Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Up in Smoke, A Blog Entry on Cannabis Cinema (Stoner Films)

Just last week I was watching Nancy Meyers It’s Complicated, a film I would normally never watch in theaters, but ended up seeing anyways. As I watched I thought to myself "Ive gotta get down to doing that Cannabis Cinema Blog Entry!" You see, I was surprised to discover that in this seemingly innocent romantic comedy, smoking weed ends up being a big part of the movie. Meryl Streep and Steve Martin end up getting stoned together and making out. On this movie, weed isn’t demonized at all, but is actually shown as something that might actually get you feeling happy, goofy in a harmless way. But dammit! Its illegal! In one scene, as Meryl Streep is holding up a joint while inside of her car, a police car drives by and she hides it, afraid to get caught, reminding us once again that pot might be fun, but why the hell is it illegal? Anyhows, seeing that scene in a major Hollywood movie got me sparked up about finally writing this Cannabis Cinema Blog Entry.

Does hollywood have something against weed related movies? That is a question I would like to get addressed on this blog entry (if you care to comment on it) because I notice a lot of these movies that are explicitly about stoners and weed are usually sent straight to dvd when they are actually really funny and would have done very well in theaters. You will notice that a lot of the movies on this blog have gotten the shaft (that means sent straight to dvd) simply because they are about weed. Even big stars like Jack Black in Tenacious D and the Pick of Destiny get ignored or dont get enough promotion.

I get the feeling that:

#1 They dont market the film enough because weed plays a major part in it

#2 They dont want to give impressionable youngsters the idea that smoking weed is cool

#3 They are just a bunch of hypocritical assholes since hollywood producers no doubt smoke weed.

#4 They are afraid the general public will stay away from the film because it is about weed.

Dont they know that theres a target audience for these kinds of Films as well, just like there is a target audience for any kind of film?

A good example is how they didnt promote Tenacious D and the Pick of Destiny and it bombed at the box office, but when it gets released on dvd and word of mouth gets out, the movie becomes a huge seller. Tenacious D and the Pick of Destiny sold more dvds then it made money in theaters! What the hell does that say? That people would have seen it had Hollywood not pussied out of marketing it like they do all other movies. People had to go out and discover the film by word of mouth.

Arnold Schwarznegger toking it up in Pumping Iron (1977)!

I just read that Cheech and Chong had trouble getting their first film marketed as well. You know what they had to do? Market the filmthrough flyers on the streets because the studio didnt want to market it properly. Still, Up in Smoke turned out to be the 12th highest grossing movie that year! Proves once again...people are OK with Stoner Films. Hollywood needs to stop being so self righteous! Well, its happening indirectly. The Harold and Kumar Films being a good example of this.

But anyhows, no more bitching. Cannabis Cinema has been around for a while now, and its a bonafide sub genre. Heres a list of some cool (and even not so cool) stoner films:

Title: Still Smoking (1983)

Director: Tommy Chong

Comments: Well, this one isnt really so much a movie on itself. You see, Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong had a real life stand up comedy show that they use to take around town to sell out crowds. They would perform their comedic skits, which often times just included Cheech and Chong on stage doing different sketches and characters of their own creation. On Still Smoking, Cheech and Chong are invited to a film festival dedicated to Dolly Parton and Burt Reynolds (who actually cameo on the film). But Dolly and Burt fail to show up, so the producers of the festival ask Cheech and Chong to entertain the crowd with their act. From there on in, the movie turns into a live show with Ceech and Chong doing their different comedy routines live in front of an audience. Not the most entertaining of the Cheech and Chong movies if you are expecting an actual film (like I was), with an actual storyline. The movie actually plays out more like a concert film then anything else. Still, if your a fan of the Cheech and Chong comedy sketches, then by all means check this one out. Just dont expect a real movie.

Title: Cheech and Chongs Nice Dreams (1981)

