Call them “cult classics.” “Guilty pleasures.” “Comfort movies.” We all have a mental rolodex of flicks that may not be terribly popular but, for one reason or another, they resonate in a very special way. Maybe you saw it at the right moment. Maybe you just see gold where everyone else sees feces. Whatever the case, these are the special favorites that you keep stashed away for sick days. Here are some of ours.
April 20, known among the pot-smoking nation (and among people who write the date numerically) as 4/20, is the unofficial holiday celebrating the usage of marijuana. And while MTV does not in any way endorse breaking the law, we certainly acknowledge that a sizable population of people are out there who simply disregard that law. And since you’re out there, I figured I’d take a moment to run through some of my favorite flicks to zone out to.
Not that I engage in such activities. If I did though, the following five movies would be pretty badass…
Note: I tried to focus on some of the less-obvious options out there. “Half Baked” is a hilariously funny movie, but it’s also the sort of low-hanging fruit I’m steering clear of for this list. No disrespect though; the saga of Mr. Nice Guy ranks among my all-time favorites.
“Natural Born Killers”
Ah, Oliver Stone. The conspiracy-loving, culture-commenting filmmaker is behind a range of thought-provoking films. “Natural Born Killers” trumps them all. A meditation on the nature of celebrity in ’90s culture, “Killers” is highlighted by wacked-out imagery, off-the-wall dialogue, bloody violence and a killer soundtrack. Just sit there, let it wash over you and try to dissect the meaning behind Stone’s use of colors.
I suppose this one could be classified as the above-mentioned “low-hanging fruit.” I couldn’t write this list without some shout to the best of the classic rock films, and it really comes down to a race between this and Pink Floyd’s “The Wall.” “Submarine” wins though: the Blue Meanies are essentially a walking, talking bad trip, the simple animation drips with bright colors and the Beatles soundtrack keeps this story of four musicians who set out to save a magical world at the bottom of the ocean moving right along.
Avant-garde filmmaker Michael Snow tortured me throughout college. His highly experimental material can get pretty headache inducing (watch this clip from his “La region centrale”; that goes on for more than three hours). “Wavelength” is a rather nutty film in which a stationary camera slowly zooms in on a photograph across a room over a 45-minute period. I challenge you to watch this whole thing while not high.
“Wanted” is my one concession to blockbuster fare for this list. And that’s for one reason only: the action sequences staged by director Timur Bekmambetov are jaw-droppingly fantastic. In a genre (the blockbuster) defined by its “oh s–t!” moments, “Wanted” stands ahead of just about everything.
“Wave Twisters” is a concept movie/album from renowned California scratch artist, DJ Q-Bert. In addition to sporting some amazing cover art, the movie is basically Q-Bert’s album set to a bizarre animated narrative. How bizarre? Here’s a synopsis:
A crew of heroes, cleverly disguised as a team of oral hygenists, is determined to save the lost arts of Hip Hop (B-boying, Graffiti, MCing, and of course, Skratching) from total extinction. The lost arts are being oppressed throughout inner-space by lord Ook and his evil minions the Chinheads. The dental commander and his team, armed with the ancient relic known as the Wave Twister (the only weapon powerful enough to defeat the enemies), travel to the far ends of inner-space for a final confrontation with the sinister army of oppressors.
You’re sold. It’s okay, you can admit it.