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Movies That Could Help You Get Through Your Hangovers

If This, Then That: Hangover Edition

By Bella LeonPublished 3 years ago Updated 2 years ago 12 min read
Top Story - March 2021
Movies That Could Help You Get Through Your Hangovers
Photo by Sérgio Alves Santos on Unsplash

It’s a Saturday afternoon. You have rummaged through the vodka bottles in your apartment the night before. The drinking games, shot glasses, and beer cans are stacked in the center of the living room. There’s enough evidence to suggest that the residents of this home have a hangover. In the case of hangovers, you’re looking for comfort, low-lit rooms, resolution from your headache, and your aching body wants to lie around for days on end. So what’s the best friend to a hungover twenty-something year old? That’s right; movies!

For those who can spare a Saturday or Sunday, movies will help you get through the aches and pains. I know, it isn’t exactly a secret recipe nor a nutrient filled ritual to revitalize your kidneys and liver. And sleeping for hours is probably much healthier than bingeing movies after a night of drinking, but body aches imply the need for comfort. And the greatest comfort one can find without actually leaving home can be found in the square box of a black screen in the center of your living room or bedroom.

Most individuals might search for comedies to comfort them. Others find comfort in music, dancing, or innocent adventures. And then, there are some who find comfort with gritty, scary, or dramatic movies. The spectrum of genres is as endless as the spectrum of a movie lover’s taste. But it is difficult to find that one movie that might comfort you during an uncomfortable day at home. It doesn’t help that algorithms are the worst, and many streaming sites group films together based on genre alone. The streaming sites that use algorithms aren't just deteriorating the value of films, they’re making it hard for you to find films that could change your life (or just change your watching habits when you're hungover).

So if a specific movie comforts you, then one of these movies might be your new post-drinking best friend. Let’s find your new comfort movie with my specific formula that helps me suggest great films for my hungover friends, and also helps me find more comfort movies for a painful Saturday. If you’re partial to TV shows, there will be a suggestion for one as well!

By Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

The Formula

It’s a simple formula. The formula for finding your perfect comfort movie has more to do with substance than style. These movie picks are not based on genre alone but a combination of genre and theme. For the most part, if the story reflects certain themes, then another movie that reflects the same ideas will be suggested. I will argue that genre has little to do with how much you will like a movie. I truly believe that genre is just a means of how to tell your story; but at the core of all genres, a thread of moral consciousness is weaved in between the moving pictures. The basic themes and ideas that a story will showcase are important; hence, the formula for “substance over style.”

Let’s begin!

Lord of the Rings (2001) and Pan's Labyrinth (2006)

Do epics like The Lord of the Rings comfort you on a hangover Saturday?

While in the genre of fantasy and adaptations, The Lord of the Rings trilogy reigns supreme. Most individuals would flock to TV shows like The Witcher or Game of Thrones if they enjoy The Lord of the Rings trilogy. But the Peter Jackson trilogy capitalizes on the theme of good versus evil. It is a literal reflection of World War I. If you like epics that derive their power from themes of overcoming evil or embracing it, then you’ll find comfort in watching Pan’s Labyrinth.

Directed by one of the all time greatest fantasy/horror filmmakers, Guillermo Del Toro, Pan’s Labyrinth is a coming-of-age film that embraces ideas of rebelliousness that challenges avenues of everyday evil. It doesn’t have long battle sequences nor does it supply a plethora of characters that must trek through dark valleys and sword fight demons. Instead, it is a film about a young girl and her single mother who move in with a tyrannical stepfather. This young girl finds a decaying labyrinth while living under his thumb and learns that her destiny to return to her real father is achieved by completing three terrifying and emotionally stirring tasks.

TV show suggestion: Twin Peaks (1990 - 1991)

If This: The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001 - 2003) Dir. Peter Jackson

Then That: Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) Dir. Guillermo Del Toro

Currently streaming: Netflix (U.S.)

The Sound of Music (1965) and The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1965)

Are you watching musicals like The Sound of Music to comfort your aches and pains?

Is it the music that does it for you? Or Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer? Or is it the purity and innocence of the film that just makes you want to curl up in your bed and cry from pure joy? While musicals service the audience with joy, laughter, and sometimes sadness, movies like The Sound of Music are socially perpetuated for its story and music. With that being said, if you love films that embrace a story of tragedy, love, and acceptance through song and dance, then The Umbrellas of Cherbourg might be for you!

The effervescent Demy film, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is full of music, beautiful set pieces, enchanting actors, and an unforgettable color palette. The film follows Guy and Geneviève who are deeply in love at the start of their story. But their plans for the future are challenged when Guy is drafted in the war. Geneviève yearns for her lover while pregnant with his child, but she must decide between waiting for Guy’s return or accepting a marriage proposal from a wealthy suitor.

TV show suggestion: The Good Place (2016 - 2020)

If This: The Sound of Music (1965) Dir. Robert Wise

Then That: The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964) Dir. Jacques Demy

Currently streaming: The Criterion Channel

Dirty Dancing (1987) and Something Wild (1986)

Does your hangover need a good romantic drama like Dirty Dancing?