Director: Tommy Chong

Comments: This is the third Cheech and Chong film. Though this is Cheech and Chongs second sequel and they had the opportunity to make an even better film then the previous two (Up In Smoke and Next Movie) I wouldnt say that this is in fact a good movie at all. The premise for this one is that Cheech and Chong have now become rich, they are selling weed to people out of an Ice Cream truck and have made their fortune. They got a huge house, they got their own weed plantation, and they are now living comfortably. Problem is, they have the police checking them out, so they are constantly on the run from the cops who are trying to catch them. One of the many problems this movie has is that it takes its focus out of the weed. This movie is more about Cheech and Chong getting high on cocaine and fucking things up. Basically, Cheech and Chong make lots of cash, go to celebrate to a Chinese restaurant where they meet up with this guy called the "Hamburger Dude" who offers both Cheech and Chong some cocaine. They snort it with him under the table, get bat shit insane and Chong manages to sign away all of Cheech and Chongs money to the coke snorting Hamburger Dude, who by the way is played by a very young Paul Reubens. So half way through the movie, the movie is no longer weed oriented but cocaine oriented. I dont know if that was the movies intended message (that coke fucks things up) but it basically does fuck things up for Cheech and Chong because suddenly everything starts going wrong. It was kind of weird seeing Paul Reubens, who was once the host of a childrens show (remember Pee-Wee's Playhouse?) playing a cocaine fiend. But anyhows, thats where the movie turns sour for me. Cause these guys are stoners, not coke fiends. Theres a difference. Anyhows, the film also turns into a sex comedy, having Cheech and Chong about to perform a threesome with some hot latina chick, and then her biker husband walks in and tries to kill em. So not only is the film not a stoner film anymore, now its a sex comedy. And then to top things of, the film turns into this surreal nightmare thing when Cheech and Chong get mistakingly thrown into a looney bin? This is where the movie, to me, looses all hopes of coherence. My big complaint with this movie, apart from what Ive already mentioned is that it feels very lazyly directed. I know what your thinking, a pot head directed this film (Tommy Chong himself is the director) what did you expect? And my answer would be, you are exactly right. Many of the scenes actually look as if Cheech and Chong are genuinly high, as in for real. Dont know if thats what made this movie so mediocre, but it sure feels like it. The film looses all direction and purpose, its plot is non sensical, and the movie just feels like one big directionless thing. Not Cheech and Chongs best day in my opinion.

Quintesential Stoner Moment: When the chief of police manages to get his hands on some of the weed that Cheech and Chong are selling from their Ice Cream truck. He decides to keep it "to analize at the lab" but actually ends up smoking it himself. What he doesnt know is, this is genetically altered weed that will turn you into a lizard. Literally! And so, as the movie progresses, the chief of police slowly but surely begins to turn into a lizard.

Title: Idle Hands (1999)

Director: Rodman Flender

Comments: This is a horror movie with stoner elements squeezed into it. It tells the story of Anton Tobias, a teenager whos right hand has become possesed by the devil! The hand makes him do all sorts of evil things, amongst them killing his two best friends and his parents! Now Anton must get rid of his hand before it drags his soul down back to hell with it. Main character is a major stoner, he wakes up in the morning to sit on the couch, watch tv and hit the bong. Its his priority in life. His friends (played by Seth Green and Elden Henson) are the same. Even when his best friends are dead they are thinking of hitting the bong! I thought the stoner elements where well handled, some of the gags were awesome and very much influenced by Sam Raimis Evil Dead movies. In one scene we watch Anton fighting with his possesed hand and one cant help but think of Ash fighting his own evil possesed hand in the spooky cabin in the woods. Only thing is Ash didnt think of putting the possesed hand inside of a microwave and nuking it! Basically, during its second half, the movie turns into "lets follow the evil hand around and kill it" kind of movie. This movie is cool at times, but kind of looses steam and direction somewhere around its last half. Jessica Alba boner inducing as she looks, messes up the movie with some truly bad acting! Vivica A. Fox shows up briefly in the movie as a demon slayer.

Quintesential Stoner Moment: When Antons two best friends are killed, they see the famous "tunnel of light" thats supposed to lead to heaven. They decide not to follow the light because the tunnel looks too far. Instead, theyd rather take another bong hit and stay on earth helping out their friend Anton deal with his evil hand.

Seth Green, One Dead Stoner

Title: Strange Wildernes (2008)

Director: Fred Wolf

Comments: Well, heres one I was really looking forward to because of the people involved in it. Its the same gang that made the really funny Grandmas Boy, so I was expecting this movie to be at least as good as that one, or better. Boy was I dissapointed. This movie tells the story of the cast + crew of a wildlife show who are trying to boost their ratings so they wont get canceled. How do they plan to boost their ratings? By going on a quest to find Big Foot! Theres a thing about stoner movies, I dont think its a good idea for the cast and crew to actually be smoking when making it. The result can end up being sloppy and disjointed. This was the case with Strange Wilderness, as I watched it I had this glimmer of hope that it would be hilarious, because the cast is a group of people who have been extremely funny in previous movies. But for some reason the ideas and execution felt half assed. The story goes nowhere! I mean, yeah, this is a stoner comedy, but come on, at least give us something to follow here. This movie is shallow, empty and just plain stupid. Stoner movies can be stupid, but this one scratches on fucking retarded. I know this movies budget was a measly 5 million, but come on guys, when you got a meager budget, you gotta beef up the script. You know, actually make it funny as opposed to just goofing around on the set. As it is, thats what this movie feels like. Its not all bad, theres some funny moments squeezed in there, but for the most part the film is unfunny and forced. Too bad, this one had potential, but they blew it.

