Best Movies on Hulu Right Now

Hulu had some rough patches in its early days, but it’s quietly become a serious streaming player. While Netflix is still ahead of the pack, and Amazon loops you in because you’re already signed up for their Prime service, you’d be wise to give Hulu a look. The streaming service isn’t just amassing quality TV series like The Handmaid’s Tale and Castle Rock; it also has a surprisingly robust selection of movies.

So if you feel like nothing on Netflix or Amazon is catching your fancy, or if you just want to get the most out of your subscription, take a look at some of the best movies currently available on Hulu.

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Director: Henry Selick

Writer: Caroline Thompson

Cast: Danny Elfman, Chris Sarandon, Catherine O’Hara, William Hickey, Glenn Shadix, Paul Reubens, Ken Page, and Ed Ivory

The 1993 stop-motion animated musical is a stone-cold classic today, and the film has lost none of its impact. For those who still haven’t seen this marvelous movie, it follows Jack Skellington, the most popular guy in Halloweentown, but he’s started to grow bored with his holiday. When he stumbles upon Christmastown, he decides that he should take over for the year, which leads to a delightful mishmash of the macabre and the merry.

Henry Selick’s movie has lost none of its power with Danny Elfman’s score and songs remaining as memorable as ever. It’s a powerful movie, but we should also settle the debate once and for all: It’s a Halloween movie, not a Christmas movie, so you should get cracking on watching or rewatching this one before All Hallows Eve even though, admittedly, The Nightmare Before Christmas is still enjoyable year-round.

Minding the Gap

Image via Hulu

Director: Bing Liu

Bing Liu crafts a personal, heartbreaking, and revelatory documentary that follows him and his two friends in their rust belt town of Rockford, Illinois. Bing, Zack, and Keire bonded over their love of skateboarding, but through Minding the Gap, we see the toll that abuse and limited options have taken on their lives. It’s not an easy movie to watch, and yet I wouldn’t categorize it as a “downer” since it’s done with such honesty and unflinching approach even as the friends start to break apart and go down their own separate paths. It’s a true coming-of-age story with all the turmoil and hope that entails, and it makes Minding the Gap an absolutely engrossing experience. – Matt Goldberg


Director: Alexander Payne

Writers: Alexander Payne & Jim Taylor

Cast: Matthew Broderick, Reese Witherspoon, Chris Klein, and Jessica Campbell

As acerbic today as it was when it was released back in 1999, Payne’s black comedy stars Matthew Broderick as a beloved high school teacher who can’t stand one student in particular, the overachieving senior Tracy Flick (Reese Witherspoon). Featuring a vendetta of a teacher against a student that explodes over the election for the school’s student body president, Election remains darkly comic and its satire (sadly) hasn’t dulled at all with age. It’s a movie about favoritism, big personalities, duplicity, all whipped together by the surprising humanity Payne brings to his movies. It may not be as sorrowful as Payne’s About Schmidt or Sideways, but Election still packs one hell of a punch. – Matt Goldberg

Star Trek Beyond

Image via Paramount Pictures

Director: Justin Lin

Writers: Simon Pegg and Doug Jung

Cast: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Idris Elba, and Sofia Boutella

The Star Trek movies bounced back in a big way with Star Trek Beyond, which decided to take its cues more from the original Star Trek TV show than reaching towards the movies. Justin Lin still creates a film that’s fun and cinematic, but it also feels like a self-contained story that’s been earned with the chemistry of this particular cast. You couldn’t do Spock (Zachary Quinto) and Bones (Karl Urban) subplot in the first or even second movies, but now we’ve got a feel for who everyone is and it works wonderfully as the crew of the Enterprise is stranded on a hostile planet ruled by the nefarious Krall (Idris Elba). Star Trek Beyond is a delightful ride from start to finish and a nice entry into the Star Trek film franchise. – Matt Goldberg

