You might be less likely to associate Hulu with cinematic outings as the inciting idea behind it was to be, essentially, a convenient alternative to cable. However, in addition to keeping you up-to-date on the latest episodes of your favorite TV shows, allowing you to revisit a slew of yesteryear’s greatest classics, the platform has also been busy the past year releasing its own original movies. From the (literally) fantastic romantic comedy Palm Springs to the horrifying hilarity of Bad Hair, 2020 has been an impressive year for Hulu.
Of course, the streaming service is also well-known for producing its own exclusive TV shows, such as the recently (and sadly) cancelled Stephen King-inspired anthology series Castle Rock or the Emmy-winning adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s novel The Handmaid’s Tale. Yet, for those who only have so much time each night set aside for streaming and only so much patience to witness a story unfold, Hulu should have the quick, feature-length watch you crave. Whether your poison is fun, quirky romance or an informative non-fiction account of one artist’s crusade to make a difference in society, you may find it in the platform’s original films released this past year alone.
On the off chance that you have already binged through the 2020 installments of Into the Dark (Hulu’s exclusive collection of monthly Blumhouse-produced thrillers), allow us to give you a crash course on everything else that you might have missed. The following is a list of the additional new movies available to Hulu subscribers with an explanation of why they are worth your time, starting with, arguably, The Lonely Island’s greatest achievement since “D*ck in a Box.”
Considering how popular this film grew, and how fast, there is a good chance you already have a clear idea of the plot. However, if, by some miracle, this is the first time you are hearing about Palm Springs, I highly recommend you ignore looking up any further information, go straight to your Hulu app, and enjoy. Without giving too much away, this romantic comedy starring co-producer Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti as strangers having a very stressful and seemingly endless wedding weekend at the titular California resort is cleverly funny, refreshingly honest, and delightfully strange.
Stream Palm Springs on Hulu here.
You might also be strangely delighted by writer and director Justin Simien’s feature-length follow-up to Dear White People, whose poster actually looks like the official promotional image for said 2014 award-winning satire but in reverse… and scarier. This story also offers satire with a terrifying twist, focusing on an aspiring music video jockey (Elle Lorraine) in 1989 who gets a weave in hopes to achieve her career dream, only to find herself living a nightmare. Featuring a star-studded supporting cast including SNL alum Jay Pharaoh, Emmy-winning writer Lena Waithe, and Usher (yes, that Usher), Bad Hair is a good time for fans of horror-comedy movies.
Stream Bad Hair on Hulu here.
While the plot of this fellow satire shares certain similarities to The Purge, you should be able find more to laugh at here than to scream at… depending on your social beliefs, perhaps. The Binge imagines a near future in which sobriety is required for all Americans, except for one annual night when drugs and alcohol are made legal. Vince Vaughn is naturally hysterical as a high school principal vehemently against this debauchery causing trouble for a trio of high school seniors (Skyler Gisondo, Dexter Darden, and Eduardo Franco) excited for their first chance to participate, in this sweet, yet irresistibly insane comedy from The Wedding Ringer director Jeremy Garelick.
Stream The Binge on Hulu here.
Big Time Adolescence
The Binge was actually not the first Hulu exclusive celebration of bad behavior from Jeremy Garelick, who also produced this additional coming-of-age story that is certainly more grounded, but may be equally insane. It follows the adventures of a naive 16-year-old (Locke & Key’s Griffin Gluck) who gets a crash course in destructive immaturity after befriending his older sister’s ex-boyfriend: a loose-canon 23-year-old college dropout played by Pete Davidson. Also starring Emmy-winner Jon Cryer and singer Machine Gun Kelly, Big Time Adolescence has its amusing quirks, but is an emotionally raw cautionary tale at its core which earned first-time director Jason Orley a nomination for the Grand Jury Prize in Drama at the Sundance Film Festival.
Stream Big Time Adolescence on Hulu here.
Margaret Atwood: A Word After a Word After a Word is Power
I would consider the 1985 dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale a cautionary story as well by warning readers of where society may fall if certain ideas become the norm. Thanks in part to Hulu’s series adaptation, its message and writer, Margaret Atwood, are more relevant (and important) today than ever and are both profiled in this fascinating and inspiring documentary. One could assume that releasing Margaret Atwood: A Word After a Word After a Word is Power is Hulu’s “Thank you” to the author for the success her work has brought the platform, and I think it is certainly showing appreciation of her, but for far more than Emmy awards and viewer subscriptions.
Stream Margaret Atwood: A Word After a Word After a Word is Power on Hulu here.
We Are Freestyle Love Supreme
Also famous for incorporating social commentary through his widely celebrated contributions to entertainment in Lin-Manuel Miranda, who became a household name for his brilliant, Tony award-winning fusion of hip-hop with history Hamilton. Long before all that, however, he was a co-creator and member of an improvisational rap group known as Freestyle Love Supreme, who reunited for a string of New York concerts in 2019. Recordings of those sensational performances is spliced with interviews and archive footage tracing the history of the troupe in We Are Freestyle Love Supreme, directed by Cheer producer Andrew Fried, which may be the most feel-good documentary you will see (and need) all year.
Stream We Are Freestyle Love Supreme on Hulu here.
Books Of Blood
Now, if you happen to be the kind of person whose source of catharsis is more of the macabre and disturbing, how about a trio of terrifying tales form the mind of Clive Barker? A short story by the prolific creator of Hellraiser serves as the basis of Books of Blood, which presents new stories created with the British writer’s involvement. Emmy-winning TV writer Brannon Braga makes his feature-length directorial debut with this hair-raising flick destined to be a favorite among fans of horror anthologies.
Stream Books of Blood on Hulu here.
What do you think? Has Clive Barker never been better than with Books of Blood, or has that anthology made the wait for the Hellraiser TV series feel even longer for you? Let us know in the comments and be sure to check back for additional information and updates on what other movies will be dropping exclusively on Hulu this year, as well as more of our own recommendations for other films released digitally in 2020, here on CinemaBlend.
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Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in almost any article about Batman.