Quintesential Stoner Moment: When they are filming an episode of the wildlife show called "Strange Wilderness" and you could hear the bubbles from the bong someone is smoking next to the camera and they have to interrupt the shoot of the show because of it.

Title: Super High Me (2008)

Starring: Doug Benson

Comments: On this documentary, stand up comedian Doug Benson decides to prove that weed is relatively harmless. He stops smoking for 30 days straight. Documents his health and mental stamina, his intelligence during this period. Then he does the same after having smoked medical weed for 30 days straight as well. Generally, he was kind of sad and bored for the 30 days he didnt smoke, then everything was coolio when he started to smoke. His sperm count was higher, his intelligence tests rated higher (which I found a bit bizarre since weed tends to dumb you down) and his health was fine. Dont know how much of the results were true, but I tend to kneel towards the weed is harmless camp. Except maybe for not remembering very well what you were doing while smoking, to me its equal to going out on a drinking spree, without the hangover, which is a plus if you ask me. Documentary could have been better, it could have informed more about the myths sarrounding marihuana, and the facts. Plus his jokes as a stand up comic werent all that good. Not a bad watch, but could have used some beefing up information wise.

Quintesential Stoner Moment: The face of happiness when Doug finally gets to smoke again after having been weed free for 30 days.

Title: Waiting (2005)

Director: Rob McKittrick

Comments: One of the funniest movies Ive seen in a while, this movie is the kind of comedy that will make you laugh out loud. I think this movie needs to be seen by more people. Its entire premise is that of a few teenagers and twenty somethings who are stuck working tables at a local restaurant. They are in that kind of a job where if you dont do something about it, youll end up working there for the rest of your life. Its the kind of job where you hate it so much, you cant wait for that moment when you punch out so you can go get drunk and high with the rest of your co-workers. The main character Dean (played by Justing Long) is in this crossroads moment in his life where he wants to make that change, where he wants to leave "Shennanigans" (thats the name of the restaurant) behind and make something of himself. In the midst of all that, we get to see the goings on of what really happens behind the counter, in the kitchen of one of these restaurants. Whats coolest about this movie are all the different characters, we get the over stressed hyperactive chick who chain smokes like a mofucker, we get the two stoners bus boys who spend most of their time smoking in the parking lot and munching away at whatevers in the fridge, we get the insecure guy who has one hell of a time just trying to get a date, and we get the different love hate relationships going on amongst the workers. Its one of those movies that plays along like a John Hughes movie from the 80s only updated for the new millenium. If youve worked in a restaurant as a waiter, then this movie was tailor made for you! If you havent, I gurantee you will laugh anyways.

Quintesential Stoner Moment: When the two stoners in the movie have just finished smoking a joint and are in the kitchen sucking on whip cream cans, they imagine a moment in which they hate their boss so much they start throwing gasoline at him and then light him up in fire!

Their Shenanigans include, smoking weed in after work parties

Title: The Wackness (2008)

Director: Jonathan Levine

Comments: Well, heres a movie that doesnt necesarilly stick to the "stoner movie" rules. Its not really just about two guys on their way to get some weed, its not a comedy, it doesnt make fun of cops or authority figures. If I had to qualify this in a category, Id say this was one of the first stoner dramas ever made. It tells the story of young dude Luke Shapiro, an antisocial outcast, who seems to hate the world and people in it, and cant seem to get laid. Hell, it seems like the guys a virgin and he is well past his 16 years of age. So yeah, the dudes worried. Best part is, his got this open minded cool as hell shrink who is willing to help him and advice him on how to get out of his dilemma. Best part? He pays his shrink with weed! Thats right, the shrink is a pot head! Ben Kingsley really shines in this role, which kind of turns conventions around because you expect the shrink mentor type of character to be a good role model. But not on this movie, this shrink is all kinds of imperfect which of course makes him all the more real as a character. Loved this movie, its all about making your money and improving your life conditions, making your way in the big scary world and teaching you that were all a little fucked up. Highly recommend it!

