10. Thanks a Million
Big names. Big money. Big Giving. Celebrities kickstart a chain of kindness, each gifting $100,000 to an unsuspecting individual who have had a positive impact on their lives — with a catch. Watch as the “pay it forward” chain unfolds.
Look, just because I love seeing kids mowed down and blown up in movies just as much as the next weirdo doesn’t mean I’m heartless, and as proof I offer up my affection for this manipulative quibi about grateful people paying it back to those they’re thankful for. Each quibi features a celeb (Jennifer Lopez, Kevin Hart, and Nick Jonas are the first three featured) gifting someone $100k with the catch that they have to re-gift half of it to someone who’s inspired them… and then that person has to give half to someone else. (Thankfully it stops there as halving it any further would make for some sad surprises.) Short clips of good deeds are passed around on social media every day, and this quibi fits that mold by squeezing out some tears in under ten minutes. It knows exactly what it’s doing, but if it inspires others to up their own thankfulness then it’s a good thing.
9. Most Dangerous Game (Movies in Chapters)
A man (Liam Hemsworth) desperate and in debt. In a dystopian thriller where the hunter turns out to be the hunted. Game on.
The title of this particular quibi tells you everything you need to know regarding whether or not it’s for you, but there’s a reason Richard Connell’s classic tale has persisted across the many decades. A man being hunted by others is a compelling basis for a book, movie, or quibi, and this one does a solidly competent job setting up the characters and situation. Liam Hemsworth is the man on the run who takes the offer as he’s dying from cancer and wants to provide for his pregnant wife, and Christoph Waltz does his best Christoph Waltz as the wealthy businessman who organizes the whole thing. It feels like a TV series, but if the action beats can deliver even moderate thrills it’ll be a worthwhile watch.
8. The Shape of Pasta
Chef Evan Funke. Italy. And the pursuit of pasta perfection. He’s uncovering the craft and culture behind some rare and forgotten pasta shapes. Hungry yet?
“Sometimes, tracking down a pasta shape is a little like solving a murder mystery,” says chef Evan Funke, and it’s an almost fitting description for his pursuit of a pasta named “strangulet.” It’s the kind of odd piece of information that comes natural to this quibi as it follows Funke’s journey through Italy’s small, hidden towns in search of pasta. There’s a clear love for the art and people behind the pasta, and the cinematography delivers beautiful visuals of both the towns and the meals. Funke is soft-spoken and sincere, both of which pair well with the quibi’s slow, relaxed pacing.
7. Run This City
This doc-series follows Jasiel Correia, the youngest mayor in Massachusetts history, who faces wire fraud and extortion prosecutions as he prepares for re-election in his hometown.
Jasiel Correia was only twenty-three when he was elected mayor of Fall River, MA, and his goal of being a disruptive force for the city came true in ways both positive and negative. He sits at the forefront of this documentary-style quibi exploring his rise and possible fall, and interviews with him, his family, past opponents, and opinionated townspeople show just how bloodthirsty the sport of politics can be. It’s an engaging watch as Correia is a charismatic young man, and three quibis in it remains unclear if he’s a fraud or a truly good politician.
6. I Promise
In America, a child drops out of school every 26 seconds. For NBA great LeBron James, that was the breaking point. Now he’s ready to fight dropout rates by founding the I Promise public school.
It seems cliched to say, but children really are our future, and we’re failing far too many of them every step of the way. While lots of celebs do good deeds, LeBron James stepped up and worked to create a whole new school. This quibi explores the struggles and triumphs that resulted, but more than that it confirms the necessity for more such endeavors. You’re gonna cry during this quibi.
Take two blindfolded chef contestants. Blast a dish into their face. Then make them recreate it for celebrity judges to win a cash prize. Did we mention it’s hosted by Tituss Burgess?
Two chefs stand blindfolded in front of a cannons loaded with with food. They’re blasted, given time to try and determine what the food is that’s covering the walls and their bodies, and then given thirty minutes to try and recreate the meal. It’s a ridiculous idea for a cooking show, but this is exactly the kind of thing that fits the quibi run-time. Tituss Burgess hosts alongside two celebrity judges, new each time and including the likes of Kristen Kish and Jane Krakowski, and the result is a fun, fast-moving show. It’s funny and utterly weightless, but that’s the ideal when watching on your phone isn’t it?
4. Flipped (Movies in Chapters)
Jann and Cricket think they have what it takes to become TV’s newest house-flipping couple. Unfortunately, a Mexican drug cartel thinks so too. Now the delusional duo has to survive their newest project — renovating the cartel’s mansions.
It wasn’t that long ago that both Last Man on Earth and The Mick were canceled by Fox leaving fans desperate for more Will Forte and Kaitlin Olson. Well guess what? Quibi is here to fill that hole in your heart by uniting the pair as a down on their luck married couple who buy a shack in the desert with plans to remodel it and become TV stars. Things take a turn when they find a shitload of cash in the walls, and it’s only after they’ve spent it that the owners — drug lords, obviously — come looking for it. Hilarity ensues due mostly to the comedic genius of those two leads.
3. When the Streetlights Go On (Movies in Chapters)
A double-homicide in a small midwestern suburb rattles the lives of a group of teenagers and sends investigators searching for answers in the fall of 1995. A meditation on growing up, the passing of time, and the insidious violence that lurks in the suburbs.
It’s 1995, and for one teenage boy (Chosen Jacobs) it’s also the end of innocence as his discovery of two dead bodies sends both him and his small town on a search for the truth. This is a dark and grim quibi that opens with sudden violence before slowing down for characters and the tease of secrets about to be spilled, and it feels like an addictive mystery you’d binge on Netflix or Hulu. It offers a sense of nostalgia for the oft-ignored 90s, but more than that it’s interested in exploring the darkness within each of us — something we might tie to a time and place from our past but which is ultimately unbound and beyond our control.
2. 50 States of Fright
There can never be enough anthology horror series, and this new quibi from producer Sam Raimi comes with the hook of featuring local tales and legends from each of the fifty states. First out of the box is a Michigan-set quibi starring Rachel Brosnahan and Travis Fimmel, and while it’s light on surprises it delivers a fair amount of blood. It feels almost like a Creepshow segment minus the visual eccentricities that come with EC Comics tales, and if that’s the tone going forward it should make for an entertaining destination for horror fans. (Premieres April 13th, 2020)
1. The Stranger (Movies in Chapters)
The past couple years have seen more than a few horror movies based around the idea of Uber/Lyft-like drivers encountering scary and sometimes deadly rides, but what films like Ryde (2017), Rideshare (2018), and Fox Hunt Drive (2020) get wrong looks to be righted with this new quibi from creator Veena Sud. It stars the always fantastic Maika Monroe as a driver who picks up a young man played by Dane DeHaan at his creepiest, and the first three quibis — roughly the opening twenty-four minutes — deliver thrills, suspense, and something more akin to The Hitcher (1986) than even that film’s remake managed. Of everything on Quibi at the moment, this is the one I want to see more of sooner rather than later. (Premieres April 13th, 2020)