The Best Movies To Watch While Very, Very Stoned

Tom Nicholson
·9-min read
Photo credit: -
Photo credit: -

Banging on about taking drugs is so powerfully lame it should have some effect on your credit rating, but there is no denying that weed and films go together like Cheech and Chong.

That said, films about weed are, with a few notable exceptions, terrible. It's hard to put a finger on exactly what it is, but it's almost as if there's some connection between honking on fat biftas and being unable to exercise restraint and good storytelling judgement. So what to do?

Read our guide to the best stoner movies, that's what. Whether you're after something to chuckle gormlessly to, stare serenely at or use as a prompt for rambling existentialist 'conversations', there's something here for you.

Meet Joe Black (1998)


Meet Joe Black is not a terrific film. It's important we acknowledge that straight off the bat. It is, in many ways, quite bad. If you're in the right mood though, it's very, very funny. It's about a billionaire media mogul (Anthony Hopkins) who's contemplating selling up and his not-very-in-love soon-to-be-wed daughter Allison. That's not particularly important. What is important is that Brad Pitt is a hot young man who isn't actually a hot young man at all – he's hot young Death himself, and he's got the horn for Allison. Watch the clip at the top all the way through. No, all the way through. There, now you get it.

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Shaun the Sheep Movie (2015)

Don't try to suggest you're 'too old' for Shaun the Sheep. I simply will not hear it. In this house, we respect the Mossy Bottom Farm gang. Aside from its slightly perfunctory, SEO-optimised title, Shaun the Sheep Movie is Aardman at its absolute best. Successfully bemused by one of Shaun's ploys, the farmer ends up lost in the city with no idea how he got there but a burgeoning career as a hair stylist. The sheep set out to get him back. Nick Park pops up as himself, watching some birds. A mellower vibe you will not find. If you've got time, double up with the sequel Shaun the Sheep: Farmageddon.

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Howl's Moving Castle (2004)

A film about the power of compassion and how war's for idiots is always a good shout in these situations. In Studio Ghibli's extravagantly gorgeous tale, young hatmaker Sophie bumps into a witch who promptly turns her into a haggard 90-year-old. She hops on board the dashing wizard Howl's flying castle and sets about trying to free a fire demon who's promised to put her back to her youthful self. As with all Ghibli films, it makes a lot more sense when you watch it. It's a wonderful, magical yarn, and invites a lot of slightly intense over-analysis.

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Dazed and Confused (1993)

Richard Linklater's freewheeling last-day-of-school epic sprawls through a day and a night among the class of 1976 at Lee High School in Austin, Texas. It's notionally about the coming of age of the school's star American football player, 'Pink' Floyd, and his agonising choice between playing by the rules to give himself a chance at a college career, and his love of both teen freedom and the sainted doob. Really, though, it's about that space between teendom and adulthood, where responsibilities are few and the brewskis are chilled, captured in its rambling feel and blazed-beyond-reason chuckleheaded dialogue about George Washington being an alien.

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Booksmart (2019)

Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever's best buds Amy and Molly have done everything right through school, and their straight-arrow super-sensible ways have paid off now they're off to college. The trouble is, it turns out their partying burnout classmates got into top colleges too. What to do? Make up for lost time with a massive night out, obviously. It's got everything a good stoner film needs: a questing arc, to get to the best party and have A Righteously Good Time; a buddy dynamic at its heart; a scene where someone pukes on someone else; a character who keeps popping up out of nowhere and surprising everyone; and a hallucinatory sequence after the gals eat spiked strawberries.

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Foodfight! (2012)

A very specialist choice, but one well worth tracking down. Foodfight! is basically Toy Story but featuring loads of corporate mascots living in their supermarket-based society, and despite costing somewhere north of $45 million to make after a tortuous decade-long gestation, it is easily the most horrifically ugly, confusing and unsettling animated film ever made. Its plot – something about a conglomerate represented by Nazi-styled footsoldiers wanting to purge branded items from the shelves – is impenetrable. Despite being a children's film, its jokes are utterly filthy. Somehow, the voice cast includes Charlie Sheen, Hilary Duff and Eva Longoria. Its director and writer would ask animators to make scenes "more awesome" or "30 percent better". It's The Room, rendered in horribly sharp polygons.

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Scott Pilgrim Vs The World (2010)

Photo credit: Universal
Photo credit: Universal

Whatever you watch, you'll want it to have some decent visuals. You might get a little something extra out of watching, say, Das Boot while stoned, it's not going to do much for you in that regard. Watching Edgar Wright's hyperactive, arcade-inspired visuals pop off on a big screen, however, is a very, very good use of an evening. Michael Cera is Scott Pilgrim, nerd and garage band bassist, who has to defeat his new girlfriend's seven evil exes in mortal combat.

