With so many streaming platforms offering nearly every film under the sun, there is no better time than the present to grab your favorite strain, kick back in front of a great movie and forget the world for a while. And there aren't many better ways to spend a sweet high than sinking into the couch and watching a movie.
While there are lots of movies out there that feature weed and iconic stoner characters, like 1993's Dazed and Confused, other movies to watch while high might not feature weed at all, but present compelling plots or visual storytelling that can be enjoyed on a distinctly separate level.
To learn more about what makes for the best movies to watch high, Weedmaps spoke with Steve Bloom, writer, editor and pot culture aficionado. Among Bloom's many credits, he is the founder and publisher of CelebStoner, former co-editor at High Times, current editor-in-chief at Centennial Media (Marijuana Goes Mainstream), and co-author of the books, PotCulture: The A-Z Guide to Stoner Language and Life and Reefer Movie Madness; The Ultimate Stoner Film Guide.
Stoner movies through the ages
“What makes a stoner movie, first and foremost, is pot. The more marijuana the better. Bongs, joints, lots of smoke, gags and jokes,” said Bloom. “A stoner movie is a comedy generally speaking, and the theme revolves around whatever characters — usually a couple of guys — and their marijuana use.”
For Bloom, the granddaddy of all stoner movies is 1969's Easy Rider, starring Peter Fonda, Jack Nicholson and Dennis Hopper. But long before Easy Rider, there was the original Reefer Madness, the 1936 prohibition tale that focused on, from the Internet Movie Database (IMDB), “a trio of drug dealers that lead innocent teenagers to become addicted to 'reefer' cigarettes by holding wild parties with jazz music.”
And according to Bloom, Cheech and Chong defined the comedic stoner movies as we know them with the 1978 film Up in Smoke, followed by Nice Dreams, Still Smoking, Things are Tough All Over and Roasted. These movies not only provided the much-copied formula for stoner comedy, but laid the groundwork for actor/producers like Seth Rogen, whose credits are dominated by stoner films, and writer/actor/director/producer Kevin Smith, whose stony film Clerks put him (Silent Bob) and Jason Mewes (Jay) on the Hollywood map.
Bloom's picks and recommendations
You can check out all of Bloom's top picks for The Top 25 Stoner Movies of All Time on the website CelebStoner, but here are some of his favorites:
- The Big Lebowski (1998): “The Dude is one of the great stoner characters. Jeff Bridges has had a career sort of defined by Jeff Lebowski. The guy just wants to smoke a joint and a bowl.”
- 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968): “This is a great example of a stoner movie with no drugs in it. [It's} considered to be one of the great stoner movies of all time because of the visuals.”
- Dazed and Confused (1993): ”There are so many great actors that came out of that movie. Matthew McConaughey, Ben Affleck, Joey Lauren Adams, Parker Posey. It is really one of the true top 10 stoner movies.”
- Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (2004), Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay (2008): “These are absolutely stoner movies. [Harold and Kumar are] Cheech and Chong-like in terms of culty weed roles with Asian stoners, they're kind of reminiscent of the Cheech and Chong formula.”
- Barbarella (1968): Bloom features this flick in the sci-fi section of his book. Starring a young and nubile Jane Fonda as space adventurer Barbarella, according to IMDB, she is assigned by the President of Earth to retrieve Dr. Durand Durand from the Tau Ceti planetary system.
- Half Baked (1998): Dave Chapelle does double duty in this film about three stoners who try to raise bail for their friend by selling stolen pot.
- Pineapple Express (2008): Seth Rogen and James Franco's mid-2000s stoner classic made the stoner flick mainstream and a legitimate movie genre. Seth Rogen has been a weed icon ever since and the Pineapple Express strain has become one of the most popular strains in weed culture.
- Jay and Silent Bob Reboot (2019): According to Bloom, this reboot directed by Kevin Smith is the best stoner movie of 2019. Featuring a reunited Jay and Silent Bob, the pair goes to Hollywood to stop 'Bluntman and Chronic' from being remade.
If watching movies featuring stoner high jinks isn't necessarily your thing, Bloom suggests checking out movies that feature captivating visuals. He suggests movies in the realm of science fiction or animation that are visually exciting. “It's a fun experience to watch a movie that's taking you places visually,” said Bloom. “It could be a Star Wars movie, anything that's turning you on in terms of the visuals. You could do whatever movie you want, it doesn't matter if you're doing drugs or not. There are tons of movies you could watch while high.”
While 1999's Fight Club and 2010's Inception turns up on many “movies to watch while high” lists, Bloom believes it's probably best to stay away from films heavy on the violence, especially when compounded by the strange and anxiety-inducing world we currently inhabit.
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