short films to watch stoned
Expect more than your usual movie-watching experience with these films (Illustration by Lily Kim Qian, Parsons, The New School)
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short films to watch stoned
Expect more than your usual movie-watching experience with these films (Illustration by Lily Kim Qian, Parsons, The New School)

Brief, visually stunning and thought-provoking, these videos were made with marijuana in mind.

Classes are finally out. It’s time to relax, watch TV and, let’s be honest, get baked. Now, if only you could settle on what to watch. Sure, you could binge “The Office” or “Friends” again, but in your elevated state of mind, you want something different. So, hear me out: short films are your golden ticket.

Unlike full-length features or series, short films do not have time to fully flesh out characters or build the world that surrounds them. Instead, viewers are dropped into a scenario without a lot of context and forced to focus in on the situation at hand.

Because much is left unexplained, the viewer is given a greater bandwidth to fill in gaps with their imagination. With so much left to your own interpretation, it’s ideal to watch short films in your most creative state. And have you ever had more bizarre ideas than when you were high? In fact, short films are so naturally tailored to an inebriated demographic that there’s even a film festival dedicated to stoners.

Short films don’t ask you to commit two or more hours of your day, either. You can have the satisfaction of watching five different stories play themselves out in the time it would take you to get about three-fourths of the way through any major motion picture.

If you struggle to focus on long-winded movies or simply want to explore a multitude of concepts, here are six shorts films for your stoned a—.

1. Greener Grass

Jocelyn DeBoer and Dawn Luebbe’s award-winning comedy “Greener Grass” depicts an absurd struggle between two young soccer moms as they compete to out-do each other. During the two mothers’ struggle, they become so hyper-focused on upholding their image that they fail to notice the dark events that surround them.

The short accurately captures the pettiness-through-forced-smiles tone you would imagine is ever-present at a PTA meeting but uses over-the-top scenarios to create some distance from reality. “Greener Grass” is hazy and almost overwhelmingly saturated with green, creating a visual surreality that evokes a feeling similar to the opening scene of “Blue Velvet.”

2. F**king Bunnies

When smoking the devil’s lettuce, there’s no film more fitting to watch than Teemu Niukkanen’s “F**king Bunnies.” The film juxtaposes a bright, sleek set with the haunting image of the devil, creating an unexpected comedic effect that acts as a metaphor for homophobia, racism and religious discrimination. Niukkanen’s ability to position Satan worshipers in an unlikely light reframes the viewer’s interpretations of Satanism and works to nudge the viewer closer to accepting that which they have been taught to reject.

The concepts presented in “F**king Bunnies” might be over your head if you’re too stoned, but don’t worry. Even if you are unaware of the deeper implications, watching a group of carrot-powered sex addicts parade around an otherwise clean-cut apartment complex is hilarious enough to make the movie still worth your time.

3. High Rider

Skate videos are iconic in the world of stoner media. The psychedelic “High Rider,” directed by Bradley Tangonan, takes a staple of the genre and flips it on its head, giving it a trippy narrative to accompany the classic skating shots. The short film relates the story of a girl as she takes a trippy journey via skateboard from her home to work. During the course of the seven-minute film, she is faced with perilous obstacles and eerily realistic hallucinations.

The editing of the film captures a feeling of fantasy as if the girl is a character in a superhero or sci-fi film. At certain points, distortion and optical effects, as well as lo-fi music, grand landscapes and special effects are utilized to convey a sense of grand adventure — albeit a dazed one.

4. At Your Convenience

If you’re in the mood to watch a short that captures the energy of a questionably offensive, classic stoner film, “At Your Convenience” is the perfect movie for you. The comedy was directed by Raymond Lai and Randall Park and depicts the adventures of Randall and Dwayne, two best friends who co-own a convenience store. As the two begin to drift apart, they both find themselves increasingly surrounded by drugs and crime.

Unlike films like “Pineapple Express” or “Grandma’s Boy,” “At Your Convenience” extends past a live-action world. Animations are superimposed to create a cartoon world that envelops the live-action protagonists — think Roger Rabbit — giving this short film a visual element that is sure to trip you out.

5. The Irrational Fear of Nothing

“The Irrational Fear of Nothing” is a peek into the daily life of Terry, an aging, neurotic, single man. During this short film, the viewer is able to experience Terry’s overwhelming and anxiety-driven thoughts through a first-person point of view, which creates an immersive effect, almost as if the viewer is Terry.

Directed by Paul Trillo, the narrative is driven by a powerful audio composition and rapid cuts. Visual effects make the viewer feel as though they are traveling through time with Terry as he relives significant moments of his past. For stoners who enjoy watching mind-bending films about memories such as “Inception” or “Memento,” “The Irrational Fear of Nothing” is absolutely essential.

6. Game Over

Even if you’re not one for short films, you’ve probably seen either “Western Spaghetti” or “Fresh Guacamole” pop up on social media. The Oscar-nominated shorts are part of a trilogy by PES, an inventive stop-motion animator. In the series, PES uses household objects to create vivid “cooking” tutorials. Beyond making your munchies worse, the films are visually appealing and oddly satisfying.

Since the making of “Fresh Guacamole,” PES has gone on to create shorts for brands such as Nike and Honda. His most recent film, “The Fish,” released on Earth Day this year, brought attention to efforts fighting ocean pollution.

“Game Over” is one of PES’s last stop-motion releases to YouTube that spans over one minute. At a whopping 4 million views, “Game Over” still pales in comparison to the popularity of PES’s cooking trilogy. However, the short film’s captivating arcade imagery makes it equally addicting. Plus, the lack of storyline makes it an easy watch for those who are blazed and just want to watch something blow their mind.

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