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The Best Things Coming to (and Leaving) Hulu in November

Don’t miss a thing with our critics’ must-watch list

Meryl Streep and Amanda Seyfried in the musical romantic comedy Mamma Mia

Peter Mountain/Universal

(Left to right) Meryl Streep and Amanda Seyfried in "Mamma Mia!"

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The third-most popular streaming service for viewers over 50 (after Netflix and Amazon’s Prime Video) offers a rich crop of new shows and movies, including the memoir-movie about Eminem (who turned 50 on Oct. 17), Meryl Streep’s delicious performance as Julia Child, and Julia Roberts’ classic rom-com Notting Hill.

Coming Nov. 1

8 Mile (2002)

Eminem, who burst on the scene in 1995 as a Dr. Dre youthquake discovery, fiercely portrays himself in this hit by L.A. Confidential director Curtis Hanson. He plays white rapper B-Rabbit, who proves to Detroit’s tough rap scene that he’s no “tourist”: “I’m a piece of white trash / I say it proudly!” Raw and raucous, it’s not for the family, but like Eminem, it’s all about family. His rousing anthem of ambition, “Lose Yourself” (“You only get one shot / do not miss your chance!”) not only won the Oscar for best original song, it won the ASCAP award for the most-performed movie song of the year. 

City of Angels (1998)

Critics decried its sentimentality, but audiences loved Brad Silberling’s reboot of Wim Wenders’ much-revered 1987 Wings of Desire, about angels who love the humans of Berlin. Suave angel Nicolas Cage found surprising chemistry with Meg Ryan in a romantic fable set in a dreamscape California.

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Devil in a Blue Dress (1995)

The studio’s tagline — “In a world divided by Black and white, Easy Rawlins is about to cross the line ” — well summarized the breakthrough sociological underpinning of this otherwise standard gumshoe story set in 1948 Los Angeles, adapted from Walter Mosley’s 1990 novel. Denzel Washington’s Easy goes from machinist to detective in striving to rescue Jennifer Beal’s noir-style femme fatale, while Don Cheadle steals the picture as the funny, lovable, sociopathic killer Mouse.

I Am Not Your Negro (2016)

Samuel L. Jackson narrates this film immortalizing author James Baldwin, based on a book about Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. that he did not live to finish. It earned the BAFTA best documentary prize and an Oscar nomination. In its opening scene, Baldwin wises up Dick Cavett in 1968 with a question that remains timely today: “The real question is what’s going to happen to this country?”

Julie & Julia (2009)

Meryl Streep effaces all memory of Dan Aykroyd’s once-definitive SNL Julia Child impression in Nora Ephron’s more gently vaudevillian biopic. Amy Adams charms as her young disciple. As Julia’s doting husband, Stanley Tucci asks what she really likes to do. “Eat,” she says. Tucci improvised: “And you’re so good at it — look at you!” Ephron said, “My main goal was to make people walk out of the movie starving to death.”

Punch-Drunk Love (2002)

In Paul Thomas Anderson’s arty film, Adam Sandler breaks out of the goofy persona in his slapsticky comedies to inhabit the schleppy Barry, an exec at a toiletries company driven half mad by his scolding seven sisters and a squabble with a phone sex line. So it was a box office dud — it won plaudits for repurposing Sandler’s darker side through his career-broadening, nearly feral turn.

Legends of the Fall (1994)

Based on the 1979 Jim Harrison novella, this story of a clan in the Montana wilderness follows Brad Pitt’s character through melodramatic twists in love and war. Anthony Hopkins’ patriarch is effectively crusty, Julia Ormond properly fetching, as intense family convolutions unfold across striking landscapes.

Mamma Mia! (2008)

This ABBA jukebox musical’s ample charms never strive for anything more profound than enticingly busy entertainment. Amanda Seyfried’s Sophie attempts to figure out which one of three long-ago lovers of Meryl Streep’s Donna is her biological father (Stellan Skarsgård, Pierce Brosnan or Colin Firth). Streep gets the cri de coeur showstopper tune, “The Winner Takes It All.”

Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (2008)

We concur with critic Richard Corliss, who called this a “smart, sweet ... bordering on adorable” adaptation of a teen-friendly novel. Michael Cera plays Nick, the straight bass player in a gay band called The Jerk-Offs, fumbling though his crush on Kat Denning’s Norah. A clever and inviting soundtrack and various hipster New York City locales undergird the happily goofy love story.

Notting Hill (1999)

Richard Curtis followed up Four Weddings and a Funeral’s Oscar noms for best picture and screenplay with another romantic cocktail starring usefully dithering Hugh Grant, this time as a bookseller opposite Julia Roberts as, not so bafflingly, a movie star. High on whimsy and quirk, it hangs in the top 10 of top-grossing romantic comedies worldwide. Now’s the time to watch it, because it makes a nice double bill with Roberts’ 2022 comeback rom-com Ticket to Paradise, and it leaves Hulu on Nov. 30.

Tootsie (1982)

About as sweetly intentioned as satire can get, this tour de force with Dustin Hoffman as underemployed actor Michael Dorsey passing as soap opera phenom Dorothy Michaels earned 10 Oscar noms (but just one win, for Jessica Lange as supporting actress). Charles Durning, Bill Murray and Dabney Coleman all score laughs, but Sydney Pollack’s stricken reaction when client Michael reveals the hoax is a favorite: “I begged you to get help!”

Fred Schruers, a longtime writer for Rolling StonePremiere and the Los Angeles Times, is the author of Billy Joel: The Definitive Biography and co-host of The Buried Lede podcast.