I know. Not everyone loves Dirty Dancing. And some might scroll past this option just because it has the film’s title in bold letters. But do not be weary. Dirty Dancing inspires more than romance and dramatics. It also embraces themes of socio-economic inequality and classism that is interwoven into a coming-of-age drama. So if Dirty Dancing comforts you while you’re trying to get rid of that damning headache, then watch Jonathan Demme’s Something Wild.

Something Wild explores different genres; comedy, romance, and crime. But the addicting film’s power comes from Jonathan Demme’s ability to capture a different place and time with his camera and marry it to the themes. Something Wild explores themes of socio-economic inequality, classism, love, and personal freedom. The story follows a puritanical businessman and a quirky, free spirited woman whose chance encounter ends in a long road trip filled with sex and crime. Their adventure ultimately brings these very different characters to understand themselves more. This love story does not have Patrick Swayze nor does it have an iconic lift between the two lovers. But Something Wild offers a different perspective on what it means to survive in a world that so often puts each one of us in boxes.

TV show suggestion: Skins (U.K.) (2007 - 2010)

If This: Dirty Dancing (1987) Dir. Emile Ardolino

Then That: Something Wild (1986) Dir. Jonathan Demme

Inception (2010) and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

Inception? For your hangover?

Inception does not seem like the likely choice for remedying hangovers. Most individuals are not keen on forgoing thoughtlessness and obtaining more headaches from Christopher Nolan’s time-bending and mind-bending science fiction film. But Inception doesn’t try to give you headaches; it has an endearing theme and an entertaining cast! The themes of the film deal with time, love, memory, and guilt. For that reason, if you enjoy watching Inception for your comfort, then watch Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

The 2004 science fiction love story stars Jim Carey and Kate Winslet. It explores the concept of time, love, memories, and regret. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind does not have a mind heist plot like Inception, but it does explore guilt in a nuanced and complicated way. To put it simply, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind might actually break your heart. The story follows Clementine and Joel. After a painful breakup, they seek out a means to forget their relationship with the help of a mysterious firm.

TV show suggestion: Maniac (2018)

If This: Inception (2010) Dir. Christopher Nolan

Then That: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) Dir. Michael Gondry

Currently streaming: Peacock

Pulp Fiction (1994) and Gun Crazy (1950)

Pulp Fiction makes you happy?

Everyone knows that Pulp Fiction embraces themes of morality, fate, and the meaninglessness of life. I would even argue that Pulp Fiction can be seen as a film that explores identity. Specifically with the point of view of Jules, the story can be seen as an exploration of some questions; were we born this way? Or did we become this?

Everyone knows that its craft is impeccable, and that it is such an honorable ode to cinema. But if you watch Pulp Fiction to make you feel better, there are many options that could suit your comfort taste. For one, this Hollywood classic could be the right fit for you; Gun Crazy is a 1950’s film directed by Joseph H. Lewis. It centers around a gun-obsessed pacifist named Bart who meets an expert shooter named Annie. While aimless in life, he decides to join her gun show and travel with her. Soon, they begin a romance that embraces the life of crime. Gun Crazy and Pulp Fiction both explore what it means to be human with two essential questions; Are we born this way or did we become like this?

TV show suggestion: True Detective (2014 - current)

If This: Pulp Fiction (1994) Dir. Quentin Tarantino

Then That: Gun Crazy (1950) Dir. Joseph H. Lewis

Mean Girls (2004) and But I'm a Cheerleader (1999)

Tell the truth; do you watch Mean Girls when you’re hungover?

Mean Girls is so fetch! Eh, I digress.

Mean Girls is not just an iconic and highly quotable movie about the tribulations of high school bullying; it is also about identity and survival. If Mean Girls comforts you when you need it (irony not intended), then you might enjoy Jamie Babbit’s But I’m a Cheerleader.

But I’m a Cheerleader encompasses the themes of identity and survival. The comedic film follows a popular and beautiful cheerleader named Megan. She has a handsome boyfriend and often cheers for him while he plays football on the school team. But one day, her parents send her to a bootcamp that is meant to alter her sexual orientation. She doesn’t believe she is a lesbian, but her family and friends suggest that she is wrong. Megan attends the bootcamp reluctantly and begins to fall in love with Graham, a tough but lovable young girl in the same program. Despite this film lacking quotable lines and an iconic Rachel McAdams, this tragically hilarious story embraces the idea of survival, identity, and love while wrapped in comedy.

TV show suggestion: Freaks and Geeks (1999 - 2000)

If This: Mean Girls (2004) Dir. Mark Waters

Then That: But I’m a Cheerleader (1999) Dir. Jamie Babbit

The Goonies (1985) and Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)

Need a good adventure with The Goonies when you’re hungover?

The Goonies is among the most iconic ‘80s films in movie history. It has inspired so many beloved modern movies and TV shows for its themes of adventure, friendship, courage, status, and a moving idea of what it means to be human. The Goonies is not just iconic but endearing, and if you enjoy that type of movie for your personal comfort, then Fantastic Mr. Fox should be next on your hangover watchlist.

