Cannabis Manual: Stoner Cinema

Joshua Lee
3 min read
stoner movies
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Who’s kidding who here? Name a single movie you have enjoyed without the influence of cannabis—and I’ll call you a liar. Stoners have been enjoying cinema tailored specifically to their needs and interests for decades. There’s no time like summer to enjoy a marijuana movie marathon, so lock yourself in, get some popcorn jumping, load a fat bowl and check out our favorite reefer flicks.


Half Baked (1998)

The undisputed king of stoner comedies,
Half Baked features a young Dave Chappelle starring alongside Jim Breuer and Harland Williams. Relying on visual puns and digressive commentary on weed culture to gloss over an oversimplified-to-the-point-of-tears plot, this deceptively silly movie is absolutely brimming with solid jokes. I still quote from it on a regular basis.

Pineapple Express (2008)

This comedy was titled after a real-life cannabis strain. A pothead played by Seth Rogen and his burnout weed dealer (James Franco) witness a murder. Unfortunately, a discarded roach of the rare (and, at the time, fictional) strain
Pineapple Express leads the killers right back to our intrepid heroes. Danny McBride shows up and steals the show, of course.

Friday (1995)

This classic features Ice Cube and Chris Tucker getting high on their porch on a Friday. That’s pretty much it for the plot, but who needs a complicated plot to get in the way of belly laughs?
Friday is raunchy, weird, funny and very, very ’90s. If you’re older than 20, it’s also like a time machine.


The Union (2007)

The Union: The Business Behind Getting High is a documentary by Brett Harvey that offers a stark look at the black market cannabis trade at the time. The film also serves as an activist primer as it dives into theories about the policies behind marijuana prohibition. Harvey’s follow-up, The Culture High, is also worth a watch.

Super High Me (2007)

Comedian Doug Benson stars in this funny-as-hell documentary that parodies Morgan Spurlock’s
Super Size Me. In a similar format, Benson consumes copious quantities of cannabis every day for 30 days while undergoing medical tests. The doc’s main narrative is broken up by interviews with cannabis activists and politicians.


Dude, Where’s My Car (2000)

The last time I screened this film, I dramatically turned my back during the “… and then?” scene and forced myself to go to sleep. I refused to watch another minute. Prepare yourself for drastically unfunny writing, embarrassing performances by Ashton Kutcher and Seann William Scott and cringe-worthy “problematic” characterizations of … well, pretty much everybody.

Up In Smoke (1978)

If you can remember it, you weren’t there. This entry will probably get me some hate mail, but this film really didn’t withstand the test of time. Let’s forget for a moment that Cheech and Chong probably did more damage to the image of cannabis consumers than anyone ever and simply focus on the boring, badly paced product that only lodged in our collective memory banks because it was so novel back then.

Evil Bong (2006)

Kurt Vonnegut once wrote: “We are what we pretend to be.” The makers of
Evil Bong probably wanted to make a terrible movie, but that doesn’t excuse their actions. Let the plot speak for itself. Some college jerks buy a possessed bong that transports smokers to an evil strip club-dimension. Evil. Bong. Get it? Someone definitely came up with the title up first and things went downhill from there.
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