So, you just finished smoking. Your apartment looks like a sauna. Now what? Stare at the ceiling and think of the infinite complexities of the universe? Pfftt… ya right Stephen Hawking. You put on a movie. But what movie? Everyone knows the Netflix algorithm can’t be trusted (I don’t know; I just feel like it has too many numbers, which gives me bad vibes). So, let’s go over ten great stoner movies so we can wrestle our free will away from the algorithm and make our own decisions like the movie gods intended!
How High. This is the type of movie that could only be made in 2001. Method Man and Redman smoke some strand of super smart-guy weed and ace the Harvard entrance exam. The problem is they’re only Jimmy Neutron when they smoke. When the bud runs out, they turn into a couple of Sheens. Will they make it through with just their wits and quick thinking to help them traverse the brutal academic world of Harvard?
Friday. Daaaamn, this is a good movie! You have Ice Cube in his first film role and arguably his best, which isn’t saying much (I love you, Cube, but it’s true). Chris Tucker at peak funniness and the late great John Witherspoon just trying to unwind during a Friday, but the neighborhood simply won’t let them.
Half Baked. So, there are these stoners, one of which happens to be Dave Chapelle. One of them gets arrested for killing a New York Police horse by feeding it junk food, which thus springs the others into action in an effort to raise bail for their imprisoned friend. Obviously, hilarity ensues. Hey, girl, you hungry?
The Big Lebowski. Do you like the twisting plots of a neo-noir? Do you like the idea of John Goodman spouting nonsense about Vietnam? Do you like movies where the uncertainty is palpable, and you never know quite who to trust, let alone where to go? Do you like Jeff Bridges as possibly the most passive protagonist in film history? One last question, and this one is by far the most important: do you like White Russians? If you answered yes to all these questions, then you’re a fan of the dude, and I abide!
Pineapple Express. Murder intrigue, Seth Rogen, James Franco, and a whole lot of marijuana star in this bonkers story about a guy and his dealer evading the law to clear their names after witnessing a brutal murder. No, really, that scene is super gnarly— the guy’s head explodes. No spoilers. Plus it’s literally like the third scene, and the movie came out 13 years ago, so spoiler privileges are officially void.
Dazed and Confused. This is officially where Richard Linklater found his footing. One of the best “hangout movies.” It’s a type of movie where you put it on, even if you’ve seen it ten plus times and just enjoy the vibes. You know what’s going to happen, but that’s not important. It’s just nice to revisit the setting and the characters. A coming-of-age story that takes place in 1976. You basically just hang out with different groups of people for an hour and forty-three minutes, and it’s glorious! (Ok, I’ll do it, dammit… Alright, Alright, Alright. Happy?).
Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas. Have you ever thought to yourself, “what if I was a reporter on assignment, but I took just about every drug imaginable while perusing the story”? Well, wonder no more because Hunter S. Thompson’s novel beat you to the punch. And in 1998 the mad man known as Terry Gilliam made it into a movie that includes the following: drunken shirtless Benicio del Toro, lizard people, hippie hitchhikers, Johnny Depp going full manic playing Thompson, and, ah yes, who could forget lemon meringue pie?
Cheech & Chong Up in Smoke. The OG stoner movie! You know there’s no plot. An amateur drummer, Anthony Stoner (Tommy Chong), escapes from the clutches of his strict parents in pursuit of hitting the road as a “real drummer.” He subsequently meets like-minded super smoker Pedro de Pacas (Cheech Marin), and a series of zany stoner vignettes take place. High-minded stuff? Well, I guess it depends on what you mean by that. Nevertheless, it’s hilarious, as well as utterly timeless!
Super Troopers. You know how I just said Cheech & Chong Up in Smoke was made up of a series of vignettes? Well, guess what— so is Super Troopers, and that’s what makes it work. Who needs a plot? Just roast a bone, plop down and watch as these Vermont State Troopers compete for prominence with the local police department.
Reefer Madness. This is the type of movie where I wish it had the secondary title of “huh?” The plot is that “reefer” turns you into a deplorable fiend and how it’s of grave importance that you and everyone around you run howling and screaming in the opposite direction if you so much as see a nug. One of the first exploitation films in film history, Reefer Madness has far outlasted its intended purpose and has gained a deserved and respected position in the modern age, as a funny meme!
What do all these movies have in common? They’re fun as hell to watch, and they beat doing the NY Times crossword (admit it… you’re way better at it when you’re high). I hope you enjoyed going through this smoke-filled tour through the hotboxed halls of cinema with me. So, I bid you farewell for now, but remember, light it, don’t fight it (as my friends in Harlem say), and most importantly screw that damn algorithm. Don’t let artificial intelligence tell you what to watch. Happy smoking!