Five new-to-Hulu movies hit the streaming service this week. Four are from 2021, and one — Dirty Grandpa — is from 2016. Here’s a look at what to check out.
After that short list of newbies, we’ve included CNET’s full list of the very best Hulu originals.
What to watch this week (Jan. 24 to Jan. 31)
Dirty Grandpa (2016) — Jason Kelly (Zac Efron) is one week away from marrying his boss’s uber-controlling daughter. However, when the strait-laced Jason is tricked into driving his foul-mouthed grandfather, Dick (Robert De Niro), to Daytona for spring break, his pending nuptials are suddenly in jeopardy.
Mayday (2021) — Ana (Grace Van Patten) is transported to a dreamlike and dangerous land where she joins an army of girls engaged in a never-ending war along a rugged coast. Though she finds strength in this exhilarating world, she comes to realize that she’s not the killer they want her to be.
Charli XCX: Alone Together (2021) — Charli XCX, a pop star in quarantine, embarks on a whirlwind journey to make an album in 40 days. The process tests her creative and emotional limits and unites a global community of vulnerable LGBTQ fans.
Stop and Go (2021) — Blake and Jamie’s big plans for the year come to a screeching halt when they’re forced to rescue their grandma and her beloved dog from her nursing home.
Small Engine Repair (2021) — Based on John Pollono’s award-winning play, Small Engine Repair is a pitch-black comedic drama with a wicked twist and a powerful exploration of brotherhood, class struggle and toxic masculinity.
Full list of best Hulu originals
It was only a matter of time before a documentary chronicling the remarkable story of teenage climate change activist Greta Thunberg came around. I Am Greta is an intimate look at Thunberg’s one-person school strike for climate action outside the Swedish parliament. We also see a little of her life as a shy student with Asperger’s. The rare footage is in the sure hands of Swedish director Nathan Grossman, following Thunberg’s galvanizing impact from those steps to the rest of the world.
On the surface, this extraordinary documentary from Bing Liu is a love letter to skateboarding. But scratch a little deeper and you’ll find Minding the Gap’s vast depths. A rich and thoughtful tale of young people growing up in 21st century America, it explores domestic trauma, systemic racism and classism. It resonates beyond the skate park.
Plan B (2021)
This road trip comedy covers familiar territory, but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable. Kuhoo Verma and Victoria Moroles star as odd best friends: one a straitlaced student, the other a slacker who helps the former track down a Plan B pill in conservative small-town South Dakota — within 24 hours of a regrettable first sexual encounter. Following in the footsteps of the fast-paced and fresh Booksmart, Plan B is a witty, bawdy ride that holds nothing back.
Palm Springs slots right into the charming indie movie category: Its fresh sci-fi premise acts as a gateway to exploring deeper ideas. Cristin Miloti and Andy Samberg star as Sarah and Nyles, two strangers who meet at a wedding and get up to all sorts, including stumbling into a Groundhog Day time loop. Their only chance of escape seems to be tied to having personal breakthroughs. Very much sticking the landing, Palm Springs should be on your list of viewing destinations.
Big Time Adolescence is a coming-of-age movie told with an emphasis on the messiness of growing up. Pete Davidson plays a slacker who befriends 16-year-old Mo. His influence sees Mo try new things, from alcohol to impressing girls at parties. Lessons, as you can expect, are learned. A smart ensemble, including Jon Cryer, is the cherry on the cake bringing together this heartfelt gem.
If you like your Christmas movies with a dash of substance, then Happiest Season is one of the best new gems to slide onto your holiday viewing shelf. Kristen Stewart and Mackenzie Davis star as loving couple Abby and Harper, who encounter a single spanner in their relationship: Harper hasn’t come out to her conservative family yet. Delivering all the warmth of a Hallmark card with none of the cheesiness, and bolstered by a stellar supporting cast including Aubrey Plaza, Alison Brie and Dan Levy, Happiest Season is a smart, modern Christmas movie with emotional punch.
Cortesía de TIFF
Chloé Zhao’s Nomadland swept up awards at film festivals and unsurprisingly won best picture, best director and best actress at the Oscars. Zhao’s a true workhorse, directing, editing and writing this contemplative and fascinating drama about a woman (Frances McDormand) who leaves her home to travel around the American West. Get this: Members of the supporting cast are real-life nomads playing fictionalized versions of themselves. See this extraordinary piece of filmmaking from the director who’ll bring her unique lens to Marvel’s Eternals later this year.
Sarah Paulson’s had a big year, starring in Mrs. America, Ratched and now Run, a thriller from Aneesh Chaganty (check out his excellent directorial debut Searching). In Run, Paulson plays Diane Sherman, a mother looking after her daughter Chloe (Kiera Allen), who uses a wheelchair. But their mother-daughter relationship is more disturbing than it seems. Be captivated by the suspense, mystery and horror as Diane takes helicopter parenting to a new level.
As the great Fleabag once said, “Hair is everything.” Bad Hair might just take that to the next level. The horror satire set in the ’80s follows a young woman who reluctantly agrees to get a weave — but changing her image to please the image-obsessed music industry has its consequences. Absurdly funny and disturbing at the same time, Bad Hair unravels an entertaining fable that reflects on modern life.
Zombies, the Australian outback and a school bus of happy-go-lucky children are a mix you can expect to end badly. Little Monsters follows kindergarten teacher Miss Caroline (Lupita Nyong’o) on her gargantuan task: Keep her charges safe and oblivious to the flesh (and echidna) eating monsters. If she pulls it off, she’ll be teacher of the year. With a scene-stealing Josh Gad in tow, Little Monsters is ridiculous fun using a fresh brain to tackle the genre.