Pass on all the classic “stoner flicks” like Harold & Kumar, Half Baked and Fast Times at Ridgemont High that you’ve seen a million times in favor of something more cerebral and trippy. We, and hopefully you, have moved on from those stereotypes to something that’ll take advantage of the fact that you’re ingesting mind-altering substances. But still throw the Totino’s in the oven or order delivery because some marijuana tropes still apply in real life.
The City of Lost Children (aka La Cité des Enfants Perdus)
Remember the first time you got really baked and synced up The Dark Side of the Moon with The Wizard of Oz? Imagine that experience combined with the cinematic mastery of Amelie and a world straight out of the mind of Guillermo del Toro. Now pretend you’re watching it through a Twin Peaks lens, et voilà–La Cité des Enfants Perdus, aka The City of Lost Children. This film, almost impossibly, walks a tightrope between being gorgeous yet terrifying, intellectual yet indecipherable, alien yet familiar, and a fairy tale that is very much not safe for kids. The film is about a mad scientist looking for a way to slow his aging through the use of dreams stolen from children, but the plot itself almost takes a back seat to everything else going on in the film.
From Monty Python to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, there are quite a few great Terry Gilliam flicks. But we’re opting for his 1985 classic–and one of our favorite sci-fi movies–Brazil. Equal parts Kubrick, Orwell and Kafka, Brazil tells the story of a sort of retro-futuristic hell where protagonist Sam Lowry (played by Jonathan Pryce), while trying to fix an error, becomes persona non grata in the Big Brother bureaucracy. The visuals alone are enough reason to watch this movie when you’re high, but we’ve found on occasion that a more open mind actually helps to make Brazil more sensible in the parts where the plot goes a little off the rails.
2001: A Space Odyssey
In all honesty, everyone would probably be cool with the entire collected works of Stanley Kubrick being on this list because they’re all fantastic “high movies” for one reason or another. The general consensus amongst stoners seems to be that top honors goes to either 2001: A Space Odyssey or A Clockwork Orange, but we opted for the former because it’s more introspective and thought-provoking than it is violent. Plus, it feels like the kind of far out movie we could enjoy over some mind-altering substances with Neil deGrasse Tyson (even though he’s never admitted to being a fan of the green).
Yeah, yeah, yeah. We’re breaking the first rule of Fight Club, but you knew this one was coming. You also know what’s coming at the end as soon as you start the film because everyone knows the plot twist by this point. What you might not know is that if you get really, really high you might forget you know the ending and be completely blown away again. With all the violence, sex, explosions and displays of raging contempt for the establishment, you won’t even have to worry about falling asleep during the film because you’ll be too amped up. And if you need a game other than puff, puff, pass to play with your buddies while you’re watching, try finding the Starbucks cups throughout the movie.
This one is almost too easy, but it has to be on the list anyway. The first time buildings start bending through space and people start walking on walls or ceilings your mind will be so thoroughly blown all over your face that you’ll start questioning what’s real. And that’s the kind of experience we had the first time we saw Inception sober. It’s even better high. Dreams, within dreams, within dreams realized visually with gorgeous cinematography, excellent acting, insane visuals and a plot that actually makes sense the more you see it. Inception is simultaneously a heist flick, a mindf*ck movie and a stoner film for all of those reasons.
If it’s not already abundantly clear by the rest of our selections, we love watching the eerie, fantasy flicks that are chock full of stunning visuals after we’ve enjoyed some of the green. There’s no better way to slip fully into an alternate reality than what you’ll experience with the creations from Guillermo del Toro. Part fairytale, part thriller and part mythological Greek quest, Pan’s Labyrinth is about a girl trying to prove she’s a princess so she can see her real father again. It’s a movie filled with trippy surrealism that has a story rooted in a tale that’s as old as time. Ultimately, it’s the magnificent re-imagining of that classic story through the eyes of del Toro that makes this a modern and compelling adult fairy tale. Or just don’t analyze it, and watch it for the creepy creatures with eyes on their hands.
From the team that brought you classics like Superbad, Pineapple Express and This Is the End comes Sausage Party, a film about a bunch of horny, anthropomorphized foods on a quest to discover the truth of their existence. We told you we weren’t going to talk about the classic stoner comedies, but this more recent Rogen/Goldberg/Hill creation has yet to receive the classic pot leaf of approval. It should get one. Think about a raunchy version of Toy Story brought to life by a group of guys so high they were hearing colors. Is it what we could consider a classically great film? No. But it’s one helluva funny film, and it’s perfect for those light-hearted smoke sessions when you want to be laughing instead of pondering the wonders of the universe.
The Martian doesn’t immediately scream “this is a great movie to watch high.” So much so that the possibility of getting baked and watching might not have even crossed your mind. There’s just something about one man’s quest to stay alive despite all odds set against the backdrop of the Red Planet that’s even more enthralling stoned than sober. The entire ensemble cast (Damon, Chastain, Wiig, Daniels, Bean, the list goes on) is great. Ridley Scott’s directorial fingerprints are all over it. The visuals are completely engrossing and out of this world. Plus, you know, crazy stuff involving space, and those are always better when your thinking is temporarily not rooted in reality.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
If you haven’t seen Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind yet (where have you been for the last decade?), it’s so much more than just a love story. The sci-fi drama about a couple trying to have each other erased from their memories is equally mind-blowing, thought-provoking, introverted and deep. It runs almost completely against the grain of what we’ve come to expect from Hollywood and Jim Carrey, but that’s part of the charm of this surreal film. It’s also a perfect example of the whole “It’s better to have loved and lost…” thing, which is the kind of taken-for-granted philosophy that destroys the inebriated mind.