I’ll have to admit — when I was asked to review the Netflix #7 movie, Have A Good Trip, I was skeptical. Another LSD documentary that laments the vilification of the drug and puts LSD in the limelight as the chief instigator of the hippie revolution? No thanks, seen it all before. I know that story.
After seeing that it was #7, and that there must be high interest (no pun intended), I decided to get in my warmest PJs, roll a joint, and let the trip begin.
Here’s my bonafide honest review of Have A Good Trip: Adventures in Psychedelics, available on Netflix until it’s not.
Your favourite celebrities’ (funny) LSD experiences
So, I was wrong. The movie does not lament the vilification of the drug. In fact, the movie is pretty much completely un-political. It’s a tongue-in-cheek, honest, and funny documentary of people’s real life experiences on LSD.
Writer and director, Donick Cary, obviously had other intentions for this documentary. Your favourite celebrities — and I mean, Cary gets some big names into this movie — talk about their LSD experiences. All of them. The good, the bad, and the ugly.
Sting, Sarah Silverman, Ben Stiller, Deepak Chopra, Anthony Bourdain, and Carrie Fisher are just a few of the names that make it to the show. They range from “I took LSD at least 50 times” to “I took LSD only once” — and each one delivers a painfully honest, hilarious recount of their best and worst moments on LSD.
Laid out in a satirical educational fashion, the documentary features brief chemistry class interludes, tacky satirical propaganda, and the real life stories of people we love.
I don’t feel anything… Wait…
What makes this documentary so hilarious is its ability to pinpoint those characteristic LSD oddities that are so hard for most of us to express. Like the tipping point between “not tripping” and “tripping”. Sarah SIlverman describes it as that moment where you tell yourself – “I don’t feel anything”.
But then… wait… Do I feel something?
It hits the nail on the head, and anybody who has ever tried LSD likely relates to that very important moment in an LSD trip.
And of course, the bad trip
As if they were going to leave the bad trip story out of this documentary. The majority of the “bad trip” story is told in Reefer Madness propaganda fashion. The After School Special host is played by Adam Scott, who tells the Reefer Madness story with perfect political satire.
While, of course, the characters of the After School Special descend into madness under peer pressure to consume, the real-life characters of Have A Good Trip deliver more realistic stories. Sting talks about getting his arse kicked from time to time, while Ben Stiller says there’s a very obvious reason why he only used LSD once.
Other interviewees talk about the weird and wonderful things they experience during their bad trips — whether they be aliens, demons, or twisted alternate universes. Then there’s the ever pervasive question in a bad trip — “is this going to last forever?”
Two joints in: Is this documentary going anywhere?
After two joints, and about an hour into the documentary, it was starting to feel “a bit more of the same”. Everybody’s telling stories of their LSD experiences… so what? Good thing the documentary only goes for about an hour and a half.
Funny moments and funny stories still bubble to the surface in the last half an hour, but don’t expect a breakthrough in your understanding of LSD or anything.
If anything, Have A Good Trip: Adventures in Psychedelics is a documentary of more hands-on educational style. It isn’t really an educational documentary per se, and you won’t learn any more about LSD. But you will learn more about other people’s experiences of LSD.
What do I rate it?
OK — so no religious revelations about LSD or how it can be used to save the world. But, there’s a lot of good quality editing in the movie. I particularly love the way director, Donick Cary, uses animation to help tell the story his interviewees are recounting. Then adding all the faux-propaganda and educational interludes makes it all the more entertaining.
For some stoned watching, I give Have A Good Trip 8/10. It’s funny, it’s light, and it’s bound to go well with a few joints.
If you want something a little more grounded or educational about LSD, this isn’t your movie. If anything, I think this movie is best enjoyed by people who have actually tried LSD. If you haven’t, maybe some of the references just aren’t funny?
In any case, Donick Cary puts a funny spin on LSD, something we rarely ever get to see in psychedelic documentaries. When there is comedy, it’s usually slapstick comedy that’s rife with stereotypes. Well, this one isn’t. It’s true, to the point, and hits you on your funny bones.