‘Death of Stalin’: How to Watch the Hilarious Comedy by the Creator of ‘Veep’

What were the best films of 2018? Everyone has their opinion, but most would agree that several did not end up among the Academy’s nominees for Best Picture. The list includes with Can you Ever Forgive Me?, the comedy starring Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant.

If you hoped that a low-budget stunner from writer-director Paul Schrader and star Ethan Hawke would get exposure from major Oscar nominations, you were likely upset about the snub of First Reformed in the Best Picture and Best Actor categories .

Still, those films at least showed up with nominations for screenwriting and acting (in the case of McCarthy and Grant). As for Death of Stalin, the raucous comedy by Veep creator Armando Iannucci, not a single nomination came in from the Academy.

Seeing how Death of Stalin ended up on so many Top 10 lists of 2018, its snub by the Academy might be the most egregious of all. Here’s how you can watch Iannucci’s hilarious film — which stars Steve Buscemi and Jeffrey Tambor — and decide for yourself.

Showtime subscribers can watch ‘Death of Stalin’ for free.

In February, Showtime subscribers will find it easiest to screen Death of Stalin. Iannucci’s film is currently in regular rotation on the premium-cable network, and it runs several times a week on Showtime’s networks or can be watched on-demand at any time.

If you don’t have Showtime, new users can get the network’s full catalog as a standalone subscription for $10.99 a month. (The subscription begins with a seven-day free trial.) Roku users and other cord-cutters can access the same free trial by downloading the Showtime app.

The plot of the film is simple. When Josef Stalin ends his reign of terror by suddenly dropping dead, his bumbling crew of power-hungry sycophants scramble to gain advantage and take control of the USSR. (Think Veep, but with the risk of murder behind every conversation.)

Buscemi (as Nikita Khrushchev) and Tambor (as Georgy Malenkov) both deliver excellent work here, as does Simon Russell Beale (as Lavrenti Beria). Rupert Friend and Michael Palin also shine in the film.

If you’re gun-shy about a new subscription, you can rent Death of Stalin for $3.99 in HD. But Showtime is offering solid value for its monthly subscription fee.

Showtime’s value at the moment

Steve Buscemi as Nikita Khrushchev and Jeffrey Tambor as Georgy Malenkov in ‘Death of Stalin’ | IFC Films

As you look at the available streaming services, you’ll find Showtime offering a quality product at $10.99 per month. Right now, you can watch the fascinating limited-series Escape at Dannemora as well as the latest seasons of Billions and Shameless.

If you watch TV regularly, you could do much worse for a month of content at that price. (HBO, which has True Detective but not much else in the way of headline series running in February, costs $14.99 a month.)

Cord-cutters who have Sling and other platforms can add Showtime for $10 per month. Cable subscribers may have access to deals through their providers to get started with the premium network.

Whatever you way you can find access to it, Death of Stalin is a great way to spend 107 minutes these days.

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