As we remain in the weeds of a strenuous spring semester, we all may be searching for some ways to unwind and kick back. Given that this April brought with it the legalization of recreational cannabis sales in New Mexico and the 4/20 holiday, taking a load off and relaxing might become even easier.
Here, three Daily Lobo editors have compiled their top picks for chill movies to watch when you’re looking for a way to just sit down and unwind.
Joseph’s Pick: “The Endless Summer” (1966) directed by Bruce Brown
With a 1960s guitar-based soundtrack, filmed all on a 16 mm camera and what I think are some slight homoerotic undertones, “The Endless Summer,” directed by Bruce Brown, is a quirky documentary that captures the popular rise of surfing in American culture in the 1960s.
The film follows surfers Mike Hyson and Robert August as they travel around the world in search of the perfect wave and an endless summer. With enough money and enough time, the two attempt to chase summer around the world — traveling from the U.S. to Ghana to South Africa then on to Australia, New Zealand and Tahiti.
The footage captured by Brown is beautiful. Brown’s artistic vision of composition and filming techniques brings viewers into the ocean, making it feel as if we all really know how to surf and are traveling along with Hyson and August.
Viewers should note that this film is a slow burn, and that it was released in 1966. Needless to say, some portions did not age well. Watching this film 56 years after its initial release, I found the sexism, ignorance and American superiority within the film hard to sit through. It’s best to watch this one on mute. You’ll still be able to experience the good portions of the film, like the ambiance, aesthetic athleticism and vintage elements filmed by Brown.
Mackenzie’s Pick: “Giants of the Deep Blue” (2017) directed by Ken Corben
“Giants of the Deep Blue,” a National Geographic documentary directed by Ken Corben, is about the giant animals that live in the ocean. Watching what has been discovered in the small portion of the ocean that has been explored is enough to make anyone marvel at the mysteries of what has yet to be uncovered. Seeing that there is something out there that can breathe and live underwater is really cool to think about and makes you think what else could be out there.
The movie is not a by-the-books nature documentary. Rather, it makes you think more deeply about all of the unknowns lurking beneath the ocean’s surface. If you're someone who only has a limited amount of knowledge about the ocean and the creatures that roam it, I think this would generate endless questions for you to think about. What else is in the ocean besides that which science has discovered? Is there something that scientists have discovered but have not said anything about because of how much power that creature has?
This movie is amazing to watch to learn about animals while also entertaining yourself with endless “what if?” questions.
John’s Pick: “Koyaanisqatsi” (1982) directed by Godfrey Reggio
Godfrey Reggio’s documentary magnum opus “Koyaanisqatsi” can certainly be a weighty watch if you want it to be. However, the film still lends itself to a sensory trip through distinctly ambitious and breathtaking visuals and Phillip Glass’ enormously influential arpeggiating synth score — perfect for someone who may be on a trip of their own.
Putting the film on this list is not to discount the overt political message Reggio imbues the film with through the language and storytelling of the Hopi tribe (again, it can be weighty if you want it to be). The film just contains so many moments of sheer cinematic beauty that it’s perfect to just put on and forget about everything going on around you — it’s only you, Glass’ concoction of synths, woodwinds and a choir, and cinematographer Ron Fricke’s astonishing visuals.
Hopefully, we can all take a minute to sit back and zone out with a good movie this month. Try taking our advice and put one of these films into your queue.
Joseph McKee is the design director at the Daily Lobo. They can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @j_mckee_
Mackenzie Schwartz is the photo editor at the Daily Lobo. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @mackenzid5
John Scott is the managing editor at the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @JScott050901
Have a question? We want to answer it! Questions for the editors can be submitted to the Editor-in-Chief at firstname.lastname@example.org. Title any submissions "ASK THE EDITORS"