Quintesential Stoner Moment: Shapiro finds his shrink all suicidal, doing all sorts of drugs. Pot, pills, blow...everything! Suddenly, Shapiros shrink offers him a line of cocaine by saying "come on, do it for me, just this one time!"

Title: Knocked Up (2007)

Director: Judd Apatow

Comments: This movie asks the question: What would you do if you got pregnant by a stoner? A very interesting premise, and one that Im sure no stoner movie before it had explored. Thing about this movie is that it mixes elements of drama into the stoner comedy, something unheard of until recently, with films like Knocked Up and most recently The Wackness. Its a very real movie, the guy doesnt really have a job, he just manages a website with his stoner friends. Then one night he gets really drunk and high and dances with an equally drunk and high girl, they end up having sex, she ends up pregnant. And then the dilemma: do I want to have a child with this guy? Does the guy want to face the responsabilities of being a parent? Is he mature enough for this or does he just care about partying and getting high? This movie is when Judd Apatow started to really take off, after the great success of the 40 Year Old Virgin. He hasnt stopped since.

Quintesential Stoner Moment: During an earthquake, all Seth Rogens character can think of rescuing is his bong! Forget his hot girlfriend and future mother of his child, its that bong that needs rescuing!

Title: American Beauty (1999)

Director: Sam Mendez

Comments: On this movie Kevin Spacey is tired of his boring ass same-o same-o suburban lifestyle. His tired of his love less sex less marriage, his tired of his boring ass job, basically, his tired of being bored. So how does he spark some fun into his life? He starts lifting weights, getting into shape! He gets a second job at a Fast food restaurant! And he starts smoking weed! He starts buying it from his next door teenage neighboor who just so happens to sell it! You know, basically he decides to shake things up, make a real mess of his life, see what happens. Anything has to be better then his boring ass current situation. Kevin spacey suddenly becomes a pot head/weight lifter, locking himself up in his garage to pump iron and get high. In this movie, weed is a symbol for rebellion, and taking things "easier" learning to just chill the fuck out and enjoy life. I love how this movie comments on how easily we can fall in routine and boring lifestyles without realizing it, and suddenly we ask ourselves why the hell were so anxious and uptight. Kevin Spacey steals the show as Lester, the dude whos had enough. Yet another hollywood film, where weed is featured prominently, and not in a bad way either!

Quintesential Stoner Moment: When Lester is hanging out at this boring ass social gathering and he goes out to the parking lot cause he just cant take the bullshit, at which time, he meets his next door neighbor Ricky, who just so happens to be working as a waiter there. Ricky asks Lester "Do yo party?" and Lester goes "What?" as if he doesnt understand, then Ricky makes things clear and asks: "Do you get HIGH?" They share a joint together, Lester becomes a regular customer from there on in.

Smoking Weed and Pumping Iron, looks like Kevin Space was influenced by watching Arnold Schwarznegger in Pumping Iron!

Title: Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001)

Director: Kevin Smith

Comments: Jay and Silent Bob the two lead characters sell weed on the corner of a convenience store when they suddenly come across the information that they are making a movie out of the comic book characters that are based on them. The name of the movie is "Blunt Man and Chronic". Basically, this is a road movie that has Jay and Silent Bob go on a quest to stop the movie from getting made. That is, if they dont get their "motherfucking movie check". On their way to Hollywood they go through all sorts of crazy shit, like meeting up with a crew of hot chick thieves who have plans to pull off a diamond heist. Jay falls in love with one of them. Movie gets crazy and is all over the place, culminating in a run around at the studio lot where the movie is being filmed. Awesome part is when Jay and Silent Bob both dress up as the superhero characters "Blunt Man and Chronic" and walk on the movie set! Lots of weed references and jokes. One scene has Jay and Silent Bob smoking weed with a bunch of teens who look like the Scooby Doo gang. Really! Even Scooby gets high! Plus, we get Afromans song “Because I got High” during the closing credits.

Quintesential Stoner Moment: When Jay is selling weed in the corner store, a kid ask for a bag and Jay says "Fifteen bucks little man, put that money in my hand, if the money doesnt show, then you owe me owe me ow, my jungle loooove owee owee oooh!"

