Based on the transcendental media experiences of our Craccum editors
Have you ever been a little too ambitious in your joint rolling, cone packing or spotting pursuits? And if so, has this ‘eyes bigger than your stomach’ moment resulted in a mild level of paranoia that can only be remedied by the consumption of quality cinema? If your answer is a resounding yes, then boy do we have the guide for you. After reaching out to our editors, we’ve put together a definitive list of what to, and what not to, watch while stoned. Bravely sharing their stories of inebriated media consumption is something deeply vulnerable. At times their plot summaries may seem skewed and interpretations completely baseless, informed primarily by the haze of Mary Jane. Today, this is of no consequence. Such is the nature of the drug issue. So settle in, get some snacks and roll a fat one, cause’ you’re about to be taken on a journey.
After the release of Cats in 2019, I made it two blissful years without experiencing the monstrosity that Tom Hooper brought to life. It wasn’t a particularly difficult film to avoid; by all accounts, it seemed like a piece of cinema only a true madman could really appreciate. My lapse in judgement didn’t happen until late 2021 following the greedy consumption of a generously packed joint. I had found myself in the depths of an internet wormhole, reading about Jason Derulo’s complaints upon discovering that the editors of Cats had reduced the appearance of his bulge. Why he’d want a prominent dick-outline stumped me; surely he didn’t expect it to be sexy given the whole catsuit thing. Nevertheless, it got me thinking about whether I was missing out on a true cultural phenomenon by writing the film off so quickly. So I made a terrible decision. I clicked play.
As the final credits rolled, I thought my impaired brain had severely misinterpreted the plotline. By my understanding, I’d spent the last two hours watching cats sing little songs in order to be sent to their death by a blood-thirsty, fur-clad Judi Dench. When I described my nuanced reading to others in order to establish its validity I was often met with the response “I mean, that’s kind of it?”
Further exacerbating the macabre subject matter was the absolutely traumatising costuming. Being violently stoned and watching hordes of questionably CGI’d cats leaping around the screen evoked a feeling of visceral fear that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. I didn’t even want to be around my own cat post-screening for fear of her breaking out into ‘Memory,’ (which is not even that good in my opinion. Sorry.)
I also want to touch on the way Taylor Swift essentially roofied a room full of felines while reclining seductively on a big moon. Beginning with an odd little cat in a train conductor outfit pirouetting so hard that he ascends and turns to literal dust, her musical number comes across as strangely horny(?) and revolves around her getting the whole jellicle gang hyped up on catnip. I don’t remember anything after Macavity summons Judi Dench out of thin air at the conclusion of the number but I’m fairly certain it didn’t end well. While ‘Midnights’ was pretty terrible, this really took the cake as Taylor Swift’s worst musical performance.
Overall, horrendous movie. Skip it and save yourself the mental stress that comes from seeing James Cordon (particularly clad in a catsuit) when in an altered state.
In the spring of 2022, I took an edible I assumed wouldn’t work and sat down on the couch to choose a film. Arriving on a firm childhood favourite, I sat back as the little Dreamworks man did his fishing, and the 2004 film Dreamworks Madagascar began. My world transformed into a fisheye lens and I became utterly convinced that what happened on the screen was transpiring in real-time in my living room, live action.
This film is so incredibly baffling; I couldn’t move, I was completely captivated. It asks so many questions and doesn’t answer a single one. Who are we allowed to eat? In a world of anthropomorphised animals are carnivores inherently evil? (a question asked by many children’s films) Is it cannibalism? Did the penguins kill and eat the humans on that ship? Are Alex the Lion and Marty the Zebra in love? (yes.) Why is Madagascar completely devoid of human life? (The Republic of Madagascar is home to approx 28 million people)
If you were to be sensible you could say that the central conflict of the film is between wild-ness and domesticity. I don’t want to be sensible. The central conflict of the film is that Alex is hungry and wants to fuck/eat his best friend about it. You gotta assume that all the animals in this world are intelligent and anthropomorphic(the police horse can talk), so the only difference between Alex eating a T-Bone steak in captivity and eating his friend in the wild is that in captivity someone will do all the messy bits for him. Much as the working class are alienated from their labour, Alex the Lion (bourgeois) is alienated from the conditionality of his own consumption. This conflict is resolved with the arrival of the penguins on the island, who make Alex sushi so he can yet again resolve his hunger for animal flesh and outsource the task of killing it.
In conclusion, this film is the bomb. It made me want to scream. I loved it 10/10. You should absolutely take edibles and watch this film. It’s all the better for you being stuck in front of it.
Kung Fu Panda, 8/10
The 2008 classic Dreamworks film Kung Fu Panda, apparently beloved by engineering students everywhere, is one of the best films for all drugs. The film is fast paced, has a world of interesting characters to unravel, and a philosophy deep rooted in love and acceptance, all perfect things to view when marijuana or other drugs are coursing through your body.
One of the absolute highlights of the film is the villain Tai Lung, who for years I believed was voiced by Eddy Izzard. He is charming and funny and the fight scenes are incredible. Since I first watched this film in cinemas in 2008 I haven’t been able to stop thinking about Tai Lung’s escape from Chorh-Gom Prison. Iconic.
On a night where everything seemed to have gone wrong, greening out and becoming violently ill, I begged for someone to put Kung Fu Panda on the TV. As I lay there under blankets with my stomach in knots I cried with joy as Po discovered that the golden scroll, the secrets of the Dragon Warrior, was within him all along.
Tai Lung, and Tigress, and Po, so desperate to prove themselves as worthy of the title of dragon warrior conflict not with each other but with themselves. Po is able to accept that his value is not given to him by others, he is valuable not because someone declared him to be the Dragon Warrior, but because he is Po.
In fact it’s not just a good film to watch while high, it might even just be a good film. As a child and an adult, high or drunk or tripping or sober this film does nothing but be wholesome, uplifting, and so so desperately fun to watch.
The Holy Mountain, 10/10
If you want to understand what it’s like to take psychedelics without risking your mental and physical well being, The Holy Mountain has you covered. But like any psychedelic experience this movie requires a bit of preparation. Find yourself a nice long playlist on spotify; Make sure there’s plenty of King Gizzard, Mild High Club, and Slowdive on there (they’re basic picks for a reason), and then add your personal spice to taste. Dim the lights, get the music just right, cosy up in a blanket and watch the entire movie on mute. That last part is extremely important; The Holy Mountain was made to be experienced, not understood.
Tripping isn’t about the hallucinations, to trip balls is to completely lose touch with reality. I have vivid memories of staring directly into various walls, trees and clouds. Do they always look like this, or am I just imagining it? If I am imaging it, they still look pretty normal, so what am I imagining? This is the Holy Mountain distilled. I have never seen this movie sober, and I’m not planning on it. I don’t want to understand it. The Holy Mountain is incomprehensible, every scene raises more questions than the last. Is this movie really so weird, or are you just imagining it? Would the plot make perfect sense if you weren’t tripping right now? It must make sense or why would people watch it? Is this film’s entire purpose to be watched while tripping? If so, how did it get funded? Who made this?? Eventually you have no choice but to give in and just let the insanity wash over you. I wouldn’t know if The Holy Mountain is a “good” film, but I do know it’s an unforgettable experience and one you definitely shouldn’t miss out on.