Perhaps you went out last night for New Years, indulged in a few too many alcoholic beverages, and today, things aren’t looking too great. As a result, your brain doesn’t want to be stimulated by think-y dramas with interweaving plots you need to pay attention to. No, you need some brain candy, empty movie calories to entertain you while you get back on your feet. These 15 movies will keep you entertained while you nurse that killer hangover.
13 Going on 30
13 Going on 30 isn’t your typical “chick flick”. Well, it is, and it isn’t. Yes, it’s one of those ‘suddenly in a different body’ movies crossed with a female version of Big, but it’s more than that. Jennifer Garner plays a 13-year-old in a 30-year-old’s body to perfection, and a chill Mark Ruffalo plays her love interest with a subtlety rarely seen in this type of film. It’s light and light-hearted without being shallow and frivolous. Plus, if you grew up in the ‘80s, there are some fun nostalgia moments, including one epic “Thriller” dance. You don’t have to think too hard with this one, but it also doesn’t patronize you, and that’s often a tough balancing act.
The 40-Year-Old Virgin
For some dumb laughs, it’s tough to go past The 40-Year-Old Virgin. Steve Carell plays the titular virgin in enough of a nuanced way that he doesn’t make his character out to be a complete freak. Plus Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd, Jane Lynch, and Leslie Mann provide some awesome comedy assists. This is an easy, fun go-to hangover movie that’s ever-so re-watchable.
Hey, ‘90s kids, remember Airheads? Brendan Fraser, Adam Sandler, and Steve Buscemi play members of a metal band who just want a major label to sign them. In trying to get themselves some airplay, they sort of accidentally take a radio station hostage, and things get out of hand. Brendan Fraser is unsurprisingly great as the cocky lead singer/guitarist of The Lone Rangers. If the ‘Adam Sandler’ part of the equation is a turn-off, keep in mind that this was one of his earliest film roles while he was still on SNL, and his role as the band’s drummer is a co-star at best. Wallow in the ‘90s nostalgia that Airheads so eloquently delivers.
Dazed and Confused
Your night was probably not as good as theirs, but as you rock your own version of feeling both dazed and confused, this movie is the perfect night-after rebound. In its essence, the film is just some ‘70s teenagers looking to have a little fun at the end of the high school year. It’s the rock ‘n roll party movie you wish you could be a part of. And the scenes at the end as everyone stumbles home in the harsh light of day, yeah, that was you not that long ago.
The Dish is an Australian comedy about a small rural town that was involved in the broadcast of the Apollo 11 moon landing and was written and directed by some of Australia’s best comedians. While the film has a lot of Australianism (however charming or otherwise you may find that sort of thing), it’s not as deeply reliant on understanding the culture as other films from the same team, like The Castle. The Dish is a great hangover movie for its lovable characters, true(ish) underdog story, and that laid-back Aussie spirit of “she’ll be right, mate.” It’s a bloody ripper! And yes, Sam Neill is contractually obliged to appear in every Australian film ever made.
It’s in the title, right? Three best mates hit Vegas for a bachelor party and wake up the next morning with no memory of last night’s events. They retrace their steps to find out what went on and why there was a tiger in their hotel bedroom and a baby in the closet.
The Hangover isn’t high art, but it also won’t require you to pay that much attention either. Plus, you’ll find it far more amusing if you’re not thinking too hard about it.
Harold and Kumar Go Anywhere/Do Anything
It doesn’t matter if they’re trying to make their way to White Castle, get out of Guantanamo, or just look for a Christmas tree, these guys know how to have an adventure. Just go along for the crazy ride and don’t think too hard about it. That really is the key with Harold and Kumar – don’t think too hard.
Sure, Labyrinth gets a bit twisty and twirly towards the end, and you’ll want to try to keep up (assuming you haven’t seen it 3 billion times already), but the ‘80s fantasy musical is a must-watch hangover movie. It also serves as a sad reminder of the greatness the world lost in 2016 with the death of David Bowie. Now, Dance Magic Dance!
Much like 13 Going on 30, Legally Blonde is one of those chick flicks that isn’t really a chick flick. Yes, Elle (Reese Witherspoon) is ultra feminine in her perfectly coiffed long blonde hair and over-the-top pink outfits, but she also has a message to deliver. Sure, it beats you over the head with said message (as do the fairly unnecessary sequels), but you’re hungover, so a little message-bashing never hurt.
There are only two reasons to ever inflict this movie upon yourself: you’re on a long-haul flight, or you’re hungover. Pixels is a great plane movie because of its weak and predictable plot, overacted performances, and random bright flashing lights that your brain-dead mind can process. These are exactly the same reasons why this works as a hangover movie. Plus, if you fall asleep or get distracted and miss half of it, you haven’t lost much. Really, it’s a win-win.
Shaun of the Dead
Just like The Hangover and the end of Dazed and Confused, Shaun of the Dead starts out with pretty much how you’re feeling right now. You’re a bit out of it, blurry-eyed, and would probably rather be still asleep. Unlike you (we hope), Shaun (Simon Pegg) and Ed (Nick Frost) encounter zombies in their backyard and have to then navigate their way through a zombie apocalypse to rescue Shaun’s mother and recently ex-girlfriend then head to the pub for a pint. Shaun of the Dead is one of Edgar Wright’s finest works, it’s well-paced, funny as hell, but at its core, it has a heart of solid goddamned gold.
Team America: World Police
Despite being almost 13 years old, Team America: World Police still holds up. The songs are catchy, the story is perfection, the comedy is on-point and still completely relevant (which is sad in its own way), and it engages your brain enough, so it’s paying attention but not so much as to confuse you. But do try to keep it together during the extra-long puppet barf scene.
Tickled is a documentary about competitive endurance tickling. Or is it? Without saying too much, the film attempts to track down a company who shoots competitive endurance tickling videos but quickly descends into an unexpected downward spiral. What’s great about Tickled is the way the particular understated New Zealanderiness that the Kiwi crew exhibit. Nothing seems to rattle, shock, or surprise filmmaker David Farrier and his small team despite the unusual circumstances they find themselves in. Hungover or not, this is a great watch.
Toy Story Marathon
Feeling emotional? Doing a Toy Story trilogy marathon will have you feeling all the feels. If you’re not bawling by the end of the third movie, you’re doing something wrong. Go along for the ride with Woody, Buzz, and the gang as they have adventures and watch Andy grow from a boy to a kid to a college-aged young adult. The magical stories of each film are masterpieces of our time, and with your hungover brain, you can relive the magic all over again.
Tucker & Dale vs. Evil
This is another horror comedy that’s pure perfection when you’re hungover. Tucker and Dale are a couple of hillbillies doing up their dream vacation cabin in the woods. But, through various misunderstandings, some teenagers camping nearby mistake the pair for evil homicidal maniacs out to murder them all. Alan Tudyk is great as always, as is Deadbeat’s Tyler Labine. Tucker & Dale vs. Evil takes all the horror genre tropes and puts a unique spin on them, and naturally, hilarity ensues.