Movies have always been about escapism. No other medium allows us to forget ourselves so effortlessly. And since cannabis makes any form of aesthetic and sensory appreciation deeper and more nuanced, getting high and watching a great flick is one of the most satisfying acts of self-care around. In our New Standard Film Club, we’ll invite you to discover or revisit classic movies that pairs perfectly with weed to tickle your brain in all the right ways over the long winter nights to come.
A Classic Comedy: “The Big Lebowski”, 1998
When it comes to stoner cinema, this is the Holy Grail. The titular Lebowski is the Dude – an amiable, middle-aged hippy played by Jeff Bridges whose life revolves around pot, CCR and the annual league bowling tournament until he finds himself the prime suspect in a kidnapping. What ensues is a whodunit that’s had a few too many bong hits populated by characters weird enough to be from “Alice in Wonderland”, told from the vantage point of a hero who is too high to navigate reality. There are no dramatic stakes to speak of, just a series of barely connected stoner day-dreams, highly quotable exchanges and a colorful cast of oddballs. Phillip Seymour Hoffman is the unctuous lackey to David Huddleston’s wheelchair-bound millionaire whose missing wife sets the plot in motion. Julianne Moore is an icy feminist concept artist who takes an unlikely shine to Lebowski while John Goodman is Lebowski’s quite psychotic bowling team buddy. And that’s before we even mention John Turturro as Jesus – a strutting peacock of trash-talk, hairnet and hip swivels that has to be seen to be believed. But the soul of the film is Jeff Bridge’s Dude – an innocent abroad who never lets his utter confusion about what’s actually happening prevent him from “doing a J.”
The movies of the Coen Brothers films are always richly detailed and atmospheric. Pair this classic with a hybrid strain or edible to better appreciate its whip-smart dialogue, lush visual design, eccentric LA locations and truly absurd musical sequences.
- Sam Elliot’s hilarious, bone-dry, cowboy voice-over
- A moment of peerless physical comedy as the Dude is roughed up but still doesn’t spill a drop of his beloved White Russian
- The best porn film title ever coined
An Arthouse Classic: “Dazed and Confused”, Richard Linkater, 1993
“Dazed and Confused” one of the best coming of age movies ever made, set in a pot and patchouli scented suburban Texas town on the last day of school in 1976. We meet the cool kids, the stoners, the hippie chicks, the jocks, the nerds and the drop-outs. Everyone is looking for the action, unsure of what it might be or when, but determined to be there when it goes down. Characters come in and out of frame without exposition, making the feeling of watching real life unfold even more absorbing. They’re charming, obnoxious, naïve and preternaturally wise – often all at the same time. Will the long-planned keg-party go off without hitch? Will the scrawny tribe of freshmen escape a beating? Will everyone get Aerosmith tickets? Will the full-bloom innocence of these kids and this moment last the night, let alone the summer? Amidst the hilarious stoner antics is a surprisingly powerful portrait of a time when life is a bewildering mix of agony, ecstasy, extreme boredom and boundless possibility.
This nostalgic mood piece goes perfectly with a pre-roll (or three) to smoke along with the endlessly stoned characters on-screen while soaking up a breath-taking 70’s soundtrack and flawless period detail.
- Matthew McConnaughey’s first big-screen appearance with one of the best lines in the movie
- Jason London’s fantastic belt-buckle/weed-pipe
- Adam Goldberg’s fabulous turn as a talented nerd straining against the confines of his small-town world.