Title: Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)

Director: Amy Heckerling

Comments: This coming of age movie is well known for its incredible cast, who of course at the time werent all that famous. But this stoner movie is famous for various reasons, one is we get one of the most memorable on screen Stoners ever, the unforgetable Jeff Spicoli played by recent Oscar winner Sean Penn. He is perpetually stoned through out the whole movie, having battles with his hateful history teacher, wrecking other peoples cars, getting pizza delivered to his history class, you know basically doing all sorts of crazy whacked out shit. But mainly, this movie is about teenagers dealing with all the new responsabilities and situations that life throws your way at that age. Sexual awakening, relationships, graduation, getting a job, buying your first car and so forth. It was written by Cameron Crow who went on to win an Oscar for best director for his film Almost Famous. Amy Heckerling went on to direct a couple more films like Clueless, Johnny Dangerously, European Vacation (a personal favorite of mine) and Look Whos Talking. So basically, this is a stoner movie but it spawned all sorts of great careers! Lets see: Eric Stoltz, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Phoebe Cates, Judge Reinhold, Nicholas Cage and Forest Whitaker!

Quintesential Stoner Moment: When Spicoli is talking with Eric Stoltz over the phone while taking a couple of hits from his bong, and he's talking about how much weed he smokes a day, and then he says "Listen to this" and he hits his head with a shoe a couple of times and says "thats my skull! Im totally wasted!"

Title: Smiley Face (2007)

Director: Gregg Arraki

Comments: It a rare instance that while Im watching a movie, and see where its going, I suddenly say to myself "I should be smoking while watching this!", which is exactly what happened to me while I started to watch Smiley Face. Its a shame that this movie got dumped straight to DVD, it could have made for a fairly decent theatrical release. I mean, just because its a stoner comedy doesnt mean it has to be treated like shit. Harold and Kumar, Halfbaked and the recent Pineapple Express show that stoner comedies can and do make a profit. But of course, theres certain producers out there who are just plain out pussy and are afraid to make weed look cool. Or they dont have enough faith in the stoner comedy. Well, its their loss, this movie has cult classic written all over it. Much like the other ultra cool stoner comedy Grandmas Boy, this one was deemed not worthy to have a theatrical release and dumped into straight to DVD territory. Its sad because Smiley Face aint a bad little stoner comedy! Its actually preatty hilarious in certain instances, and actually quite accurate of the stoner experience. What I enjoyed most about this movie is that it didnt feel like someone who had never smoked weed wrote it. It actually felt like a true hard core blunt a day smoker wrote it, because they captured exactly what it feels like to have a weed infused day. I was laughing my ass off when Farris wouldnt even look at a cop straight to the face cause she knew she was soooo stoned! There is this brilliant moment in which Anne Farris character (called Jane) gives this speech to a factory manager telling him all about how he is over working his employees and how unfair the system is and you kind of feel like clapping with her after shes done with her speech. But then the movie goes back and shows you what she actually said, and its the dumbest weed induced speech ever...hilarious! If you enjoyed films like Harold and Kumar and Grandmas Boy (or if your oldschool and have heard of Up in Smoke) then I urgently recommend you check this one out. Anne Farris can carry a movie quite well, she was a convincing stoner! Plus we got a cool supporting cast in the hands of John Crasinsky (a.k.a. Jim from The Office) playing a science fiction nerd, by the way, this is the second weed related movie for Crasinsky, he also smokes a joint in Its Complicated with Steve Martin and Meryl Streep. We get Danny Masterson as the evil roomate, John Cho as a dude Jane meets along the way, we get a cameo by Carrot Top, and Danny Trejo even shows up at one point. Anyhows, this movie isnt going to change your life or anything, but it will make you laugh. Hey, it comes from the director of The Doom Generation and Mysterious Skin, so take that for what its worth. Its not exactly the kind of film youd expect from Mr. Araki, whos films are usually filled with sex, drugs and drama. This is a lighter film from a more serious director. Recommend it for a light hearted smoking good time.

Quintesential Stone Moment: When Jane wakes up in the morning, the first thing she does at 9 am is take a bong hit. She proceeds to play some videogames and eat her roomates brownies...which were also made with weed. She goes ballistic and tries to come up with a plan to replace her roomates cup cakes by buying some more weed, baking some more cupcakes. This plan gets shot to hell. She burns the weed on the stove! And she ends up using the money she had to pay the electric bill for buying the weed! Everything gets extremely crazier after that.

