With the entire world of cinema at your fingertips, it can sometimes be tough deciding what to watch when you’re floating in a haze of cannabliss. Understanding that, and in honor of celebrating cannabis culture on 4/20, we’ve chosen 10 quality films to match whatever you’re feeling. Whether you’re in the mood for something brainy, funny, trippy, serious or stupid, ingest and enjoy these stoner movie classics.
Long before Black Swan, Mother! and The Wrestler, director Darren Aronofsky created Pi, an ambitious atmospheric black-and-white suspense film about a guy who discovers a 216-digit number that is the key to unlocking the stock market and also the ancient Hebrew name of God. (Don’t worry, we haven’t spoiled anything.) Besides, the masterful camerawork and all-techno soundtrack — with music from Massive Attack, Aphex Twin and Orbital — will keep you tripped you out, even if you end up watching it sober.
As a great man once said, “he who is tired of Weird Al is tired of life.” Well, we’re definitely not tired of life. Though it bombed on its original 1989 release, the “Weird Al” Yankovic feature film UHF is always a delight. It holds up sober, but it gains that certain something when paired with a nice indica. While the plot — George Newman (played by Weird Al) is put in charge of a failing UHF TV station — is admittedly hackneyed, it’s not about that. Instead, UHF is an excuse for Yankovic to riff on television. Treat this stoner movie like a sketch comedy film.
3. Drop Dead Gorgeous
This dark comedy about a lethal beauty pageant in the small town of Mont Rose, Minnesota, is shot like a mockumentary and is filled with jaw-dropping, politically incorrect humor throughout, making it a great stoner movie. It features Kirsten Dunst as a plucky mortuary assistant-turned-pageant contestant who vies against her rich competitor (Denise Richards) and her scheming mother (Kirstie Alley). It’s terribly, unapologetically, offensively funny, and even better when you’re high.
4. Fantastic Planet
Though the animation style of René Laloux’s masterpiece Fantastic Planet is slightly limited — sometimes characters move like Terry Gilliam’s Monty Python cutouts — it works with the story, giving it an otherworldly feel. Which makes sense, as the story is about giant aliens, the Draags, who keep humans (or Oms, a corruption of the French word hommes, or “man”) as slaves and pets. While it may be cliché to say this film is “trippy,” it’s a cliché because it’s totally true.
The phrase “Bye Felicia” literally came from this film, so isn’t it about time you actually watched it? This funny 1995 stoner movie classic follows Craig (Ice Cube), newly fired, as he spends the day on his porch smoking weed with his stoner pal, Smokey (the hilarious Chris Tucker, two years before he played the flamboyant Ruby Rhod in The Fifth Element). Smokey owes a psychopathic drug dealer $200 and Craig pines for Debbie, the neighborhood beauty. As for Felicia, well, you’ll just have to watch to see why no one wants her around.
6. The Phantom of Liberty
For the pretentious stoner, this is the second film on our list in the Criterion Collection, the other being Fantastic Planet. Surrealist Luis Buñuel, most famous for Un Chien Andalou, puts together a series of vignettes here. Or, if you prefer, he makes a Monty Python-style sketch comedy. As with all sketch comedies, not every segment holds up, but for the most part it’s one of Buñuel’s best and (surprisingly) most accessible films. (And, hey, a little pot can help with the weaker segments.)
The great thing about this French documentary (originally subtitled “People of the Grass”) is that it’s only 80 minutes long and is light on talking, letting viewers enjoy the mind-blowing natural footage of these surprisingly cute and complex insects, all of which become characters in and of themselves. The music of Bruno Coulais (the “Danny Elfman of France”) makes it a brief and enjoyable trip with a light touch of dramatic and humorous effect, even if you’re normally squicked out by bugs.
8. Spirited Away
Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away is perhaps his masterpiece. (It’s hard to tell, since all of Miyazaki’s films are differing levels of utterly brilliant, but Spirited Away gets our vote.) This gorgeous fairy tale about a young girl trying to turn the pigs that used to be her gluttonous parents back into humans is one of the most well-crafted films of all time. And the way he combines traditional animation techniques with computer animation makes the film visually exquisite. Spark up and just bathe in the beauty.
9. American Pop
This lost masterpiece of American animator Ralph Bakshi (Cool World, Lord of the Rings, Fritz the Cat) follows five generations of a Russian immigrant family whose lives are indelibly shaped by music. Spanning 1890 to 1980, the film illustrates highlights from American musical history with tripped-out, avant-garde visuals that’ll stay with you long after the film ends. Plus, the story is alternately funny and heartbreaking, though not enough to kill your buzz.
10. The Voices
This film, directed by cartoonist Marjane Satrapi, is a deeply underrated cult classic. It features Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds as Jerry, a guy with a job, a dog and a cat. Jerry talks to them a lot, but unlike when you talk to your pets, his answer. His dog, Bosco, acts as Jerry’s conscience, whereas his cat Mr. Whiskers is his bad side. This horror-comedy is not only exquisitely directed by Satrapi but is surprisingly sympathetic, too. If watching while tripping, maybe escort your pets into the other room first.