Whether you’re alone or piled into the lounge room with the same squad from the previous night, the purpose of a movie when you’re grappling with a hangover can vary. For some, it’s an escape from the pain, something to take the edge off. For others, it’s a cocoon thing – something you have to do, before emerging as a less-hungover butterfly, back out in the world for work (or perhaps a late brunch).
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One thing is for sure though, the right flick can be as effective as coffee, Berocca and half-assed jokes with your pals over breakfast, combined.
But when you’re in a fragile state, there are some films that are just way too much. For example, you don’t want to fuck with Spielberg’s Schindlers List when you’re emotions are resting just below the surface and ready to pounce. Nor should you opt for total crap either – just because you’re hung, it doesn’t mean you’re an animal. What you’re really looking for is something in the middle – not too deep thematically, but not ‘kiddie-pool’ shallow either.
Think top-quality B-grade action flicks or throwback comedies that reach inside your brain, grab a handful of serotonin and drag it to wherever it needs to go. So if that’s you right now – a smouldering wreck oozing last night’s antics from your pores – or you’ve got a huge night coming up and like to be prepared, this list is your new dusty bible.
Without further delay, here are the Top 20 Best Movies To Watch Hungover.
The epitome of premium B-grade, the recent Aquaman starring Jason Mamoa is a visual spectacle to behold – even if the script was written in crayon. What it does successfully, is ‘entertain’, mostly thanks to our favourite Dothraki horse-king and his charming persona. It’s easy-going, fun and the producers of the film might have been just as hungover as you when putting it together in the editing room, so there is common ground to be had.
Director: James Wan
Cast: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson
Release date: November 26, 2018
2. The Purge
Once a year, crime is legal. If only that fourth shot you snapped back last night was too. Starring Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey (of Cersei Lannister fame), the Purge is a super fun movie, packaged as a horror to be reckoned with – thankfully the jump scares are minimal, and the creative premise of the film is enough to take you out of your head for a couple of hours.
Director: James DeMonaco
Cast: Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey
Release date: June 7, 2013
3. Pacific Rim
It’s hard to put a finger on, but the ‘international’ elements in this movie make for an excellent hangover buster. Maybe it’s because it reminds us that there are larger forces at play than our splitting headache? More importantly, MONSTERS V ROBOTS!!!!! What more could you ask for?
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Cast: Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day, Rob Kazinsky
Release date: July 1, 2013
4. Pineapple Express
Of all of Rogen’s stoner comedies, Pineapple Express is arguably his best. Shot by David Gorden Green, this movie is deceptively beautiful, whilst offering up dumb laughs at the same time. If you threw up in a printer last night – or anything for that matter – this movie is for you.
Director: David Gordon Green
Cast: Seth Rogen, James Franco, Gary Cole, Rosie Perez, Danny McBride
Release date: August 6, 2008
5. Shaun Of The Dead
If you’re in need of a movie to make feel better about texting your ex at 3 am like a horny zombie, then Shaun of The Dead is the perfect escape. As an added bonus Nick Frost’s character is essentially ‘us’ after a big night, every day of his life, so you’re guaranteed to feel better about yourself at the end of it.
Director: Edgar Wright
Cast: Simon Pegg, Kate Ashfield, Lucy Davis, Nick Frost, Dylan Moran, Bill Nighy, Penelope Wilton
Release date: March 29, 2004
6. Resident Evil
For those who prefer shock-therapy as a hangover cure, Resident Evil is both a nostalgic horror throwback and a genuinely dodgy film, making it an almost perfect candidate for any couch-barons out there. Mila Jovovich in that slip dress doesn’t hurt either.
Director: Paul W. S. Anderson
Cast: Milla Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez, Eric Mabius, James Purefoy, Martin Crewes, Colin Salmon
Release date: March 21, 2002
7. John Wick
Gun-karate. Keanu Reeves. Revenge. Motorcycles. Night clubs. Hot babes. Actual Karate. ‘Nuff said.
Director: Chad Stahelski
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Adrianne Palicki, Bridget Moynahan, Dean Winters
Release date: September 19, 2014
8. The Other Guys
Having starred in more than a few movies together, Will Ferrell and Mark Whalberg’s chemistry is, without question, on-point in The Other Guys. And if your body-chemistry is feeling a bit off – perhaps due to doing a bit of ‘chemistry’ the night before – this is the movie to bring you back to baseline.
Director: Adam McKay
Cast: Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Eva Mendes, Michael Keaton, Steve Coogan, Ray Stevenson, Samuel L. Jackson, Dwayne Johnson
Release date: August 2, 2010
Full of ‘the feels’, Creed is a risky one to watch with the group, so we advise a solo viewing if you’re feeling a bit fragile. That’s not to say that this movie isn’t an excellent, tough-guy-makes-good kinda film, because it is. Sure to get your testosterone going, and remind you that it’s all going to work out ‘ok’, Creed is Rocky for a new generation, perfect those feeling a bit rocky themselves.
