We didn’t want to get too darn obvious with the term ‘stoner flicks’, in part because some of the best movies you can watch while under the influence of THC and CBD don’t have a single reference to marijuana at all.
Sure, the Cheech and Chong movies from the nineteen-seventies were pioneering in the sense that they championed the goofy slackers who had plenty of weed-focused misadventures, but you need some pretty strong nostalgia goggles to watch them and say they were of great quality.
Instead, we’re looking at movies that weren’t designed to be watched after eating a cannabis gummy or cookie, but definitely become that much better when you do.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
This medieval adventure about King Arthur and his knights seeking out this famous relic make the British comedy treatment. The six guys that consisted of the comedy group play multiple roles in a loosely held narrative that is mostly an excuse to perform some very silly skits that takes place in tenth-century England.
They’d certainly done their research because the middle ages have never looked so grimy, which actually makes the strange lines and oddball characters all the more amusing. Sometimes there are arguments over how swallows can carry coconuts, sometimes it’s a bloody sword fight where the taunting gets very silly indeed, and sometimes the chaste knight has to resist spanking a castle full of nuns.
Sometimes it doesn’t seem to make much sense, and sometimes there is very confusing animation sequences, but if you’re in the middle of your trip, you’re just going to sit back and howl with laughter, because then it really is hilarity every thirty seconds (‘come see the violence inherent in the system! Help, help, I’m being repressed!).
The movie got even greater attention when a musical based on it (titled ‘Spamalot’) debuted on Broadway in 2005 and won oodles of Tony Awards (and getting tickets meant buying from scalpers, so you had to be a millionaire or a trans sugar baby to afford it).
Plenty of Christopher Nolan movies are big on spectacle and plot twists, but because this one has some of the best space visuals since ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ (which was an obvious influence), it is a must-see for any 4:20 fan. In the future the world’s crops are dying which is obviously a real bummer, dude, so NASA – now running as a very secretive organization – enlists a former-pilot-now-farmer played by Mathew McConaughey to fly a spaceship into a wormhole near Saturn to find a new home for humanity. Where does the wormhole go? Someplace very, very far away, and probes that have already gone in have a few promising leads, meaning planets with water and atmosphere.
Of course, because this is a Nolan film, there is going to be some family issues, and McConaughey’s daughter takes exception with him leaving her. Nolan films always have a few great shocking scenes, and there’s plenty here.
No film has done a better job at depicting Einstein’s theory of relativity in terms of time dilation, because at one point a few hours that have passed for the astronauts end up being decades on earth. While we still have no idea what happens when something goes into a black hole, you will definitely go ‘woah!’ when it happens in the film.
Trying to be as scientifically accurate as possible, Nolan consulted with plenty of astrophysicists when writing the screenplay, and even during the film’s promotion, there was an effort to push science and space literacy on the general public, with plenty of apps and websites looking back on actual space missions in the past (and is a great way to teach people who might otherwise just be checking their Twitter pages or visiting a squirt gay site).
So the two movies above are real crowd-pleasers and can guarantee some Group Fun on a Friday or Saturday night with a plate full of edibles. Meanwhile, this Japanese horror-drama-comedy (yes, all three) is just plain bizarre, but the sort of film that once you start watching you cannot look away. An ageing Japanese gangster is losing his touch on reality, and the boss wants him killed, but things immediately start to go wrong in a small town outside of Tokyo.
The gangster is killed accidentally, but the body goes missing, and soon after a beautiful woman claiming to be the gangster shows up. More and more mysteries start to pile up, and when a man with a cow’s head and a lactating old woman show up, you’ll wonder just how strong those edibles were.
The film was billed as ‘Yakuza Horror Theatre’ and is now a popular cult classic. The influence of David Lynch’s ‘Twin Peaks’ is unmistakable, but you’ll really enjoy it being reinterpreted through a Japanese lens.
Okay, we’ll add one traditional stoner film, and it’s the one everyone still talks about even twenty years after its release. Half-Baked stars and was co-written by comedian Dave Chappelle (Neal Brennan, who he would create ‘Chappelle’s Show’ with, is the other writer), and making it was, by all accounts, a disaster. The script was written too quickly, it was filmed on a shoe-string budget, the studio demanded it be re-edited, and after bad reviews and a low box office, even Chappelle and Brennan disavowed it.
Despite all this, Half-Baked has some absolutely hilarious moments, from a police horse overdosing on sugar to a quick look at different types of stoners to Scarface quitting in epic fashion. Even when the film doesn’t work too well, hey, at least you’re enjoying yourself because you’re doing the same thing they are on-screen.