Tucker & Dale vs. Evil

Image via Magnet

Director: Eli Craig

Writer: Eli Craig and Morgan Jurgenson

A comedic spin on the “party-going youths meet backwoods sociopaths” subgenre of horror, a la Texas Chainsaw MassacreTucker and Dale vs. Evil is a straight up comedy of errors in horror movie clothing. The film follows the titular Tucker (Alan Tudyk) and Dale (Tyler Labine), two country bumpkins best friends renovating their dilapidated remote vacation home where they encounter a group of preppy, wildly biased college kids. When Dale’s attempt at friendly conversation is perceived as a threat, it sets off a series of ever-escalating confrontations that are only as hilarious as they are deadly. As far as I’m concerned, every Alan Tudyk performance is a gift, but it’s Tyler Labine’s soft-hearted Dale who steals the show as he tries to comprehend the fresh hell he somehow wandered into. Thanks to their on-point performances and some gore gags that are equal parts gruesome and guffaw-inducing, Tucker and Dale vs. Evil is one of the most delightful horror comedies in recent memory.  – Haleigh Foutch


Image via Neon

Director/Writer: Nacho Vigalondo

Cast: Anne Hathaway, Jason Sudeikis, Austin Stowell, Tim Blake Nelson, and Dan Stevens

Nacho Vigalondo sneakily made a brilliant movie about alcoholism and toxic masculinity, and then hid it in a giant monster movie. Anne Hathaway plays Gloria, a woman whose life has pretty much fallen apart due to her drinking problem, so she goes back home to try and piece everything back together. But she discovers when she goes to a local playground at a specific time of day, a kaiju appears in South Korea and start wreaking havoc. If you can get on board with the concept, you’ll find Colossal to be a pretty ingenious movie about destructive behaviors. Hathaway and Sudekis, who plays Gloria’s childhood pal who now runs a bar, are tremendous, and while it may seem like a strange movie, it plays perfectly with some wicked twists and turns. – Matt Goldberg


Image via Sundance

Directors: Josh Kriegman & Elyse Steinberg

Writers: Josh Kriegman, Elyse Steinberg, and Eli B. Despres

Cast: Anthony Weiner, Huma Abedin

If you want to go back to a time where the laws of political gravity still functioned, you should check out the documentary Weiner. Picking up after congressman Anthony Weiner was booted from office for texting his junk to a woman, the movie follows his hopeful campaign for mayor of New York City, which inevitably comes crashing down when his own flaws and weaknesses crop up again. Weiner is a fly-on-the-wall look at politics as it’s supposed to function—if a candidate does something gross and then implodes, he’s not supposed to win. It’s remarkable that Weiner gave the directors so much access, and perhaps that because he keeps thinking he’s winning even when he’s obviously losing, but it makes for a compelling and darkly comic downfall. – Matt Goldberg

Ingrid Goes West

Director: Matt Spicer

Writers: David Branson Smith and Matt Spicer

Cast: Aubrey Plaza, Elizbaeth Olsen, Wyatt Russell, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Pom Klementieff, and Billy Magnussen

Hilarious and surprisingly moving, Ingrid Goes West stars Aubrey Plaza as a lonely, unstable young woman who, after fixating on “lifestyle guru” Taylor Soane’s (Elizabeth Olsen) Instagram, models her social media life after Sloane’s and moves to California to become her best friend. While the premise may sound like it gets worn out fast, Spicer keeps twisting and turning the plot in fascinating directions, and the performances from Plaza and Olsen are spectacular, with O’Shea Jackson Jr. stealing scenes left and right at a Batman-obsessed landlord. Plaza in particular delivers the best performance of her career, a turn that’s hilarious, terrifying, and deeply sad. – Adam Chitwood


Director: Denis Villeneuve

Writer: Eric Heisserer

Cast: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker, and Michael Stuhlbarg

One of the best films of 2016, Arrival is a striking movie about communication, life, death, and the choices we make that we would make again even if we knew the outcome. The brilliant screenplay by Eric Heisserer and skillful direction by Denis Villeneueve make Arrivals twists and turns all the more potent as they use a hard sci-fi story to tell a thoughtful and powerful tale about first contact with alien life. Amy Adams is incredible (as always), and delivers a powerhouse performance where everything she does, whether it’s talking to aliens or diagramming a sentence, is absolutely captivating. As soon as you finish Arrival, you’ll probably want to watch it again. – Matt Goldberg


