5 Indie Films To Watch While Nursing Your New Year’s Day Hangover

by Jeremy Maron on December 30, 2011


The scenario: It’s New Year’s Day and you feel horrible. You are trying to recall the previous night’s events and beyond the champagne-tinged flashes of the clock striking twelve…it’s a no go. The blinding pain in your head tells you that leaving your domicile is a project best planned for the second day of January. You are better off wrapping yourself in a blanket, claiming stake on the couch and watching movies until your liver no longer wants to sue you for attempted murder. The following five films will help you through the next couple hours by entertaining without taxing any part of your body (especially your brain), and eventually help the pain go away. (These are also good for suffering through bouts of cold, flu, or other head-pounding ailments.)

#5: The Great Escape

 Not only is The Great Escape based on a true story but it has these healing attributes:  It’s long. You can lie there for hours watching and not have to move once. It’s a WWII film that is fairly quiet because it’s also a prison break caper: fewer explosions means easy on the head. Lastly, Steve McQueen in his breakout role as the “Cooler King.” Riding motorcycles and evading Nazis. God bless you, Steve McQueen.



#4: Love Actually

OK, not an indie film, but you gotta give credit where credit is due. Most rom-coms make me want to bitch-slap the bow and arrow from Cupid’s grasp. But Love Actually is one of the few holiday-inspired romantic comedies that work. Featuring a superb cast that includes Liam Neeson, Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Keira Knightly, Laura Linney and just about any other likable actor you’d hope to see. So if your head is pounding in such a way that your eyes refuse to stay open, don’t fight it. Instead, let them close, sit back and listen the docile  British accents, backed by a soundtrack featuring Bill Nighy’s funny, yet atrocious, “Christmas Is All Around.”


#3: Solaris

The Russian film from the ’70s was such a long non-sequitur (2hrs, 47min) that the Soviet censors at time couldn’t figure out that it was a deeper meditation on the existence of God and not just a really long sci-fi film with almost no special effects. Soderberg’s remake starring George Clooney had modern day critics scratching their heads too. But Solaris is a perfect movie to watch on a loop. You can fall asleep and wake up at anytime in the film and, plot-wise, it won’t make much difference. However, the soothing, ambient sounds of the space-station orbiting an ethereal planet of consciousness will lull you into forgetting just how much champagne you drank last night.

#2: Any Horror Film

Saw, Hellraiser, The Exorcist, Texas Chainsaw Massacre… anything.  Sometimes it’s just nice to see someone in more pain than you.



#1: Akira Kurasowa’s Dreams

Dreams may just be the perfect film to get you through a hangover. Japan’s most prolific filmmaker wrote and directed a film inspired by the dreams he has had over his lifetime. They are at times surreal and daring, beautiful and horrific. Kurosawa glides you through childhood fairytales, post-apocalyptic landscapes and moments of benign existence with the grace of Van Gogh’s mad brush strokes. Like many dreams, some have a beginning with no end, some have an end with no beginning, but all the scenes have something to say. Dreams is in Japanese (with a notable exception of Martin Scorsese as Vincent Van Gogh) so there are subtitles to read with your possibly bloodshot eyes. But, like all great films, Dreams will take you to a place far beyond its own celluloid projection. A place where art, ideas, imagination and politics meld seamlessly into your own subconscious and create ideas that transcend the original scope of the film. And that, my friend, is best way to get through any bout of self-inflicted turmoil.

Happy New Year!

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