19 movies to watch while baked

 

If you google "movies to watch while baked" you get several lists of films prominently featuring people smoking marijuana, like Pineapple Express, Dazed and Confused, Half Baked, Up in Smoke, etc. While two or three films of that genre are listed here, I've focused on movies that will enhance your buzz without necessarily mirroring it.

In 2011, I wrote an article titled "Movies to Watch While High" that focused on trippy fare. Truth be told, I was more interested in hallucinogens than marijuana back in my stoner days. Smoking weed made my thoughts muddy, made me paranoid and gave me a headache. Those were all things I could do on my own, so it made little sense to pay for the experience. I've been told that current herbal offerings are smoother, so maybe I'll try again one day. For now, here are my suggestions of films to enjoy while baked (including a few from my 2011 piece). and check out my companion piece on five flicks to avoid, lest they harsh your mellow. Good God, this slang sounds prehistoric!

Groundhog Day

Perfect stoner fare. Bill Murray stars, and Bill Murray is the best. He plays a weather forecaster repeating the same day over and over, which is good for you because you can space out for a while, but still easily hop back into the story. The film is funny and deep, so you can laugh and reflect on your place in the cosmos. And it costars Andie MacDowell and Chris Elliott. What more could you ask for?

Slap Shot

Paul Newman and Twin Peaks' Michael Ontkean star in this hilarious, violent, crude, wonderful movie about a minor league hockey coach (Newman) and his efforts to save the team and revive his relationship with his ex (Jennifer Warren). Desperate to draw bigger crowds, the coach brings in three new guys, the Hanson Brothers, who turn out to be enthusiastic childlike goons. I've watched this movie many, many times and still appreciate every scene. The acting is outstanding and the story has just enough drama to make the outlandish comedy feel anchored in something real.

Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle

Important: Get White Castles before you turn this on, lest you suffer the same fate of the lead characters. Buddies Harold and Kumar (John Cho and Kal Penn) get the munchies and head for White Castle, because it's true that when you crave a WC slider, nothing else will do. Along the way, all sorts of freaky things happen to them. One of the best is when they run into Neil Patrick Harris, who turns out to be a party maniac (yes, this was the movie where we finally stopped thinking of NPH as Doogie Howser).

Zombieland

Jesse Eisenberg hits the road during the Zombie Apocalypse, hoping to go back to his Ohio home. He meets and teams up with surly badass Woody Harrelson and, soon after, sisters Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin. Ohio gets postponed as the crew battles zombies (the fast kind) and lands in great places like Bill Murray's home (where he acknowledges the most shameful thing he's ever done professionally) and an amusement park! The movie is nasty and gross and funny, and the cast is swell. Fun while not baked, too.

What We Do in the Shadows

Not into zombies? Then how about vampires? This quirky treat, still playing at Landmark Keystone Art, is a mockumentary from New Zealand about a group of vampire buddies sharing a flat in the suburbs of Wellington. It's silly, clever and consistently amusing. You'll also meet a group of werewolves determined to be good citizens ("Watch your language – we're werewolves, not swearwolves!"). The Real World style format works just fine, and the song selections are effective. Co-writer and director Taika Waititi and Flight of the Conchords' Jermaine Clement play two of the roomies.

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White House Down

Washington DC cop and Secret Service applicant Channing Tatum saves President Jamie Foxx from terrorists in the White House! Get ready for two-plus hours of rollicking, preposterous, often downright cheesy (baked cheese!) action with lots of guns and explosions and property destruction coupled with a mix of quips and tension in service of an over-the-top plot. It's Die Hard in the White House, it's a buddy movie, it's guaranteed to make you roll your eyes. White House Down manages to get just the right balance of stock characters and mayhem. Tatum and Foxx appear to be having a ball.

Waking Life

Dreams within dreams. Richard Linklater's superb 2001 philosophical cartoon is talky in the best way, drifting from conversation to conversation, presenting an array of intriguing ideas passionately expressed, with the mundane and the profound all jumbled up. The visuals are wonderful live-action footage rotoscope-animated to create an enhanced reality. Waking Life is a joy to experience. Let it wash over you. And do see it again when you're in a more down-to-earth state of mind. It'll lift you back up.

Pee-Wee's Big Adventure

Paul Reubens is currently making a new Pee-Wee Herman movie. Hope that works out, but in the meantime you can enjoy his original collaboration with Tim Burton, which gave us the bike dream, the investigation of the bike theft, Large Marge, the dinosaurs, the basement of the Alamo, "Tequila," James Brolin as Pee-Wee at the drive-in and so much more.

