The thing with streaming services is that they all have their advantages and disadvantages. With so many services to choose from, viewers are sure to find one that suits their needs. If you like scary movies, Shudder is the place for you. Interested in franchises such as Disney, Marvel, or Star Wars? Then you should check out Disney+. However, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu are the big three when it comes to original programming and movies. In the meantime, you can watch Say Anything and other cult favorites from the ’80s on Hulu.
What sets Hulu’s ’80s collection apart from the competition is the breadth of its options. Now that you can get Starz, Cinemax, and HBO as part of your Hulu subscription, I decided to only watch movies that are available to stream from a free Hulu account. And so it is with that in mind that we board a time machine and journey back to the ’80s with these fantastic films.
1. Say Anything…(1989)
What are you doing with your eyes right now, exactly? I’m currently watching Say Anything… on Hulu because it’s free to watch right now. With Ione Skye as Diane and John Cusack as Lloyd, this romantic comedy/drama follows the lives of two high school seniors who meet after graduation and fall in love despite their differences.
This is Cameron Crowe’s debut film, and it’s a sweet story about embezzlement. What most people remember about the film is the romance between Lloyd and Diane, as well as John Cusack playing Peter Gabriel on a boombox during the credits. Nice.
2. Heathers (1988)
The 1980s John Hughes films are a cultural touchstone for many people. The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, or Sixteen Candles are all good choices. All of these films are entertaining and feature a diverse cast of teenagers. The anti-John Hughes film, however, is… Heathers. Heathers was originally written with the intention of being directed by Stanley Kubrick, and it stars Winona Ryder as Veronica, a young woman who longs to leave her small town and rediscover herself. The result of her decision is that she supports a sociopath named J.D. (Christian Slater), who kills people and then claims the deaths are suicides. Also, the “suicides” increase public interest in the deceased teens.
When Heathers first came out, it didn’t do well, but with a plot like that, how could it not? As a result, it has become a cult classic and the go-to film for edgy, anti-sweet teen flicks in the 1980s. My jaw still drops when I think about how this movie got made.
3. Girls Just Want to Have Fun (1985)
Do you find the color of Heathers to be oppressively dark? That being the case, let’s get this party started! Because a lighthearted dance film is on the way. Girls Just Want to Have Fun is so much fun to watch because it never takes itself too seriously. Sarah Jessica Parker and Helen Hunt play dance-crazy best friends Janey and Lynne in the film. However, Janey’s father forbids her from participating in Dance TV because he believes it is a waste of time. There is a lot of drama (and dancing!) as a result.
Despite the fact that there are numerous cheesy dance numbers, watching a large group of people release their tensions while dancing is therapeutic.
4. The Jewel of the Nile (1985)
It wasn’t just teen comedies in the ’80s. There were also a number of excellent action films to be found (hello. In the 1980s, we had Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and The Jewel of the Nile, both sequels to the excellent Romancing the Stone.
How important is Romancing the Stone to fully appreciate The Jewel of the Nile’s visual and auditory splendor? It doesn’t, but it does help a lot. It’s been a while since Joan (Kathleen Turner), Jack (Michael Douglas), and Ralph (Danny DeVito) went on an adventure together. Now, Jack and Ralph must save Joan (a romance writer, which the film plays with) and get what the title refers to as “the jewel of Egypt.” But, as in the first film, not everything is as it seems to be. When it comes to romance novels, the best parts are the connections between the characters. The Jewel of the Nile is fast, fun, and satirical in places. If you have the opportunity, see both films. They’re a lot of fun to play with.
5. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)
The 1980s saw a slew of thought-provoking science fiction films. There is life in the Thing and the Fly. They’re all timeless classics. Nevertheless, if there’s one sci-fi film that has stood the test of time, it’s Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Khan (Ricardo Montalban) seeks vengeance on the captain of the USS Enterprise (William Shatner) in the second (and best) Star Trek film. Khan is physically impressive but cruel.
What distinguishes The Wrath of Khan from other big-budget action flicks is how it approaches the revenge story. Khan yells obscenities at Kirk from across the galaxy, quoting artists like Moby Dick. It also has one of the most heartbreaking endings, as a significant character dies in the story. One of the best movies of the ’80s, without a doubt!… Khaaaaan!
6. Akira (1988)
Akira, the film that tops this list for me, is a seminal piece of animation. In the distant future of… 2019, it’s a post-apocalyptic nightmare. Psychic powers are given to Kaneda’s friend Tetsuo as a result of a motorcycle accident. Does Tetsuo, on the other hand, make use of his newly acquired abilities for the greater good? If he did, what would be the point of the story?
Even if you see things in other films that seem like they came from Akira, they most likely came from those other films. The animation is stunning and sickening at the same time, especially for Tetsuo’s final transformation, which still makes me sick to my stomach when I watch it. As a result, it’s not recommended for those who are easily scared.
7. Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
Grave of the Fireflies, another anime film, is one of the most depressing films you’ll ever see. In the closing days of World War II, two Japanese children struggle to survive. There is, however, no light at the end of the tunnel in this film. Everything that could go wrong does, and these children have no escape from the horrors they must endure. I’m not going to give anything away, but this movie will not have you laughing out loud the entire time. It’s the most heartbreaking thing you could possibly imagine.
However, it’s an extremely significant film. Ghibli did it, but the whimsical flourishes and unique animation that the company is known for are missing. Instead, they went with a more straightforward style of animation. If you’re looking for something to make you cry, give it a look.
8. Risky Business (1983)
If you don’t want to cry your eyes out after seeing Grave of the Fireflies, I’d suggest you watch another teen comedic instead. You know you’re going to have a good time because this is the movie that made Tom Cruise a star. There is a Joel Goodson in Risky Business who does everything that a parent wants their child to do. When Joel’s parents leave for a trip, he decides to have some fun with the house all to himself. But Joel’s “little” fun quickly turns into a major issue, which he must resolve before his parents arrive.
The movie Risky Business is a blast from the past and a classic of the decade. Tom Cruise as a young man in over his head situations is entertaining to watch.
9. National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)
National Lampoon’s Vacation, in which the Griswolds (led by Chevy Chase) travel cross-country to a fictional theme park called Walley World, was one of John Hughes’ best films. Every possible mishap occurs, and you find yourself laughing at how absurdly wrong a simple trip can go. It’s your fault, Clark. You should have listened to your wife and boarded that plane.
Trying to plan “the perfect family vacation” is a recipe for disaster, and that’s exactly what happens: a hilarious disaster. Check out the original Vacation if you haven’t already (or any of the Vacation films for that matter). Even today, it’s still relevant.
10. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
A man named Clark (Chevy Chase again) wants to have a “fun, old-fashioned family Christmas” like when he was a kid (or, at least, like he remembers having when he was a kid), only for everything to go wrong again just like it did in Vacation (and, in my opinion, the best of the three).
Even though it’s not the holiday season, Christmas Vacation is a fun movie to watch at any time.. This is a good movie to watch when you’re stuck inside and just want to unwind because it’s heartwarming at the end (what with the SWAT team and all).