Director: Martin Scorsese

Writers: Martin Scorsese and Jay Cocks

Cast: Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, Liam Neeson, Shinya Tsukamoto, and Yoshi Oida

Passion projects can sometimes turn out iffy, but in the case of Silence, it was more than worth the wait. Martin Scorsese had been trying to adapt Shusaku Endo’s novel about Jesuit priests captured and imprisoned in Japan for years, and the end result is a contemplative, immaculately crafted, and hugely impactful meditation o faith, resolve, and colonialism. Andrew Garfield is astounding as the lead priest, Father Rodrigues, who refuses to defame his faith even when it means easing the suffering of himself or others. Adam Driver, Liam Neeson, and Shinya Tsukaomoto turn in phenomenal work to fill out the supporting cast, and Scorsese approaches each scene with a meticulousness and perfection that shows just how deeply he cares about telling this story right. – Adam Chitwood

Four Lions

Director: Chris Morris

Writers: Chris Morris, Jesse Armstrong, and Sam Bain

Cast: Riz Ahmed, Kayvan Novak, Nigel Lindsay, Adeel Akhtar, and Arsher Ali

Yes, terrorism can be funny if handled correctly. If you don’t believe me, look no further than Chris Morris’ 2010 dark comedy, Four Lions. The movie follows a group of young British men who want to become suicide bombers, but are too stupid to pull it off. It’s a sharp, biting satire of people who are desperate to be taken seriously, but are gigantic morons. While terrorism should be taken seriously, Four Lions shows that the power of terrorists is reduced when you expose them as buffoons. There really hasn’t been another movie like it, and I hope that Morris’ follow up arrives soon. – Matt Goldberg

Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Director / Writer: Taika Waititi

Cast: Sam Neill, Julian Dennison

Taika Waititi’s delightful film Hunt for the Wilderpeople is full of quirky humor, but it is never glib in the face of its often intensely emotional material. Instead, it’s a beautiful dance between the two, as the New Zealand-set story follows something of an inverted Anne of Green Gables, as the young Ricky Baker (Dennison) is taken in by foster parents to help out on their farm. Though he starts to connect with the more overtly loving “Aunt” Bella (Rima Te Wiata), he ends up spending most of the movie with “Uncle” Hector (Neill), as part of a mutual and begrudging acceptance that they need each other more than they care to admit.

The story is part adventure tale and part family drama, yet even in its wilder moments it balances these disparate parts in a wonderfully entertaining way (including a national manhunt, a faked death, and an almost New Wave-like series of vignettes within the story itself). Waititi’s sensibilities as a writer and director here lean towards the bombastic and comedic, but the movie does its best work in the quiet moments. Even the most bizarre turns never distract us from how deeply we end up feeling about this weird little kid and his surly new father-figure out in the New Zealand bush. — Allison Keene


Director: Katsuhiro Ôtomo

Writers: Katsuhiro Ôtomo, Izô Hashimoto

Cast: Nozomu Sasaki, Mami Koyama, Mitsuo Iwata, Tesshô Genda, Yuriko Fuchizaki, Johnny Yong Bosch, Cam Clarke

If you’re looking for a gateway anime feature, Akira’s about as good as it gets. It’s a strong introduction, for sure, owing to the manga adaptation’s mature themes and animation, so if you’re making a transition from Disney or Pixar … hold onto your butts. This thing grabs you by the optic nerve from the get-go and never lets go.

