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Crackle has carved out a solid niche in the world of streaming services. It won’t be overtaking Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon anytime soon, but it’s still worth your time—especially if you’re on a budget. Crackle movies change monthly, so flicks are constantly rotating in and out. That means there’s always something to fresh to watch, even if it won’t stick around for long.
The best part about Crackle movies is that they’re free. The only catch is that there are commercial breaks, but hey, those interruptions don’t have to be a bad thing. You can run to the bathroom or grab a snack. Make the breaks work for you. Here are our picks for the best free movies on Crackle for January 2020. Watch ’em while you can.
The best free Crackle movies in January 2020
Richard Linklater’s account of an East Texas murder is a curio, even by his standards. He mixes real interviews with locals of Carthage, Texas, into his fictionalized account of Marjorie Nugent’s murder at the hands of her assistant, Bernie Tiede. Jack Black’s vocal and physical affectations walk the line of caricature, but he never crosses it. He does the best work of his acting career here. Shirley Maclaine matches, and even surpasses, Black’s work as Marjorie. The film is darkly funny and a fascinating look at a relationship gone horribly wrong.
2) Take Shelter
Writer-director Jeff Nichols specializes in intimate domestic dramas, and Take Shelter is his best work to date. Michael Shannon plays Curtis, a family man who is slowly losing his grip on reality. Consumed by paranoia, Curtis builds a shelter to protect his family, but it becomes increasingly clear that he may pose a larger threat than any storm. Jessica Chastain co-stars and if you need any more convincing to watch a movie starring Chastain and Shannon, I can’t help you. —Eddie Strait
A group of strangers come together at a rinky dink motel in the middle of a hellacious storm. Then they start to realize they have some connections. Then they start dying. It’s the kind of of movie where every time you think you’ve figured it out, a new wrinkle is introduced. Identity is a riff on Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Indians, and it’s a fun thriller that’ll keep you guessing go the end. —E.S.
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Moon is one of the best sci-fi movies of the 21st century. Sam Rockwell plays Sam Bell, an astronaut working a solo mission on the moon. With his assignment nearing its end, Sam finds out that his replacement is… himself. The more Sam tries to figure out the true nature of his work, and himself, the more his world upends. This is the best work of Rockwell’s career, and he has a blast playing multiple versions of his character. Director and co-writer Duncan Jones delivered a top-tier debut with Moon, and the resourceful filmmaking marked him as a bright new voice. But this is Rockwell’s show, and he crushes it. —E.S.
5) Joe Dirt 2: Beautiful Loser
If God made dirt and dirt don’t hurt, and God also made David Spade, does that mean Joe Dirt 2 is touched by the divine? You’re going to have to see for yourself to find out. But if you liked the original Joe Dirt, most likely you’ll be on onboard this goofy go-round too. Joe and his mullet transport back in time, and Joe has to make his way back to the present. Joe Dirt 2 is a Crackle exclusive, which made it the first movie sequel to be produced for a streaming outlet.
6) Can’t Hardly Wait
Eighteen years’ worth of friendship, romance, bullying, hormones, and everything else associated with high school come to a head in this glorious ’90s time capsule. Preston Myers (Ethan Embry) is all set to confess his love to Amanda Beckett (Jennifer Love Hewitt) at the blowout graduation party, if only fate and his friends would get out of his way. Can’t Hardly Wait is hilarious and earnest in a way that only teenagers can be, but like most teen comedies, you kind of had to be there to maximize your enjoyment. Still, the movie has a certain universality and plenty of silliness for anyone to enjoy. —E.S.
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7) Office Uprising
The corporate world meets the undead in Sony Crackle’s zombie comedy Office Uprising. Desmond (Brenton Thwaites) is a typical young 20s slacker type, whose corporate ineffectiveness comes in handy when his coworkers are turned into zombies. With the help of two friends Desmond have to fight their way throughout their building, taking on bosses, brown-nosers, jargon, and, of course, zombies along the way. The movie plays fast and loose with zombie tropes, generally for the movie’s benefit. Office Uprising is silly, very silly, but also quite entertaining.
Zodiac is the great crime movie of our time. David Fincher’s masterpiece about the hunt for the notorious Bay Area killer is not only his best film—it’s perhaps the best film ever made on the nature of obsession. Dark, enigmatic, and unforgettable, this is the kind of movie that gets better with each viewing. Finally receiving some of the recognition it deserves as one of the best films of the past decade, if you’ve only seen Zodiac once, the time to revisit it is now. And if you’ve never seen it, the same holds true.
New to cord-cutting? Here are our picks for the best movie streaming sites of 2018 and free live TV apps and channels. If you’re looking for a specific channel, here’s how to watch HBO, Showtime, Starz, ESPN, AMC, FX, Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, FS1, TBS, Golf Channel, and NFL RedZone without cable, as well as free movies on YouTube.
Still not sure what to watch? Here are the best new comedies and documentaries you can stream right now, and the scariest movies of all time—and how to stream them, and the best serial killer movies of all time.
Eddie Strait is a member of the Austin Film Critic Association. His reviews focus primarily on streaming entertainment, with an emphasis on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and other on-demand services.