With Pineapple Express already well on its way to becoming this generation’s Up in Smoke, it got us thinking about the best stoner movies of all time. Our 10 favorites are below, but burnouts beware: For obvious reasons, our list is comprised of the best movies about stoners, not necessarily for stoners. Which explains why there is no 2001: A Space Odyssey or Wizard of Oz or March of the Penguins or The Simpsons Movie…
10. Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001)
Token toker: Jason “Jay” Derrid (Jason Mewes)
The buzz: After years spent smoking and selling weed in parking lots–most famously outside of the Quick Stop in 1994’s Clerks–Jay and Silent Bob (Kevin Smith) finally got their due: a movie about a movie about their lives. JASBSB may have been hit-or-miss in theaters, but viewed at home, where you’re free to be a little, um, looser, it all makes sense–even the scatological stuff. And really, it’s hard to find too much fault with a movie that casts Mark Hamill as a character named C**k-Knocker.
Killer line, man: “Affleck, you the BOMB in Phantoms, yo!” –Jay [PAGEBREAK]
9. Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (2004)
Token toker: Kumar Patel (Kal Penn)
The buzz: What makes White Castle stonerific is partly a hilariously wacky concept to which the target audience can relate–pot smoking followed by a fiendish need for fast food–but also the acting of John Cho (as Harold) and Penn, who are full of energy yet legit movie stoners (despite being staunch non-smokers in real life). And Neil Patrick Harris as a tweaking-on-ecstasy version of himself? Brilliant, even more so for the randomness of it!
Killer line, man: “Did Doogie Howser just steal my f***ing car?” –Harold [PAGEBREAK]
8. Knocked Up (2007)
Token toker: Ben Stone (Seth Rogen)
The buzz: Before you decry this entry as stoner-movie blasphemy, remember the criteria: movies about stoners. And for the first half of Knocked Up, Rogen’s protagonist is the consummate stoner’s stoner, even rescuing his favorite bong during an earthquake. Yes, the second half takes a sweet-ish turn toward Romantic Comedyland, but still, the movie won High Times magazine’s 2007 Stony Award for Best Pot Comedy and Rogen won Stoner of the Year. If that’s not justification of its inclusion on this list, what is?!
Killer line, man: “Yeah, it’s a cure-all. My buddy Jonah broke his elbow one time–he just smoked some weed. It still clicks, but it’s cool.” –Ben [PAGEBREAK]
7. Friday (1995)
Token toker: Smokey (Chris Tucker)
The buzz: To be perfectly, uh, blunt, Friday falters slightly whenever the plotline takes Smokey and Craig (Ice Cube) off the porch. A 90-minute porch-front pot comedy featuring nothing but the yin-yang antics between Tucker and Cube would’ve actually been ideal. Nonetheless, Friday was uber-quotable in the mid-‘90s, and it introduced us to a marijuana-devouring, mile-a-minute Tucker before he sold his soul to the Rush Hour trilogy–and for that potheads everywhere are eternally grateful.
Killer line, man: “Puff, puff, give. Puff, puff, give. You f***in’ up the rotation!” –Smokey [PAGEBREAK]
6. Half Baked (1998)
Token toker: Thurgood Jenkins (Dave Chappelle)
The buzz: Approximately five years before Chappelle endeared himself to all appreciators of comedy with Chappelle’s Show, he endeared himself to all smokers of pot with Half Baked, one of a select few on this list to be completely about marijuana the whole way through in no uncertain terms. Precisely for that reason, it remains one of the most beloved movies of all time by stoners and wholly impenetrable to clear-minded types. Although, naming a hookah Billy Bong Thornton should be universally hilarious.
