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Have a Good Trip: celebrities share wild psychedelic stories for Netflix

S.J.B.

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Have a Good Trip: celebrities share wild psychedelic stories for Netflix
Charles Bramesco
The Guardian
May 12th, 2020
A lifelong comedy writer, Donick Cary knows full well that some entertainers radiate a sort of effortless interestingness. They’re good off the cuff, they have an unending backlog of amusing stories, and they share these anecdotes with colorful, spellbinding delivery. “My experience on Letterman was always that if we could find funny people and follow them around, we’d get something good,” Cary tells the Guardian by phone from his home quarantine. “Easier on the writers, too.”

That’s the presumption around which the new documentary Have a Good Trip: Adventures in Psychedelics has been built. The film compiles a selection of candid, revealing interviews recorded over the last 11 years with a jam-packed roster of talent, all of them getting real about their dalliances with mind-altering substances. Their recollections run the gamut from the transcendent to the euphoric to the silly to the nightmarish, forming a surprisingly sober-minded portrait of drugs as a subjective force neither good nor bad, depending only on how a person uses it.

“I’ve always loved documentaries, real stories about real people,” Cary says. “I was at the Nantucket film festival about 11 years ago, and Ben Stiller’s on the board. Fisher Stevens was also there to launch The Cove, and we all ended up in a conversation about psychedelics and people’s experiences, which turned out to be so entertaining. The Aristocrats had come out a few years before, and I realized how much I liked this vibe of an extended dinner party, with everyone sharing a story.”

So began an off-and-on project that would stretch out over the next decade, as Cary undertook the work of securing interview times with a lineup of subjects that he estimates as somewhere between 75 and 100. The array of familiar faces making the cut ranges from standup and sketch’s usual suspects (Nick Kroll, David Cross, Sarah Silverman) to musical luminaries (A$AP Rocky, Sting) and late legends with an unexpectedly poignant presence (Carrie Fisher and Anthony Bourdain appear posthumously). “We were at the mercy of 100 celebrities’ schedules,” Cary says. “Someone like Sting would be available, but he’s got a concert tour and he’s doing a stage show in London and all this other stuff. He was great, though. We just had to wait nine months.”

Restricting himself to an 89-minute run time meant that he had to ditch the lion’s share of footage on the cutting room floor, a pain that years of “killing your babies” in writers’ rooms had prepared him for. Nevertheless, that left him with some great tidbits of his own. He says he’s got enough material for three or four more features, which might afford him a place for the clips with Whitney Cummings, Patton Oswalt, Bootsy Collins and Ed Ruscha, a cursory sampling of his unused favorites. Some A-listers, like Dave Grohl and Paul McCartney, just weren’t gettable. In other cases, Cary got the goods, but had trouble clinching permissions.
Read the full story here.
 

JackARoe

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I just saw the trailer on Netflix. Looks like the normal range of understanding when it comes to psychedelics. Some grew and learned and saw the value, to others it was just a crazy drug. I will watch with an open mind. I just hope it has value. :)
 

PYTH

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Yeah, it's kind of lightweight with some highlights, and the style got scooped by some of the animated Comedy Central and Vice trip / party shorts.

It might have made a better TV series, the trip reports feel really abbreviated. I think it tried to do too much, the harm reduction skits and token gestures towards psychedelic history, medicine, and legalization didn't quite gel for me. An hour and a half of straight-up celebrity trip reports would have been great.
 

sekio

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I haven't seen this all the way through yet but it certainly seems to be more of an attempt to demonstrate that most psychedelic use is not horrible, terrifying introspective hallucinatory journeys, and are instead generally between entertaining and enlightening.

This is the sort of movie you'd show your weird cousin with high school level education who asks you about LSD, or maybe as a cursory introduction to how people use psychedelics in modern society. Or screened at your fraternity's party or whatever.

It's definitely not a hard documentary and isn't a discussion about the more "academic" parts of the field, like the nitty-gritty of the chemistry, biology, and historical uses of entheogens. If you are not a big fan of people teling trip stories it's not gonna be fore you.
 

thegreenhand

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It's definitely not the in depth documentary i was hoping for, as sekio said. That said, A$AP rocky's story was fucking hilarious lol

"I kid you not a rainbow shot out of my dick" lol
 

JackARoe

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I saw half of it and so far it is just ok. What I thought it would be. Not great but not bad. I think some of the sarcasm should have been skipped because people that do not know psychedelics will believe some of the old jokes about them.

The Sunshine Makers was good. I liked that. Nick Sand died the same month I watched it. Speaking of which Timothy Wylie died the same month I saw him on the Hamilton Pharmacopeia PCP episode. And lastly ( I know this is off topic lol) but I watched the Coltrane documentary on Netflix in March of this year and both Jimmy Heath and Mccoy Tyner had interviews on it and they just died. Keep in mind Miles Davis had to wait for Jimmy Heath to get out of prison for drugs in like the late 50's I believe. And these guys lasted till their 80's-90's. :)

Orange Sunshine, when it was on Netflix bored me a little so I didn't finish it.
 
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