CB Top 5: Stoner Movies

If you enter a movie theater this weekend, don’t be surprised to leave with a secondhand high. Maybe Cheech and Chong deserve all the credit for creating the stoner genre, and making potheads cuddly, funny, and friendly; but Harold and Kumar have perfected it. They return with another hazy adventure this Friday in Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, and in honor of their re-arrival we’ve assembled the Cinema Blend staff and put together a list.

No we were not high when we made it. Well some of us weren’t. These are the 5 greatest stoner movies of all time, we’re sure of it, though there’s a pretty good chance we won’t even remember making this list tomorrow. Cough. Ehem. It’s a brand new CB Top 5.

5. Grandma's Boy

Alexandra Calamari: Grandma's Boy is like a peanut butter bacon banana sandwich, you have no idea why it's amazing but somehow it just works. It's by no means a good movie, in fact some might argue it's a bad movie, but that hasn't stopped me from watching it every single time it runs on HBO. Maybe it's the witty dialogue revolving around pants-crapping or the intriguing storyline about a video game tester who is forced to move in with his grandmother as he tries to develop his own multi-level game. Riiiiiiiiight. Maybe it's just that stoner movies are awesome because they are about high people doing stupid stuff (having the munchies, telling a chimp to drive a car, playing Dance Dance Revolution), which is the best way to feel high yourself without having to do anything illegal.

Josh Tyler: The best moments in Grandma’s Boy happen not just around pot, but because of pot. Sure Alex’s robot boss is hilarious, but nothing beats the smokey den of madness which we enter when we’re taken into the basement of Alex’s drug dealer. In his basement you'll find things like karate chopping chimps, tribal witch doctors, and maybe the best, completely over the top pot humor ever. Heck, it’s not just a pot movie, it’s a geek friendly pot movie wrapped around video games and the hotness of Linda Cardellini. Even Allen Covert, who has sucked most of his life as a pollup hanging off Adam Sandler’s left nut, seems almost capable here as the movie’s affable, pothead lead. As Alexandra points out, it’s technically a pretty crummy movie, but then who cares about technicalities when you’re blitzed out of your mind.

4. Dude, Where's My Car?

Rich Knight: If anything, Dude, Where’s My Car?, which, I might add, is probably the most important thing Ashton Kutcher has ever starred in, is not a stoner movie. Not in the purest, Cheech and Chong sense, anyway, where the whole joke was basically just two guys heavily stoned beyond recognition (and their slow speech proved it!) on marijuana. Instead, Dude, Where’s My Car? is actually one of the first films that popularized WTF humor, which was expanded upon in Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle, and made into a household name with Aqua Teen Hunger Force. In this, what the hell is going on movie, we start out with the simple question of where a guy’s car is and end up with a story that involves quite possibly the end of the universe. Aliens abound, pudding is a primary plot point, and the quintessential key to all great stoner movies—it’s better to watch when you’re bombed—makes this one of the most classic “stoner” movies ever made, Seann William Scott’s crappy acting, notwithstanding. And theeeeen? No and then!

Rafe Telsch: Part of the reason I like Dude, Where’s My Car is because it isn’t contingent on these characters being stoners to get its laughs. The movie works because Jesse and Chester are complete morons. While the movie’s plot is motivated by one crazy pot-infused celebration, the bulk of the film comes from the duo being brain dead, not high. Now, the cameo-filled story probably came from the result of some stoner action from the writers – how else do you explain aliens offering “oral pleasures,” a crazed ostrich farmer who keeps a kook in a cage, and a geek-infested cult in black sneakers and bubble wrap all put together in one movie? I don’t know if the careers of Ashton Kutcher and Seann William Scott will ever get better than the two actors doing what they do best here: playing idiots. The only thing better than their performances is the fact that they’ve pretty much refused to play these characters again, keeping Dude, Where’s My Car a one time comedic ride that needs not be repeated.