Director: Ryan Coogler
Cast: Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad, Anthony Bellew
Release date: November 19, 2015
10. Iron Man
How could we not? The film that arguably kicked off the superhero mania that has taken the world by storm, Downey Jr’s performance as Tony Stark/Iron Man is as charming as the film is visually engaging. Coupled with a scintillating villainous performance from Jeff Bridges, Iron Man will undoubtedly make you feel like ‘you’ once again. And who are you? Hungover man.
Director: Jon Favreau
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges, Shaun Toub, Gwyneth Paltrow
Release date: April 14, 2008
Starring Nick Cage in his glory-days, Face/Off is almost as off-its-face as you were last night. Just bad enough to be great, Face/Off harks back to a time when the average cinemagoer was a bit simpler and easier to please – just like you might be right now thanks to your BA level.
Director: John Woo
Cast: John Travolta, Nicolas Cage, Joan Allen, Gina Gershon, Alessandro Nivola
Release date: June 27, 1997
12. Edge Of Tomorrow
One of the more action-heavy choices on this list, Edge Of Tomorrow makes you think, but not too much. Essentially, it’s a fantastic way to get your synapses firing again, without asking too much of you. Also, Emily Blunt.
Director: Doug Liman
Cast: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, Brendan Gleeson
Release date: May 28, 2014
13. Cabin In The Woods
Without giving too much away, Cabin In The Woods is one of the most original horror movies of all time. Supremely funny, a little bit spooky and smarter than you’ll initially give it credit for, this movie will engross you to the point where time is forgotten – hopefully by the time it ends, you’re feeling better.
Director: Drew Goddard
Cast: Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams, Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford
Release date: March 9, 2012
Perhaps the slickest and most intelligent bond film, Skyfall is peak ‘Craig’ and boasts both brains and brawn. Boasting spies, villainy and a man’s insane plot to kill the head of MI6, this Bond movie is like two Panadols and a bacon and egg roll for your eyes.
Director: Sam Mendes
Cast: Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Ben Whishaw, Bérénice Lim Marlohe, Albert Finney, Judi Dench
Release date: October 23, 2012
15. Mad Max: Fury Road
Now this movie is not for the faint-of-hangover. Boasting exceedingly vivid imagery and some pretty hectic pacing, Fury Road is as epic as it is weird. And sometimes when you’re coping with your new life as a dust-lord, a movie that doesn’t apologise can be just the thing to break you from your zonk.
Director: George Miller
Cast: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Riley Keough, Zoë Kravitz
Release date: May 7, 2015
Thanks to its incredible art-direction and star-studded cast, 300 is a crowd favourite, whether you’ve had a huge one the night before or not. As an added bonus, the familiarity of it is highly comforting and the fantastic fight scenes will no doubt delight you once again, couch-spartan.
Director: Zack Snyder
Cast: Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, David Wenham, Dominic West
Release date: December 9, 2006
An excellent hangover movie for many reasons, Superbad is one of the all-time great comedies of the millennial zeitgeist. With a funky/soultastic soundtrack, witty repartee between stars Jonah Hill and Michael Cera – and of course, McLovin – this film rates highly in this list.
Director: Greg Mottola
Cast: Jonah Hill, Michael Cera, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Seth Rogen, Bill Hader
Release date: August 17, 2007
18. Get Out
Jordan Peele’s Get Out is a masterpiece, there’s little doubt about it. But rather than focusing on the great comedy and visual style choices, it’s the numerous easter-eggs that make this film an epic hangover re-watch. Keep an eye out for references and clues that add layers upon layers to this already exquisite film. It also gives you something to think about other than your dry-eyeballs, which is great.
Director: Jordan Peele
Cast: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford, Caleb Landry Jones, Stephen Root, Catherine Keener
Release date: January 23, 2017
“ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!” Starring Russell Crowe, Scott’s Gladiator is pure cinema, right there in your lounge room. Boasting a compelling plot, brilliant cast performances and very long running time, you’re guaranteed to feel OK about laying on the couch the entire time.
Director: Ridley Scott
Cast: Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, Oliver Reed, Derek Jacobi, Djimon Hounsou, Richard Harris
Release date: May 1, 2000
Snowpiercer just makes this list due to the sheer boldness of it. Supremely odd and at times, difficult to watch, watching Snowpiercer is a bit of a hangover unto itself – in that its a form of self-punishment. But damn, does it feel good once you get past the horrific imagery, thanks to an exceedingly creative plot. Dystopian, cold and grim, Snowpiercer may hit a bit close to home, but it’s absolutely worth it.
Director: Bong Joon-ho
Cast: Chris Evans, Song Kang-ho, Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell, Octavia Spencer, Ewen Bremner, Ko Asung
John Hurt, Ed Harris
Release date: July 29, 2013
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