Killer line, man: “You know, I never thought I’d say this anybody, but you two smoke entirely too much reefer.” –Thurgood, to Brian (Jim Breuer) and Scarface (Guillermo Diaz) [PAGEBREAK]
5. The Big Lebowski (1998)
Token toker: Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski (Jeff Bridges)
The buzz: The Coen brothers? Pot? How could it miss? Unsurprisingly, it didn’t, and even less surprising is the fact that Lebowski stands alone as a different strain of weed movie–aimed at the thinking stoner. That’s because Joel and Ethan Coen fittingly placed higher emphasis on offbeat storytelling and character development than on clichéd stoner-isms, thus further emboldening pothead viewers by not patronizing them. And so, another “group” was officially added to the Coen bros.’ cultish fan club: the stoners, who presumably spearheaded the annual Lebowski Fest.
Killer line, man: “Nobody calls me Lebowski. You got the wrong guy–I’m the Dude, man.” –The Dude [PAGEBREAK]
4. Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)
Token toker: Jeff Spicoli (Sean Penn)
The buzz: Fast Times, Penn’s claim to fame before he married Madonna and beat up paparazzi, transcends mere pot-com, but yeah, it’s that too. Penn’s Spicoli is the single most iconic movie stoner of all time, and his effect has been felt off screen ever since 1982: The character became a sort of pothead prototype, a euphemism for “burnout,” and if you are pegged as a stoner because you surf and/or have a laidback disposition, blame Spicoli. Fast Times is also arguably the king of coming-of-age movies, but we’ll save that debate for another list.
Killer line, man: “All I need are some tasty waves, a cool buzz, and I’m fine.” –Jeff Spicoli [PAGEBREAK]
3. Easy Rider (1969)
Token toker: Billy (Dennis Hopper)
The buzz: Every other movie on this list is forever indebted to Easy Rider, without which on-screen pot smoking might still grab headlines, spark outrage and raise eyebrows. Co-written (with Terry Southern and costar Peter Fonda) and directed by counterculture legend and then-movie star Hopper, Easy Rider featured the first true-blue, non-Reefer Madness “usage” scenes, but it was as much a commentary on ‘60s America(na) as it was a drug-movie vanguard. And while it might be deemed an unwatchable relic by today’s fans of, say, Grandma’s Boy, the movie remains one of the 20th century’s most seminal.
Killer line, man: “It’s real hard to be free when you’re bought and sold in the marketplace.” –George Hanson (Jack Nicholson) [PAGEBREAK]
2. Up in Smoke (1978)
Token toker: Anthony “Man” Stoner (Tommy Chong)
The buzz: OK, now you can call our list blasphemous, since Up in Smoke is generally the consensus No. 1. Hey, it was time for a shake-up, what can we say? Even so, Cheech and Chong’s first feature-length film (out of 10) is the classic of pot cinema and remains a landmark thereof, released uncoincidentally during the peak of marijuana decriminalization. For proof, look no further than the movie’s poster, featuring Cheech and Chong rolled up in joints, an image that still provokes a “How the hell’d they get away with that?” reaction. Upon first viewing, Smoke is a stoner’s wet dream come true, and the replay value is high as a kite. But the top spot should be reserved for the movie that’s great AND pothead-friendly, and Up in Smoke is really only the latter.
Killer line, man: “My dog ate my stash, man… I had it on the table and the little motherf***er ate it, man. Then I had to follow him around with a little baggie for three days, man, before I got it back.” –Anthony “Man” Stoner [PAGEBREAK]
1. Dazed and Confused (1993)
Token toker: Ron Slater (Rory Cochrane)
The buzz: Out with the old (Up in Smoke), in with the new: Dazed and Confused has stolen the crown from Cheech and Chong. It didn’t happen overnight, it didn’t even happen when the movie hit theaters (further proof that stoners have delayed reactions), but it’s time for everyone to concede that Up in Smoke is outdated while Dazed and Confused is timeless. Writer-director Richard Linklater put ‘em all to shame with his one-summer-day-in-1976 memoir, which was about everything–including pot–and nothing all at once. Linklater clearly had no interest in caricaturizing his generation, and the result is an observational, Freaks and Geeks-style depiction of flesh-and-blood high schoolers, immaturity and all. Stoned or straight, Dazed and Confused has something or someone for everyone.
Killer line, man: “Didja ever look at a dollar bill, man? There’s some spooky sh*t goin’ on there. And it’s green, too.” –Slater