The Absolute Best Movies on Hulu Right Now
Expand your streaming options.
Netflix may have been first to the streaming game, but it's far from the only player. Hulu, for example, has steadily improved the quality and diversity of its on-demand streaming offerings, to the point where now you can find titles that are just as good (if not better) than what's on Netflix. Here, to make our case, are the best movies currently on Hulu:
Akira (1988)Akira, inadequately described as a sci-fi gang movie, is largely responsible for the boom of anime aimed towards adult, Western audiences (and also happened to eerily predict Tokyo's 2020 Olympics). Set in a post-apocalyptic, crime-addled Neo-Tokyo in 2019, Shōtarō Kaneda and his biker gang become entangled in a deep-state conspiracy and an outside resistance movement when one of the gang's members develops uncontrollable psychic powers after a horrible bike crash. What follows—R-rated violence, trippy hallucinations, and interdimensional passage, with humor peppered in—is a heady whirlwind that drops you off miles from where you started. Bonus points for the soundtrack, rich in percussion and chanted vocal rhythms, which is among the most distinctive in science-fiction film.
American Psycho (2000)Bret Easton Ellis's frenzied finance bro Patrick Bateman became all-too-real in the hands of Christian Bale and director Mary Harron, who pushed the surreal nightmare of American Psycho to its highest highs. From pop-infused acts of murder to hyper-designed business cards that send chills down the spine, this is a horror movie that reminds us to fear the 1%.
Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)Yeah, baby, yeah! There’s no franchise that’s quite as groovy as Austin Powers, the Mike Myers comedy about a sex-crazed, mod spy cryogenically frozen and reanimated in the '90s. It's an absolutely absurd James Bond sendup, but that's half the fun in watching him take on the villain Dr. Evil (also Mike Myers). If you find the London swinger with those teeth and Victorian lace ensembles as irresistible as apparently every woman on the planet, you can catch both the second and third installment on Hulu, too. Yes, please!
Big Daddy (1999)While even early Adam Sandler hits had sentimental parts, there was usually a healthy dose of irony to go with the romantic-comedy beats and faux-inspirational moments. But with Big Daddy things got downright mawkish. While the movie has hilarious lines—"We wasted the good surprise on you" still kills—this oaf-meets-cute-kid tale is also notable for a lengthy Sheryl Crowe-scored montage, a big Mrs. Doubtfire-style courtroom finale, and the whelps of "Scuba Steve!" This was the first time Adam Sandler figured out he could make bros cry.
Blade Runner (1982)Director Ridley Scott went out of his way to imagine 2019 Los Angeles as a pretty terrible place to be, and yet the look, sound, and feel of the world are so seductive that we want to visit regardless. Same goes for the story: Blade Runner's plot is a barely warmed-over detective yarn with Harrison Ford in the role of the hard-boiled investigator, but we can feel glimmers of the pain and confusion of artificial humans who realize they are powerless against their pre-determined fate. The movie is a triumph of world-building that still makes a mark on viewers and filmmakers years later.
Boogie Nights (1997)This ensemble drama about the porn business, from director Paul Thomas Anderson, is one of the most rewatchable movies ever made. Any stray moment can draw you in: Mark Wahlberg's Dirk Diggler picking his name in a hot tub, John C. Reilly singing that Transformers song, Julianne Moore snorting an afternoon away, Burt Reynolds framing up a shot, or Heather Graham strolling across the screen in nothing but her roller blades. Splitting the difference between the laid-back melancholia of Robert Altman and the coked-out frenzy of Martin Scorsese, Boogie Nights remains PTA's most purely pleasurable film, a loving tribute to an era of big stars, big egos, and big… well… you've seen the ending.
Booksmart (2019)Ever since Superbad came out in 2007, there were calls for a female version of the Apatovian classic. A lot of comedies in the interim have come close—see, for instance, 2018's Blockers—but none has felt like a true heir. And then Booksmart came along. Olivia Wilde's directorial debut is the raucously hilarious story of two high achieving high school seniors, Molly (Beanie Feldstein) and Amy (Kaitlyn Dever), who have spent the past four years of their lives studying to maximize their chances of getting into their preferred prestigious Ivy League colleges only to find out a bunch of the popular kids are also going to really good schools. This coming-of-age story is incredibly well acted: Feldstein and Dever land every punchline even as they convey the strains of a meaningful female friendship, and it's almost unfair to single out a supporting performance because they are all perfect gems, but if you're twisting our arm, we'll pick one: Billie Lourd as a druggie, almost magical rich kid, is brilliant.
Dead Poets Society (1989)Stand up on your couch, scream "carpe diem!" and finally watch this heartwarming drama about a group of boys studying to become cogs in the machine, and a teacher, played by Robin Williams, who teaches them to be individuals. Williams gets most of the notoriety for his inspirational poetry readings, but it's a young Robert Sean-Leonard (House) who chews on the most complicated material. What appear to be inspirational notes turn darkly serious, giving added depth to a coming-of-age film that stands the test of time.
The Dead Zone (1983)This quietly harrowing Stephen King thriller is an underrated entry in both The Fly and Videodrome director David Cronenberg's and actor Christopher Walken's filmographies, yet remains among the warmest of their respective careers. The Dead Zone follows a man's effort to do good with his newfound psychic abilities and delivers some suspenseful and visually exciting scenes—his visions of the gazebo killer and of a crazed politician's future are both standouts—but the movie's power comes from the tragic love story running through it that while barely spoken is repeatedly evident in Walken's pained expressions.
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