Revenge of the Stoner Movies - The 2008 Comeback!
by Alex Billington
April 16, 2008
I still remember the first time I ever watched Half Baked. All I wanted to do was smoke a bowl and float around the city, but alas I was too naive at the time. Despite a lack of any marijuana, I still laughed my ass off and haven't forgotten it since. After Half Baked became a cult stoner hit back in 1998, in addition to Dazed and Confused from 1993, countless other stoner movies have attempted to become as big of a success and failed. Now, a mere 10 years later, it looks like stoner movies are going to make a come back with at least two strong contenders arriving in the next few months - Harold & Kumar: Escape from Guantanamo Bay and Pineapple Express. Light ’em up, boys!
You may be wondering - why in the hell did we choose the genre of stoner movies to mention out of anything this year. Well, it's because I have a good feeling that these aren't soon going to be forgotten, just like Half Baked. And if you think I'm alone in this prediction, guess again. The LA Times beat me to the punch and wrote up a piece about Stoner Films Make a Comeback at SXSW. It was SXSW where I first saw Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay (as well as Forgetting Sarah Marshall, a minor stoner comedy) and thought to myself that this could be the year stoner comedies make it back bigtime. With that, let's look at the small but potent line-up that we've got this year.
Super High Me - April 20th
(Watch the Trailer)
Comedian Doug Benson stole the concept from Morgan Spurlock's Super Size Me - compare the health effects of eating fast food for 30 days and not eating fast food for 30 days - except Benson experiment with weed, not fast food. Yep, Benson was high for 30 days straight. I saw this movie at SXSW and not only loved it but thought it was an incredibly well put together documentary supporting the legalization of marijuana. I hope this becomes an indie cult hit not only for stoners but for those who appreciate marijuana and support its legalization. Plus it's a documentary that'll have you laughing your ass off - definitely a great start for stoner movies this year!
Harold & Kumar: Escape from Guantanamo - April 25th
(Watch the Trailer)
Need I say much more? The first Harold & Kumar from 2004 was one of the only movies in recent years to spark a possible comeback (get it?). This time it's going to kick things into high gear. I wasn't expecting much, but damn was I blown away by this. Harold & Kumar 2 is a brilliant marijuana-infused creation that continues to strike comedic gold. While it may not be better than the first, the combination of these two movies together is definitely going to make an unforgettable impact on the stoner genre. What's better than getting stoned and watching two ethnic guys run around the country? Nothing!
While I don't necessarily think Harold & Kumar: Escape from Guantanamo is going to be successful enough to really bring stoner movies back, I think it's funny enough to lead up to the ultimate stoner movie later in the year - Pineapple Express. This is definitely a good stoner comedy worth seeing and is a great kick off to the summer.
The Wackness - July 3rd
The only other prominent stoner movie on the list, The Wackness is the little indie stoner movie that could! This brilliant independent film debuted at the Sundance Film Festival to rave reviews (including from us) and has since become one of my favorite movies of the year - stoned or not! The film not only focuses on a pot dealer in New York City in the 1990s, but I'm certain it could be enjoyed high as well. Josh Peck, who stars as the pot dealing Luke Shapiro, delivers one of the most unforgettable stoner performances since Dave Chappelle. Plus you've got Ben Kingsley with long hair smoking more weed than you can dream of, the stunningly gorgeous Olivia Thirlby blazing as well, and a guest appearance from Method Man.
The Wackness is the one indie movie that I'm hoping will hit as big as Juno. It definitely has the goods, it just needs the support. And when stoners and non-stoners alike start to see how brilliant this movie is, I'm sure they'll embrace it as much as all of us. Another film that in combination with the explosion of Pineapple Express in August could easily help bring the stoner movie genre back in style.
Pineapple Express - August 8th
(Watch the Trailer)
This year's ultimate stoner flick. Pineapple Express, last on the list, but definitely not least, is going to be the one movie that I have a feeling will bring about the complete revival of the stoner movie. Have you seen the frickin' trailer yet? It's about two potheads who get high on a variety of weed called "pineapple express" and witness a mob murder. They then spend the last half of the movie being chased around in epic action movie style. It's the latest big summer comedy from the Judd Apatow team. Think Superbad and Knocked Up, but about two insane stoners.
