I am, for no particular reason, compiling a list of things to watch that are great while sober and awesome when drunk. Although ‘drunk’ here is a stand in for not only inebriated but also sleep deprived, concussed, drugged, or otherwise being not wholly in possession of one’s faculties. Basically any time you can’t tell if the elephants are real.*
The first time I saw Yellow Submarine I hadn’t slept in two days and I lay down face-first on my couch, head tilted just far enough to breathe and it was on the TV. So I watched it sideways.
The first time I saw Fight Club I was sick — delirious to the point of hallucinating on the drugs that were meant to combat this illness — and therefore should probably not have gone to the movies. But I felt that my hallucinations added an extra dimension to the movie, which I essentially got to watch for the first time twice — the second time to see just how much of it had been in my head rather than on the screen.
Turns out there aren’t any elephants in Fight Club but the penguin thing was quite real. So that was a bit of a surprise.
Fantasia is an obvious choice. Also Duck Soup or any Marx Brothers movie, particularly the ones where they speak English backwards. But I think the best choices for my list are movies that have layers, particular those that blend reality and fiction.
Like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, which is an adaptation of the Tom Stoppard play which is based on Hamlet. (See? Layers!) It’s particularly awesome because while there is a running joke in both Hamlet and RaGAD about the fact that no one can tell Rosencrantz and Guildenstern apart, in the movie they are clearly delineated as separate characters visually while sticking to the text of the play.
You do probably need to have your brain firing on at least one cylinder to get the most out of it though, unlike Dead Man and Zelig, which have so many layers and random details that it won’t matter if you miss half of them.
Dead Man is… poetry (William Blake**), a western (starring Johnny Depp), with an awful lot of blood (and your poetry will now be written with blood). And Zelig is… well, I’m not going tell you. The very best way to watch this movie is to have no idea what you’re getting into. Don’t look at me like that. I have your best interests at heart. It’s not like that Rammstein video.
* I asked Paul S. if he had any suggestions for my list and he promptly offered me Fellini’s Eight and a Half but when I looked it up he looked over my shoulder and frowned deeper and deeper the further we went. And started muttering, “That’s not… no… I was sure… I wasn’t that drunk…”
** It’s William Blake’s on Monday, you should celebrate by watching him er… die slowly. Does this suggestion get better if I point that out that it’s not really him? Not even really a movie adaptation of him… Just… okay, I’m too sleepy right now to explain it. You should watch the movie instead. On Monday. Because… er… never mind.