That Good Sh*t: 10 Highly Rated Stoner Movies
Stoners might never want to harsh the mellow, but stoner comedies tend to be rollicking adventures. In honor of Neal Brennan, host of SundanceTV’s new series THE APPROVAL MATRIX and one of the minds behind Half Baked and Chappelle’s Show, here are 10 highly-rated movies that offer a nice cinematic buzz—and a few wild rides.
10. How High
This big screen vehicle for rappers Method Man and Redman has a premise that only makes sense if you’re high — the pair get into Harvard after the ghost of their recently departed friend gives them the answers to the entrance exam. Oh, and they summon their friend’s ghost after smoking his ashes. Good luck explaining the appeal of this one to a sober person. But for stoners, it’s a comedic masterpiece.
9. Pineapple Express
Seth Rogen is an affable stoner process server who gets mixed up in a crime caper involving a particularly strong strain of Mary Jane. His rapport with James Franco’s Saul, a laidback pothead dealer inspired by Brad Pitt’s character from True Romance, puts this film squarely in the mold of classic buddy stoner comedies. Only with a lot more gunfire, of course.
8. Super High Me
Comedian Doug Benson is a vocal advocate of cannabis, so it makes sense that he would subject himself to a 30-day pot smoking binge for his documentary spoof of Morgan Spurlock’s Super Size Me. Just like Spurlock did with McDonald’s fast food, Benson documented the effects that marijuana had on his health, productivity and general mental well-being. Along the way, the filmmakers interviewed those on both sides of the legalization dispute. Whatever side you fall on, it’s safe to say you’ll get a chuckle out of Benson’s experiment.
7. Cheech and Chong’s Up in Smoke
Every pot comedy owes a tip of the bong to Up in Smoke, the comedy duo Cheech and Chong’s first in a long line of stoner movies. Released way back in 1978, the film basically set the template for buddy pot comedies to come. Two heroes on a quest to procure some grass? Check. Spoofs of cops and other authority figures? You got it. A car chase in a van made out of reefer? Only Cheech and Chong could deliver that gag.
6. Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes cemented their stoner movie status with this road trip flick. In addition to giving us pot-themed superhero duo Bluntman and Chronic (played by James Van Der Beek and Jason Biggs), Smith’s comedy finally reveals what the gang from Scooby Doo were up to in the Mystery Mobile. Doobie snacks, anyone?
This day-in-the-hazy-life movie put Chris Tucker on the map and is easily Ice Cube’s finest cinematic moment after Boyz in the Hood. In one crazy day, Tucker’s Smokey runs afoul of a drug dealer named Big Worm and gets Cube’s laid-off slacker character into all sorts of misadventures. The movie has remained a classic for its relatable characters and excellent soundtrack packed with tracks by hip hop greats like Dr. Dre and 2 Live Crew.
4. Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle
This is how White Castle became the stoner food of choice. The titular duo’s wild quest to get their mini-burgers on involves everything from cheetahs to Neil Patrick Harris. Harold and Kumar were so popular with stoned (and sober) moviegoers they inspired two sequels, one of which was in 3D. Some viewers likely spent a lot of time using the 3D glasses to stare at their hand.
3. Half Baked
The film that helped make Dave Chappelle a household name was also his first collaboration with Chappelle’s Show creator and THE APPROVAL MATRIX host Neal Brennan. Chappelle pulls double duty in the film as both a janitor who steals some medical marijuana with his pals and Sir Smokes A Lot, a baked rapper who isn’t too far off from the comedian’s famous Rick James impression. In a film with a bevy of celebrity cameos, stoner comedy fans still quote Jon Stewart’s “Enhancement Smoker” today. (“Have you ever seen Scent of a Woman…on weed??”)
2. Dazed and Confused
More than just a stoner comedy, Richard Linklater’s ode to his lackadaisical 1970s youth is one of the best films ever made about high school. In a movie brimming with great roles (has Matthew McConaughey ever been funnier than he is here as the leering Wooderson?), stoner movie fans fondly remember Rory Cochrane’s Slater and his uniquely oddball riffs. (“Did you ever look at the back of a dollar bill, man? It’s green!”)
1. The Big Lebowski
Why is The Big Lebowski the ultimate stoner comedy? Could it be the endlessly quotable dialogue? (“That rug really tied the room together!”) Or perhaps the twisty mystery plot that gets funnier and weirder the more you watch the movie? Maybe it’s the way that Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski, Walter and the rest inspired Lebowski Fest, an annual gathering of the bathrobe-wearing faithful. No, The Big Lebowski is the greatest stoner film of all time because it takes a character who would ordinarily be comic relief and turns him into a fully realized hero. As The Stranger says, “It’s good knowing The Dude is out there, takin’ er easy for all us sinners.”