If you haven’t already, you must start watching Tubi. While AAA streaming services like Netflix and Amazon’s Prime Video are rapidly racing toward cataclysm by becoming dropping movies left and right, raising prices, jealously guarding the rights to exclusive Hollywood franchises, and cracking down on password sharing, Tubi is taking the opposite approach. Its business-model is “put as much as we can on the service, and don’t charge anything for any of it.”
Yes, the commercial are annoying, but they’re the only downside here. Everything else about Tubi is pure gold.
How to start watching Tubi
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Part of Tubi’s “throw the pasta at the wall and see if it sticks” vibe involves making it available in as many places as possible. So you can download the Tubi app for all iPhone and Android devices, watch it through Roku, Apple TV, Xbox One and Series X and S, PlayStation 4 and 5, Amazon Fire, and Sony, VIZIO and Samsung smart TVs. Or just watch it on your browser.
Once you’ve downloaded the Tubi app on the platform of your choice, you can just start watching. You don’t need to give your credit card numbers (you can’t give you credit card numbers), or even make an account. But you should definitely make an account: a free Tubi account gives you access to “mature” movies, lets you make a watchlist, and, most importantly for this service, allows the algorithm to make recommendations based on your watching habits.
How large is Tubi’s library?
Tubi’s selection is vast—the service offers over 50,000 movies and TV shows, a much larger selection than its “you have to pay” competitors. For comparison, CableTV.com reports that Netflix streams 5,000+ movies and shows and Prime Video has 15,000+.
Aren’t all the movies on Tubi terrible?
Because it’s a free service, Tubi is often seen as a low-rent streaming service, home of cast-off content that no one wants to watch. While it’s true that you probably won’t find first rate “first-run” entertainment-industry-approved content on Tubi, that’s not a weakness; it’s what makes Tubi so great.
Current, of-the-moment movies and television shows are a tiny sliver of the entertainment pie, and they’re a very boring slice. Hollywood entertainment product is meant to appeal to as many people as possible, so it aims for the soft-middle. Tubi is the home of one-of-a-kind pieces, imperfect passion projects, and movies and shows that are so bad no one likes them, so smart no one likes them, or so weird no one likes them. But “stuff for no one” is my entertainment sweet-spot.
How to discover great content on Tubi
As the company made explicit with its Super Bowl ads this year, Tubi is all about going down the rabbit hole. Its massive library and excellent recommendation system will reward you with as many diamonds in the rough as you have the time to dig up—Tubi is full of amazing films you’ve probably never heard of and whole genres of movies you never knew existed.
To help get you started in the Tubi-verse, I’ve compiled a list of nine films and shows that demonstrate the scope of Tubi’s offering, from highbrow art to lowbrow gutter-content, with nothing “ordinary” in the mix.
Nine great movies and shows available on Tubi now
Danger 5 (2012)
This criminally under-seen Australian comedy series spoofs the low-budget spy and action genre of the 1960s. It tells the story of a team of spies who set out to kill Hitler every week. If you’re down for intentionally cheap special effects and ridiculous, Austin Powers’ style comedy, this is your jam.
Watch Danger 5 on Tubi.
American Animals (2018)
Although this low-budget heist movie made a modest profit after its release in 2018, in a better world, it would have been a blockbuster. The way it tells the true story of the theft of a book from a college library is twice as compelling as every Ocean’s 11 movie put together.
Watch American Animals on Tubi.
Something Weird (1967)
If you can look past this film’s gutter production value and lack of traditional “talent” from its cast, Something Weird’s witchcraft, ESP, and everything else plot casts an eerie spell that transcends its kitschy, 1960s exploitation movie roots. Something Weird is a true hidden gem.
Watch Something Weird on Tubi.
1987 Memphis Wrestling Yearbook (Vol. 4) (2018)
Look, I don’t know why you’d want to watch a compilation of professional wrestling matches from Memphis in 1987, but I know that you can, and that’s the important part.
Watch 1987 Memphis Wrestling Yearbook (Vol. 4) on Tubi.
Enter the Void (2002)
For reasons that I will never understand, Enter the Void was a critical and box office flop when it was released 20 years ago. It’s time to reconsider this bold filmic experiment. Told entirely from the first-person point-of-view of the main character—even after he dies—Enter the Void is endlessly inventive and deeply troubling.
Watch Enter the Void on Tubi.
Carry on Camping (1969)
This movie is from a genre I was entirely unaware of until last week. Throughout the ‘60s and ‘70s, the Carry On movies—sophmoric, double-entendre laden sex comedies—were a mainstay of British cinema and television. They made 31 Carry on movies, and aired them on the weekends for families to enjoy together. It’s hard to understand exactly why, but the British are strange people.
Watch Carry on Camping on Tubi.
Mail Order Murder: The Story Of W.A.V.E. Productions (2020)
This documentary tells the story of the lowest level of non-porn entertainment ever made. From 1987 up until now, New Jersey’s W.A.V.E Productions has been making custom horror movies for fans. If there’s anything you’ve always wanted to see in a movie, you can send W.A.V.E some money, and they’ll shoot it for you. The number of fans who want to see actresses murdered in specific way is disturbing, but the ineptitude of the productions softens the edge.
Watch Mail Order Murder: The Story Of W.A.V.E. Productions on Tubi
Alright, Lars Von Trier isn’t exactly the most obscure director, but if you haven’t seen Melancholia, you really should. A haunting, realistic global apocalypse movie, Melancholia goes places Hollywood movies would never dare.
Watch Melancholia on Tubi.
Giantess Attack vs. Mecha Fembot (2022)
Some people have a fetish for gigantic, sexy women smashing up cities, and those people will have a field day with the surprising number of movies of this type on Tubi.
Watch Giantess Attack vs. Mecha Fembot on Tubi.