The comedy folks over at Splitsider have composed a definitive guide of old and new stoner comedy favorites. We’ve done this already, but with specific scenes. In the interest of taking other lists into account, we’ll go through Splitsider’s choices and give you our favorites, plus we’ll add a few since we’re professionals at the marijuana ethos! Check it all out after the jump.
The vintage stoner comedy started with the affable duo Cheech and Chong. They’re such a massive part of the current marijuana lexicon and culture, we’ve even got a Cheech and Chong tag. They basically invented the format for marijuana movies as Splitsider already mentions. Here is their list for the Stoner Comedy Canon:
- Cheech and Chong Up in Smoke 1978 (and the rest of their franchise)
- Reefer Madness 1936
- Fast Times at Ridgemont High 1982
- Dazed and Confused 1993
- Friday 1995
- Big Lebowski 1998
- Half Baked 1998
We don’t have many problems with this. If anything, it’s not as flushed out as it could be, but we’ll get to their most recent stoner movie list in another post. Reefer Madness, if you’re unfamiliar, is a health movie filmed in the 1930’s designed to warn children about the dangers surrounding weed. It’s filmed with such hyperbolic bluster (claiming marijuana makes you a deranged rapist and murderer) it’s become a cult hit. We’re big fans obviously.
The next two are certainly known within the general public. The Richard Linklater directed Dazed and Confused features a pretty big cast (Matthew McConaughey, Ben Affleck, the guy from Waking Life-Wiley Wiggins, Jason London, Joey Lauren Adams, Adam Goldberg, Milla Jovich, etc.), but the one character that stole the movie with his THC inspired riffs on Martha and George Washington as well as the shadiness inherent in an American dollar bill, was Rory Cochrane’s turn as Slater. Also, who can forget his bong making prowess in shop?
Like Dazed and Confused, Fast Times at Ridgemont High was about high school (this time in the 80’s), and it again featured possibly the most famous stoner/surfer in American cinematic history: Jeff Spicoli. He’s the title character at the top of the IMDB profile, but he’s not really the protagonist of the movie. Doesn’t really matter because he’s become ubiquitous with stoner AND surfer. He’s also made my life a living hell because I used to live in Northern Cali and I have long blond hair and a cavalier attitude towards authority.
Ice Cube and Chris Tucker turn in a performance for Friday that turned both into movie-stars…of a sort. Tucker as the hyper-kinetic soprano voiced buddy to Cube’s menacing but jolly protagonist. Together they mimicked the hood and their own take on the stoner comedy. Deebo and a host of other characters added to the hi-jinks, but it was mainly Tucker the jester to Cube’s straight man that made the movie work. Smoking and chilling on a Friday was never the same.
The Big Lebowski loved his roach clips and his Caucasian drink de jour. Also, bowling! The movie itself was a Cohen brothers special , but it was more Jefferey Lebowski’s lifestyle that mirrored the apathetic manner some stoners adhere too; although, adhering to something is the antithesis of stoner lifestyle. He was a sounding board for the “chillax” movement that, frankly, should’ve caught on a little more. It’s also so quotable as to become cliche at this point.
It’s hard to separate Half Baked from it’s protagonist Dave Chappelle, since his show and exile to Africa was such a large part of the early aughts (hey-that’s when I was in college). The movie’s original incarnation was supposed to be a more gritty look at life as a pothead, with the verisimilitude studios hate. So, it was co-opted by said studio into the prototypical stoner comedy, and Chappelle went on to bigger and better things. It’s still good, but we can’t help wonder,what if he had been allowed to film what he had originally intended.
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