Title: Grandmas Boy (2005)

Director: Nicholaus Goossen

Comment: Alex, a video game tester/programmer must move in with his grandma when his roomate spends all the rent money on Filipino hookers. So Alex moves in with his grandma who is more then willing to help him out, and work him to death. In the mean time, Alex has a lot of weed to smoke with his stoner buddies. He is also secretly working on his own personal video game wich could be a potential masterpiece. Will he ever finish his game? Will he ever find his own place? Can he win his new supervisors heart even though his just a stoner? My own personal take on this movie? Its fucking hilarious! If you are a gamer and a stoner, then you should adore this film. And even if you are not, you will find it funny too. Its like geek central on this movie, they make fun of gamers, Laura Croft, those video games where you dance, video game competitions, The Matrix, I mean this movie is top notch really funny stuff. I still dont understand why it went straight to DVD. Such a travesty!

Quintesential Stoner Moment: When Alex's grandma finds Alex's secret stash and mistakes the weed for tea. She drinks some weed infused tea, and when Alex comes home, he finds his grandma and her friends high as a kite laughing it off on the couch. Alex's reaction? Lets throw a party at grandmas!

Title: Tenacious D and the Pick of Destiny (2006)

Director: Liam Lynch

Comments: JB is trying his best to live the rock and roll lifestyle and become a rock god, just like his idol Dio. So he travels to Hollywood in order to do so. Once he gets there he meets up with KG and together they start Tenacious D, the biggest and baddest rock band in the universe. But first, they need a gig. And they need some songs. This is the story of how they struggle to make it big in the music industry! They soon find out that every awesome rock band that ever existed has used the mystical "pick of destiny" a pick that belongs to non other then Satan himself! So they go on a journey to find this magic guitar pick so they can become the greatest band ever. Movie is awesome from start to finish. Re-watchability factor is very high on this one. Its a rock opera, similar in nature to Rocky Horror Picture Show. Cool part is, the songs kick some fucking assssss! They are so freaking Cauchy! And Jack Black is pure gold on this one.

Quintesential Stoner Moment: JB and KG are both watching tv while high as a kite. At one point JB wants to watch a show where Sasquatch appears so he wants to change the channel. And suddenly KG says "when you are fast enough to snatch this remote control from my hand, then you will have earned the right to change the channel" and JB tries but he just cant seem to do it cause he is so high.

Blowing weed smoke on the mic makes the song flow better!

Title: Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle (2004) and Harold and Kumar: Escape from Guantanamo Bay (2008)

Directors: Danny Leiner, John Hurwitz and Hay Schlossberg

Comments: The first one was a very funny stoner movie. Basically, Harold and Kumar get wasted, and then they get a horrible case of the munchies. What to do? Oh yeah! Lets g oto White Castle and eat a bunch of teeny tiny burgers! So of they go on their munchies finding adventure. This movie changes the stoner Plot around a bit and turns the film from a movie about two stoners going out to get weed, to two stoners our in search for the quintesential munchies! The movie is hilarious unfortunately, it was followed by a sequel that felt all too similar in nature. Thing about Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanmo Bay is that its good, its bigger budget, its better written in many ways, but it has one gigantic flaw: its essentially the same movie as the first! I didnt like the fact that it followed a formula so closely, sticking to it in such a way that you dont feel like your watching a new film, but rather a slightly reworked more expensive version of the first film. Basically, Harold and Kumar and on a quest again. Only instead of searching for White Castle, on this one they are on their way to Amsterdam. But after a misunderstanding on the plane before take off they end up in jail. My problem is that for a movie called "Escape from Guantanamo Bay" they spend too little time in jail, they escape waaaayy too fast! They are not even in jail for more then five minutes I think! My big gripe with this movie is that, it could have presented us with a whole new adventure, with new gags within the jail premise, yet they fly by the jail sequence in five seconds. And then, the movie falls into the formula, and you cant help but feel like "youve been there done that". The rest of the film is them running from the law after escaping from jail. And they basically go through very similar situations as those scene in the first movie. They meet up with a coked up Neal Patrick Harris, they end up in a home with freaks. You know the drill. The only truly original stuff comes with those scenes where they mistakingly end up at ex-president Bush's home and talk to him about legalizing weed. Still, with its repetitive storyline, the movie is worth watching for some laughs. Its not a bad sequel, its just not better then the first.

