4/20: the annual day of rest and doobies. It’s the one day you should be doing absolutely nothing if you can help it. Yet even as weed has become more culturally accepted, the stoner movie is still the ideal form of entertainment on a day like today. The ideal stoner movie presents the viewer with a ton of harebrained schemes and red-eyed puns with laughter on the fringes of dead sobriety.
Sure, you could watch just about anything when you’re high – nature documentaries and sports recaps will momentarily hold your attention but a stoner comedy keeps you laughing again and again. The being said, here’s our “best of” of the stoner subgenre’s greatest hits. Spark one up and let’s get rolling.
Friday is the quintessential stoner film that doesn’t try to peddle the subject right on the nose. Thanks to DJ Pooh and Ice Cube‘s fantastic writing, the movie unfolds at a casual pace, illustrated by the manner in which “Smokey” persuades Craig (Ice Cube) to smoke weed with the idiomatic phrasing of, “cause it’s Friday, you ain’t got no job, and you ain’t got shit to do.” The rest of the movie runs at an idyllic pace, making every revisitation of the movie feel like a reunion with a beloved neighborhood friend you haven’t seen in years.
Method Man and Redman are a comedic duo of the highest order, refined after many years of collaborating musically. How High marked their transition to the silver screen. Red and Meth play “Jamal and Silas,” underachieving stoners who gain admission at Harvard with the help of special chronic powered by the ashes of a dead genius friend – the two characters adjust to university life while simultaneously focusing their attention on the feminine wiles of Jamie (Nia Long) and Lauren (Lark Voorhies). While a sequel starring Lil Yachty and D.C. Young Fly is set to air on 4/20, one wishes they would have gone with the original cast and crew for a trip down Memory Lane.
Questlove once claimed that had Dave Chappelle been given carte blanche to do as he pleased with the Half Baked script, the film would be regarded as a bonafide classic comedy in the grand scheme of things.
As it stands, Half Baked is charming in its own right, in telling the story of a romp through NYC led by Chappelle and his crew as they look for ways to get their friend out of jail by selling off whatever medical reefer they can lay their hands on. Years later, Chappelle and Neal Brennan would strike comedy gold with Chappelle’s Show, years after laying the foundation of their partnership on Half Baked.
Dazed and Confused
Richard Linklater captured the essence of a “last day of school” in stunning form, crafting Dazed and Confused, a coming of age film spanning several different perspectives. The film boasts so many delightful elements, like music from Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin, the happenstance of aliens, burnouts, jocks, and the humor of a vintage Matthew McConaughey landing plenty of 4/20 jokes along the way. As the movie wears on it takes on the feeling of a dogged day of summer.
A process server and his weed dealer become the unlikeliest of friends after a murder scenario links them together, relating to a rare strain of weed they happen to hold in their possession. Before long, the two unlikely friends become subjected to ninjas, assassins, angry parents, on slippery slpe that includes cop chases gone wrong and gang shootouts.
With Rogen and Franco at the helm, the comedic punch of the movie doesn’t reveal itself in the ways you’d expect it. But Pineapple Express still delights when rewatched thanks to its dialogue – when was the last time you told someone you were glad you dipped in the company ink?
In Spurbury, Vermont, the state troopers who patrol the highways are wired a little differently. These troopers play pranks on the local stoners and fight the deputies that rank below them. Suddenly, budget cuts threaten to change the order of things and demand they clean up their act. Where Super Troopers succeeds is in stringing together a series of hilarious gags in a freewheeling manner that is equal parts charming as it is outrageous.
The Big Lebowski
“Well, that’s like your opinion, man,” is a lasting memory from the Coen Brothers to the rest of us. The Big Lebowski takes us through an insane day-in-the-life of a man named “The Dude” who barely stumbles to make things happen. He abides by bowling, going for drives and toking up (to the point of mistaken identity).
It’s a story that doesn’t aim to make any sense, giving off the illusion of a long acid flashback. In some ways, The Big Lebowski is the perfect movie to watch when high, because Jeff Bridges’s “The Dude” character embodies the epitome of what a free spirit should be: living the dream life yet forever hateful towards The Eagles.
Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure
Whoah! Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter play two high school kids who manage to travel through time for the sole purpose of acing a history presentation. It’s loveable, endearing and most importantly, watching Winter and Reeves interact with the likes of Socrates, Abraham Lincon, Joan of Arc and Genghis Khan with a dumbfounded expression on their faces is pure stoner comedy gold.
Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle
We can all relate to embarking on a trip to get food when the munchies hit, which is incidentally where Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle takes its idea to its utter zenith. For Harold and Kumar, only White Castle suffice in weathering their munchies, leading them on a series of grand misadventures – including a run-in with an escaped cheetah, an ecstasy-addled Neil Patrick Harris, a raccoon and plenty more.