This cyberpunk/biopunk pic is set in the post-apocalyptic city of Neo-Tokyo in 2019. Ôtomo’s anime adaptation of his own work is a more focused effort than the manga, shortening the timeline and narrowing the range of characters to just a few. The story follows biker gang leader Shōtarō Kaneda and his efforts to prevent his newly super-powered pal Tetsuo Shima from reawakening the massively destructive psychic, Akira. The title character takes on more of a background role in the film but the mystery surrounding his history is a powerful force throughout. Akira is a seminal entry in the trend that brought Japanese anime to the West and helped to establish the art form internationally. Its raw power, unmistakable nods to Japan’s tragic history, and incredible artistry make Akira a must-watch for movie fans everywhere. – Dave Trumbore

Ghost in the Shell

Director: Mamoru Oshii

Writers: Shirow Masamune, Kazunori Itô,

Cast: Atsuko Tanaka, Iemasa Kayumi, Akio Ôtsuka, Kôichi Yamadera, Yutaka Nakano, Tamio Ôki, Tesshô Genda, Mimi Woods, Richard Epcar, William Knight, Bryan Cranston

If the live-action version by the same name leaves a bad taste in your mouth, do yourself a favor and revisit the original anime adaptation of Masamune Shirow’s incredibly complex and thoughtful manga series. At only 82 minutes, it’s tough for the feature to capture every facet of the story’s exploration of the interfaces of humanity, technology, and society, but it’s one hell of an introduction to the rest of the Ghost in the Shell franchise.

Centering on Motoko Kusanagi, Ghost in the Shell follows her hunt for a nefarious hacker known as the Puppet Master as part of the public-security agency, Section 9. Like the best political thrillers and espionage films, The Major soon finds herself peeling back layer upon layer of cover-ups and obfuscations as she’s drawn deeper into the web of intrigue. It’s a rare tale indeed that leaves the hero’s body broken, battered, and defeated while successfully visually demonstrating their soul’s new sense of enlightenment and understanding. Often imitated, rarely duplicated, Ghost in the Shell is a necessary watch for the modern age. – Dave Trumbore


Director: Paul Verhoeven

Writers: Edward Neumeier and Michael Miner

Cast: Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Dan O’Herlihy, Ronny Cox, Kurtwood Smith, and Miguel Ferrer

Although it’s certainly bloody and violent, RoboCop, like pretty much all of Paul Verhoeven’s movies, has a sharp string of satire running through it. There’s a stinging commentary on how cheaply we treat everything (with the catchphrase of “I’d buy that for a dollar!” serving as both a running gag and a comment on character behavior) including human life. And yet despite the bloodshed and action, Verhoeven never forgets the human Alex J. Murphy (Peter Weller) at the center of the story. When Murphy returns to his family home and sees that they’ve left, RoboCop is genuinely moving, showing Murphy as a specter in some kind of awful purgatory where he’s both a product and an officer. It’s a fascinating movie in addition to being an endlessly entertaining one. – Matt Goldberg

I, Tonya

Director: Craig Gillespie

Writer: Steven Rogers

Cast: Margot Robbie, Allison Janney, Sebastian Stan, Julianne Nicholson, Paul Walter Hauser, and Bobby Cannavale

Biting and acerbic, I, Tonya is a powerful, thoughtful, and surprisingly funny look at how notorious figure skater Tonya Harding (Margot Robbie) never got a fair shake. Best viewed with the 30 for 30 documentary The Price of Gold so you can see how accurate I, Tonya really is, Craig Gillespie‘s movie zeroes in on the fact that Harding didn’t make herself a victim, and yet she was abused throughout her life, first by her mother LaVona (Allison Janney in an Oscar-worthy performance), then her husband Jeff (Sebastian Stan), and finally by the public at large.

What’s refreshing about I, Tonya is that it doesn’t make Harding out to be a martyr or a saint. She’s not exactly “likable”, but what the film asks from us is to understand where she came from and how she got a raw deal. It’s the kind of story we weren’t telling in the 90s because we were too busy ridiculing Harding, and the great well of empathy the movie has for her is astounding. Thankfully, the movie never becomes sappy thanks to the electric performances, a sharp tone, and Coen-esque humor. I, Tonya may not give Harding a “second chance”, but it shows she never really had much of a chance at all. – Matt Goldberg

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