Good Movies You Can Watch Free on YouTube Right Now
With so many of us spending more time at home to help slow the spread of COVID-19, we're having to find ways to keep ourselves entertained when we're not working or helping the kids with homework (homework pretty much being the entirety of school right now).
Lots of folks are subscribed to streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon, but if you're not and you're looking for some free movies to stream (or if you want to branch out from your usual streaming service), YouTube has plenty of free films to enjoy. You just have to sit through the occasional short commercial break.
I'll be upfront with you: The majority of YouTube's free movies aren't anything special. They're at least something if you're bored, but you have to sift through a lot of bleh to get to the alright, this looks promising.
To save you time scrolling through the clunkers, I've plucked some of the gems and embedded them below.
If you find some free favorites you think the world should see, let me know in the comments.
Based on real events in Carthage, Texas, Bernie tells the story of mortician Bernie Tiede (played by Jack Black in his best performance on film), who befriends wealthy widow Marjorie Nugent.
The two become inseparable, but their personalities eventually clash and Bernie kills Marjorie. In a strange turn of events, the community of Carthage is split, with some coming to Bernie's defense and others disgusted by his crime.
The film works as a dark comedy, true crime story, and lovingly satirical look at Texas' culture and unique sense of identity. Do yourself a favor and watch it while it's free.
Perfect Bid: The Contestant Who Knew Too Much
Full disclosure: I haven't actually seen this one. However, the synopsis is intriguing, and I plan to watch it this weekend. It's a documentary about The Price is Right, for crying out loud. Why wouldn't I be on board? Plus, it's about a Texan.
Perfect Bid explores the story of Ted Slauson, a math teacher from the Lone Star State who was obsessed with The Price is Right and memorized the prices and patterns on the show for 35+ years, even going so far as to create his own software to track those patterns and create spreadsheets.
Slauson was eventually caught up in a Showcase Showdown cheating scandal that made national headlines.
Yeah, I'm definitely checking this one out soon. Who didn't fake an illness once in a while as a kid just to stay home and watch The Price is Right?
The Secret of NIMH
1982's The Secret of NIMH is a beautifully animated tale about a widowed mother mouse, Mrs. Brisby, who must embark on a journey to save her sick child and her home.
Along the way, she'll uncover the secret of a mysterious organization known as NIMH and her family's connection to the strange things that transpired there. The animation is gorgeous, and the story is surprisingly deep for a kid's movie about talking animals.
If you grew up watching The Secret of NIMH like I did, you know it's a great film, but can get a little dark and heavy. If you plan to watch it with the kids, just keep their age and maturity level in mind. That said, it's an absolutely magical picture that I hope new generations will continue to discover and love.
When comedian Chris Rock's daughter asked him, "Daddy, how come I don't have good hair?", Rock was inspired to make a documentary about the black hair industry, beauty standards in the African American community, and how hairstyles and perceptions of them have influenced black lives.
In Good Hair, Rock visits salons and barber shops, hair product labs, and styling conventions, and interviews stylists, hair care industry insiders, customers, and artists including Maya Angelou, Kerry Washington, Salt-n-Pepa, and Nia Long. These conversations are sometimes hilarious and always revelatory. There are moments when Rock is genuinely shocked by what he's hearing, and you can't help but feel that with him.
Rock goes a great job of balancing humor and serious inquiry into black beauty standards, how they're influenced and perceived by mainstream culture, and the surprisingly (to me, anyway) cutthroat nature of the beauty industry. If you're into documentaries, this one's well worth your time.
Korean cinema burst into the American mainstream this year when Parasite won Best Picture at the Academy Awards, but South Korea's been experiencing a cinematic renaissance for the better part of 20 years now.
In The Host, slacker Gand-du's daughter is kidnapped by a sewer-dwelling creature mutated by pollution. He puts together a team of weirdos and misfits to rescue her, and the fun begins.
The crew is inept, but their hearts are in the right place as they contend with the monster (which begins attacking the public) panicked crowds, and government agents trying to restore order and keep the creature under wraps.
The Host is a fantastic watch. It's one of the rare monster movies that shows the monster often and in broad daylight without ruining the overall experience.
Quigley Down Under
If you're a fan of Westerns, particularly vengeance films, this one's for you. That's assuming you haven't already seen it and loved it.
Tom Selleck plays Matthew Quigley - an American sharpshooter who answers an ad about a job on a ranch in Australia. When he finds out the owner of the ranch, Martson (played by the always great Alan Rickman), wants him to use his skills to slaughter the local Aborigines, Quigley refuses.
Marston has Quigley and traumatized Texas transplant Crazy Cora beaten up and left in the Outback to die. The pair are rescued by a tribe of Aborigines, and Quigley sets out to get revenge.
This one's not an official offering from YouTube, but I absolutely love it and found a link where you can watch it free. It's also on Amazon Prime.
Miami Connection is not a good movie in the traditional sense. It's one of those so-bad-it's-good movies that's insanely fun to watch. You just can't believe what you're seeing and hearing.
Despite being called Miami Connection, the movie takes place in Orlando and centers on a group of friends who practice Taekwondo by day and play delightfully cheesy 80's synth rock by night. Their band is called Dragon Sound, and they mostly sing about everlasting friendship and fighting ninjas. You know, hardcore stuff.
When they're hired to play at a club frequented by cocaine dealing ninjas and biker gangs, this somehow pisses everyone off and they find themselves fighting for their lives.
The acting is godawful, the music is hilarious, the story is ludicrous...
...and I adore the living hell out of it.
You can also watch the Rifftrax version on Amazon Prime, in which the crew from Mystery Science Theater 3000 tear the movie a new one. I'm embedding highlights below.