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 Casual; 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.

Election

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

The Emperor's New Groove

Image via Disney

Director: Mark Dindal

Writer: David Reynolds

Cast: David Spade, John Goodman, Eartha Kitt, and Patrick Warburton

Although it wasn’t the movie they originally set out to make (it was originally supposed to be a musical epic called Kingdom of the Sun), The Emperor’s New Groove is still a comic delight and one of the funnier movies ever made from Disney Animation. The movie follows Emperor Kuzco (David Spade), a selfish ruler of the Inca Empire who is transformed into a llama and must try to change himself back with the help of kind, modest village leader Pacha (John Goodman) before his throne is stolen by his ex-advisor Yzma (Eartha Kitt), who is assisted by the dimwitted and lovable Kronk (Patrick Warburton). If you’re looking for a movie that will put a big, goofy smile on your face from start to finish, just fire up The Emperor’s New Groove. – Matt Goldberg

Colossal

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

Room 237

Image via IFC Films

Director: Rodney Ascher

How much can you pick apart a movie? That’s the question Room 237 seeks to answer and it uses Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining as its test case. Kubrick was famously knowng for being an exacting director, so every choice must be purposeful, right? Ascher assembles a group of academics to offer their various theories on what The Shining means, and while a couple are fairly compelling, sometimes the reasoning is absolutely outlandish and downright hilarious. But it ends up being a tribute to loving movies as we all try to pull meaning out of what may or may not have been intentional, and the best you can do is make the best argument for your case. The guy who argues that The Shining is Kubrick’s confession of faking the moon landing does not make the best argument. – Matt Goldberg

In the Loop

Image via IFC Films

Director: Armando Iannucci

Writers: Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, & Tony Roche

Cast: Peter Capaldi, Gina McKee, Tom Hollander, Chris Addison, Zach Woods, Mimi Kennedy, Anna Chlumsky, and James Gandolfini

If you like your comedy acerbic, political, and about the craven ineptness of politicans, you’ll do well to check out In the Loop. A parable about the rush to the Iraq War, the story follows a group of British political fixers and politicians as they bumble their way into an armed conflict as the U.S. escalates its way to a predetermined outcome. The dialogue is beautifully foul-mouthed with Peter Capaldi stealing the show as fixer Malcolm Tucker, but the whole cast is outstanding in a comedy of errors with grave consequences. If you’re a fan of Iannucci’s previous work The Thick of It and Veep, you won’t want to miss In the Loop. – Matt Goldberg

A Simple Plan

Image via Paramount

Director: Sam Rami

Writer: Scott B. Smith

Cast: Bill Paxton, Billy Bob Thorton, Bridget Fonda, Bent Briscoe, and Gary Cole

Sam Raimi isn’t really known for drama, but he nailed it with this nourish 1998 crime drama. The story foolows three blue-collar guys (Bill Paxton, Billy Bob Thorton, Brent Briscoe) who discover a duffle bag full of money in the woods. They resolve to keep the money, seeing it as a victimless crime. But soon someone comes looking for it, and paranoia and deceit starts splitting the friends apart. Raimi takes a big risk here, leaving behind his spookablast tricks and playing it straight. The result is a dark, brooding, powerful little drama with outstanding performances from the talented cast. – Matt Goldberg

Weiner

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

Arrival

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

Silence

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

Akira

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

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