Going to the movies is expensive. I often have a massive coronary when I find out the price of the tickets, and by the time the nachos and drinks have been bought, that’s our entire monthly entertainment budget spent. Then the film sucks, which really twists the knife. I should never have gone to see Mad Max.
So be a tight-fisted Scotsman like me, and save money on the cinema by renting for free at home. Make your popcorn in the microwave, and avoid all the commercials, movie trailers, people talking on cellphones, and the guy in the corner with a camcorder making an illegal copy of the film.
You may encounter some geographical discrimination with some of these sites though, so get a VPN to bypass all that nonsense. Some are free trials before the fees kick in, so binge watch as much as you can, while it’s free.
DVD Rentals From The Library
Before we take a look at the streaming options, let’s talk about one place where you are guaranteed to pick up free DVD’s – the public library.
Libraries have changed so much over the years, as they have struggled to adapt to the Internet and eBooks. In an effort to stay relevant, most are now offering DVD and Blu-Ray rentals, the quality of which varies from library to library. Some are offering the latest Hollywood releases, while others are giving you stuff you wouldn’t be seen dead watching.
Your taxes pay for the library, so get a free library card and check out the DVD rentals.
Hulu Movie Night – 30 Days Free Trial (Then $7.99 a Month) [No Longer Available]
Hulu is quite popular, despite the fact that it can detect anyone outside the US trying to use a VPN. But if you are in the US, then Hulu has some interesting choices for movie night. Stieg Larsson’s Swedish “Millennium” series is a really good start.
A lot of what they offer isn’t new – Mystic Pizza? Fargo? Seven Years in Tibet? The 80’s and 90’s called – they want their movies back. So if you’re looking for the latest movie releases, Hulu is not going to accommodate you. But if you are into the older stuff, take a poke about here.
Amazon Prime – 30 Days Free Trial (Then $99 a Year)
With Amazon Prime, the choices are much better, and non-US residents who have their own Amazon site (Canada, UK, Germany, etc) also have their own versions of Prime Instant Video. So there’s no need to fiddle around with the VPN for this one.
The titles being offered by Amazon are much more recent than those which Hulu is offering. Fifty Shades of Grey (have a kinky night in), Ex Machina, Kingsman, American Sniper, Despicable Me, Transformers…..and that is only halfway down the first page of over 80,000 results.
After the 30 days are up, it’s $99 a year to continue the service. But if you divide by 12, that’s $8.25. Can you go to the movies for $8.25 these days? The $99 lets you watch as much as you want, as well as other perks such as faster Amazon shipping and unlimited cloud storage.
Of course, if you’re tight-fisted like me, the thought of paying $99 a year is enough to make you burst a blood vessel. So free options such as YouTube may appeal instead.
Users upload lots of movies, though beware that it is illegal if the movies are still in copyright. However, I don’t think anyone is going to get too bent out of shape by the 1946 version of Great Expectations. Indeed, it has been on YouTube for the past two years, and nobody seems to be in any big rush to take it down.
There are lots of old movies on YouTube. Just type in “full movie” and then adjust the time filter to more than 20 minutes.
There’s nothing I like more than watching a really old and tacky movie. Every so often, you just have to power down the brain, and watch something that doesn’t require thinking. If the thought of downloading torrents doesn’t give you the willies, then consider watching something from Public Domain Torrents. Movies from there put the T into tacky.
As the name implies, everything is copyright-free, so you don’t have to worry about whether something is legal or not. Everything is categorized into their particular genres, and you also have a “20 Most Recently Added” section.
The Internet Archive always gives you a mixed bag, so it’s difficult to be able to pin a label on it. It’s the home of the Wayback Machine, the Grateful Dead, and Atari 2600 console games. It also has just under 19,000 entries in its movies section, ranging from feature films, to comedy, to noir.
The trouble with the Internet Archive though is that, unless you know what you are looking for, finding something good can be a big task. For every gem that’s there, you have about 10 other entries you can safely file under “crap”. I mean, Babies & Breadwinners? Sex Madness?
I totally fell for Crackle when I discovered they were offering Shaun of the Dead. Browsing through what else they had, I figured I could hang out here for a while, while I was working my way through Jason Statham on Netflix (yes I love mindless violence movies).
Crackle has some not-so-old ones, such as District 9, Harry Brown, and Olympus has Fallen. They even have four Godzilla movies! That’s me sold.
Are You Entertained?
If you’re looking for even more sources of quality entertainment, check out Tim’s “Stuff to Watch” columns. He is a gentleman with sophisticated tastes, so you are sure to find something to tickle your fancy.
So when you’re looking for some free quality entertainment, where do you go? One of these sites, or do you have another great little place hidden away? If so, tell us all about it. I’m always looking for new ways to avoid paying money.