So you’re in one of those moods again. It’s okay, we’ve all been there: questioning every established law of science, thinking you’re in a dream where everyone is part of a grand scheme, realizing that every rule you’ve believed your whole life could be completely false. Yeah, it’s okay. I mean it, we really have all been there.
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And hey, I don’t really think that’s a bad thing. I mean, there’s a whole world around us telling us about laws of science and what they would like to call “reality.” But that could all be lies, and the real reality is out there for us to discover (or at the very least hypothesize). So if you want your mind blown, and I mean really blown, check these out:
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1. The Matrix
Hey, sorry guys, I had to start with a classic! Watch our favorites, Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Laurence Fishburne, blow all your expectations of reality out the window. Have you ever asked yourself, “Is this real?” (I know you have.) Well, in a few words, The Matrix is basically that question on steroids. So you choose: red or blue?
What if it was all dream? Well, in Inception you’ll find out. Leonardo DiCaprio and Joseph Gordon-Levitt work with Ellen Page and other great cast members to protect the intellectual property of high-profile clients through dreams. But what happens when they have unwanted visitors which forces them to go further, entering into a dream within a dream? The plot only thickens from there.
How to describe Enter the Void in one word? Trippy. And I mean that literally, as much of this film is spent on trips from multiple hallucinogenic drugs. But this movie even takes drugs to a whole new level, as they don’t only become mind-altering, but reality-altering for main character Oscar (Nathaniel Brown). Prepare to enter into two hours of the most psychedelic movie you’ll ever see.
Ashton Kutcher has a strange power—going back in time as his younger self. So when the love of his life dies, he has the chance to go back and save her. However, there’s always a catch, as one small change in the past greatly affects the future. Watch Kutcher confuse time repeatedly and see time travel in its most realistic form.
5. Donnie Darko
What if you kept seeing a frightening bunny rabbit named Frank? What if it also told you the world was going to end in less than a month? Well, that’s how this movie starts, for real. This is more than just a psychological thriller (although it is one), as discovering what’s real and what’s not is a game of life or death.
6. Waking Life
If you’re looking for something really really really out there, this is your movie. Existentialism, morality, metaphysics, politics, consciousness, free will, the meaning of life, reality—nothing’s off the table. In strange, psychedelic animation, the main character moves through life where the real and unreal, conscious and unconscious are indecipherable, meeting various characters with different philosophical conversations.
Before Black Swan and Requiem for a Dream, Darren Aronofsky directed Pi, a black-and-white surrealist psychological thriller. It follows Max, an obsessive number theorist, has social anxiety, cluster headaches, paranoia, and cluster headaches. Through his confusing and scattered narration, we join him on his search to understand the world entirely through numbers. When you’re feeling like the world could all just be a string of numbers, Pi is the movie for you.
At the beginning, Melancholia is probably the movie you’d least expect to challenge your perspective and effectively blow your mind. Kirsten Dunst gets married, and she has the perfect wedding with the perfect husband. But her family is really less than ideal, as we find out during the reception. We also discover there’s a planet called Melancholia that is going to collide with Earth at any moment. Yeah, a few other things happen too.
Being John Malkovich is great when you’re in that really specific mood of feeling like people are inside your head controlling you. But don’t worry, that only happens to John Malkovich when John Cusack and Cameron Diaz go through a hidden tunnel in Cusack’s office. But there’s some weird stuff going on here, that will definitely make you question what’s going on.
10. Twelve Monkeys
In 2035, Bruce Willis is one of the lucky 1 percent of humans that has survived a horrific epidemic in 1997. However, the epidemic was man-made, produced through a mysterious organization called the Army of the Twelve Monkeys. He is set on a task to go back in time and save the human race, but accidentally lands in 1990 and subsequently a mental institution. Willis, committed to saving humanity, travels through time and through unexpected corners of life and his mind to find the answers he’s looking for.