Sunday, March 21, 2010

Stoner Movies Galore!

I love movies. No secret there. But what most people don't know is how much I love "stoner" movies. Cheech and Chong made careers and lots of money out of depicting what societies idea of who pot smokers are. Anyone who knows more than 10 people probably knows a pot smoker and I'm pretty sure they are not anything like Cheech and Chong, although I wish they all were! The stereotype of the stoner is really funny and the stoners I know are funny. So, why shouldn't movies about them make us laugh? That's one well that Hollywood has been hot and cold about dipping into.

The 1960's gave us quite a bit, both good and bad. Free love...bad idea. Sending more troops into Vietnam.....bad idea. The civil rights movement.....good idea. Hippies.....not sure they were a great idea, but they paved the way for us to be able to laugh for the past few decades.

For some time the stoner film was pretty much aimed at a general audience. They were made to amuse people who didn't smoke pot as much as people who did. The over the top situations and unrealistic depictions of pot smokers was easy to laugh at. But, were Cheech and Chong really representative of people who use marijuana? Of course not. But that's what many people, who were not steeped in that culture thought. Cheech and Chong used that to their advantage and are now cultural icons, with such hilarious films as "Nice Dreams" and "Up In Smoke" to their credit.

As time wore on past the 1970's and early 1980's, the stoner movie kind of went into hiding, other than the Cameron Crowe's great "Fast Times At Ridgemont High". We were right in the middle of "Just Say No" and Hollywood was really concentrating on teen comedies, science fiction, and buddy cop films.

But, the 90's rolled around and marijuana was going more and more mainstream and not considered (by the general populous anyway) a hard drug. So, stoners in movies started making a comeback. Some of this was on the shoulders of the rap music genre, which has a strong like to cannabis use. The 90's unloaded a bevy of marijuana laced films that have become classics, such as ; Ice Cube's "Friday", Dazed and Confused, Half Baked, The Stoned Age, and the granddaddy of ALL stoner films, "The Big Lebowski", as created by the Coen Brothers. As the new millenium approached, marijuana was making a comeback in our pop culture.

The 2000's have unleashed some hilarious takes on marijuana use by both teens and adults. It's apparent by the shift of society that pot use is becoming more and more acceptable. It's safer than either cigarettes or alcohol, and is starting to be seen as a very real alternative to synthetic medicines. To be blunt; pot is now mainstream and surging towards medical legality.  Weed movies kicked off the 21st century with Todd Phillips "Road Trip", Kevin Smith's "Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back", "Super Troopers" from Broken Lizard (not a movie I recommend, but for some reason, most of my friends love this film)and "Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle". As we kept moving towards 2010, more and more films (and TV shows) about marijuana use were being produced. In the last few years, the most memorable films to be watched with a 420 slant are "Smiley Face" starring the brilliantly casted Anna Farris, and "Grandma's Boy" (which stars some of the supporting members of Adam Sandler films).Increasingly, stoner movies were still being marketed to general audiences, but more and more little "in jokes" are put in. Lots of short scenes meant to get a nod, wink, and a chuckle out of those who are high and watching the movie. You know, a little tip o' the cap to the people who inspire the on screen exploits!

There are two films made recently that really standout as great stoner movies. Both include influence from Judd Apatow and Seth Rogen. The two films....."Knocked Up" and "Pineapple Express". "Knocked Up" is simply a great film about a goofy, pothead who hooks up with a beautiful television host in a drunken roll in the hay. As to be faithful to the name of the film, the girl winds up pregnant and having to face the music. She is exposed to a whole new world, where grown men sit around watching movies, smoking herb, and doing as little work as possible. The film has a really sweet sensibility about it and is as entertaining a comedy as I have seen in quite a long time. The cream of the crop in my humble opinion is "Pineapple Express". The cast is top notch (Seth Rogen, James Franco, Gary Cole, and Danny McBride) and the film goes beyond comedy and into buddy action flick territory.

The fatty boom batty of all weed films has to be the Coen Brothers, "The Big Lebowski". Jeffrey Lebowski, aka The Dude, is an aging hippy who is just trying to get by in life by smoking, drinking white russians, and bowling. When he is mistaken for another, more prominent and rich, Jeffrey Lebowski, his entire laid back lifestyle gets turned upside down as he gets involved in kidnapping, nihilistic fueding and the politics of a local bowling league. All ways the laid back fella, The Dude suddenly finds himself becoming uptight, worried, and a shell of his former hippy self, with the help of Walter, his Vietnam vet bowling buddy. This is simply as good as it gets, in regards to quick dialogue, over the top antics, and surreal visuals. A must see movie, for ANY person who says they love film.

Stoner movies are lots of fun to watch because you know they are not going to take themselves too seriously. The characters in many of these films are put into unrealistic situations and really do stay true to their lack of sensibility and clarity, due to being high. The goofiness makes it fun! So, if you are in the mood for a good laugh at the expense of some burners, check out some of the films on my "Best Of" list!

Top 5 Stoner Films.....EVER!!!

5)Smiley Face


3)Up In Smoke

2)Knocked Up

1)Pineapple Express


The Big Lebowski

Honorable Mention: Nice Dreams, Dazed & Confused, Next Friday, Fast Times At Ridgemont High, Grandma's Boy


  1. True story - I met (and escaped, somehow) the Sergeant Stedenko of "Up In Smoke" fame, lol. He was a narc in North Vancouver, just about the time I moved there. He busted all sorts of my friends and was justifiably hated. Tommy Chong was living there then, which is obviously where the good old fashioned bitterness comes into play, lol. Tommy was in a band called "Two Chinks and a N---r" lol. They were great! Joe Mock was also in that band, who formed "Mock Duck", later. A great blues guy.

  2. O Fuck I'm from North Van aswell and Officer Purdy was quite the metaphorical version...