From what I've seen, from what I've heard (from people who've seen it), and from my knowledge of all things Judd Apatow, I'm fully under the belief that Pineapple Express is going to show us how insanely awesome stone movies can be (again). The best part is that, while it of course it's a comedy, it's also apparently half action. I can't wait to see it myself and I can't wait to see the stoner movie come back in style. Make sure you've got your bong packed on August 8th!
Now don't forget there is a difference between stoner movies, that involve actual stoners, and movies that would be great to watch stoned. The latter is a list about 20 movies long (well hell, most movies would be great stoned, I think?). This year alone I could throw Pathology, Speed Racer, Kung Fu Panda, Tropic Thunder, and Zack and Miri Make a Porno on there. That's a whole different experience!
We hope you have a blazingly fantastic 4/20, but make sure you save some weed (or money) until later in the year, because you won't want to be watching these without plenty of good green. I can already confirm that the one thing these movies will have you wanting to do more than anything is break out that bong and smoke it up right there in the damn movie theater. Screw the rules, do it anyway!
Reader Feedback - 14 Comments
Don't "stoner" movies bomb in theaters and make it on video?
Andrew Wickliffe on Apr 16, 2008
Harold and Kumar did not bomb at the box office in my mind. I think that there is a stronger acceptance of marijuana usage among society. Marijuana is considered by society to not be the same as cocaine, methamphetamine's or other hard drugs despite the US Govt. listing it at that level. Another factor is that there is some great star power behind some of these movies now. Ben Kingsley is a very strong actor. I never thought of James Franco doing that role in Pineapple Express (I know he was meant to play Rogens character originally) but it makes perfect sense and also brings a lot to the movie because he is a great person to pair with Seth Rogen.
Napier's News on Apr 16, 2008
what about Totally Baked? ive heard very little about it but its another mockumentary i hate them for giving us the trailers for pineapple express and we still have to wait another 4 months for it, i feel it might out do dazed and confused as my all time favorite stoner movie
harrison on Apr 16, 2008
stoner movie featuring funny man Rogen and made by Apatow for Rogenites who like to Judd it up this movie could easily breath life into a generaly bland genre
jarhead on Apr 16, 2008
READ THE ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY ARTICLE! They just did an article on the same exact thing this week (the Tina Fey cover). It pretty much says why there aren't more. They flop at the box office and become a monster hit on DVD according to the article, Harold and Kumar making more than 60M on dvd, comapered to its under 20M box office. The article mentioned mainly thay studios need to figure out how to get stoners out of their house and to the theaters.
Ryan on Apr 16, 2008
that's easy ryan! the theaters have to sell weed instead of popcorn. The stoners stay at home because they can get wasted on marijuana, smoking it from a classic bong, from a fatty, from a blunt, from a joint, from an apple, from a watermellon, from a plastic bottle of cocacola, from a wooden/plastic/aluminum foil pipe, from the mouth of a chick, from the ass of a t-rex plastic toy, from a bong made out of your hands, from a gravity bong, from a lightbulb vape, etc... and all in just one movie and one bigass sofa! In the theaters you can only get high out of mike & ikes...
bltzie on Apr 16, 2008
i cant wait for Pineapple Express should be hilarious and Harold and Kumar should be a good laugh...
Curtis on Apr 16, 2008
they could give out drink bottles shaped like bongs that are usable for smoking and offer free refills of water for them and maybe with the mike n ikes a buy one get one free munchies deal, they could even do a promotion with the munchies chips, they might even be able to hand out coupons for weed and try to force drug dealers to accept them by giving them promotional shit, theres so much that could be done need to legalize it and stop wasting taxpayers money first though i guess
harrison on Apr 16, 2008
Alex- what a fun article, your so awesome for keeping us in the know, thanks! Stoners Unite !!! Hope you have a Faery Highly Lovely Happy 420 day!
