Top 10 Movies to help you through your Hogmanay hangover


by Lindsay A. McGee


Well, not Hogmanay, but New Year’s Day, depending what time you get to bed or floor/hedge/cell. In any case, what better way to ease yourself into 2011 than with a few DVDs and accompanying dog hairs to take the edge off?

The Big Lebowski (1998)

A comedy crime caper starring Jeff Bridges as dressing gown sporting, Kahlúa quaffing Jeffrey ‘The Dude’ Lebowski. The Dude is a laid back sort who is mistaken for another Lebowski by two thugs who break into his house and piss on his rug. Dude being Dude he doesn’t think this is at all cool. Instead of letting sleeping dudes lie, he tracks down the Lebowski whose rug the thugs had meant to piss on.

The Dude discovers that other Lebowski is a millionaire and a bastard to boot. Aided by trigger happy buddy Walter (John Goodman) The Dude considers that other Lebowski could offer more than an old rug by way of compensation. Cue madness, blackmail and bowling, plus a naked Julianne Moore flying through the air.

Funny, curious and ridiculous it’s one to watch with a hangover because The Dude makes it socially acceptable to live in your dressing gown and drink Kahlúa and milk for breakfast.

Hair o’ the Dug: White Russians.

Barbarella (1968)

Psychedelic, sci-fi, space age, tongue in cheek, sex comedy starring Jane Fonda as the titular temptress ‘Barbarella’. Except she’s not a temptress at all, in the sense that she goes looking for ‘it’. ‘It’ tends to find her and then her clothes that were hardly there, fall off.

You’ve got to love it though. Barb is gorgeous and charming and has crashed her space ship on a strange and repressed planet. She wants to figure out how to fix her ride so she can fly home.

She embarks on all sorts of adventures while trying to find a reliable mechanic essentially. She has her ankles bitten by spooky children and falls in love with an angel. Well who wouldn’t? After fleeing the Mathmos and chatting up meanie Durand-Durand (silent ‘d’ -character in film, not 80’s pop group) she gets things sorted eventually.

Sexy, funny, escapism clever enough to shift the most stubborn of hangovers plus Jane Fonda is so lovely she could cheer anyone up. Especially appealing to men with a pulse.

Hair o’ the Dug: Crème de Menthe or Blue Curaçao. Anything bold, bright and sixties. If you can’t make it to the off-licence stick a straw inside your lava lamp and suck.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)

Based on the book of the same name by American journalist Hunter S. Thompson  ‘Fear and Loathing’ stars Johnny Depp as journalist Raoul Duke and Benicio Del Toro as his attorney Dr Gonzo.

Duke and Gonzo visit Las Vegas on a 250-word writing assignment for ‘Sports Illustrated’. What should have been a routine junket becomes more complex when Duke reveals what he has brought in his suitcase by way of writing inspiration:

“…two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high-powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half full of cocaine, and a whole galaxy of multi-colored uppers, downers, screamers,laughers…and also a quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of beer, a pint of raw ether, and two dozen amyls.”

Needless to say the pair get sidetracked…

Watch with your New Year’s Day hangover and the guilt of the night before will fade away into insignificance because no matter how drunk you might have got and how many tables you danced on, naked, with a donkey, nothing will have been as crazy as the high jinks of these guys.

Hair ot he Dug: Buckstacy (1) or probably just mineral water unless you have a death wish as the film is hallucinatory enough when sober. (1. Traditional Scottish beverage made from Buckfast and something Else.)

Happy-go-Lucky (2007)

We gently bump back down to earth with Mike Leigh’s realist comedy Happy-go-Lucky starring Sally Hawkins as irrepressible primary school teacher, Poppy. Any readers prone to a Charlie Brookerish hatred of all humanity, look away now.

This film may cause frustration in places. I recall nearly walking out of the cinema in disgust at the impudent cheerfulness of Poppy, her childish bright clothes and her habit of cycling without a fcking helmet. (Why couldn’t she have been mashed under a bus instead of having her bike stolen?) But I stuck with it and was rewarded.

