Hoopla currently offers 13,080 movies for you to watch for free through the benefit of having a library card. With a number that large it is easy to think, “Where should I start?”
Why not start with something good to watch, like an Academy Award winner/nominee?
Hoopla has its own category for “Oscar Winners and Nominees.” Simply start your search at the top of the page with the word “Oscar”, and a drop-down suggestion will pop-up for you to click on to get taken right to the results.
You are of course free to choose a movie at your own will, but I have recommendations if you are unsure and can’t decide!
Good Will Hunting (1997) – Winner of 2 Oscars including Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Robin Williams, and Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen – Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, and 7 additional nominations including Best Picture and Best Director, this powerhouse performance packed movie currently ranks #88 on the iMDB’s iconic “Top 250” list. Will (Damon) is a janitor at M.I.T., despite being a mathematical genius that is capable of so much more. Constantly running from his troubled past, Will seeks help from a psychologist (Williams), in an effort to find direction in life. Rated “R” for language.
Chicago (2002) – Winner of 6 Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Supporting Actress – Catherine Zeta-Jones – this musical-comedy is the story of two death-row murderers (Zeta-Jones and Renee Zellweger) competing for fame, wealth, and the admiration of a sleazy lawyer (Richard Gere) in the Windy City. Rated “PG-13” for sexual content and dialogue.
Room (2015) – Best Actress winner (Brie Larson), with 3 additional nominations including Best Picture, this film currently finds itself ranked #164 on iMDB’s Top 250. The movie is the story of a woman and her son who have been held captive and abused for 7 years within a solitary room. Upon escaping, they struggle to cope with their newfound freedom, along with the boy’s experience of living in the outside world for the very first time. Rated “R” for language.
Sling Blade (1998) – Best Adapted Screenplay winner (Billy Bob Thornton) and nominated for Best Actor (also for Thornton), this moody drama is the story of Karl Childers (Thornton), a “simple” man with a dark background involving violence and murder, who is released from the mental hospital he’s resided in since childhood. Karl starts a new life in a quiet small town, befriending a young boy and his mother, who are both victims of ongoing domestic abuse. Rated “R” for language and violence.
No Country for Old Men (2007) – Winner of 4 Oscars including Best Picture and Best Actor (Javier Bardem), with 4 additional nominations, the film is an adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s critically acclaimed novel of the same name. A hunter (Josh Brolin) stumbles upon a drug deal gone wrong and a briefcase filled with $2 million dollars. On the run while trying to hide the money, he is pursued by a sheriff (Tommy Lee Jones), and a legitimate psychopath named Anton Chigur (Bardem), who relentlessly murders everyone he comes across in an effort to get his briefcase back. Sitting at #156 on iMDB’s Top 250 list, the film features one of the greatest and most chilling acting performances of all time by Bardem. His portrayal of the emotionless and truly psychopathic Chigur will stay with you long after the end credits have rolled. Rated “R” for strong violence and language.
If none of the above Academy Award winners trip your trigger, here are some more critically acclaimed suggestions. Though they may not have been nominated for, nor won, any Oscars, they all qualify as “Certified Fresh” on the popular movie review website Rotten Tomatoes – which means they received an overwhelming number of positive reviews from accredited movie critics. All are most certainly worth seeing!
The Founder (2016) – The story of McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton), who controversially turned two brothers’ innovative fast-food upstart into the largest and most successful restaurant chain in the world. Rated “PG-13” for language. (81% “Fresh” rating on RT)
Scream (1996) – Wes Craven’s genre-reviving smash horror hit tells the tale of Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) who is terrorized by a sadistic mask-wearing slasher one year after the possibly connected murder of her mother. The killer has a penchant for horror movies, and stalks Sidney and her friends as part of a deadly game centered around said films. Rated “R” for horror violence/gore and language. (79% “Fresh” rating on RT)
Bone Tomahawk (2015) – Brutally realistic and violent, along with edge-of-your-seat thrilling, this fresh take on the Western genre is the story of an elderly sheriff (Kurt Russell) and his rag-tag posse that venture into the desert to rescue a man’s wife that has been kidnapped by cannibalistic and savage troglodytes. Not rated by the MPAA due to being released straight-to-video, but the film does contains graphic violence. (91% “Fresh” rating on RT)
Halloween (1978) – John Carpenters’ horror masterpiece forever changed the genre, and made a superstar out of Jamie Lee Curtis in the process. The dark, slow, and moody thriller tells the story of Michael Myers, who returns to the small town of Haddonfield, Illinois fifteen years after slaughtering his sister and her boyfriend on Halloween night. Pursued by Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasance), the psychiatrist from the mental hospital from which he escaped, Myers resumes his Halloween killing spree, relentlessly stalking babysitter Laurie Strode (Curtis) and her group of friends. You will remember the night HE came home! Rated “R” for horror violence/gore and nudity. (96% “Fresh” rating on RT)