Since the golden days of Hollywood, directors have shot weed for the big screen. We hold many of these films near and dear, but there are so many, that it can be hard to keep up. That’s why we selected three lesser-known stoners in cinema who deserve our attention, too.
The phrase “stoner movie” often evokes images of psychedelic skies, anthropomorphic bags of weed, or — rightly so — Cheech & Chong, but there are other movies with, for, and about the average cannabis consumer that don’t revolve around smoking the largest burrito blunt imaginable. Now, don’t get me wrong. I could watch Dave Chapelle for days, but restricting the stoner flick to raunchy, dark comedies limits the scope of the genre, and hides otherwise worthy films from sharing the spotlight in stoner circles. Let us take a moment to recognize the lesser-known stoners of cinema who simply do not get the credit they deserve.
The Villain – Face/Off (1997)
The absolute mind trip that is John Woo’s Face/Off has cemented itself as one of the iconic action flicks of the 90s. The film is almost a psychedelic experience, body-swapping two of the decade’s most eccentric film stars à la Freaky Friday. It is essentially two hours of Nicholas Cage and John Travolta doing impressions of each other, and what more could you ask for, really?
Who is the stoner in Face/Off?
At the start of the film, we see Nicolas Cage’s evil mastermind character, Castor Troy, approach his crew at a private jet. There, he is offered his “go box” of essential items: Chiclets, assorted drugs, and a healthy number of joints. Godzilla vs Kong director, Adam Wingard, is set to direct a new Face/Off movie with an updated remake. Maybe we’ll finally see Castor Troy take a hit from a dab rig to set off the film. One can only hope for one more stoner in cinema.
The Newly-Anointed – Easy Rider (1969)
Dennis Hopper’s countercultural sensation Easy Rider examined an America wrought with tension as free-spirited vagabonds crawl across the underbelly of the country. The two remaining members of a biker gang (Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper) travel the countryside to settle down with their newly acquired fortune. The film lacks some of the transgressive lustre I can only assume it brought to cinemas upon release, but for a movie over fifty years old, it is still an imperative American text. I took many of the rebellious themes in Easy Rider for granted because I— like many of our readers — grew up in a media environment influenced by the film. Rejection of the establishment and nihilism permeate the entire picture while we watch two, lonely drifters grapple with their purposelessness.
Who is the stoner in Easy Rider?
Jack Nicholson plays a civilized scumbag, on his way to see “the finest [brothel] in the South” and is offered a ride with the biker duo. During one of their campouts, Peter Fonda’s character offers Nicholson — who has never smoked up — a joint. The following sesh is not only intimate but emblematic of the relationships found by outcasts seeking each other. You’ll know the feeling if you have ever entered a sesh with a stranger and come out with a new friend.
The Token King – Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (2006)
The Mystery Inc. squad returns for another monster mash in a very early James Gunn script. Monsters Unleashed is a solid monster movie. Not only is it self-aware, but it is also respectably goofy, and satirizes the original cartoon with bold colours and 70s fashion. Yeah, this is a children’s movie, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth seeing, or that there isn’t any cannabis representation. The film is littered with so many stoner jokes — or potshots — you would think it was Seth Rogen joint (no pun intended).
Who is the stoner in Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed?
The film kicks off with the Mystery Inc. crew walking down the red carpet, flanked by crowds of raving fans. Shaggy (Matthew Lillard) stops, and — like a cartoon character being lured to a windowsill pie — sniffs his way down the crowd to find his friends: a pack of disheveled hippies that presumably reek of pot, and are very excited to see him. Later on in the film, we see Shaggy and Scoob hotboxing the van while satisfying their munchies.