Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Douglas, and Eric Bana fight for America. Plus romance!
I’m here to tell you that there’s a cinematic streaming goldmine available on Hulu that includes recent hits, older classics, domestic releases, and foreign imports. Sure there’s plenty of filler and seemingly thousands of titles I’ve never heard of before, but I’m here to recommend some good movies (and maybe even some “good” movies) to watch this February on Hulu.
Pick of the Month: The Running Man (1987)
It’s the future, and when an unassuming everyman (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is framed and convicted his sentence is to participate in a televised reality show for a chance at regaining his freedom. Stephen King’s short novel gets a goofy but fun adaptation that paints a nightmare picture of a world where power rests with a heartless and greedy game-show host who can only be stopped by a quip-filled Schwarzenegger. It’s science fiction.
Drop Zone (1994)
Sometimes competing movies are released with crazily similar plots, and you know the big ones ‐ Chasing Liberty vs First Daughter, Olympus Has Fallen vs White House Down ‐ but did you know there was also a face-off between skydiving criminal flicks? Charlie Sheen headlined the inferior Terminal Velocity while Wesley Snipes doled out mid-air spin kicks in this John Badham-directed action romp. It’s a fun enough movie, but the real reason it’s getting a spot here is as a thank you for Snipes’ Twitter account which is a steady stream of entertainment in its own right.
The American President (1995)
Ivan Reitman’s Dave remains the best comedy about an American president, but Rob Reiner’s rom-com is a close second. Michael Douglas took a break from playing disturbed, troubled, and/or sex-hungry guys and gave one of his warmest performances as a widower president with a pre-teen daughter. It’s a sweet and funny film that will leave you nostalgic for presidents past, and you can never go wrong with Annette Bening.
Wild Bill (1995)
Director Walter Hill was long past his heyday even in the mid ’90s with his best work ‐ Southern Comfort, 48 Hrs., Streets of Fire ‐ coming years earlier, but he’s had a handful of solid films in the decades since. One of those good movies is this western/drama starring Jeff Bridges as the infamous shooter. More character piece than action film, the film makes strong use of its lead and supporting cast alike including Keith Carradine, Ellen Barkin, John Hurt, Diane Lane, Bruce Dern, and Christina Applegate.
Addicted to Love (1997)
A man (Matthew Broderick) and a woman (Meg Ryan) discover that their respective partners are cheating on them with each other, so they decide to work together to break the new lovers apart. Is it a given that Broderick and Ryan will themselves get together? Maybe, but the result is a darkly funny and fresh rom-com that plays off of both actors’ strengths. Griffin Dunne directs, and I highly recommend it.
City of Angels (1998)
Director Scott Derrickson once called me out on Twitter for enjoying this American remake without having ever seen Wim Wenders’ Wings of Desire, a cinematic crime I still have yet to rectify, but I stand by the simple pleasure of Brad Silberling’s redo. Nicolas Cage and Meg Ryan headline this magical romance to great effect exhibiting real chemistry and wonder, and the soundtrack is a legit great slice of ’90s music. (Like, Goo Goo Dolls great.)
Forces of Nature (1999)
Sandra Bullock and Ben Affleck in a romantic comedy? Yes please! No one seemed to like this one when it was released, and fewer seem to be fans these days, but dammit I’ll happily stand alone if necessary. It’s a fun movie. Honest.
Black Hawk Down (2001)
Sometimes you just need an impeccably-crafted, well-acted, modern day military action movie, and when that urge hits you can hardly do better than Ridley Scott’s intense dramatization of the infamous Somalian fiasco. And this cast! Eric Bana, Josh Hartnett, Ewan McGregor, William Fichtner, Sam Shepard, Kim Coates, Hugh Dancy, Jason Isaacs, Ioan Gruffudd, Tom Hardy, Orlando Bloom, and Ty Burrell!
The Station Agent (2003)
A little man (Peter Dinklage) with a big, empty heart moves to a small town expecting to live out his life alone, but he finds just the opposite instead. This is a film about people and relationships, and its approach to intimacy is something of a rarity. Adult friendships aren’t a common topic in cinema, but Tom McCarthy feature debut reveals an eye and ear interested in the interactions we need most even if we don’t know it.
The Fountain (2006)
Can you believe there are people who count themselves as fans of Clint Mansell’s score but who still haven’t actually seen Darren Aronofsky’s beloved time-hopping, mind-bending epic? [cough] Well now they no longer have an excuse.
There Will Be Blood (2007)
All of Paul Thomas Anderson’s films are considered his best by someone, but for me it’s this intimate yet epic exploration of greed, corruption, and family that fits the bill. Daniel-Day Lewis mesmerizes as a man whose thirst for power, profit, and milkshakes knows no bounds, and every frame here works to create a reflection of America’s past, present, and future. It’s powerful filmmaking that still manages to entertain in big ways.
Related Topics: Hulu