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Dangbei · 14 Aug 2020
Hulu is primarily known for its massive library of TV shows, including a large slate of fantastic originals and exclusives, but the service also plays host to a library of movies that are more than large enough to be daunting. We dug through the entire list to find the best movies Hulu has to offer, across a bunch of different genres and categories, so all you have to do is sit back and click play.
Will Poulter and Anthony Mackie in Detroit
While it slipped through awards season without much hype, Detroit remains one of 2017’s best films. Rotten Tomatoes awarded it an 84% for its “gut-wrenching dramatization of a tragic chapter” in American history. Director Kathryn Bigelow tackles the 1967 incident in Motor City with aplomb, deftly guiding a sprawling cast (led by John Boyega and Will Poulter) through a maze of tension, bigotry, and survival. Detroit streams exclusively on Hulu.
In the mid-1990s, Jim Carrey was suddenly vaulted to A-list comedy star status. In 1994 alone, Carrey starred in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Dumb and Dumber, and the comic book-based The Mask. Carrey stars as likable loser Stanley Ipkiss, a bank employee that quickly falls madly in love with mobster girlfriend Tina Carlyle (Cameron Diaz). Thanks to turning around for Stanley when he discovers the titular mask, which transforms him into a green-faced live-action cartoon trickster with superpowers, that also happens to be nearly invulnerable. Before long, Stanley's alter ego has run afoul of both the law and Tina's boyfriend, leaving Stanley caught in the middle. The Mask is still very much smokin' when streamed on Hulu.
It's fair to say that most horror sequels pale in comparison to the original, but in the case of 1988's Hellbound: Hellraiser II, many fans would insist it's just as good as Clive Barker's 1987 directing debut. Hellbound sees Kirsty Cotton venture into Hell in search of her father Larry, only to encounter Pinhead and his Cenobite pals once again, as well as her wicked stepmother Julia and a new foe, Dr. Channard. Boasting extreme gore and some of the craziest visuals in horror history, Hellraiser 2 is a great addition to Hulu's fright fare.
In 1995, director Martin Scorsese and two of his stars from Goodfellas would reunite for another terrific mob drama, now on Hulu. While not quite as beloved as its predecessor, Casino is still held in high regard. Once again based on true events, Casino stars Robert De Niro as Sam "Ace" Rothstein, a gangster overseeing the titular mob-run gaming establishment. Joe Pesci plays volatile enforcer Nicky Santoro, while Sharon Stone earned a Golden Globe for playing Ginger McKenna, Ace's ex-prostitute love interest.
Jim Carrey can be a bit of a controversial figure nowadays, with his outspoken political stances, but 1997's Liar Liar sees him at basically the height of his powers as a comic actor. Carrey plays Fletcher Reed, an attorney way more concerned with his status and bank account than ethics. While Fletcher loves his son and misses his ex-wife, his workaholic attitude causes him to miss lots of important moments. This leads Fletcher's son Max to make a wish that for one day, his dad can't tell a lie. That premise allows Carrey to completely cut loose with the physical comedy he's so good at, making Liar Liar a great pick for a night of laughs on Hulu.
One of the many triumphs to come out of the 1980s from director Barry Levinson, Rain Man tells the unlikely story of slick, fast-talking hustler Charlie Babbitt (Tom Cruise, in one of the early roles that proved to audiences that he was capable of far more than headlining popcorn fare like Top Gun), who is shocked to find out his father’s sizable estate is being passed on almost entirely to autistic savant Raymond (Dustin Hoffman), an older brother he never knew he had. A critical darling, Rain Man picked up four Oscars, including Best Picture, and Best Actor for Hoffman, and is a true Hulu gem.
Based on Stephen King’s novella, director Frank Darabont’s The Shawshank Redemption is considered by some to be the greatest film of all time. While that’s probably an overblown sentiment, the 91% Rotten Tomatoes score-holding prison drama is definitely quite amazing, anchored by the great lead performances of Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman. For Hulu users who haven’t seen it, it’s time to get busy streamin’ and possibly get busy cryin’.
Directed by Moonlight helmer Barry Jenkins, and based on the 1974 novel by James Baldwin, If Beale Street Could Talk proved nearly as critically acclaimed as Jenkins' prior film, earning three Oscar nominations. The story centers on Tish (Kiki Layne), a pregnant woman who sets out to clear the name of her fiance Fonny (Stephan James) after he's imprisoned for a crime he didn't commit. If Beale Street Could Talk is one of the best-reviewed films on Hulu, and is more than worth a watch.
The 2020 winner for Best Picture at the Oscars, the South Korean film Parasite is a truly remarkable creation, and it's now on Hulu. Directed by Bong Joon-ho, Parasite focuses on the Kims, a poor family willing to do just about anything to get financially ahead. When one of them gets hired to tutor the daughter of a rich family, the Parks, the Kims use that opportunity to get as much cash as they can for as long as they can. Unfortunately, their scheme goes awry, heading down into very dark places, both literal and figurative.
Released in a decade where vampire cinema was dominated by the sparkly Twilight, director Tomas Alfredson's Swedish hit Let the Right One In was exactly what the classic creature needed to remind audiences that despite their affliction, vampire movies don't have to suck. Lina Leandersson stars as Eli, an ageless vampire with the appearance of a child, and Kare Hedebrant plays Oskar, the bullied young boy she enters into an unexpectedly sweet relationship with. The film was later adapted stateside by Matt Reeves, with Chloe Grace Moretz in the Eli role. That version is also available via Hulu.
Starring Taron Egerton and directed by Dexter Fletcher, 2019's acclaimed Rocketman is a musical biopic of legendary singer/songwriter Elton John. Featuring Egerton actually performing all the John songs used onscreen, Rocketman is an often very dark look at the ups and downs of John's life, from his early interest in music through his peak fame in the 1970s. Hulu subscribers who love biopics or John's music owe it to themselves to board this rocket.