The film is a genuinely uplifting Brit flick devoid of any gushing nonsense. Sure, not much happens in it -Poppy has driving lessons and meets a guy. But that doesn’t matter. Poppy’s attitude to life is what sticks with you in this film. When her bike is stolen there is no utterance of expletives. She simply says ‘I didn’t even get to say goodbye’.

Poppy smiles at nothing in particular. She’s joyful and happy. And she’s not on crack or worse, religion. If only 10 other people in London were like this it might make the place worth visiting more than once a decade.

Good to watch with a hangover to give you hope that there are pleasant people in the world and with a bit more effort you could even be one of them.

Hair o’ the Dug: A crisp Prosecco so you can laugh out loud at your own burps and be momentarily carefree.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

A film which inspired thousands of glorious days of truancy. Whether, like Ferris, you faked a fever and or sneaked over to a friend’s house instead of school you know that at some point after watching this film you or someone near you rejoiced in skiving off.

Ferris Bueller has it all – good looks, popularity and trusting parents. When Ferris wants a day off school, he takes it. Life’s too short! He doesn’t only stay at home in his wanking chariot either, he makes damn sure he has a life-changing day out with his best buddy and beautiful girlfriend. Then makes it home in time to out-fox his big sister and the evil head master.

Watch it with your hangover because you can’t fail to get a warm, fuzzy feeling when Ferris sings ‘Twist and Shout’ in front of all those people on that float.

Hair o’ the Dug: Probably just a glass of milk. We’re done with the self-abuse. We’re all happy again. Ahh those heady days of innocence…

Sleeper (1973)

After an accident in hospital Woody Allen is cryogenically frozen and is woken up 200 years in the future. All women are frigid and the men are impotent. People get their rocks off alone in an ‘orgasmatron’. Every living-room has one.

Instead of fields full of small fruit the government has learned to cultivate singular, giant pieces of fruit. Everyone lives in ‘pods’ with their own robot. The country is ruled by a large disembodied nose. Allen gets into bother and falls in love with Diane Keaton. The nose gets squashed then the film ends.

Watch it with your hangover to laugh your pants off, wish you had an orgasmatron and remind you of when Woody Allen was funny.

Hair o’ the Dug: A giant strawberry and banana daiquiri.

The Pirate Movie (1982)

Kristy McNicol stars as Mabel, geek turned babe, in this hilarious, bastard child of musical ‘The Pirates of Penzance’. Mabel meets ‘Blue Lagoon’ cutie Christopher Atkins (Frederic) at the beach. They have a ‘connection’ but then he buggers off with her 10 bikini clad sisters in a yacht. Mabel follows in a tiny rowing boat, is caught in a storm and gets shipwrecked on a lovely beach.

When Mabel awakens she’s gone back in time to whenever it was that we had pirates who weren’t Somalian. The type of pirates who had peg legs and billowy shirts and in Frederic’s case,  tight yellow trousers. Mabel and Fred become an item but they can’t marry until each one of her older sisters gets married first. Lots of fighting pirates, snogging pirates, singing and dancing ensues. Then Mabel wakes up. She’s cool in real life too and  marries Chris in his tight trews.

Watch it with your hangover because there’s an abundance of warm beaches and tranquil blue sea. The type of thing you’ve never seen in the UK in January except in other people’s holiday photos. Also, if you’re lucky, you might wake up and realise all the embarrassing things you did last night on Hogmanay were all just a dreeaaamm…

Hair of the Dog: Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum! Or maybe just a cheeky Malibu and milk.

The Party (1968)

Peter Sellers stars in this exceptional comedy about an accident prone movie extra who ends up on the wrong executive list and instead of being fired he’s invited to a happening Hollywood house party.