Quintesential Stoner Moment: In Guantanamo Bay Harold and Kumar go to the bathroom on the plane (before take off) to take a bong hit. Kumar produces a self created bong that turns bong smoke into something that smells like Lysol. Genius right? This way, no one will know that they are actually smoking weed, cause theres no smell. Harold tells Kumar "You cant wait till we get to Amsterdam? Its the weed capital...of the world!" to which Kumar answers "NO!" and takes a bong hit

Title: Halfbaked

Director: Tamara Davis

Comments: What would a blog entry about Cannabis Cinema be without mentioning Halfbaked? This was before Dave Chappelle got ultra famous. Before his show, before his meltdown and dissapearance. So on this movie Chappelle plays a janitor named Thurgood. Thurgood is looking to fall in love with a girl called Mary Jane. A nice clean cut girl who wants nothing to do with weed or drugs of any kind. Thurgood has to choose between smoking weed, or having a relationship with a beautiful girl. What will he ultimately choose? Leaving weed behind is even harder for Thurgood in this movie because he is selling so much of it! In fact, his making money to help a friend of his get out of jail! Will Thurgood ever stop smoking weed? Will he free his friend from jail? Will weed get in the way of his relationship?

Quintesential Stoner Moment: When Thurgood says goodbye to weed, he goes up to a bridge to get rid of his last joint. He is going to throw it to the water and say goodbye to weed forever. After he says his last goodbyes to the joint and throws it, the joint looks back at him and screams: “Youll be baaaaack!”

Title: The Pineapple Express (2008)

Director: David Gordon Green

Comments: Judd Apatow and his usual crew of actors and writers must be one hell of a group of pot heads! Practically all of Apatows movies mention or include weed in them somehow! In this particular film we have Dale Denton a bonafide pothead who has a simple ass job and always looks forward to smoking some bud. In a particular moment in the film, Dale witnesses a murder while smoking a joint in his parked car! The murderers see him and from there on in the film is a chase movie, moving from one place to the next trying to find away to get away from the killers. What I liked about this movie is that it really dives deep into what smoking weed is like. Theres one moment in which Franco and Rogen are lighting up and just talking all kinds of bullshit about weed, cause thats what potheads do, they talk about how cool smoking is and often times end up glorifying it as they smoke which is exactly what happens in the movie. The comedy angle is amplified to the max, I was just laughing my ass off every five seconds. The dialog is hilarious, the characters very offbeat and nutty, like that guy who just would not die no matter how much they shot him! At one particular point, the movie goes into Blues Brothers territory with one gigantic car chase sequence which I found very very memorable. Love this movie to death, this is one movie that should make stoners proud, cause its so damn good.

Quintesential Stoner Moment: When Rogen is running from the murderers but decides to stop at his girlfriends parents house. He is high as a kite, and the parents realize it by asking "are you fucking high?" at which point he gets kicked out of the house by a gunshot toting dad.

Title: Cheech and Chongs Up in Smoke (1978)

Director: Lou Adler

Comments: Cheech and Chong are like these legendary pot smokers. They are the gods of stoner movies. They started the whole freaking thing! Before them, I think it was all just a bunch of anti-drug films being put out, like Reefer Madness. But Cheech and Chong cemented what the Stoner movie should be about. Two guys in search of weed! Along the way, fucked up shit will happen for sure. This movie is hilarious to me, it has a very seventies hippy feel to it. These two guys meet up, and they could think of nothing better to do then go and find some weed to smoke. They end up getting cought up in some sort of raid...will they make it back home to play on the Battle of the Bands concert?? I find it funny that in many stoner movies, stoners have artistic abilities. In Tenacious D they are trying to be rock stars, in Grandmas Boy they are video game programmers, and in Cheech and Chong, they are stand up comedians/rock band. Funny part? Their band is called Alice Bowie, a word play mixing both Alice Cooper and David Bowie. This film had its fare share of sequels, non of them were as good as this one.

Quintesential Stoner Moment: The first fifteen minutes of this movie is pure stoner material. They smoke a gigantic blunt thats made up of dog shit and weed, because Chong’s dog ate his stash. Once the dog pooped his stash, he made a giant blunt with it! They get crazy as hell! In one scene, Cheech starts going crazy cause he feels too high, so he asks Chong for something to cool him down, but Chong just gives him some pills that make Cheech even crazier! So he starts getting really paranoid because he is so high, he thinks he is driving super fast, when in fact they are parked on the side walk! Dare you not to laugh in the first fifteen minutes.

