New Year’s Eve has laid waste to your body and soul. Let film help.
Welcome to 2018: a fresh new year teaming with sparkly new hopes, dreams, and possibilities. But first, welcome to your 2017 hangover. And boy, given the jerkoff kind of year 2017 was, we’ll bet that it’s a doozy. Luckily for your hangover ass, cinema is chock-full of comforting films to shepherd you through this corporeal comeuppance for partying/sob-drinking your way into the new year.
So, without further ado, grab your Gatorade and Gravol and snuggle up: here are 18 curative films to help you get back on your feet and kick 2018 in the ass.
1. Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Leave it to human sunbeam Taika Waititi to craft a film as warm and comforting as a Merino wool sweater. Hunt for the Wilderpeople sees bad egg Ricky Baker (Julian Dennison) fleeing into the New Zealand bush with his cranky foster dad/uncle (Sam Neil) in an attempt to elude the bumbling (if tenacious) child welfare (headed by the indomitable Rachel House). The manner and clarity of Waititi’s prose is soothing, as is the camera’s loving attention to New Zealand’s scenery; it’s the kind of film you want to crawl into and make a home in.
2. Everybody Wants Some!!
Does Everybody Wants Some!! have a plot? Not particularly. It’s a good old-fashioned hangout movie courtesy of the subgenre’s patron saint Richard Linklater. Our cast of crop-top sporting baseball bros just sort of drift together for 120 minutes. It’s the kind of lackadaisical, light-hearted, risk-free coasting that can shepherd you through this trying, hungover time. Meandering, plot-light films are a welcome bedfellow when uncharted parts of your forehead won’t stop throbbing.
3. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
No one slings cinematic comfort food like John Hughes, nostalgia high priest, and gatekeeper of childhoods. And yes, some of his stuff hasn’t aged great but look, you’re hungover. Critical thought isn’t in your wheelhouse right now. And damn it if Ferris Bueller’s Day Off isn’t the quintessential “staying home sick” film. You know, for irony reasons. Cameron got yanked out of his self-loathing deathbed but it’s New Years Day. The Ferris in your life knows better…and is probably also hungover.
4. Howl’s Moving Castle (and all things Ghibli)
Hayao Miyazaki famously works without screenplays and (for better or for worse) of all his films, Howl’s Moving Castle feels the most formless, strange, and winding; like a half-remembered dream. I don’t know about you but when I’m dehydrated and #dying that’s right up my immaculately animated alley. That said, any Ghibli film would be the perfect hangover companion; a gentle back rub in film form. Take your pick.
5. Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil
Tucker and Dale vs. Evil is an intelligent film about genre stereotypes as well as a stupendously good-spirited bloody buddy comedy. Seeing hateful jerk teens meet grisly (accidental) ends? Therapeutic. Watching Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine support one another through plentiful viscera and mishap after mishap? Aspirational. Nothing like some over the top situational comedy murder to put everything in perspective. At least your “shouldn’t have had that last shot” shot didn’t cause any jocks to throw themselves into wood chippers.
6. Moonrise Kingdom
Science can’t prove that the symmetry of Wes Anderson films has healing properties but I have my suspicions. And Moonrise Kingdom’s brown-faded gentleness seems particularly restorative; the way it lets things be genuinely precious and enchanted. It has quirk in spades but Anderson’s sardonic strain has been muzzled and replaced with teenage love, best-laid plans, and Françoise Hardy.
7. The Princess Bride
Every time I am hungover I wish Peter Falk would shuffle to my bedside and read to me. Baby Fred Savage should be so lucky. I’d even settle for the tried-and-true soup/head dunk method Fezzik pulls on boozed-up, disenchanted Inigo. Good thing Rob Reiner’s quick-witted, warm-hearted storybook masterpiece is the next best thing.
8. The Big Lebowski
The Coen Brothers are maestros of cause and effect; of weaving together plots that unravel as a consequence of questionable decision-making by flawed folks just trying to do the right thing. And like the most righteous of post-party migraines, the series of ridiculous events that befalls the Dude feels both tangible and absurd. In the meantime, snuggle up in a bathrobe and try to abide.