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Tron (1982)

Photo credit: Disney
Photo credit: Disney

For a film which was inspired by a demo of 2D table tennis arcade game Pong, Tron has had an incredibly long life. That's partly down to the neon-lit world created within it, which is so influential that it puts it second only to Blade Runner as the most-often-ripped-off sci-fi film of them al - and the fact that Jeff Bridges is around to carry a fairly tedious story about industrial espionage around on the back of his lightcycle. There's also a measure of proto-Matrix reality-warping in here too, though not quite enough to make you anxious about the substance of your own reality.

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Commando (1985)

Photo credit: 20th Century Fox
Photo credit: 20th Century Fox

The connoisseur's choice of utterly brainless retro explode-a-thon. Arnie is retired US Army colonel John Matrix (JOHN MATRIX) whose daughter is kidnapped by generically evil South American revolutionaries who try to blackmail him into carrying out a hit on the US-backed president of the country they've just failed to overthrow. But Arnie's not having that, oh no. He sorts things out the old-fashioned way: with small arms, machine guns, heavy artillery, brute force and post-murder quips so badly constructed and delivered they almost become Dadaist non-sequiturs.

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The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

Photo credit: Fox
Photo credit: Fox

It's good to have a purely aesthetically pleasing film at hand which doesn't involve lasers and references to Donkey Kong, and for that you'll struggle to beat the pinks, purples, mauves and burgundies of Wes Anderson's screwball opus. Ralph Fiennes is Gustave, a concierge at the shabbily grand Grand Budapest Hotel who's accused of murder and ropes in young colleague Zero to clear his name as well as stealing an extremely valuable painting. It's very funny, very arch, and very, very gorgeous to look at.

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The Big Lebowski (1998)

Photo credit: Working Title
Photo credit: Working Title

Perhaps the best stoner film ever made about an actual stoner, The Big Lebowski is mistaken identity caper that sees the Coen Brothers do their best work and Jeff Bridges do his as 'The Dude', a laid-back bowling bro who ends up embroiled in a kidnapping and extortion plot. Steve Buscemi and John Goodman make up the excellent supporting cast in a film that is ideal for a weed-watch as it gives the impression of pottering along at its own pace and minding its own business with a little philosophising on the side, but actually has the taut intrigue of a Raymond Chandler adaptation.

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Interstellar (2014)

Photo credit: Warner Bros
Photo credit: Warner Bros

Some people swear by watching 2001: A Space Odyssey while in an altered state. Absolutely do not attempt to do that. You don't know what you're playing with. Interstellar's a much easier way to turn the room onto a bit of light cosmology chat. Matthew McConnaughey throws himself into a wormhole to find another habitable planet when Earth starts going a bit Planet of the Apes. There's black holes, time dilation, multiple dimensions and tesseracts all over the gaff, but none of the overwhelming sense that life is meaningless that you get with 2001.

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Airplane! (1975)

Photo credit: Paramount
Photo credit: Paramount

As a big evening in wears on, the idea of shouting a film's punchlines about a second and a half before they actually arrive suddenly stops being irritating and becomes The Funniest Thing Ever. For that, there's no film better to shout along with than Airplane!. You've already thought of about seven or eight gags you want to blurt out right now since starting this paragraph. Go on, blurt them. Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue! Don't call me Shirley! Have you ever been in a Turkish prison! Everyone's already seen Airplane! anyway, so blurt away.

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Help! (1965)

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

From the freewheeling, Bond-parodying plot which follows the lads' attempts to get a cursed ring off Ringo's finger and save him from being ritually sacrificed while haring around the Bahamas, the Beatles' innocent and giggly second film is completely enveloped in weed smoke. "If you look at pictures of us you can see a lot of red-eyed shots; they were red from the dope we were smoking," Ringo recalled later. It's a lot baggier than A Hard Day's Night, but its grinning, anarchic feel and easygoing charm make it ideal for enjoying with a sly late afternoon joint. The soundtrack isn't bad either. Look at George's little smirk. He knows.

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All Aboard: The Canal Trip (2015)

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

Nature docs can become utterly riveting, but being ambushed by the sight of a baby polecat being torn limb from limb by a red kite can also really kill a mood. That's where slow TV documentaries – feature-length docs shot in real time – come in. This one's shot from a single camera on the front of a barge navigating the Kennet and Avon Canal from Top Lock in Bath to the Dundas Aqueduct in real time over the course of two hours. Sometimes the camera pans to the left slightly; sometimes it pans to the right. Occasionally there's a fact about the early days of mechanised weaving. Despite the fact that nothing else happens, it's weirdly gripping. A good 5am chiller.

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