3. The Big Lebowski

Josh Tyler: It has inspired a generation towards sloth and launched its own festival in which attendees are encouraged to show up in their boxers and robes to get drunk on dubiously Eastern European cocktails. The Big Lebowski is more than a movie, it’s a way of living, a style of life preached by the first guy since Jesus to really get it. His name is “The Dude”, and even after the movie is over, you know he’s out there somewhere; takin her easy for all us sinners. His movie isn’t specifically about pot, it’s smoked mostly as a matter of course, but his life represents the slackerdom ideal that every true pothead aspires to. And it’s insidious. The Big Lebowski only works it into your brain after time and repeat viewings. The first time you saw it, you probably wondered what all the hype was bout. Then you started quoting it. Thinking about it. Walking into apartments and commenting on the way the rug really ties the room together. Hopefully you didn’t also pee on it, but whether or not that happened probably depended mostly on how many White Russians you had at the bowling alley earlier. Before you know it you’re walking around in sandals and fighting the good fight against nihilists. Fuck me. I mean, say what you like about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it's an ethos.

Jarad Wilk: I have never, ever wanted to be an unemployed slacker who cruises around town in an old, dirty bathrobe and sandals, while smoking pot and drinking White Russians more than after seeing The Big Lebowski. Wouldn't it be great to go through life, never worrying about where your next paycheck is coming from? Wouldn't it be great to walk through a supermarket, take out a loaded bong, take a hit with the manager of the store and chow down on all of the Doritos in the chip aisle until it's time to go bowling with your buddies? Life would be grand. Well, that is, of course, until two thugs break into your house, rough you up while trying to collect a debt on your supposed wife. Only problem is, you're not married and the thugs have you confused with another guy named Lebowski, and they're in the hallway of your house pissing on your favorite rug, which happens to be "the one thing that tied the room together." Of all the buzz kills in the world, there is nothing worse than the one jackass that gets so stoned or drunk that he starts to wander around your house in search of the bathroom. Meanwhile, it's 3 a.m., pitch black, everyone's asleep and no one realizes anything's happened until the next morning when the coffee starts to taste a bit off after your friend decided to use your favorite coffeemaker as a urinal. I've seen it a thousand times and it's pretty damn funny. Now, just imagine total strangers, who just beat you up for money you don't owe, urinating in your favorite coffeemaker. It's no longer that funny. Then, of course, you get dragged into this whole kidnapping thing that you don't understand, largely because you've smoked so much pot and drank so many Black Russians where breathing seems to be a real effort. On top of all that, you bowled a really crappy game the night before, soiled your bathrobe for the third time that week, and your friend won't shut the hell up about not being allowed bowling on Shomer Shabbas. It's a whacky life, but … wait … what the hell am I talking about?

2. Dazed and Confused

Mack Rawden: No universally shared experience is more misrepresented than high school. The best four years of your life people you never wanna turn into always say. Seriously, you ever hear an old person rant with a shit-eating grin about their experiences at John Adams High? We got up to this tomfoolery and then this malarkey happened… No! High School isn't some wild vacuum of outrageousness, in which debaucheries flow like salmonella through the tap water. High School is driving in circles and smoking pot because fuck you, I felt like it. High School is doing beer bongs in an abandoned field because fuck you, I felt like it. High school is four years of monotony so all-encompassing, so vast that you probably felt bored twenty-three hours a day. So, you blazed in the parking lot alongside me and Slater to kill some time. Then you forgot or chose to forget. Well, stop collating for a second, you former freshman bitch, and grab a copy of Dazed And Confused, the only film about high school and smoking pot to ever get it right. While you're at it, might as well steal some green from your delinquent nephew. And if anyone says anything, just calmly respond: I'm blazing with my friends. So, I'm a fucking pothead. What's it to you? Yeah, that'll show 'em.