9. Planet Earth (Blue Planet too)
Let international treasure David Attenborough lull you into a hypnotic trance. Listen as his dulcet tones describe polar bear cubs emerging from hibernation, Galapagos racer snakes being dicks to baby iguanas, and birds of paradise desperately trying to bump uglies. Be soothed by high definition visuals of gypsum mineral formations, cordyceps-infected ants, and adorable swimming sloths. When you’re in the throes of a hangover, there’s no better way to remember that life goes on.
10. What We Do in the Shadows
What We Do in the Shadows is everyone’s favorite New Zealand vampire horror hangout comedy. It is also a great hangover movie. Per vampire rules, there are no bright lights. Per Taika Waititi rules, even the most conflict-heavy parts of the film are sweet, endearing, and gentle. But maybe consider fast-forwarding through Nick’s violent back alley post-chip chunder ordeal. Might be too close to home.
11. The ‘Burbs
“How did this happen?” you gargle. “Who did this to me?” you wonder. Well if you’re Tom Hanks in Joe Dante’s oft-overlooked 80s satire The ‘Burbs the answer is clear: Satanists. Well mostly clear. Hanks is pretty sure something’s off with his suspiciously eccentric new neighbors and damn it if he isn’t going to get to the bottom of it. Just like it was you and only you who got to the bottom of that bottle of champagne last night.
12. Four Weddings and a Funeral
Four Weddings and a Funeral is one of those rare films that keep you grinning until the credits roll (with a couple sporadic emotional gut punches, with a coup de grace courtesy of John Hannah). From the deft, situational comedy stained hands of Richard Curtis, Four Weddings follows a small circle of friends through wedding season, with Hugh Grant’s commitment fearing Charles at its center. It’s a warm hug of a film, and frankly, one of the best romantic comedies ever made. Just ask Kumail Nanjiani.
13. Galaxy Quest
In this brave new era of franchises, sci-fi tent poles, and wrinkly stars yanked back into beloved roles for the sake of nostalgia, like that fine wine you definitely had too much of last night, Galaxy Quest has only improved with age. It is also, fundamentally, a goofy late-90s ensemble comedy with the likes of Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman, and Sam Rockwell. Your hangover may feel bleak, but never give up, never surrender!
14. Evil Dead II
15. The Emperor’s New Groove
Without much in the way of plot, Emperor’s New Groove reeks of the funky, unfussy sass of goofball Broadway buffoonery. The film sees whiny egoist emperor Kusco (David Spade) transformed into a llama by his power-hungry advisor Yzma (Eartha Kitt), a rude awakening that forces the young tyrant to revaluate his life. It’s light and wacky and Tex Avery adjacent and it stars cinema’s dad John Goodman. What more could you want? It’s a long-form Saturday morning cartoon: unpretentious, self-assured, and crackling.
16. Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back
One of the best follow-ups of all time, Empire Strikes Back is high space fantasy at its best. A visual tour-de-force and a nostalgic bubble bath of the highest order, we rejoin our beloved rebel scum in their struggle against the eeeeeevil galactic empire. Empire is film nerd chicken soup. It is curative. It is therapeutic. It is exactly what your poor, wounded, hungover soul needs. Search your feelings, you know it to be true.
17. Young Frankenstein
A film with a ridiculous amount of jokes per minute, Young Frankenstein will bring you back from the dead and then some. Fun fact: to preserve the film’s self-serious Universal Monster tone, director Mel Brooks abstained from his usual cameo appearance. Well. Kind of. That’s him making a werewolf (there, wolf) howl off-camera.
18. The Trip
Playing almost-versions of themselves, British comedians Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon reunite with director Michael Winterbottom for a largely improvised and crushingly bittersweet visit to the northern English countryside for a fine dining journalism assignment. A meditation on friendship and moving on masquerading as a travelogue, The Trip is a deft (and tenderly executed) examination coming to terms with your own quirks, and those of others.