Fantastic Mr. Fox is a masterful stop motion animation film. It embraces themes of the importance of family, survival, status, pride, and environmentalism. While The Goonies is an adventure film displayed through a treasure hunt, the stop motion animation film explores adventure through a heist and survival from the consequences of thievery. The story follows a fantastic fox who resorts to stealing from three neighbors after becoming increasingly bored with his life. But he soon faces the consequences by being forced to live underground and survive after neighboring farmers plot revenge against him.

TV show suggestion: His Dark Materials (2019 - current)

If This: The Goonies (1985) Dir. Richard Donner

Then That: Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) Dir. Wes Anderson

Currently streaming: Disney+

The Sixth Sense (1999) and The Game (1997)

Do you need The Sixth Sense to get through your Saturday?

The Sixth Sense is an iconic film directed by M. Night Shyamalan. His films are historically known for being scary, mind-bending, and possessing a classic plot-twist. But the value of The Sixth Sense is not only because of its plot twist and psychological thrills. It embraces ideas of confronting fear and mortality while utilizing the genre of horror/thriller. For this reason, The Game directed by David Fincher might be a good fit for you.

The story follows a successful banker named Nicholas played by Michael Douglas. After his estranged brother comes back into his life with a strange birthday gift, a personalized real-life game, Nicholas learns that his brother’s gift is not just strange but extremely invasive. While reluctantly playing this game, Nicholas begins to fear for his life. The Game explores themes of confronting fear and exploring reality. It is a mind-bending thriller with a surprisingly touching moral.

TV show suggestion: Sharp Objects (2018)

If This: The Sixth Sense (1999) Dir. M. Night Shyamalan

Then That: The Game (1997) Dir. David Fincher

The Matrix (1999) and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988)

Is The Matrix your comfort movie?

The Matrix was directed by two iconic siblings; The Wachowskis. They’re also well-known for directing other popular movies like V for Vendetta, Cloud Atlas, and Speed Racer. The Matrix has incredible effects, an intriguing story and characters, and the fight sequences are killer. But The Matrix made movie history for being a good movie about freewill, machines vs. humans, and playing with the idea of reality and fantasy. There are many movies that embrace these themes, but one of the great films that embrace the marriage of fantasy and reality is Terry Gilliam’s The Adventures of Baron Munchausen.

The Matrix is a science fiction action film and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen is a fantasy adventure film. But the difference in genre does not hinder the basic themes that both films encompass. That is, that fantasy and reality are in a constant state of collision. The Terry Gilliam film is set in the late 18th century during the “Age of Reason.” While the Turkish army lays siege to a city, a theatre production tells the story of the great Baron Munchausen. But while the play is ongoing, an old man interrupts and claims that the stories are false because he is the famous Baron Munchasen. The story advances into a lurid account of the travels and fantastical experiences of Munchausen and his band of misfits.

TV show suggestion: Watchman (2019)

If This: The Matrix (1999) Dir. Wachowski Sisters

Then That: The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988) Dir. Terry Gilliam

Coco (2017) and You Can't Take It With You (1938)

Does Coco comfort you after a night out?

Coco became a beloved film in the past few years. It confronts ideas of family, mortality, guilt, and personal growth. But I would argue that one of Coco’s central themes has to do with community. It highlights the power of a community or family. While locked in the genre of “children’s movies,” Coco evaluates heavy adult themes. One of the best films that encompasses these same ideas is You Can’t Take It With You. The 1938 film directed by Frank Capra masterfully embraces these themes in an adult setting while Coco showcases these ideas through great animation, music, and a colorful palette.

You Can’t Take It With You embraces ideas of family, community, morality, and personal growth. Largely, the film centers on the capacity of communion between neighbors. It also centralizes itself on the idea of helping one another as the most valiant thing one person can do while also highlighting that large quantities of wealth can be rendered useless. While Coco is a beloved and endearing animation, You Can’t Take It With You is a classic black-and-white Hollywood film. It stars Jean Arthur as Alice Sycamore who falls in love with Jimmy Stewart’s Tony Kirby. But after Alice invites the Kirby family to dinner with her eccentric family, things do not go as planned.

TV show suggestion: Parks and Recreation (2009 - 2015)

If This: Coco (2017) Dir. Lee Unkrich & Adrian Molina

Then That: You Can’t Take It With You (1938) Dir. Frank Capra

By Myke Simon on Unsplash


I hope these suggestions will broaden the type of movies you could enjoy. I hope it doesn't inspire you to choose films based on genre alone but rather utilize your favorite genre as a contributing factor. I love to suggest new movies for my family and friends to watch. Movies comfort me on good and bad days. I hope these suggestions did not hinder your lazy Saturdays but help you get through that throbbing headache and the small aches and pains. I know movies do that for me on any given day. I also know movies can be a spark of light in our lives if we’re willing to search for the really good ones.

Here’s looking at you, kid!


If you like what you saw here, you are welcomed to check out my instagram page that suggests more films to watch: @thinkingnimages. Happy viewing <3


About the Creator

Bella Leon

Welcome to my digital diary!

I have a vast but useless knowledge of cinema, and I just love to write.

You can expect to find random articles regarding various subjects, poetry, short stories, and anything film related. Happy reading <3

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