Jarad Wilk: I'm telling you, if there was a soundtrack to my high school existence, it would not be nearly as cool as the soundtrack to Dazed and Confused. While D&C has loads of rockin' tunes from ZZ Top, Alice Cooper, Foghat, Black Sabbath and Black Oak Arkansas that basically scream, "Let's blaze a joint on the 50 yard line of the football stadium," or, "When's the next kegger?" mine would be pretty tame, maybe even lame. I mean, my soundtrack wouldn't be Ben Affleck chasing after a teenage boy with a paddle to smack his ass in some lame attempt to prove he's a man lame, but it would be driving around aimlessly and hanging out at a pool hall hitting on younger, but still old enough, chicks lame (because remember, "I get older, but they stay the same age"). But, this is also because I am a child of the 1980s, not the 1970s – the music was a lot better before I came around (even though most of what I listen to is considered the stoner music of the generations before me). I don't remember hazing incoming freshman when I was a senior, but I do remember blazing and the nights out with my friends. Those were some of the best nights of my life. Just driving around, looking for a party, and listening to some kick ass tunes – usually a mix of classic rock and whatever popular music we could find on the radio. Ok, fine, there was the one night we threw a freshman in the truck of my friend's Jeep, drove 60 mph in a 30 mph zone while blasting The Proclaimers' "I Would Walk 500 Miles," over and over again while singing the few lines of the song we knew. We let him out of the trunk, but we never dredge him in flour or made him fry like bacon on concrete on a hot summer day. But, normally, we just hung out, partied, got high and met new people and welcome them into our lives. Those were the most mellow and amazing nights of my life, made better by the friendships, the women, and the occasional high. That is why they called it high school, man – sure, the school part sucks, but the high is worth it.

1. Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle

Mack Rawden: Let's light up and go on an adventure. That's how it always starts. Smoking pot and consuming copious amounts of cheap, mass-produced edibles is a delectable combination, every bit as poetic and beautiful as pairing a medium rare steak alongside a seventy-two dollar a bottle red wine. Like a pregnant woman and her illogical, hormonal cravings, the stoner is a slave to his impulses, juicy and gooey impulses. I should know, I inhaled half an eighth and downed nine Hostess Cupcakes like an hour ago. I should have been devouring that deliciousness two hours ago, but cruising around town all hopped up on the reefer is like playing Super Mario Brothers for the first time in years. Your hands shake a little and your palms sweat, but the Princess eventually gets saved (provided you remember where to warp at), if only a few hours later than originally intended. Some people will tell you not to drive after smoking pot. I will openly endorse you driving while smoking pot. So will Harold and Kumar, the two loveable protagonists behind the best Stoner Comedy ever conceived. Like Woody Hayes' infamous three yards and a cloud of dust offense, Harold And Kumar Go To White Castle doesn't reinvent the wheel, it just shortens its life with second-hand smoke and the best dream sequence this writer is likely to ever see. So, fire up the bowl and for Christ's sake, learn how to fuckin' make coffee, you fucking whore.

Josh Tyler: Unlike my friend Mack I am not stoned while I write this. I wouldn’t even know where to buy drugs if I wanted some. I guess I just have one of those faces. People see me and instantly think “Narc!” But even a Narc like me loves a good pot movie, and it’s never been done better than Harold and Kumar’s one night hunt for the world’s tastiest, teeny burgers and copious amounts of perfect weed. Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle may be a drug pic, but it’s the simple, purity of Roldy and Kumar’s quest that makes the movie so special. Like every stoner and most Canadians, they don’t mean anyone any specific harm and they aren’t out to change the world. Harold and Kumar have only one or two simple needs (most of them involving grease or in Kumar’s case dreams of having sex with a giant bag of weed), and the movie follows them as they attempt, repeatedly, to fill them in an overly complex world stacked utterly against them. But the real star of the film is Neil Patrick Harris in the role that restarted his career, as Neil Patrick Harris, a womanizing, snorting, whoring god of pseudo celebrity who, in his brief appearances steals the movie and snorts everything in the general vicinity. Even if you don’t care about the burgers or the bongs, NPH earns Harold and Kumar its place at the top of the stoner pantheon. Forget Cheech and Chong, NPH is cinema’s greatest stoner icon, and he’s really horny. Pop in the dvd and ride shotgun with him. Make sure you use Neil’s car, otherwise he might leave some love stains in the back. The Doogie line always works on strippers.

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Nominated But Didn't Make the Cut: Mallrats, Half Baked, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Super Troopers, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Easy Rider, PCU, Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical

Note: Movies used in past top 5s were not eligible for consideration in this list. For past CB Top 5's, click here.