The Great Stoner Movies
By Nate Hensley
Ah, marijuana, Hollywood’s favorite illegal drug. Seeing as how this week both major new releases have a strong drug message to them (Take Me Home Tonight is anti-cocaine, Limitless is pro-untested experimental pills) I thought it would be a good time to look at the best pot movies.
Why are movies so high on this drug? Well, because in a pot movie you don’t have to show an overdose, or someone vomiting from withdrawal. The worst you get is someone forgetting their drive-through order or knocking over the bong. Regardless of any real-world research about the effects of marijuana, in the movies it’s a substance with no real drawbacks. That makes it fun, and funny. And so, in no particular order, here are what I consider to be the Great Stoner Movies.
10) Fast Times at Ridgemont High – There really isn’t a lot of stoner humor in this, but Sean Penn’s work cemented Spiccoli as one of the iconic movie potheads.
9) Super Troopers – There’s always stoner humor in every Broken Lizard movie, and its’ always funny. But this one is the best; the scene of the stoners being hassled by the highway patrol is one of the great scenes in stoner movie history.
8) How High – Unabashedly goofy, unrepentantly stupid, this is a movie that refutes any criticisms just by being funny. Redman and Method Man have a great musical chemistry that manages to translate to the screen.
7) Half Baked – Although the script itself is half-baked, this movie is loaded with enough funny people to keep it toking. Also features the Best Way Ever to Quit a Job.
6) Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle – Pot humor, toilet humor, racial humor, vulgar jokes… you name the type of low brow comedy, and Harold and Kumar deliver. Endlessly funny and re-watchable (unlike its sequel).
5) Grandma’s Boy – There are a lot of reasons to watch this ridiculously funny movie, but primary among those is to see Linda Cardellini sing “Push It.” Real talk.
4) Big Lebowski – Part stoner movie, part Film Noir, this Coen Brothers is funny even for people that don’t really get the joke. But once you do get it, the movie goes from great and amazing.
3) Friday – A great stoner movie, but also a flat-out great movie. Funny, sympathetic, and real, anchored by the great chemistry between Ice Cube and Chris Tucker, this movie is beloved by all… except racists.
2) Dazed & Confused – This movie evokes big laughs and some decent drama by perfectly capturing a specific time and place, and evoking the magic of that era. Deceptively simple and well acted, and a definite must-see.
1) Up in Smoke – This is it, the Holy Grail of stoner movies. Every other movie on this list (Except Fast Times) was made by people who grew up loving Cheech and Chong. The boys made several movies, but this one is easily their best.
For the record, I didn’t get stoned and forget about Pineapple Express. I just don’t think it’s all that great.