Nasyacv420 on Apr 17, 2008
While currently on the festival circuit, Super High Me will be allowing audiences to sign up for their own screenings of the film on the official website in an attempt to initiate a series of grassroots screening events across the country starting on April 20th. After more than 1,000 screenings on 4/20, the Roll Your Own Screening program has been extended through 5/20. If you missed out on 4/20, you don’t need to wait until next year. Sign up today to Roll Your Own.
Valerie on May 8, 2008
lmao most of you people don’t have clue about what a stoner movie is! I have been trawling through your list for any incline of stoner movies out there, or opinions (so i dont download crap torrents)… I have watched most of them, and therefore decided to compile my own list, of what should be in a stoner film, and be the best stoner films of all time. 1. Cheech and Chong series (next movie is best) and c=c are the best. thats what weed is all about, even though there is plenty of mention of other drugs in thier films. 2. Reefer madness/history of marijuana propaganda. 3/ Don’t be a menace/how high/marlon brothers’ films (black comedy) 4/ Brat pack films 5/ 80’s college films. Just because there hasn’t been that many really good stoner films recently, a good comedy that makes you piss your pants is not a stoner movie. This is sub sub culture. Stoner films are about getting stoned. This is comedy. You don’t have to be stoned to have a laugh, just like you don’t need drugs or alcohol to have good sex. I would say that a stoner movie for a start has to be about hash or weed, and involve copious amounts of it all the way through. like i would say that lock stock is a gangster film. Eastend gangster not mafia gangster. Even though the plot involves some students growing shitloads of cannabis. Judging by the misconceptions of reefer madness, and coloctivly the whole propaganda at the time surrounding it, in 1930’s america (funnily at the time of the depression) made it extremely funny because of the seriousness and that’s what makes good comedy. When you smoke really good laughing tackle and you sit down with your mates, rolling it, bonging it etc…a good “stonerovie should make you get the giggles so much that you can’t breath, and fall of your couch. I also think that times in america and england also make a big difference. Like over there you get your jocks (like your bullies) miss populars (bitches) geeks (you all know who you are) etc. Alot of roadtrip movies add that element of 420 culture. and don’t get me started on the backpack. Films that are comedy and have you rolling around on the floor laughing your tits off, are often credited as stoner films because it is socialy acceptable that most teens smoke weed/pot. I thought skin deep was funny as f*** no mention of weed in there. Batchelor party another. Adam Sandler films and ones he has produced also, get mistaken for stoner films/movies. He tends to portray himself as the underdog, who makes up with his dad, and gets the girl… Don’t fall into the trap of subcatorgorising stoner films at the mere mention of weed. Cheech and Chong are the one and only true stoner films ever. They started it. And they will finish the 420 culture. Canabis is a class b drug/narcotic in england, even though amsterdam is only a quick ferry ride away lots of people grow thier own. Teen movies are also classed as stoner films just because a main character smokes weed. And there are not many english films involving a group af friends smoking weed, getting high, getting laid, going on mad missions (roadtrips) geting done by the cops, causing a riot, being chased, new boy at school, getting stoned in class, getting stoned at work, geting stoned 24/7, being disowned by parents, slacking/being a bum etc etc etc even though we do it everday. roflmfao. Watch out for the metaphores and cliche’s. If it makes you laugh your tits off, you get really high, and you are with your good homies, who cares if it’s a stoner film, as long as you have a good time!!! So if anybody wants to reply, please do… Have a nice J.! Richie V (England) As you can tell, i’m really stoned while writing this. P.S since whan has Pink Floyd ever been about getting stoned? Thier music is all about Sid Barrett. His life and mental health issues, and not wanting to be in the band. Even though there are some psychedelic tuned and visuals in thier music videos, and are good to watch while stoned, its all about acid. Just like the beatles… Acid. Sid Barrett never wanted to come down, just like Major Tom and Ziggy Stardust (bowie)
richie vallance on Jul 12, 2008
H&C 2 sucked ass, the first one was funny as hell though, and pineapple express, also sucked serious balls.
dave on Dec 3, 2008
dave ur stupid they r both funny pineapple express was a fuckin good ass movie
myles on Jan 12, 2009
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