While we wait to relish in that awe-inspiring cinematic experience of movie theaters, here are eight noteworthy titles (and Oscar contenders) on Hulu you can stream right now from home.
This surprising Oscar frontrunner has already nabbed Best Picture and Best Director Golden Globe awards, putting director/writer/editor Chloe Zhao’s name in the history books, and earmarking France McDormand as a notable and enchanting co-pilot.
Available exclusively on Hulu and in select cinemas, Nomadland is a quiet yet powerful study on the working class American who longs for the unknown.
McDormand’s character Fern becomes a nomad after the economic collapse of her small town and the death of her husband. She puts in hours for Amazon and picks up odd jobs across the southwest as she travels alone in her beat-up van.
Fern finds community with other nomads and acts as a spirit guide for audiences into this open, yet sometimes isolating world.
Released in a timely fashion, Nomadland hits on everything we’re facing today as we try to claw our way out of a global pandemic – work struggles, relationships, self-worth – against the spectacular backdrop of the southwest skyline.
The Trip series (2010 – 2020)
Take the best of Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, self-indulgent celebrity impressions, and Food Network travel shows and you get The Trip: a sitcom turned film series that’s managed to span four movies over a decade.
Something like this shouldn’t work this many times, but the chemistry between Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon makes the thought of them visiting a new country and trading Michael Caine impressions over a plate of spaghetti damn near irresistible.
Coogan and Brydon are lauded figures in England in their own right : Coogan for his iconic character Alan Partridge, and Brydon for his roles on popular sitcoms like Gavin & Stacey. But Americans would probably know them better as mini Octavius in the Night at the Museum series, and occasional guest on the Graham Norton Show.
They play versions of themselves on the show/films, with each trip being an excuse to eat exciting local cuisine and write about it for British newspaper, The Observer. Mid-life crisis historical references are abundant, as well as competitive impression-offs with the occasional bruised ego left to mend after.
Best to have some snacks on hand though – ideally a fancy cheese plate or even smoked salmon for good measure – cause these films will make your mouth water.
Another Round (2020)
Another Round (Druk in Danish) is one of my favorite films of 2020. I was able to watch it early in January by renting it online, and am so jazzed that everyone can now access this amazing exploration of the human condition (including Mads Mikkelsen’s dancing).
The film stars Mikkelsen as dull professor Martin at a secondary education school in Copenhagen. To escape their run-of-the-mill lives, his friends/colleagues decide to test psychiatrist Finn Skårderud’s theory that having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.05 unlocks a person’s creativity and allows them to operate at their natural state.
In the beginning, it looks to be working swimmingly as a study with worthwhile effects: Martin is more engaged in the classroom and with his family, and his other friends are finding renewed purpose in their work.
But things start to unravel when it turns into a necessary lifestyle: each of the men now dependent on their overblown alcohol intake and now have a lose grip on reality.
Artful and profound, Another Round is a frontrunner to win Best International Feature Film at the Oscars and a surprise nomination for Thomas Vinterberg as Best Director solidifies it as a must-watch far beyond this awards season.
Young Frankenstein (1974)
Arguably one of the best and most classic movies available on Hulu right now, Young Frankenstein has only gotten better upon each re-watch for me.
Directed by Mel Brooks and released in 1974, the film parodies classis horror films and uses the themes of Frankenstein to great comedic effect. Co-written by star and Brooks’ onetime collaborator Gene Wilder, Young Frankenstein is his to experiment to run of the rails, and he’s nearly outshined by an excellent cast of costars at every turn.
Marty Feldman as Igor is a riot. He doesn’t even need to say anything to be funny. Peter Boyle of Everybody Loves Raymond fame plays the monster (singing, dancing, the works). And Cloris Leachman is dazzling as Frau Blücher, the overbearing housekeeper.
I’ll never hear “Putting On The Ritz” the same way again.
The Shape of Water (2017)
Three years later, and I’m still overjoyed that The Shape of Water won Best Picture! Something you can’t say for other winners of the title cough, Green Book, cough.
Guillermo Del Toro (Pans Labyrinth, Hell Boy) weaves another brilliant and entrancing monster movie with love at the center of it’s web. The story: mute woman falls in love with amphibian God.
People either loved or hated The Shape of Water when it came out, many finding it too out-there or labeling it as Hollywood fanfare. I find it to be a universal story of human connection – battling the more discreet monsters in our lives to find connection and truth.
And man is this a stacked cast.
Michael Shannon is at his most menacing, and everyone’s favorite “that guy” Richard Jenkins is a lovable force. Everyone’s on their A-game. Even the amphibian.
Support the Girls (2018)
I don’t care who you’ve worked for, but you’ve never had a manager as great as Regina Hall’s character Lisa in Support the Girls.
Hall plays a role that’s worthy of her talents and showcases a refreshing new side. She’s the general manager of a Double Whammies – a fake sports bar chain – and is the first to deal with everybody else’s baggage, including the young ladies working for her.
She’s their den mother, protecting them from creepy, entitled customers, and going above and beyond off the clock to support these girls and give advice she likely never had the honor of receiving.
We see what a day-in-the-life is like for Lisa for a large portion of the film, but we get the sense that she’s had to deal with this shit for too long.
You get stuck in life, and you need your girls to help get you out of it.
Sometimes you just need a good cry.
Don’t be fooled, Babyteeth has plenty of charming moments, but it’s imbued with the right amount of vulnerability while managing to stay authentic to its characters.
Milla Finlay (Eliza Scanlen) is a teenager recently diagnosed with cancer who becomes enamored with Moses (Toby Wallace) a 23-year-old homeless drug addict.
He has his charms, something about that dirty rough and tumble look is like honey to teenage girls.
Her hippie dippie parents who love her with their whole hearts go along with this ill-advised romance, and even let him crash on their couch to keep her company.
Helmed by first-time director Shannon Murphy, Babyteeth tells a complicated story from every angle and does the family right by doing so.
Hello, My Name Is Doris (2015)
Sally Field is the human embodiment of charm and about a million other descriptors in this movie.
Hello, My Name is Doris has been on my radar for years and I had only just seen it recently when it dropped on Hulu.
Doris, played by Field, is an insecure yet eccentric woman in her 60s, living alone in a cluttered house and working at youth-driven fitness something or other company. She starts to show cracks in her shell when new co-worker John (Max Greenfield) joins the office.
He notices her, and she’s felt unseen at work and practically everywhere else (even with her Grandma chic mix-and-match fashion sense).
The story that follows is about a woman liberating herself in all the outlandish ways needed: hanging out with hipsters at Brooklyn hotspots, having vivid fantasies about John in the middle of the work day and going to pop rock rave concerts in rainbow gear.