by Dan Ketchum
From cannabis-loving auteurs like Dennis Hopper and Jordan Peele to longstanding canna-culture traditions like syncing “The Wizard of Oz” to “Dark Side of the Moon,” weed and film have long shared a beautiful and at times symbiotic relationship. In a space that handily transcends that old “Dazed and Confused” DVD, there’s a whole world of cinema that makes you feel high even when you haven’t had a single hit — but they’re even better when you have had one.
1. Solaris (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1972)
If you’ve already gotten high to “2001: A Space Odyssey” enough times in college (and honestly, that one still works just fine, especially for newcomers), it might just be time to experience its more cerebral Russian cousin, Andrei Tarkovsky’s “Solaris.” Alongside plenty of vibey visuals that are still unique among today’s sci-fi landscape, you’ll find a startlingly human story that lends itself well to a deep rabbit hole of post-viewing conversations.
2. In the Mood for Love (Wong Kar-wai, 2000)
Even putting aside how much a relaxing indica can elevate the sweetly delicate bonds at the heart of Wong Kar-wai’s masterwork, “In the Mood for Love” works as a wholly audiovisual experience, too. The hypersatured noir of Christopher Doyle and Mark Lee Ping-bing paired with the sultry score courtesy of Michael Glasso and Shigeru Umebayashi just feel like a steamy night in Hong Kong.
3. Mandy (Panos Cosmatos, 2018)
Horror is having a renaissance, and few films encapsulate that newfound energy as well as 2018’s cult hit, “Mandy.” This prog-rock album cover comes to life around seemingly hand-painted visuals, an insanely driving score by the late Jóhann Jóhannsson, and a charmingly unhinged performance from Nicolas Cage. Perfect for an energetic strain in a group setting, but not the sort of “hard-to-make-eye-contact-with-anyone-afterward” type of horror experience you might have with a film like “Midsommar.”
4. The Man Who Fell to Earth (Nicolas Roeg, 1976)
David Bowie has to be in “top three historical figures to get high with” territory, but since you can’t invite him to movie night for a sesh, here’s the next best thing. Based on Walter Tevis’ still-relevant novel, “The Man Who Fell to Earth” wraps blighting social commentary in a Technicolor arthouse shell, replete with ‘70s high fashion and industrial design that was made to be experienced high.
5. Sorry to Bother You (Boots Riley, 2018)
Boots Riley’s criminally underseen “Sorry to Bother You” was marketed as racial commentary centered around the idea of phonetic convergence, and it is certainly that. But not content with “just” that ambition, it’s also a shockingly funny, relentlessly wild deconstruction of late-stage capitalism that deals with the subject matter in the only appropriate fashion: total and absolute absurdity.
6. Excalibur (John Boorman, 1981)
Fantasy is back, but while the drama may be there in full force, today’s reliance on digital effects and TV budgets means we’ve lost some of that otherworldly tone that inspired so many painted vans in decades past. “Excalibur,” though, is absolutely dripping with it. Kaleidoscopic optical effects, outrageous costuming and sumptuous atmosphere make John Boorman’s take on the Arthurian legend the perfect fantasy to just vibe out with.
Looking for more films to add to your watch list? Check out our guide to the best nature documentaries to watch while high!
Dan Ketchum is an LA-based freelance lifestyle, fashion, food and pop culture writer with more than a decade of experience. In the film space, he’s been fortunate enough to collaborate and publish with companies such as Moviefone, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Entertainment One, Mill Creek, Shout! Factory and more.
IMDb – Solaris
IMDb – In the Mood for Love
IMDb – Mandy
IMDb – The Man Who Fell to Earth
IMDb – Sorry to Bother You
IMDb – Excalibur
IMDb – The Fall