In celebration of the growing legality of marijuana use in the United States and its unofficial holiday of 4/20, most people churning out these lovely little lists across the interwebs would likely give you a list of stoner comedies, with your usual Cheech & Chong, Harold & Kumar or Seth Rogen selections. However, in the interest of the mind-expanding powers of brain chemistry alteration, how about we cobble together ten films that would be really cool to watch while baked – ones that may not have anything to do with actual weed enthusiasts. With that in mind, here are ten very trippy movies for stoners of all kinds. Okay, most kinds. I’m leaving Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” off the list because any self-respecting stoner already knows that one. You may ask how much a recreational drug user could really respect themselves, but then again, maybe you should keep your moral judgments to yourself, huh? You stole fizzy lifting drinks! Good day, sir!
Wait… what was I doing? Oh, yeah. Freaky movies!
1. “MirrorMask” (2005)
The old threat from kids to their parents was that if they were too strict, they would run away and join the circus. This Dave McKean film from a Neil Gaiman screenplay, however, shows us a girl who runs away from the circus into an even stranger fantasy world, brought forth by guilt over her mother’s suffering. The Jim Henson Company is at work here, crafting something in the spirit of “The Dark Crystal” and “Labyrinth,” but something altogether new – and truly strange.
2. “The City of Lost Children” (1995)
If Jean-Pierre Jeunet is involved, you know you are going to get a stylistically-charged film, as you will have seen by now with “Delicatessen” and “Amelie,” and if you haven’t, you should have. This 1995 film he directed with Marc Caro focuses on a mad scientist named Krank whose cult kidnaps children in order to steal their dreams, and stars Ron Perlman as a carnival strongman and sailor who is trying to save his brother alongside a young orphan named Miette. Dominique Pinion playing six identical clones is a real treat, but the haunting imagery of this beautifully brilliant piece of work doesn’t even require altering the brain chemistry to love.
3. “Brazil” (1985)
You cannot make a list such as this without including the work of the amazing visual artist Terry Gilliam. One is tempted to drop in the fever dream that is “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” but we’re staying away from completely obvious choices here. “Brazil” stars Jonathan Pryce as Sam Lowry, a low-rung grunt in a dystopian, Orwellian society dreaming of being a hero to a damsel in distress. When he actually meets the dream woman in his reality as a result of a bureaucratic snafu about a suspected terrorist (Robert De Niro) that resulted in the death of her husband, he starts upon a wild, dangerous journey deep into his own mind. Watch this and yours will be well and truly blown, man.
4. “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968)
While “A Clockwork Orange” might also be a good choice from Stanley Kubrick, the old ultraviolence can harsh one’s mellow. But his epic masterpiece spanning the Dawn of Man to Beyond the Infinite has long periods of dialogue-free introspection about the mysteries of the universe, the threat of artificial intelligence and the history of our species. This is the mind-expanding thinkpiece that makes the perfect stimulation for the chilled-out, introspective weed experience.