In 2017, Hulu made television history by becoming the first streaming network to win the Outstanding Drama Series Emmy, thanks to the phenomenon that is The Handmaid’s Tale. While that painfully prescient adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s 1985 dystopian novel remains one of the best TV shows to watch on Hulu, it also set a bar for quality entertainment that the network has continued to match—and sometimes exceed—with original series like The Bear, The Great, and Only Murders in the Building.
While Netflix has largely cornered the streaming market on original movies, and even managed to convince A-listers like Guillermo del Toro, Alfonso Cuarón, and Martin Scorsese to come their way, Hulu is starting to find its footing in features too. Below are some of our top picks for the best movies (original and otherwise) streaming on Hulu right now.
Based on decades of experience, moviegoers have come to expect very little from sequels, prequels, and/or reboots—which is what makes Prey such an astounding surprise. As the fifth installment in the Predator franchise and a prequel, the 18th-century tale follows the Arthurian adventures of Naru (Amber Midthunder), a young Comanche woman and fierce warrior who is determined to save her people from a highly evolved predator (aka Predator) that is attempting to decimate her community. The film, directed by Dan Trachtenberg (10 Cloverfield Lane), brilliantly mixes elements of survival horror and sci-fi with Western mythology to create what many have deemed the very best film in the nearly 40-year-old franchise, which all began with ’80s-era Ahhnold.
Noa (Daisy Edgar-Jones) is a single woman on the lookout for a partner, but who is tired of the online dating scene. So when she meets Steve (Sebastian Stan), a quirky, handsome stranger, she takes a chance on giving him her number. The two hit it off on the first date and eventually find themselves making plans to spend a weekend away—which is when Noa realizes that Steve has been hiding a few disturbing details about himself. Ultimately, Fresh stands as a lesson in the horrors of dating in the digital age (both real and imagined).
Good Luck to You, Leo Grande
Two years after the death of her husband, retired religion teacher Nancy Stokes (Emma Thompson) decides it’s time to do something about the fact that she has never had an orgasm. So she hires Leo Grande (Daryl McCormack), a young male sex worker, and invites him to a hotel room so that she can cross a few items off her sexual bucket list. But what begins as a transactional relationship quickly, and genuinely, evolves into much more.
Michael Mann’s iconic heist film is nearly 30 years old, but it hasn’t lost any of the potency that made it an instant classic when it debuted. Come for the chance to see Robert De Niro as master criminal Neil McCauley face off against a predictably over-the-top Al “BIG ASS!” Pacino as Lieutenant Hanna. Stay for one of the most beautifully executed heist scenes in cinema history.
Given the existence of Harold Ramis’ near-perfect Groundhog Day, it takes a whole lot of chutzpah for a filmmaker to add another picture to the infinite-time-loop rom-com canon. But writer-director Max Barbakow went ahead and did it anyway with Palm Springs, and audiences are thankful he did. Building upon the rules originally established in Groundhog Day, Palm Springs offers its own unique twist on the story. Instead of one person (Billy Murray’s Phil Conners) slowly being pushed to the brink of insanity because he’s the only one who seems to be experiencing the phenomenon, Palm Springs sees three wedding guests—Nyles (Andy Samberg), Sarah (Cristin Milioti), and Roy (J. K. Simmons)—living the same day again and again, and working together to find a way out of it.
Romeo (Kyle Allen) and Juliet (Isabela Merced) regularly nab all the headlines as William Shakespeare’s legendarily star-crossed lovers. But this inventive rom-com from director Karen Maine (Obvious Child) is more concerned with Rosaline (Kaitlyn Dever), Juliet’s cousin—and Romeo’s first love—who is conveniently disposed of in the play. Dever makes up for 400-plus years of lost time as she plots to win her man back in this fun and frilly period rom-com.
The King of Comedy
Netflix may maintain sole possession of The Irishman, but Hulu is where you’ll find The King of Comedy, which might just be Martin Scorsese’s most underrated movie. Rupert Pupkin (Robert De Niro) is a wannabe talk show host who is absolutely convinced that the only thing he needs to make it big is the blessing and support of the Johnny Carson-like Jerry Langford (Jerry Lewis) … so he kidnaps him, with the goal of landing a few minutes of time on Jerry’s talk show. It’s a fascinating, sometimes funny, and sometimes eerily prescient examination of mental illness—and a clear inspiration for Todd Phillips’ Joker (2019).
Seth Meyers and Evan Goldberg mined their own teenage friendship to cowrite and produce what might be one of the most authentic coming-of-age movies to come out of the genre. As they prepare to graduate from high school and head off on their separate paths to college, best friends Seth (Jonah Hill) and Evan (Michael Cera) have one night to party with their classmates and have no regrets. Things, of course, don’t go exactly as planned. In addition to introducing the world to some of the most talented then up-and-comers in the business, including Cera, Hill, and Emma Stone, Superbad also contains what might be one of the greatest comedic lines of the past 20 years: “Nobody has gotten a hand job in cargo shorts since ‘Nam!”