Title: The Big Lebowski (1998)

Directors: Ethan and Joel Coen

Comments: This movie is like the Citizen Kane of stoner flicks. It was not only written and directed by two of the most respected writer/directors in the industry -The Coen Brothers- but it also has a stellar cast which includes, Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, John Torturro, Steve Buscemi, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Sam Elliot, Peter Stormare and..even Flea from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers appears. This movie is Jam packed with awesomeness, but what makes it special of course is the freaking dialog which will have you slapping your knee, and giving you stomach pains from laughter. I specially bust a gut laughing whenever John Goodman appears playing the character of Walter, a vietnam vet who just has to connect everything that happens to him to the vietnam war. He is hilarious in this movie and one of the best things about it as well. I love it how whenever Donnie (Steve Buscemi) tries to say something Walter shuts him up by saying "Shut the fuck up Donnie!" or "Donnie, your out of your element". The story does get a bit convoluted, but if you pay attention youll see its just a story about a guy (The Dude) who's just trying to get his rug back. A rug that was mistakingly pissed upon (and therefore ruined) by a pair of hitmen looking for somebody else. The Dude is an every man, a lazy chill out- dont wanna fuck with no one - dude, who gets fucked by everyone around him, even though his just trying to be a nice guy. Oh, and he smokes about twenty joints through out the whole movie.

Quintesential Stoner Moment: When The Dude is quietly taking a hot bath smoking a J, just chilling out with a joint, lit candles, you know, just chilling the fuck out, these freaking nihalists break into his appartment threatening to kill him if he doesnt give them money. They throw a rabid ferrett inside of the bathtub and totallly fuck up his evening!

El Duderino himself.

Well, thats all folks! Hope you enjoyed this blog entry!

Other weed related movies I didnt have the time to write about, feel free to comment on these Films I Left out if you have seen them:

Weirdsville (2007)

Reefer Madness (1936) 

Cheech and Chongs Next Movie (1980)

How High (2001)

The Stoned Age (1994)

Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical (2005)
9 to 5 (1980)
Things are Tough All Over (1982)
The Family Stone (2005)
Dazed and Confused (1993)
Grass (2000)
Totally Baked (2007)
Sex Pot (2009)


Mr. Fiendish said...

Reefer Madness is hilarious. I see it anytime I'm depressed.

I Like Horror Movies said...

Jesus Christ, so this is what you have been up to you sly mother fucker, awesome and insightful post, though admittedly I am going to have to come back to several of the reviews when I have more time.

Favorite lines:

"Heeey man, am I driving ok?"
"I think you're parked, man."

"Ahhhh, Mr. LIZARD!! You wannna hammmburga?!"

I detest pot, I never get stoned and I just get lazy, but damned if I dont love a good stoner movie! Excellent work my friend.

Neil Fulwood said...


I've nominated you for the Kreativ Blogger award. Details here:


I Like Horror Movies said...

I actually just posted the same awards for you Franco, you got a double whammy!

Jen said...

Great post- Pineapple Express is one of my favorite flicks....and you are the second person to recommend "Grandma's
Boy," a film I have never heard of-renting it now!! Congrats on the awards!

Franco Macabro said...

@Mr. Fiendish: Yeah, saw it the other day, man, is it misleading! Makes you wonder what other bullshit the goverment is telling us now!

@Carl: Thanks Carl! And thanks for the double whammy nomination on the Kreative Blogger awards! I wasnt aware this existed!

@Neil: Holy schnikees! I gotta check that out! Thanks Neil! I want to thank the academy...

@Jen: Grandmas Boy is somewhat of an undiscovered gem as far as Stoner Flicks go. But also, its a movie made for gamers and geeks! The guys who made this movie are geniuses, the mixed video games with weed smoking, which is a very common mix!

Reina said...

Video games and weed smoking?sound like el corrillo/gonzalez get togethers hehehehhe! Havent seen many of these stoners movies, you got to help me with that! very cool reviews on the movie, very precise! As for your question, well i have seen many weed related movies become comercial and all that, so i wouldnt say that thay cant make it in Hollywood, but you have to remember that weed is something that many people find offensive, and of course hollywood is al about making tha cash, so if it isnt a good enough movie to attract the audiences, and also is a pot movie..well you get the idea!

Franco Macabro said...

Thanks for answering my question Reina, I know what you mean. If it isnt something they can sell easily, or to a specific wide range target audience, then they dont back it up.

Its like, are housewives going to see this? No. Are little kids going to see it? No. Are regular teenagers gonna see it? No. Only those dumb potheads gonna see it? Yeah. Okay then, send it straight to dvd, let them find their movie there!


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