Cinematic Splendor: The Greatest Cannabis Films of All Time
Cinematic Splendor: The Greatest Cannabis Films of All Time
Movies have the power to transport us to new worlds, make us laugh, cry, and question our own beliefs. They can also provide a unique lens through which we can explore various facets of society, including the complex relationship between people and cannabis. Iconic films that delve into this subject matter captivate audiences with their humour, adventure, and introspection, resonating with both cannabis enthusiasts and general moviegoers alike.
This distinct genre emerged as a celebration of cannabis culture, blending humour, adventure, and thought-provoking themes to create memorable and entertaining cinematic experiences. As societal attitudes towards cannabis evolve, these films continue to break stereotypes and push boundaries, offering a fascinating glimpse into the ever-changing relationship between society and cannabis.
Whether you’re a fan of classic stoner flicks or more contemporary offerings, here are some iconic movies that every cannabis enthusiast should watch. So smoke a joint, pop the popcorn, and enjoy the show.
In the Beginning: The Foundational Films of Cannabis Cinema
Reefer Madness (1936) - A cautionary tale about the dangers of cannabis use, this cult classic was originally created as a moralistic propaganda film. You'll laugh, you'll cry, and you'll experience a wide range of emotions as you follow the story of the misguided teens who fall prey to "Reefer Madness". An entertaining piece of cinematic history, the film is a must-see for any fan of cannabis culture and classic cinema.
Easy Rider (1969) - A groundbreaking film that defined the counterculture of the late 1960s, Easy Rider follows two bikers (Jack Nicholson and Peter Fonda) as they travel across America. Its themes of freedom and rebellion, as well as its iconic soundtrack, resonated with moviegoers and made it an instant hit. It’s also remembered for its positive portrayal of cannabis use, showing the herb as a symbol of freedom and exploration.
Cheech & Chong's Up in Smoke (1978) - The ultimate stoner comedy duo starring Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong, this classic flick follows two stoners on their wild adventures as they attempt to score some weed. Watch as they navigate their way through a series of outrageous misadventures, including an infamous border crossing in a van made entirely of cannabis. With its classic one-liners and unforgettable soundtrack, Up in Smoke is still considered a timeless comedy classic.
Nineties nostalgia: A look back at iconic cannabis movies
Dazed and Confused (1993) - This nostalgic look at high school life in the '70s stars Matthew McConaughey and Milla Jovovich. Follow the story of Randall "Pink" Floyd, a senior who struggles to find his place in the world amidst cannabis use, partying, and teen angst. It’s a funny and heartfelt movie that captures teenage life in all its awkward glory. With its unforgettable soundtrack and iconic one-liners, it’s no wonder why this classic is still beloved by many.
Friday (1995) - Starring Ice Cube and Chris Tucker, Friday is a hilarious stoner movie that follows two friends as they attempt to survive one chaotic day in South Central Los Angeles. As they navigate their way through a series of mishaps and misadventures, they stumble upon an incriminating bag of weed. Its memorable characters, sharp dialogue, and uproarius scenes make this a must-see movie for any cannabis enthusiast.
Half Baked (1998) - A hilarious adventure comedy starring Dave Chappelle, Half Baked follows three slackers who get caught up in the world of cannabis dealing. Follow their wild escapades as they try to bail their friend out of jail and keep him from serving time for a petty crime. Cameo appearances from Snoop Dogg, Willie Nelson, John Stewart and Tommy Chong add to the fun, making this a classic stoner flick that's sure to have you laughing the whole way through.
The Big Lebowski (1998) - This cannabis-infused crime caper from the Coen brothers stars Jeff Bridges as The Dude, a slacker and avid bowler who finds himself entangled in an intriguing mystery. Follow The Dude as he gets dragged into a wild and crazy mystery involving bowling, kidnapping, and mistaken identity. With its offbeat characters and endlessly quotable dialogue, The Big Lebowski is the perfect movie for any cannabis enthusiast looking for an evening of laughs.
A new frontier for cannabis films: The 2000s' most influential movies
How High (2001) - Silas and Jamal, two stoners from the inner city, score perfect scores on their college entrance exams after smoking some magical cannabis that gives them increased intelligence. Follow their adventures as they make their way through Harvard University, encountering hilarious hijinks along the way. Featuring Method Man and Redman in the leading roles, How High is an irreverent and hilarious take on college life and cannabis culture.
Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (2004) - A comedy classic follows two friends (John Cho and Kal Penn) on their wild adventure to satisfy their craving for White Castle burgers. Along the way, they encounter a number of obstacles, including Neil Patrick Harris as an over-the-top drug-addicted version of himself, an escaped cheetah, and a relentless pursuit by a racist police officer. An outrageous comedy, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle continues to be a fan-favourite among cannabis enthusiasts.
Grandma's Boy (2006) - This classic stoner comedy follows an aging video game tester (Allen Covert) who moves in with his grandmother and her two roommates. As he navigates the world of adult responsibility, he also finds himself embroiled in a number of offbeat misadventures involving cannabis use and gaming. Featuring an all-star cast that includes Jonah Hill, Rob Schneider, and David Spade, Grandma's Boy is a hilarious romp through the world of cannabis culture and gaming.
Pineapple Express (2008) - Seth Rogan and James Franco star in this sidesplitting stoner comedy about two friends who find themselves in the middle of a highly dangerous situation. Rogan plays Dale, a process server who finds himself on the run after witnessing a murder. With his pot dealer (Franco) in tow, the two must navigate their way through a series of misadventures to make it out alive. With its mix of action, comedy, and cannabis use, Pineapple Express is an instant classic that's sure to entertain any fan of the genre.
Modern cannabis cinema: The latest films to blaze the trail
Ted (2012) - Mark Wahlberg and Seth MacFarlane star in this comedy about a foul-mouthed teddy bear who loves to consume cannabis. When Ted’s partying and pot smoking begin to get out of hand, the two must come to terms with growing up and moving on. You'll laugh and cry as Ted and his best friend John (Wahlberg) have to make some tough decisions about their future. With its mix of humour and heartfelt moments, Ted is the perfect movie for a night in with your friends.
This Is The End (2013) - What would you do if the world was going to end? That’s the question posed by this far-fetched comedy starring James Franco, Seth Rogan, Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel and more. When a global apocalypse threatens to destroy the world, a group of celebrity friends find themselves stuck in James Franco's house. What follows is complete chaos, with plenty of cannabis use and zany hijinks. It's a laugh-out-loud comedy that is sure to be enjoyed by any cannabis enthusiast.
The Beach Bum (2019) - This laid-back, cannabis-fueled comedy stars Matthew McConaughey as the rebellious and eccentric Moondog. Trying to make sense of life after a family tragedy, Moondog embarks on a wild journey through South Florida's beach culture. He meets a colourful cast of characters along the way, including Snoop Dogg as Moondog's iconic sidekick Linger. With its offbeat humour and hazy vibes, The Beach Bum is the perfect movie to watch if you're looking for an evening of laughs and laid-back fun.
Honorable Mentions: Other Stoner Films Worth Watching
Dude, Where’s My Car? (2000) - Ashton Kutcher and Seann William Scott star in this classic comedy about two guys on a quest to find their missing car.
Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back (2001) - Two hapless stoners (Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith) embark on a mission to Hollywood in order to wreck a movie from being made about them.
Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay (2008) - The sequel to Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle finds the pair being mistaken for terrorists and sent to Guantanamo Bay.
We're the Millers (2013) - A pot-dealer (Jason Sudeikis) assembles a fake family (Jennifer Aniston, Emma Roberts, Will Poulter) to help him smuggle cannabis across the Mexico-US border.
The Night Before (2015) - Follow three friends (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogan, Anthony Mackie) as they embark on one last epic adventure on Christmas Eve.
Pass the popcorn: The enduring legacy of cannabis cinema
Cannabis films have carved a unique niche in the world of cinema, offering a captivating blend of humour, adventure, and thought-provoking themes that resonate with cannabis enthusiasts and general audiences alike. These iconic films not only provide entertainment but also serve as valuable cultural artifacts that document shifting attitudes toward cannabis and its place in society.
As we continue to witness the evolution of cannabis culture, it's clear that the influence of these films will endure, inspiring new generations of filmmakers and moviegoers to explore the multifaceted relationship between cannabis and storytelling. So grab some snacks, put on some comfortable clothes, and get ready to enjoy the best of stoner cinema. Happy viewing!