Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure
You’ve opened the presents. You’ve stuffed your face. Now your house is awash in wrapping paper and strung-out squealing kids trying to play with five toys at once. What to do? Retreat with your Yuletide hangover to a quiet corner, plop down in front of the toob and soak in a couple hours of passive entertainment. But don’t watch any Christmas movies; Lord knows you’ve had enough of those. Instead, pop in this beautifully brainless comedic epic that follows, in case you didn’t know, the time traveling exploits of two dim bulb teens. Features the best performance of Keanu Reeves’s career, most righteous cameos by Napoleon and other historical figures and a supporting turn from the late great George Carlin. Duuude. (For a truly veg-tastic mini-marathon, follow immediately with the less excellent but still funny sequel, Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey.)
The Gods Must Be Crazy
Rather than more overt, beat-you-over-the-head anti-greed and consumerism movies like Wall Street or Dawn of the Dead (both fine flicks, by the way), go with this irreverent cult gem about a group of tribal Africans whose world is turned upside down by the mysterious appearance of Modern Technology, in the form of a Coke bottle. After becoming convinced that the empty soda vessel has put a curse on his people, one man goes on a quest to hurl the bottle over the edge of the Earth. Some have accused the film of having mildly racist undertones, but don’t buy into that nonsense. These are the same people who couldn’t spell satire if you spotted them the “sa” and the “tire.” Plus, with ample physical comedy and a simple plot, it’s easy to follow and enjoy even if your lids are drooping from X-Mas overload.
2001: A Space Odyssey
Especially if Santa left some magic mushrooms in your stocking or if you’ve had an extra glass of eggnog, reach for Stanley Kubrick’s seminal sci-fi opus. This is one of those rare movies you can watch 20 times and still not unravel all its layers; I’m not even sure if Kubrick himself understood all the opaque symbolism he shoved into this epic sensory thrill ride. But multifaceted and mind-bending as it is, it’s another movie that can be enjoyed in a semi-vegetative state just for the trippy visuals (c’mon, tell me that giant fetus doesn’t get you every time) and ahead-of-their-time special effects. And (spoiler alert) as all-time bad guys go, it doesn’t get much creepier than HAL. “Dave…dave?” Is your skin crawling yet? MTW