Teri Garr, Cloris Leachman, and Marty Feldman, this chaotic send-up of an all-time classic movie monster tale delivers again and again. Make the time to watch it. — Adam Rosenberg, Senior Entertainment Reporter 

How to watch: Young Frankenstein is streaming on Hulu.

7. Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter (1974)

The vampire of Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter is a rather peculiar sort, one that ravages the English countryside draining victims not of their blood, but their youth. Then again, the vampire hunter, Captain Kronos (Horst Janson) is a pretty interesting character, too — a swashbuckling former soldier who’s seen enough in his travels to know that all sorts of vampires lurk out there. Made during the last gasps of the golden age of Hammer horror, Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter was originally intended as the start of a new film series. While those plans were not to be, this first and only installment stands as a Gothic horror tale worth enjoying in its own right. 

How to watch: Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter is streaming on Hulu.

8. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)

Choosing a “best” Star Trek is always a fraught issue, but if there’s any safe pick to be made then The Wrath of Khan is it. Featuring the original series cast in their second big screen outing, Khan throws back to a Season 1 episode that first aired in 1967. That episode introduced Ricardo Montalbán as Khan Noonien Singh, a villainous figure from the fictional Eugenics Wars of Trek’s late ’90s.

In the episode, we learn how Khan and his gang of genetically engineered superhumans escaped an Earth that wanted them dead, plunging themselves into cryogenic stasis. The Enterprise crew wakes them up and not-so-nice shenanigans ensue soon after. The episode ends on an ambiguous note, with Captain Kirk leaving Khan and his crew to scrape out a new existence on an uncolonized and inhospitable world.

The Wrath of Khan picks up 15 years later, with Khan and his crew finding a way to escape after enduring years of painful hardship. The ancient Earthman still has a bone to pick with Captain Kirk and his friends at Starfleet, and he’ll stop at nothing to have the final word. The Wrath of Khan is Star Trek firing on all cylinders, and while its “best” status within the series is debatable, it’s still worth sitting down to watch. — A.R. 

How to watch: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is streaming on Hulu.

9. Footloose (1984)

Be honest: Just reading the title of this entry has you humming along to Kenny Loggins already, doesn’t it? With a soundtrack that still slaps, even in 2021, and dance numbers that might tempt you to get moving yourself, Footloose tells an uplifting tale of teenage rebellion in the face of small-minded repression. Kevin Bacon stars as Ren, a Chicago kid who’s recently moved to a rural town where dancing is outlawed. Can he bring the joy of dancing back to Bomont? Will he get the girl? Might he engage in at least one angry-dance solo along the way? You know the answers to all those questions already, and you also know you’ll have a blast watching them unfold. (And if you’re not ready for the good times to end when this movie does, the 2011 Footloose remake is on Hulu as well.)

How to watch: Footloose is streaming on Hulu.

10. The Color Purple (1985)

Based on Alice Walker’s Pulitzer and National Book Award-winning novel, The Color Purple is a seminal film that launched the film careers of Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey. The main character Celie’s journey from multiple abusive households to a woman fully cognizant of her power and sexuality has become synonymous with the deeply human slow path to self-love. While The Color Purple softens the edges of Walker’s original plot, its strong script brought out Academy Award-nominated performances from three of its cast members and a total of 11 nominations for the production as a whole. The Color Purple famously lost all of its categories, making it one of the most Oscar-losing films of all time and sparking debate on the racial biases present in the Academy to this day. — Alexis Nedd, Senior Entertainment Reporter 

How to watch: The Color Purple is streaming on Hulu.

11. The Princess Bride (1987)

Based on the fantasy novel by William Goldman (yes, the same William Goldman from the Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid entry), The Princess Bride spins a fairy tale that’s equal parts sweetly sincere and cheekily self-aware. Cary Elwes and Robin Wright star as the dashing Westley and the beautiful Buttercup, a pair of star-crossed lovers who — alongside allies like the gentle giant Fezzik (André the Giant) and the vengeful fencing master Inigo Motoya (Mandy Patinkin) — must prevail over countless sword fights, Rodents of Unusual Size, an evil count, and even death itself on their way to happily ever after. 

How to watch: The Princess Bride is streaming on Hulu.

12. Die Hard (1988) 

Die Hard may be a Christmas movie, as a certain subset of its fans are all too eager to point out each December, but its appeal endures year-round. Bruce Willis lends an everyman charm to John McClane, a New York City cop caught in the crosshairs of a terrorist plot during one extremely stressful office holiday party. But it’s Alan Rickman who very nearly steals the show as the slick, scornful villain Hans Gruber. Though John McTiernan’s action classic has inspired several sequels and countless knockoffs in the years since, few have matched or surpassed the 1988 original for sheer, simple fun. 

How to watch: Die Hard is streaming on Hulu.

13. Heathers (1989)

The ’80s teen comedy gets a pitch-perfect pitch-black twist in Heathers. Winona Ryder stars as the popular but disaffected Veronica, whose life takes a turn when she falls for bad boy J.D. (Christian Slater). And when we say bad, we mean bad: He’s literally a murderer, and gets Veronica involved in a killing spree against classmates who’ve tried to humiliate her. Heathers‘ portrayal of the high school experience is so bitingly funny, so sharply observed, that it’s never lost its power to draw blood, and probably never will.  

How to watch: Heathers is streaming on Hulu.

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Whip up fresh smoothies for one with a personal blender on sale

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Blend single-serve juice and smoothies in seconds.
Blend single-serve juice and smoothies in seconds.

Image: Homegeek

TL;DR: Make personal smoothies, protein shakes, and more with the Homgeek Mini Blender, on sale for $26.95 — a 10% discount — as of April 18.

The cost of a blender might be keeping you from ordering one, but you don’t have to get a heavy-duty machine that takes up too much room in your kitchen to enjoy freshly blended drinks and smoothies. In fact, this one from Homgeek isn’t much bigger than a water bottle and will cost you less than $30.

The beauty of the Homgeek Mini Blender is that when you’re done blending, you can drink right out of the blender jar. It comes with two 600ml bottles as well as travel caps, so you can pack it up and take it with you on the go.

The blender bottles are made from BPA-free food-grade plastic. The sharp stainless steel blades can cut through frozen fruit and veggies quickly without leaving tons of lumps in your drink. Plus, the automatic safety lock will help prevent any messy mishaps.

Here’s a quick look at the Homgeek Mini in action:

Along with the blender base, you’ll get two blender cups, a blade assembly, two cup lids, and one user manual. For a limited time, you can score 10% off and pay just $26.95 (regularly $29).