Extract

Mike Judge offers an off the wall comedy starring Jason Bateman, Whiplash star J.K. Simmons, Kristin Wiig and Mila Kunis that boasts lots of chuckles but only a few big laughs. It's so weirdly likeable that the scarcity of gutbusters doesn't matter much. Plus, you'll be baked and more prone to laugh anyway. The enjoyable Bateman stars as a business owner/sexually frustrated husband who gets caught up in an idiotic plan. The cast also includes Ben Affleck and Gene Simmons.

Yellow Submarine

The Beatles were barely involved in the making of this 1968 cartoon treat. Their contribution to the movie is a brief throwaway live-action cameo at the end. The voice actors portraying The Beatles are pretty bad, and the puns are real groaners. Doesn't matter, because the fairy tale is packed with dazzling animated wonders set to Beatles' songs. Yellow Submarine is a hallucinogenic feast of sights, sounds and silly blather.

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Pulp Fiction

Quentin Tarantino breakthrough came with this dazzling non-linear story of crime and its aftermath. If you're seeing it for this first time, prepare to get your socks knocked off. If you're like most movie buffs, you've seen it many times and will enjoy reciting the lines along with the remarkable cast. Memorable characters, shocking bursts of violence, and the time leaps combine to create a giddy sense of anything goes. Plus you get to see John Travolta and Uma Thurman do the Batman dance.

The Big Lebowski

There's a music video in this beloved Coen brothers movie (did you know there are annual Big Lebowski conventions – conventions!) that involves Jeff Bridges as the Dude (who abides, in case you haven't heard), bowling, the cosmos and the song "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)" by Kenny Rogers and the First Edition. Need I say more? Okay: John Goodman!

Apocalypse Now

Francis Ford Coppola's masterpiece is an epic journey into insanity – in this case represented by a US Army special operations officer (Martin Sheen) sent on a secret mission into Cambodia during the Vietnam War to take out a rogue Colonel (Marlon Brando) who has established himself as a god. The mix of images, acting and music on the trip is stunning, often horrifying and unforgettable. Best keep a copy of Yellow Submarine handy in case this freaks you out.

Altered States

Sci-fi with some seriously whacked-out visuals. William Hurt gets high in a sensory deprivation tank and we get to watch his visions. After a while, elements of the trips start manifesting themselves in the "real" world. The overwrought climax is great, so cool that the band a-aa ripped it off for their classic video, "Take On Me."

Run Lola Run

Red-headed tough girl Lola (Franka Potente) has 20 minutes to save her boyfriend. The film presents three runs with different outcomes. Never mind that and don't worry about the subtitles. This is one of the most kinetic movies ever made. Jump in.

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Chef

Jon Favreau's story of a fed-up chef that quits his job and opens a food truck with the help of his ex-wife, best friend, and son is breezy and a pleasure to watch. But it will make you hungry ... so hungry. Stock your kitchen, because you will likely have to pause the movie to cook something. Or maybe everything.

Heathers

Winona Ryder hangs out with the queens of her high school, but is less than comfortable with their ultra-cruel ways. Then along comes Christian Slater, a new student with mayhem on his mind. In short order, Winona has a new squeeze, and school bullies start turning up dead. The black comedy is uneven and awfully pleased with itself, but it boasts a number of absolutely priceless scenes.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Beautifully photographed and scored Chinese drama punctuated by incredible martial arts sequences. Wait until you see warriors skittering up walls, leaping from roof to roof and duking it out in the treetops. Along with the thrilling series of gravity-be-damned fight scenes, director Ang Lee presents a sumptuous tale of a rebellious young woman, two aging warriors and a love-struck outlaw.

War of the Worlds

Not the one with Tom Cruise, the first one, from 1953, starring Gene Barry and Ann Robinson. Everything works in this grand sci-fi classic about what happens when aliens land and start wiping out substantial portions of our planet. The leads are spot-on and the film takes time to let us get to know them before the war begins. And what a war! From the first appearance of the alien machines to the riveting scene where Barry and Robinson are caught in a farmhouse surrounded by a nest of alien invaders, this will keep you fully involved no matter your state of mind.

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Ed Johnson-Ott has been NUVO's lead film critic for more than 20 years.

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