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6 Surreal Movies to Watch this 4/20

It doesn’t matter how old the movie is, what language it’s in, or how high you are. These are still great movies to watch, blazed, crossed, or otherwise.

6 Movies to Watch
Illustration by John Creed

As 4/20 approaches this year, it’s time to celebrate by letting loose and watching some movies. After all, what’s a better combo than getting roasted on the couch and a free afternoon to stream? Well, you could add in some snacks if you got the munchies.

However, maybe those old, cliché choices have become stale, and you crave something new. Perhaps strange visual works like Alice in Wonderland or 2001: A Space Odyssey have become too normal. Maybe you don’t want to watch one of those old stoner comedies from the ’90s and 2000s. Seriously, who in Gen Z is actually watching Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle?

No matter! The wide world of cinema is filled with some excellent choices if you know what you’re looking for. It doesn’t matter how old the movie is, what language it’s in, or how high you are. These are still great movies to watch, blazed, crossed, or otherwise.

This list is not arranged in any particular order. There is no ranking of quality, or correct order to watch in succession. Here, there is only good vibes.

“Batman” (1966)

Batman (Adam West) and Robin (Burt Ward) run down the street in Gotham City.
Batman (Adam West) and Robin (Burt Ward) run down the street in Gotham City. Credit: 20th Century-Fox

This movie adaptation of the iconic Batman show from the ’60s takes the caped crusader to the big screen. If you know anything about ’60s TV Batman, you know this is prime camp. The movie takes that TV camp and amplifies it to a tee.

In a post-Adult Swim world, Batman serves as an amazing absurdist comedy. Of course, the filmmakers knew what they were doing when they made this, but the comedy hits different these days. When newer Batman media consistently tries to make the Dark Knight darker and more grim dark, this is almost like culture shock.

Think about it. When else can you see police taking off their hats in respect to Batman? How about Penguin’s goons dehydrated, then rehydrated, and then killed so hard they become anti-matter? And of course, the bomb scene. If nothing else, watch this movie for the bomb scene.

“The Lord of the Rings” trilogy (2001-2003)

The Fellowship of the Ring (Vigo Mortensen, Sean Astin, Ian McKellen, Elijah Wood, Dominic Monaghan, Orlando Bloom, Billy Boyd, John Reyes-Davies, and Sean Bean from left to right) standing together in Rivendell.
The Fellowship of the Ring (Vigo Mortensen, Sean Astin, Ian McKellen, Elijah Wood, Dominic Monaghan, Orlando Bloom, Billy Boyd, John Reyes-Davies, and Sean Bean from left to right) standing together in Rivendell. Credit: New Line Cinema

Now, this one is going to take a while, I know. If you’re watching the extended editions of these films, then you’ll be left watching eleven-and-a-half hours of three movies. Maybe twelve if you also count bathroom breaks. Honestly though, if you get a couple of friends together for a whole day, why would you not?

There’s a great amount of people I personally know who (1.) smoke weed or take mushrooms, and (2.) love The Lord of the Rings. There is a connection between people who use drugs, and both the books and the films. The beautiful imagery of the landscape connects with people, and even the hobbits get high.

If the nature and drug connection isn’t enough, how about the memes? All of the memes that have come from these three movies have added a different kind of rewatch value. This trilogy honestly rivals SpongeBob Squarepants in terms of meme potential – a high honor in my eyes.

“Who Killed Captain Alex?” (2010)

A fight breaks outside a building in Kampala, Uganda.
A fight breaks outside a building in Kampala, Uganda. Credit: Wakaliwood

Where do I start with Who Killed Captain Alex?

I could talk about the fact that this is an action-comedy made in the slums of Uganda with a budget of about $200. Maybe I should discuss the VJ Announcer – basically a let’s player saying stuff, but in a movie and you can’t turn it off. How about the fact that this is technically a lost movie, since the director had to delete the original file to make his next film?

The humor can be so hysterical, but also so unfunny that it goes back around at being cringe humor. The action is surprisingly well-choreographed and shot well, especially compared to modern Hollywood action movies. And, the story, if it really has one, really just exists for fights and explosions to happen.

There’s so much to say about this masterpiece of entertainment. It’s honestly remarkable that this movie even exists and continues to provide joy to viewers. It’s actually free to watch on YouTube from the production company itself.

“Fantastic Planet” (1973)

Four aliens sit together in mediation.
Four aliens sit together in mediation. Credit: Argos Films

This is the first film of two films on this list I’d recommend not watching with psychedelics. Fantastic Planet has endured in niche circles as a surreal sci-fi masterpiece, with much allegorical and political meaning behind. It is a genuine work of art that tackles many subjects and issues, both of their time and contemporary.

It’s also weird as shit. The animation style is similar to those paper cutout animations from Monty Python’s Flying Circus. The design of everything from the blue beings known as Draags and the various alien animals can be unsettling. The world crafted is one of the few in media that feels so foreign than anything resembling Earth.

It’s weird, it’s crazy, but it’s not anything worth ignoring. There’s some fine artistry here and it’s worth it to check this film out, sober or otherwise.

“Reefer Madness” (1936)

A reefer house gets busted by the police.
A reefer house gets busted by the police after a murder was reported. Credit: Motion Picture Ventures

Ah yes, the creme of the crap. The infamous anti-drug film made right around when marijuana was made illegal for ludicrous and racist reasons. It is also the film that makes the bold claim that smoking weed can cause murderous, madness-induced episodes. It should be now clear that this is a modern comedy.

Reefer Madness lives on in infamy as the worst piece of anti-drug propaganda ever made. It depicts cannabis as THE threat to society. Not the problems of the ’30s such as segregation, the Great Depression, or even the rising trends of fascism in Europe. Nope! It’s marijuana.

Its lies are pernicious and it’s overly dramatic to the point of unintentional parody. Seriously, it makes those anti-drug commercials from the ’80s look like films from A24. And, there’s no greater way to stick it to bogus weed laws than watching bad propaganda high.

“El Topo” (1970)

El Topo (Alejandro Jodorowsky) stands the man he shot in a desolate, massacred town.
El Topo (Alejandro Jodorowsky) stands over the man he shot in a desolate, massacred village. Credit: ABKCO Films

And here’s the second film where psychedelics are strongly ill-advised. If you’re not ready for the blood-drenched, psychosexual, spiritual world of Alejandro Jodorowsky, then you are not ready. If you are, then go ahead. After all, El Topo does carry the moniker of the “Acid Western.”

Jodorowsky’s nightmare-esque Western follows a lone cowboy, played by Jodorowsky himself, through a strange collection of scenes. There’s less a concern of an actual plot, but more attention towards creating an experience. It’s similar in that sense to 2001: A Space Odyssey, only much more gory and sexually-driven.

From the father of the midnight movie, El Topo is what made the director internationally famous, and what made The Holy Mountain possible. If you’re curious about what made the founder of the Panic movement known around the world, and got the attention of John Lennon, check out El Topo.

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