So you’ve been to the outermost reaches of the trippy multiverse in your mind, and now you just want to sit back, enjoy your high, and be bombarded with wonderment? I’ve been there, buddy. Beyond the best Netflix movies and shows to watch when you're stoned, the best action movies, best comedies, and best documentaries on Netflix, the best movies to watch when you're heartbroken, the finest Oscar-nominated movies new to Netflix, and movies on Netflix that pass the Bechdel test, I’ve compiled some special recommendations just for you.
Depending on your attention span, you might want to watch some trippy music videos on YouTube. (I recommend this fan-made Radiohead music video to kick things into gear.) If you’re looking for something noncommittal, Netflix (US) also has original episodes of Bill Nye: The Science Guy, The Twilight Zone, and anime’s prettiest show, Mushi-Shi. But if you’re at that point at the beginning or tail-end of your trip where you just want to settle into a good story, keep reading:
Buster’s Mal Heart
I caught this sleeper hit at Tribeca in 2016, and certain elements have stuck with me ever since. Sarah Adina Smith’s austere, wry style captures a more dynamic Rami Malek than Mr. Robot. Shaheen Seth’s panoramic cinematography deftly captures his wobbly world, where every little thing you think is, isn’t. Smith’s film is sort of like if you combined the holistic elements of Primer, The Fountain, and Castaway, and threw in a little of Fringe’s "We're trying to plug a hole in the universe. What are you doing here?" vibes for good measure. Satisfying sci-fi.
DMT: The Spirit Molecule
Ahahahaha, just kidding. (Then again, if you’re the kind of person who likes being talked at, Zeitgeist is on Netflix, too. I also have a bridge to sell you…)
Professional mindblower Richard Kelly burst onto the scene with this time-traveling metaphor for growing up misunderstood back in 2001. While to this day it remains a cult classic for its frank takedown of suburbia in the late 80s and for having the second-best Jake Gyllenhaal performance (number one is Bubble Boy, obviously), something about Donnie Darko’s always felt bigger than its surroundings. I’m pretty sure one of the answers to the universe is in here somewhere.
Marjorie Prime director Michael Almereyda’s metaphysical portrait of the psychologist behind the boundary-breaking “Obedience to Authority” experiments of the 1960s is like a combination of a historical drama and an experimental film. It features Winona Ryder, Jim Gaffigan, and John Leguizamo, and me—I’m actually in like three scenes (trippy huh???).
Full Metal Jacket
Stanley Kubrick's body of work is a successive series of stories about the apotheosis of man through the shedding of false protagonists (Kubrick, Inside a Film Artist's Maze does a great job of breaking this down). Gomer Pyle's descent into madness is a means for Private Joker's forged-in-flames path to enlightenment, similar to the way that the death of Dr. Poole in 2001: A Space Odyssey presages the ascent and subsequent rebirth of Dr. Bowman as the Star Child. This cinematic metempsychosis is exactly the kind of shit you need to be watching when you're going up or coming down.
Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves
You're tripping—but not actually tripping—if you don’t immediately think this is a good idea.
It Might Get Loud
If you’re at the point where you just wish you were jamming with Jimmy Page, U2’s the Edge, and Jack White, you’re in luck. Let director Davis Guggenheim give you an intimate hang with three rock’n’roll idols and the six strings that unite them.
Sam Rockwell as Sam Rockwell in a movie about Sam Rockwells Sam Rockwelling on the Sam Rockwell. Oops! I mean, the Moon.
Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure
There’s a part of every good trip where your mind unloads all the insecurities you carry all day long, and suddenly you’re this glowing, bouncy flower ball of playfulness and imagination, just like Pee-Wee Herman. Put this on while you’re waiting for whatever you’re on to turn you on. You’ll probably have to pause it halfway through for your own Big Adventure. But when you get back home, Pee-Wee will still be there, waiting patiently to bring you back down to Earth.
Slow TV: Train Ride Bergen to Oslo
From Norwegian State Railways’ official website: ”The Bergen Railway between Oslo and Bergen is considered one of the world’s most scenic train rides. There are four daily departures from Oslo and Bergen. The seven-hour journey brings you across one of Europe’s highest mountain plateaus, and takes you to through spectacular and varied nature.” Enjoy the trip, in full, from the comfort of your own home.
Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
Cool World is on Hulu, not Netflix, but in my humble opinion, Netflix still has the best Robert Zemeckis film—and he’s the guy who directed Forrest Gump and Back to the Future. If you haven’t seen it, it’s basically a buddy-cop psychodramedy starring Bob Hoskins as a horny Columbo and an anxiety-riddled Bugs Bunny as Gollum. A trip of epic proportions.
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