The Pot Issue
Scare tactics, UFO riffs and both kinds of buds
Published: November 3, 2010
"Fuckola, man!" laments the Dude.
Saving Grace (2000)
Craig Ferguson, who has since made a name for himself hosting a late-night talk show, co-wrote this flick, in which he stars as a pothead gardener who befriends a recently widowed woman (Brenda Blethyn in the title role) in severe financial straits. Deep in debt after her husband's death, and facing the loss of her country manor, she fends off destitution by growing pot in a greenhouse that previously held her prize-winning orchids.
One critic called this film a "Cheech and Chong movie for the art-house crowd."
There are plenty of low-key British humor-type laughs — or at least knowing smiles — to be had in this gentle smoke wisp of a film. When Blethyn finally samples some of her product, sitting on the beach, high as a cloud, she suddenly starts cracking up. Asked by Ferguson what's so damn humorous, she responds, "You're Scottish," a non-revelation revelation that tickles her funny bone to the extreme.
What's that? Weed can make you laugh at things that wouldn't otherwise be funny. Hmm. And the prohibitionists say that's a bad thing? Hmm.
Pineapple Express (2008)
It's about buds. Dale Denton (Seth Rogen) plays the mid-20s process server in an awkward relationship with a hot high school senior; he drives a hooptie-ass car, he's kind of clumsy, but we like him just enough. Saul Silver, played by James Franco (Spider-Man 1-3), is his affable pot dealer, Bud No. 2. Which brings us to our third bud: Pineapple Express, a strain of Mary Jane so rare that if a stoner were to accidentally drop a joint rolled with the stuff upon witnessing a murder, it'd be completely plausible for the bad guys to trace it back to its dealer. Thus is the plot of what became an instant-classic pot comedy about the ambiguous relationship stoners have with their "guy." But is your dealer your friend? You hang out, rip a bong, gratis, and play some video games, share YouTube clips, listen to music at abnormal volumes — always too high or too low — and just chill until maybe he's on the phone making plans for someone else to come by. But what happens when you and this dude wind up in the center of a murder-drug caper?
It's Complicated (2009)
As we were putting this list together, we thought about Animal House, which, set in 1962, didn't have much pot-smoking. But there's a wonderful scene where an English professor (of course!) played by Donald Sutherland (ditto!) sits in a locked bathroom with two students, who are getting high for the first time. Stoned to the bone, they muse on the trippy possibility of an entire universe inhabiting an atom in a single fingernail. Jump ahead to 2010, and characters played by Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin hide out in a bathroom during a party to hit a few tokes. Pot's no longer the evil weed of Reefer Madness days — no demonization, just a severe case of the munchies results. But when can all the smokers come out of the bathroom?
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