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The New Stoner Canon 

Movies that melt your face

I'm not sure if this is a hot take, but most stoner movies are terrible. Maybe at the time they came out they're pretty funny or trippy, but they don't tend to age very well. I recently tried to re-watch some of the Cheech and Chong movies. In "Nice Dreams," Cheech legit sexually assaults someone and it's played for laughs. Ruined a nice little edible high.

The pure madness of 1977's Ralph Bakshi mind bender, "Wizards," can still blow minds. - COURTESY OF FOX
  • Courtesy of Fox
  • The pure madness of 1977's Ralph Bakshi mind bender, "Wizards," can still blow minds.

We need a new stoner canon: movies that aren't necessarily about drugs or being high, but movies that make the ride a little smoother. Movies that aren't stupid as hell when you're sober and won't be embarrassing when you try to watch them a few years later. We can do better than Cheech and Chong and "Half Baked" and "The Stoned Age." Here are a few ideas.

Wizards (1977)

Fairies vs. Nazis in a magical world in danger of being swallowed up by war. I was five when I saw this and it melted my brain forever. Luckily, it ages beautifully, since Nazis are ALWAYS going to be villains and heroes will always stand against them. Available to rent on Amazon.

Dead Man (1995)

An accountant murders a man in a hotel room and catches a bullet in the gut for his trouble. As he travels across North America while slowly bleeding to death, he befriends Nobody, a Native American who prepares him for crossing over. With Johnny Depp, John Hurt, Robert Mitchum, Steve Buscemi, Billy Bob Thornton, Iggy Pop and a haunting score by Neil Young, "Dead Man" is perfect for when your brain needs to travel somewhere new. Available to stream on HBOMax.

Holy Motors (2012)

A man in a limo filled with disguises is driven around Paris to live as many different lives as he can over a 24-hour period. In some he's a family man; in others he's a grotesque monster, and in even others he's an old pensioner. "Holy Motors" is about the fragile borders of reality and the roles we play to exist in a society. Plus, Kylie Minogue does a musical number that makes your face hurt from smiling so hard. Available to stream on Kanopy.

Space Jam (1996)

Hey, this is my list and I'm putting "Space Jam" in it because when you're high enough this is the greatest and most important documentary ever made. Available to stream on HBOMax.

Black Dynamite (2009)

Heroin-addicted orphans, a kung fu Abe Lincoln and the greatest black leather trench coat of all-time combine to make the most hilarious blaxploitation parody in history. You will laugh so loudly and madly that your friends and family will think you're insane. Available to stream on Crackle.

The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988)

Terry Gilliam makes movies that pry a piece of my imagination loose and flood it upon the world. Any of his movies would be perfect for the New Stoner Canon, but "Baron" wins simply for the line, "Your reality, sir, is lies and balderdash and I'm delighted to say I have no grasp of it whatsoever." Available to rent on Amazon.

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010)

Director Arpichatpong Weerasethakul takes dreams and manifests them into profound and strangely beautiful cinema. Every moment of this movie feels like a half-caught memory of a dream you just woke up from. You don't view it or experience it; it washes over you and lets your brain remake itself on the fly. Available to stream on the Criterion Channel

About The Author

Jared Rasic

Film critic and author of food, arts and culture stories for the Source Weekly since 2010.
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