15 Movies to Watch While You’re High
Peanut butter and jelly. Coffee and cream. Pizza and beer.
Some things were just meant to go together, and as any cannabis user can tell you, marijuana and movies are no exception. After enjoying cannabis using your preferred method, there’s nothing like parking yourself on the couch, relishing the good vibes, and immersing yourself in a good movie.
However there are certain kinds of movies that are better than others while in an elevated state, often ones that make us laugh, ones that make us go “whoa,” or ones that can only seem to reveal parts of themselves to us while stoned. Here are 15 of those kinds of movies, the best we might say, a carefully curated selection that was only completed after thorough research. These aren’t movies about weed – though a couple might be – but rather, the best movies to watch after enjoying marijuana.
And right after that disclaimer, a weed movie – one of the quintessential stoner movies ever made starring one of the top celebrity pot heads. After one of the most hilarious opening scenes caught on film, this profane comedy veers from slapstick to conspiracy theory to bromance to gratuitous violence, and maybe asks some deep questions about pot use – before lighting up again.
Terry Gilliam makes some trippy flicks, and his first entry onto this list is 1985’s Brazil, a weird satire that takes viewers to a dystopian world reliant on machines. The whole thing is cartoonish and heavy on the slapstick, but offers a skewed look at modern society – plus Robert de Niro.
A Scanner Darkly
You might notice a healthy dose of sci-fi on this list – some of the best movies to watch while high challenge our realities, taking viewers to a reality recognizable as ours but (plausibly) morphed. A Scanner Darkly does that, but also serves up cool visual effects as a live action film that has also been animated. The film is anchored by a stellar cast – Keanu Reeves, Robert Downey Jr., Woody Harrelson, Winona Ryder – and a stunning final twist.
Before saving the stars and stripes from the bad guys on 24, Kiefer Sutherland tries to get to the bottom of a murder he’s been framed for, and instead uncovers unseen forces that silently rule the citizens of Dark City. If weed makes you paranoid, this one might heighten the feeling.
The Doom Generation
Trashy, depraved, questionably acted – no wonder Roger Ebert gave The Doom Generation zero stars. But this 1995 cult favorite is slyly funny and harkens back to a punk/grunge ethos long gone. For the angsty teen in all of us, go on this demented road trip.
This 2008 live-action reboot of the beloved anime series got panned by critics, but they probably would have enjoyed the ridiculous visuals of Speed Racer with a little more THC in their systems. Speed Racer is one to see purely for its breakneck, eye-popping graphics in beautifully loud colors that only get better when high.
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
The second Terry Gilliam-directed film on this list, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen is like Monty Python on acid – which makes sense, since Gilliam was in the comedy troupe. This unhinged fantasy adventure is certainly out there, but it’s also a cheerful, tongue-in-cheek comedy with some pretty good special effects.
Sometimes, while watching movies in a certain state, it can be hard to follow the plot, especially in a story with its share of twists and turns. Charade, an oft-overlooked classic by director Stanley Donen, is a mystery movie that a high person can follow. There are twists and turns in the whodunit, but not enough to be confusing. Plus, the banter and borderline overacting between legends Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn is always good for a few ganja-influenced giggles.
It’s loud, dumb, and full of itself – just like the title characters. But Step Brothers is a seriously funny, slyly smart comedy featuring excellently belligerent performances by Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly. There are so many memorable lines in the flick (“this is a house of learn-ed doctors!”) that will provide elevated entertainment long after the end credits have rolled (“so many activities!”).
You know how we said in the intro that weed and movies go together like peanut butter and jelly? Weed also goes well together with cartoons and music, so when you combine all three, you’ve got a marijuana must-see. Fantasia has wonderful musical score, tells some trippy tales, throws in some laughs, and provides altered entertainment long after you first saw it as a kid.
Martial arts movies were a favorite of cannabis users back in the VHS days, but 2002’s Hero takes the genre for an epic turn. Often overlooked by its more well-known predecessor, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (also recommended), this tale of a nameless warrior played by Jet Li has for my money the better gravity-defying fight scenes, awe-inspiring landscape shots, and more impressive cinematography.
The newest entry on this list, Inherent Vice follows the confusing, hazy exploits of private detective (and complete pot head) Doc Sportello. The movie doesn’t make a ton of sense sober, so you might have better luck solving the mystery by making like the main character and sparking a joint or five. Even if you don’t quite get the story, the characters are memorable and the soundtrack is outstanding.
Rappers Method Man and Redman smoke blunts, their friend’s ghost appears and gives them all the answers to their tests, and they get into Harvard; hilarity ensues. How High isn’t the smartest comedy, at least not Ivy League-worthy, but it’s still a classic stoner comedy for when the indica has got you in a good mood and you just need a few easy laughs.
For when you don’t have 550 minutes to watch Planet Earth all the way through, there is Baraka, a remarkable visual exploration of the modern world – from natural wonders to the thousands of different human societies that populate it. There’s no plot, no actors, and no script, just an incredible experience. Check out its sequel Samsara if you want more.
The Last Waltz
A lot of cannabis users will argue that music is better with marijuana, and there are lots of concert movies worth seeing (our other recommendations: Stop Making Sense and Dave Chappelle’s Block Party). The Last Waltz documents the farewell concert of The Band, and intermixes interviews and backstage footage with a performance that featured over a dozen guest musicians including Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Ringo Starr, and Van Morrison. Martin Scorsese directed.