Sellers’ character ‘Hrundi’ tries in vain to belong but his every effort at sophistication backfires. During aperitifs at the bar he manages to interfere with the intricate and expensive gadgetry sending cocktails flying over designer dresses. During the sumptuous sit-down dinner he catapults a whole poussin into a woman’s wig. In pausing for a much-needed toilet break he blocks the facility with enough toilet paper to feed an entire cat walk of models.

His antics pale into insignificance when a group of young trend setters arrive with a baby elephant. He still paves the way for the chaos which ensues and amazingly, he gets the girl.

Watch it with your hangover because laughter is good for filling the gaping void of January and if you did make an arse of yourself at a party on Hogmanay then you know you were in good company if Peter Sellers did too.

Hair o’ the Dug: Anything fabulous and sophisticated. Champagne or a Martini with an olive in it.

Withnail and I (1987)

Withnail and I or Marwood, (Richard E. Grant and Paul McGann) play ‘resting’ actors holed up in a freezing Camden hovel so poor they’re practically scraping grease off the walls for sandwich fillings. Any pennies they do find down the back of the sofa go on booze and drugs. When they can’t find drugs they improvise. This dastardly existence leads them to believe that they deserve a holiday.

Withnail obtains the keys to his unpleasantly amorous uncle’s holiday home in Penrith and the two embark on a countryside adventure involving plastic bags for shoes, live and then dead pheasant and nightly avoidance of rape or at least heavy petting by said experimental uncle.

Despite tribulations worse than they experienced at home the two leave stronger and walk off into the drizzle vaguely vowing to get into the acting lark properly this time.

Uplifting, funny and revolting at times. Makes you feel lucky to have central heating, a pint glass and some wine.

Watch it with your hangover because Withnail manages to make a filthy apartment, gin breath, empty pockets and raggedy clothes seem dignified and sophisticated. Bottle the feeling. You’ll need it in the dole queue later this year.

Hair o’ the Dug: ‘A pint of your finest wine’, ‘a quadruple gin’ and a shot of floor polish. Nip to your local old man pub and have six pints of slops with a snot chaser. Be more debauched than they are. I dare you.


Mama Mia (2008)

A UK film which became the world’s highest grossing musical of all time, blah, Meryl Streep singing Abba songs on a Greek Island with a surprisingly good cast who must have been blackmailed to get them there, blah, yawn…quite funny in places, blah, yawn if only because you can’t quite believe what you’re seeing, whatshisface wooden actor ex-007 singing..ahhh.

Anyway, if all of the above have failed to ease your aching temples, sweating palms and sea-sick stomach then your only option is to watch Mama Mia as you’ll finally throw up and feel better.

Hair o’ the dug: Start drinking again.


For the masochists among you…10 films to send you over the edge if you’ve a hangover as painful as the UK’s budget deficit:

Antichrist (2009)
Chopping private bits off, ouch. Not good with a hangover, not good ever.

Straw Dogs (1971)
Depressing, depraved, English. (Am allowed to say that, am English).

Funny Games (1997)
Unsettlingly scary as only white gloves and tennis shoes on a bright young murderer can be.

Inception (2010)
Warning: do not use when operating machinery, causes drowsiness, sometimes coma.

Leaving Las Vegas (1995)
Shit, I drank as much as Nic Cage does in this film last night and have woken up in a relationship with a prostitute (and it’s not Elizabeth Shue).

Let the Right One In (2008)
Vampirism is cold, dangerous and heart rendingly lonely when you’re a twelve year old girl. (Piss off ‘Twilight’ and come back when your balls have dropped).

Breaking the Waves (1996)
Death, disability and sexual depravity. Heavy enough to send the sunniest soul reaching for the coproxamol and pruning shears.

Dancer in the Dark (2000)
See ‘Breaking the Waves’ but add blindness. Way too sad for hungover people.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
Still confused about whether to hide in my fridge when world war three starts. Still dismayed at what they did to Indie…only watch if you enjoy feeling hollow and disappointed.

The Shining (1980)
Jack Nicholson, waaa! Redrum, waaa! Brilliant but too scary for hungover fragile people.