If there’s a pair as perfect as peanut butter and jelly, it’s cannabis and the cinema. Few things have the power to take you on an emotional journey like a movie, and there are perhaps even fewer ways to positively augment such a journey than with your favorite strain of cannabis.
So we decided to put together the first official Fred and Jane Movie List! This is our selection of movies that can really take you to some crazy places…but maybe not in the ways you might expect. With this, we really wanted to avoid your typical, surface-level “stoner movies,” and instead offer up a selection of films that would offer some truly unique experience. Each one brings something unique to the table, so take a look at what you see, as each one will take you to a truly different place than any other entry on the list.
Mandy (2018) // Horror, Psychedelic
Hey, would you like to have your shit kicked in? Mandy will go ahead and do that for you. Word on the street is that it’s actually possible to watch this movie while completely sober and still be too high for it.
Few directors can do the whole psychedelic phantasmagoria thing like Panos Cosmatos, so be warned: Mandy is absolutely not for the faint of heart. But if you’re down for a positively insane viewing experience, Mandy is one of the most harrowing around. A pure cinematic marriage of sight, sound, color, and music, it blends insane visuals with a pulsing score by Johann Johannsson, and features one of the most impressive performances in Nic Cage’s career (not a joke).
Without spoiling too much, Mandy features a murderous religious cult, demonic bikers, hell acid, and a crossbow named “The Reaper.”
Annihilation (2017) // Science-Fiction, Lovecraft
You’ve likely never seen an alien invasion movie quite like Annihilation, which trades sci-fi fantasy bombast for a deep-thought, philosophical approach to the likelihood that if something did come down to us from the skies, it’d more than likely be something that we had absolutely no way of comprehending.
Alex Garland, writer/director of the incredible Ex Machina creates an otherworldly, rainbow-colored nightmare whose truly unique approach to science-fiction benefits from the slowest of burns.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) // Comic-Book, Hypervisual
If there’s a recent movie that blends mind-boggling visuals with deeply-felt emotional storytelling, it has to be Into the Spider-Verse, a movie that’s basically one million times better than it realistically has any right to be. Few Spidey stories have understood the heart of the character as fully as this one does, and that’s not even bringing into account the incredible visuals this film has cooked up. There’s absolutely nothing like it, which makes this film work on both levels.
You can vibe out and just get lost in the incredible, trans-dimensional comic book world this builds for you, or you can deep dive into the emotionally rich story about Miles Morales finally coming into his own as a superhero, or both!
Kaili Blues (2015) // Mesmeric, Poetic, Dream-Like
The work of Chinese up-and-comer Bi Gan, Kaili Blues boasts a singularity of vision that few first-time directors can touch (and that many filmmakers might never quite reach in their entire careers, to be honest). That being said, Kaili Blues can be something of a challenge: Few films are like it, in that it pretty much demands that you give yourself over to what it’s doing and how it’s doing it. Rather than concern itself with plot and/or entertainment, Kaili Blues is primarily interested in impressionism and feeling.
There certainly is a story here, but it unfolds itself with an almost glacial precision, focusing not on what’s going to happen next but instead on what’s happening now. While most movies are interested in getting you from point A to point B, Kaili Blues is fascinated with stopping and zeroing in on the individual moments that exist between those two points.
Koyaanisqatsi (1982) // Abstract, Poetic, Mesmeric
Another one that fits firmly in the “non-traditional narrative” camp, Koyaanisqatsi is less a film in the traditional sense and more a dialogue-free documentary. The title comes from a Hopi word meaning “life out of balance,” and even though this film does its thing without a single spoken word, by the end of it, it’s pretty clear what the message has been.
The Florida Project (2017) // Beautiful, Emotional
There aren’t too many filmmakers interested in the fringes of society quite the way Sean Baker is, and The Florida Project is easily one of his most accessible pieces. There’s a plot here, sure, but The Florida Project is much more of a hangout movie. A little slice of life that mostly just follows a six-year-old girl (the absolutely priceless Brooklyn Prince) as she goes about her days, being a six-year-old girl, living with her mom in a motel not too far from Disney World in Florida.
But what starts as a mostly-cute exercise in just following a little girl through her daily life eventually reveals itself to be a much more bracing and emotional look at a life lived in the outer rim, a portrait of people who are typically not asked to sit down and have their pictures painted. The resulting emotional consideration of a population who doesn’t often get that kind of treatment is a gut-punchingly heartfelt look at childhood, love, responsibility, and protection.
The Rocketeer (1991) // Action, Adventure, Jet Packs
What, you haven’t seen The Rocketeer since you were a kid? Prepare to be blown away at how well this shit holds up, friends. The Rocketeer is pure 1990s Disney magic, one of those old-school adventure flicks that easily withstands the test of time. I mean, c’mon — you’ve got jet packs, secret (and not-so-secret) Nazis, a prissy actor, mobsters, and it’s all set in 1930s Los Angeles. And there’s a fucking zeppelin!
It really doesn’t get much cooler than this, with Joe Johnston (the guy who would go on to direct stuff like Jumaji and Captain America: The First Avenger) delivering a five-star adventure piece that is quite frankly perfect for audiences of just about any age.
Kubo and the Two Strings (2016) // Fantasy, Stop-Motion, Amazing Visuals
Another one of those kids movies that still rocks no matter how old you are, Kubo and the Two Strings might be the best entry from the always-reliable Laika Animation. These cats are where it’s at, when it comes to producing deeply emotional stories that are still compelling and work well on a narrative level, without ever sacrificing their accessibility to a younger audience.
In particular Kubo and the Two Strings has some interesting things to say, but you’ll be just as hooked by the incredible way this thing looks. Stop-motion animation has never really been done like this, and the results might have you coming back again and again.
The Void (2016) // Horror, Psychedelia
If nothing else, The Void is notable for being one of those movies that makes you go “Well holy shit, I didn’t this movie would go there…but there it goes.” Honestly, it’s best if you watch this movie knowing nothing other than the fact that it’s crowd-funded and doesn’t even have a rating. This film slipped under the radar in a way that is fantastically impressive, given the absolutely insane places to which this movie goes. (Also not for the faint of heart.)
Brigsby Bear (2017) // Silly, Emotional, Handmade
Brigsby Bear is one of those movies about the movies, one of those stories about how and why telling stories is so important to us in the first place. Honestly, I’m personally a sucker for this kind of shit, and Brigsby Bear is one of the best, drawing a simple and pure line between our tendency to tell stories and how those stories allow us to make sense of the world, our places in it, and why those two things are the way they are.
This is another one that’s likely to wind up serving something you weren’t quite expecting, as Brigsby Bear neatly walks the line between left-field silliness and really deep emotional storytelling. I do not exaggerate when I say that you’ll laugh and cry, in equal measure.
So there you have it! The first Official Fred & Jane Movie List. Do you have any good selections you think should have made it on here? Any favorite cinematic journeys you think more people should be going on? By all means, let us know by sending us an email to email@example.com, and maybe one of your picks will go on the next Movie List!