Stoner movie fans have not one but two entries in the genre to gaze at through the haze this year, kicking off with Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay this weekend and The Pineapple Express later this summer. It's the week of 4/20, numbers symbolic to any dedicated marijuana fan, so here we offer this wrap-up of defining entries in the shaggy, woozy, smoke-filled genre that almost always involves slack-jawed pot-smokers on a mission for...something.
Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle (2004)
Harold: Dude, we're so high right now!
Kumar: We're not low!
After smoking a ton of weed, buddies Harold and Kumar set out across New Jersey on the hunt for fast food. And what a trip it is, literally, as our heroes witness a robbery, get razzed by hillbillies, are attacked by raccoons, and get carjacked by a drug-crazed Neil Patrick Harris, from whom they escape by hopping on the back of a cheetah on the loose.
Half Baked (1998)
Thurgood Jenkins: I don't do drugs, though. Just weed.
Perhaps the quintessential pot movie stars comic genius Dave Chappelle as a part-time janitor, full-time stoner who sells government marijuana to bail out his roommate, in jail for killing a police horse with junk food.
Cheech and Chong's Up in Smoke (1978)
Anthony "Man" Stoner: Yeah, my dog ate my stash, man.
The thinnest of plots has "Man" Stoner (Chong) hooking up with Pedro de Pacos (Cheech) on the road to Mexico in a van made of pure marijuana being pursued by the van's owners and a psycho narc played by Stacy Keach. Cheech & Chong set the bar (or should I say bong?) with this granddaddy of all stoner flicks.
Grandma's Boy (2006)
Alex: My Grandma drank all my pot.
No joke is too raunchy or too dumb in this one that takes pot movies to new highs (or is that lows?). A 36-year-old videogame tester who moves in with his grandma and her two nutjob cronies after his roommate blows the rent on Filipino prostitutes in a drug-fueled exercise of ridiculousness involving pot, breasts, bongs, more pot, African bushmen, old women smoking pot, farting, and monkeys.
Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny (2006)
KG: Go ahead and sleep on the power couch. Your training begins tomorrow, at the crack of noon.
God only knows WHAT they Jack Black and Kyle Gass were smoking while making this masterpiece of pothead cinema, in which they star as the titular band on the search for Satan's tooth (that's right), which if used as a guitar pick, will help them write the greatest song in the world. With appearances by Ben Stiller, Amy Poehler, John C. Reilly and Tim Robbins as a legless German ("Man, I miss that sweet-a** leg").
Dude, Where's My Car? (2000)
Chester: How wasted were we last night?
Jesse: Well, I touched Christy Boner's hoo-hoo, we're on the hook for $200,000 to a transsexual stripper, and my car's gone. I'd say we were pretty wasted.
But that's not all for these two moronic slackers (Ashton Kutcher and Seann William Scott). They're on the run from aliens, and have to deliver a universe-destroying gadget as ransom for their kidnapped girlfriends to boot.
Reefer Madness (1936)
Bureau Official: Here is an example: A 15-year-old lad apprehended in the act of staging a holdup - 15 years old and a marijuana addict. Here is a most tragic case.
This cautionary tale isn't about slit-eyed mouthbreathers toking on the couch or running into bizarro situations while searching for snacks or alien gizmos, but rather the tragedies caused by inhaling the killer weed, like murder and mental hospital incarceration, as revealed in a tale told by one Dr. Carroll. Over-the-top hysterical, it's a stoner favorite for the ages.
Smokey: Puff puff, give. Puff puff, give.
Ice Cube wrote and stars in this comedy as Craig, a nice-guy loser who lives at home and hangs all day with bud Smokey (Chris Tucker), who seems to exist solely for the consumption of ganja. As with many stoner movies, this one takes place over one day as Smokey's in fact smoked what he was supposed to sell, landing them both in hot bongwater with the dealer who threatens to "cap" them if they can't come up with $200.
Knocked Up (2007)
Ben Stone: You know, the best thing for a hangover is weed.
A pot-smokers truism, indeed. The latest (and most successful?) entry in the genre isn't as much a stoner comedy as it is about a comedy about an appropriately named stoner who would rather smoke out with his dorky buddies and look at porn sites than get serious about life--until knocking up his one-night-stand changes everything.
Dazed and Confused (1993)
Randall Pink Floyd: Marijuana on one. Reefer on two.
Richard Linklater's seminal look back at high school in the pot-soaked '70s stars is more freewheeling nostalgia and less slapstick than most stoner movies, capturing the era's look and feel with laser clarity.
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