So you’re faded as hell, browsing through Netflix, when you wander over to the documentary section because watching a documentary is the same thing as learning and you’re in a productive mood. You’ve already seen visual feast Jiro Dreams of Sushi like, three times and your roommate is going to freak out if she finds out you watched Cooked without her.
So where should you turn? I don’t know, man. I don’t even know you. What I do know is that there are at least five documentaries that you’d do well to steer clear of when you’re high, lest you experience extreme discomfort, fear, or worse: an unwanted and ill-timed epiphany. Consider yourself warned.
1. Exit Through the Gift Shop
Why: It will make you fucking annoying.
Is there anything worse than someone who has just discovered Banksy? Yes, totally, people are dying. But new disciples of Banksy are irrationally irritating, both because the guerilla street artist has been around for so long (this documentary is 7 years old) and because his message is pretty simplistic: capitalism and war and social media are bad. Being in Massive Attack is good. Don’t be the person figuring all of that out this late in the game. Skip this documentary when you’re stoned because Banksy’s generic fight-the-man message is even more compelling after you’ve ripped bong, and that is not a good thing.
2. Death Beach
Why: You’re gonna be scared of the beach.
Are you serious? Do you want to be scared? Of going to the beach?! Don’t you know what intrusive thoughts are? This documentary is called Death Beach and it’s about people dying at a beach in South Africa from shark attacks. The beach is amazing. So are sharks, when they are not attacking people (which they usually don’t!). Both should be protected and appreciated in their proper lane. But high on your couch is not the place to do that work. Skip this documentary because you don’t want to be that person who has to watch all of the towels while your friends and family frolic in the ocean waves.
3. Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things
Why: Inspired, you will throw away 60% of your clothing and then get pissed in two weeks when you can’t find your second favorite black t-shirt.
Do we all own too much stuff? Probably, but whatever. Minimalism explores the lives of several self-proclaimed minimalists, who tout their lack of possessions as a virtue. Perhaps the idea freedom from earthly wares could coincide with a stronger sense of self is a feasible one, but it is not one that you need to be entertaining when you are high and a bad judge of what you should throw away right-now-immediately in the name of self-discovery. Skip this documentary unless you want to take all of your dishes out of your cabinets, realize you need them, and then put them all back in except for the one broken fork you should have tossed months ago.
4. Virgin School
Why: This seems like it will be funny but it will actually just make you feel weird.
The impulse to click on this documentary is understandable, if unkind. We don’t need to get into it. Virgin School is the story of one man’s journey to Amsterdam for a sexual education that will make you say, “Uh, is that allowed?” It’s emotionally intimate, actively British, and dead serious. If you’re still interested, you can watch this documentary alone or with very like-minded individuals because there are (spoiler alert) sexual acts, uncensored, throughout the course of this film. Skip this documentary if you’re stoned in mixed company.
5. What the Health?
Why: It will make you feel even guiltier about eating a bag of marshmallows in one afternoon.
Not only has the scientific foundation of this documentary been debunked by multiple sources, it’s also a drag. What the Health? is a documentary espousing the benefits of a vegan diet by using claims that equate eating eggs to smoking cigarettes, and other alarmist figures that don’t really make sense, but are definitely scary to your high, vulnerable mind. The host, Kip Andersen, is also kind of annoying. Skip this documentary because you do not have time for this kind of plant-based negativity in your life.