We know, we know. Is another streaming service really worth the added monthly fee on top of all the other streamers you’re currently paying for/stealing from your old roommate? In the case of Hulu, the answer is yes. Not only is Hulu one of the most affordable streamers out there at less than $6 per month, but it also has one of the most impressive libraries of original and fan-favorite content. Plus, if you sign up right now, you’ll get a 30-day free trial to decide if this streamer is worth your money.
Hulu has become a major player in the feature film market, scooping up big titles coming out of Sundance and scoring the exclusive streaming rights to some of the year’s biggest films (Best Picture winners — Hulu’s got ’em). The streamer has also been amassing an impressive lineup of films you may have missed at the theatres or old favorites you want to revisit. The Sandlot? It still stands up and yeah, Hulu has it.
From original TV series to documentaries to feature films, Hulu is one of the best deals in Hollywood and that’s saying a lot for a city that is not known for bargains. We’ve picked some of the best films to get you started on your introduction to Hulu, from action films to comedies, thrillers to dramas, rom coms to foreign films. Don’t let the subtitles scare you.
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1. Palm Springs
How can you make a rom-com about weddings, reluctant romances and Groundhog Day scenarios stand out from the pack? Cast Andy Samberg and Cristin Millioti and let them explore the most creative ways to die, only to wake up and do the same thing the next day. The pair play wedding guests who stumble into a time loop (along with the always impeccable J.K. Simmons) and decide to concentrate their efforts on solving quantum physics instead of dealing with their feelings. Smart, funny, touching, and with a few impressive action scenes (they really do die a lot), the Golden Globe-nominated film has flown largely under the radar and should not be missed. Hulu scored the Sundance film in 2020, earning Palm Springs the record for the highest sale of a Sundance film … by $0.69. We did mention Andy Samberg was involved, right?
2. Big Time Adolescence
In writer Jason Orley’s directorial debut, SNL star Pete Davidson plays a 20-something stoner slacker who is a bad influence on his ex-girlfriend’s teenage brother. Admittedly, the role doesn’t seem like a huge stretch for Davidson, but he still delivers a convincing lead as a character that requires him to be both likable and extremely frustrating. Griffin Gluck plays said teenager, who understandably would rather hang out with the older kids who are nice to him than his peers who ignore him. The coming of age film is funny and touching and reminds you why high school can be both the worst of times and the best of times.
Big Time Adolescence
If winning Best Picture, Best Director for Chloe Zhao and Best Actress for Frances McDormand at the 2021 Oscars wasn’t enough to push you to watch Nomadland, let this be your final kick in the butt. McDormand is at her best playing the quietly heroic nomad Fern, while Zhao’s sweeping shots of the American landscape will make moviegoers want to pack up and hit the open road. The movie is a timely commentary on the U.S. workforce and lack of security for millions without being depressing or morose. Come for the beautiful performances and scenery, stay for the tips on how to live the nomadic lifestyle (toilet buckets should be purchase according to vehicle size).
We’re not going to pretend like we understood every scene in Tenet, but after a few viewings and scanning a couple of chat rooms with people who are smarter than us, we’ve pretty much got the gist of the film. And it’s impressive. Tenet is Christopher Nolan’s most ambitious project to date (which is saying a lot) and it delivers. The intricate action sequences, the stunning cinematography, and the standout performances by leads John David Washington and Robert Pattinson all come together to deliver a film that is worth working for.
5. Jumanji: The Next Level
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle ended up being one of our favorite guilty pleasures of 2017 and Jumanji: The Next Level scored an extra life and gave viewers yet another crowd-pleaser in 2019. Sure, it’s not about to win any Oscars, but the pairing of Kevin Hart, Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas and the addition of Awkwafina, Danny DeVito and Danny Glover makes for a fun and easy night of movie viewing. If there was ever a time we needed a light and breezy film to make us laugh for two hours, it’s now.
Jumanji: The Next Level
6. The Binge
Are the Purge films too scary for you? Yeah, they don’t scare us either … we just choose to not watch them so we can sleep at night with the lights off. Totally normal. For those of us who totally aren’t scared but still like the ‘one night only’ idea, there’s The Binge. The Hulu original stars Vince Vaughn as a high school principal who tries to scare his senior students out of participating in the Binge, which is the one night a year all drugs and alcohol are legal. No surprise, the students aren’t interested in following their principal’s advice and instead embark on a quest to make it to the biggest party of the year and kiss the hottest girl in school. On a night like the Binge, what could go wrong? Turn off your brain, turn on the fun, and be glad we’re not living in the Purge/Binge era … yet.
If psychological thrillers and stories of Munchausen syndrome by proxy are your jam, don’t miss Run. Sarah Paulson plays a loving mother with a dark secret, while Kiera Allen is her dependent daughter who begins to suspect that not all moms act like hers. The intense and brilliantly terrifying film never lets up and keeps heart rates high until the final moments, creating a film that will either make you want to call your mom and thank her for being awesome or be okay that you and your mom don’t speak. Not everyone is June Cleaver.
8. Queen & Slim
Melina Matsoukas is known for her groundbreaking music videos with pop royalty (think Rihanna’s “We Found Love” and Beyonce’s “Formation), but for her feature film debut, the director proves she can hold a captive audience well beyond four minutes. Partnering with author James Frey and Emmy-winner Lena Waithe for the script, Queen & Slim stars Oscar-winner Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith as a couple whose first date turns into a life-altering event. When the young Black couple is pulled over by a racist white officer, played by country singer Sturgill Simpson, it sets off a series of violent events that neither can come back from. The provocative and timely piece of cinema is both a love story and socio-political response to the continued layers of systemic racism rampant throughout the U.S. Dramatic without being preachy, all-consuming without pandering, Queen & Slim is a Bonnie and Clyde story that is unfortunately still relevant in 2021.
Queen & Slim
9. Another Round
Psychiatrist Finn Skårderud theorized that a blood alcohol level of 0.05 helps humans reach their full creative and relaxed capacity. Skårderud’s theory becomes the basis of a pact between four friends in Thomas Vinterberg’s Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Globe-winning film Another Round. Lead by Mads Mikkelsen, the film follows the friends as their lives improve with the new set of drinking rules, then ride sharply off the rails as their drinking limits are pushed. The success of the film outside of its native Europe has already inspired a remake starring Leonardo DiCaprio, but it’s worth reading the subtitles to experience the original in all its moving glory.
10. Fighting With My Family
True fans of wrestling know that it’s one of the most mentally and physically demanding sports today and the payoff of fame and fortune is for only a limited number of people. Stephen Merchant’s Fighting With My Family features an impressive cast of Florence Pugh, Lena Headey and Nick Frost and takes inspiration from the Bevis family, including future WWE Divas Champion and NXT Women’s Champion Saraja-Jade ‘Paige’ Bevis. The film takes several liberties with the Bevis’ family’s story, but it does highlight the financial and physical struggle of coming up in the world of wrestling. Plus, it’s fun to see Dwayne Johnson back as The Rock. We still smell what he’s cooking.