Compiling a top five stoner flix list is far more stressful than the title would lead you to believe. This is supposed to be about a plant that not only provides medicine and a way to relax, but also enhances our interaction with the arts, like film.
So, if it’s supposed to chill me out, why am I stressed?
Well, it’s because there are so many great stoner classics out there that I can’t include in my top five.
But, know this, I probably love each and every movie you will be screaming emphatically at me. Trust me, I feel you. These are just the films that struck me as favourites at this particular time.
So, if you haven’t seen them yet, do yourself a favour and find some nice gange, a couch to lay on and throw one of these on.
#5 Smiley Face
Director Gregg Araki is known for making films that push boundaries and usually land him in the same conversations as Larry Clark and Harmony Korine, the minds behind the film Kids.
Araki helped create the “New Queer Cinema” movement and made the Teen Apocalypse Trilogy, Totally Fucked Up, The Doom Generation, and Nowhere, which helped push the careers of Rose McGowan, Margaret Cho, Parker Posey, Guillermo Díaz, Ryan Phillippe, Heather Graham, and Mena Suvari among others. So, when his stoner comedy Smiley Face was released in 2007, it was a definite departure.
The film stars the hilarious Anna Faris as Jane, a stoner actress who makes the mistake of eating an entire plate of marijuana cupcakes. The problem is that they belonged to her darkly angry roommate Steve (That 70s Show‘s Danny Masterson) and she must replace everything involved so that she doesn’t face dire consequences when he gets home. She then sets forth in making a list of errands, simple for a sober individual, but Jane is an entire cooking pan to the wind and things go haphazardly. The film is absolutely hilarious and Araki plays with a screwball type of humour in a stoner film that was so good it earned Faris a High Times Magazine Stoney Award.
#4 The Cabin in the Woods
Over the last decade and a half, Joss Whedon has become one of the most important people within the pop culture of film. Anything with his name on it is a pretty good seal of approval.
So, when we finally got the highly anticipated horror film The Cabin in the Woods, written and produced by Whedon, it became a massive hit within the “Whedonverse.” With a gap in production and release of three years, audiences were chomping at the bit to see this constantly teased and speculated upon horror film that pushed genre boundaries.
It’s the directorial debut of Drew Goddard, who is also Marvel’s Daredevil Netflix series creator. The Cabin in the Woods centres around five friends heading up to party at a deserted cabin in the forest, but, instead of the usual slasher fare, this story takes a different route.
One of the characters is a stoned hipster named Marty, played by Fran Kranz. What makes Marty so great is he’s basically representative of the audience and questions everything that’s happening. Marty also has a longevity in this movie that these type of characters almost never experience within horror.
#3 The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou
Maybe a little on the higher brow of cinema, no pun intended. Wes Anderson films are always a fun and visually dazzling works of art for a stoner cinephile like me. What makes Life Aquatic even better for the movie viewing audience is our stoner conduit is played by a fan favorite actor, the incomparable Bill Murray.
The film is about legendary oceanographer Steve Zissou, a sort of take on the iconic real life man of the water, Jacques Cousteau.
This time around, our stoner character is the anti-hero himself, Steve Zissou, a leader brimming with apathy for everything and everyone, as well as an ironic disdain for the sea creatures he documents. His only constant love is the quiet solitude of puffing a joint, something I’m sure a good majority of people can relate to. Couple that with some David Bowie songs sung in Portuguese by Pele (Seu Jorge) and you can sign me up for a sea excursion with his bunch.
#2 Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
Those who know me won’t be surprised by this pick, but readers who are new to my work should know now that Kevin Smith is a meaningful person in my life. He has always been a favorite filmmaker of mine, going back to Clerks, and he’s the reason I’m even on here in the first place. The man was a big influence on me in becoming a podcaster.
A major piece in the cannabis film world has to be the characters of Jay and Silent Bob. Smith’s original breadwinners who are the comic book poster boys of stoner characters that even have a superhero side, Bluntman and Chronic. This is the basis of Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, their own fully solo film following the duo as they attempt to shut down the movie based on their successful comics series; which was depicted in Kevin’s third film, Chasing Amy.
Why are Jay and his hetero-life-mate so iconic? Well, they’re on the Jersey local of weed proprietors, they exhibit definite resolve for protection of their favourite pastime at every turn, and even when they turn up freshly rehabbed in Clerks II, they STILL show loyalty to the cause by selling dime bags outside the Mooby’s restaurant. You have to respect that kind of dedication.
#1 Dazed and Confused
In my mind it would be complete blasphemy if I didn’t celebrate this Richard Linklater classic as my top stoner flick ever.
This film dropped onto my lap a couple years before I hit my first doobie. The viewing experience improved when I watched it after I awoke my body and mind to the wonders of cannabis. As an almost connective tissue through everything within Dazed and Confused, this film is a love letter to cannabis, swaddled in a timeless story punctuated with the best music of the seventies.
The movie depicts various groups of kids on the last day of high school in 1976. The seniors take on the ritual of hunting down the new freshmen for hazings, paddling the boys and outright humiliating the girls. Once these acts are carried out, the plan is for a big blow-out keg party in the woods, where cliques are dissolved and the realization of the end of an era really begins.
The overlying story is one that really latches onto the “confused” part of the title. What do these students do now that they are done with the regular schedule of school and where do they go from here?
For your stoner viewer the existential side of this movie also has it’s “Dazed” side, mostly reliant on the Rory Cochrane “Slater” character, a teen full of cloudy sage advice and philosophical induced conspiracy theories, most famously his “George Washington blazed a lot of weed” angle.
This film has to be one of three choices that come to mind when you hear “stoner films” and it’s one that holds up no matter how much dust of time is on it.
Some of you readers might be a little disappointed that I failed to include icons like Cheech and Chong, Lebowski or something as recent as Harold and Kumar. Please do not get anything twisted, I love those films immensely and you can even see a clip of the Big Lebowski in our Flix Anonymous intro.
In my defense, when we decided to kick off #CouchLock with a glimpse into our stoner movie brains, I wanted to give a solid representation of who I am; a movie lover who likes to have a little fun with some things on the fringe.
Next week the other half of #CouchLock and Flix Anonymous, Trevor Dueck gives his top five.
Now it’s your turn, what are your favorite films you enjoy pairing cannabis with? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter and Facebook.
Make sure to check Trevor Dueck and Steve Stebbing out every Friday on Cannabis in Canada for Flix Anonymous. They review all the new film releases, give you their weekly stoner flicks and more.