For 4/20: Five Classic Stoners From The Movies
April 20 is National Pot Smoking Day, because if there's anything America needs, it's a holiday encouraging us to be more apathetic than we already are. But rather than get bogged down in arguments for legalization or debates about the merits of medicinal marijuana, let us simply commemorate this occasion with a look back at some of the more memorable movie stoners of yore:
5. The Dude -- The Big Lebowski (1998)
Jeffrey Lebowski may be unemployed, but he has his own place and an ample supply of weed and booze, gets into a series of sketchy but not quite life-threatening adventures, and has sex with beautiful yet emotionally casual women. Substitute "Call of Duty 4" for "bowling" and you'd have the life to which just about every stoner in the Western hemisphere aspires.
4. Cheech and Chong -- Up in Smoke (1978)
Just as you couldn't have modern stand-up without Henny Youngman, you couldn't have the current batch of pot comedies without Cheech and Chong. Seriously dated, even by `70s movie standards, we nonetheless owe a debt of gratitude to the men who introduced the world to "Sister Mary Elephant," "Basketball Jones," and snorting Ajax cleanser.
3. Vermont Highway Patrol -- Super Troopers (2001)
The old adage about "leading with your best stuff" can come back to bite you on the ass. Just ask Broken Lizard, who in two subsequent features (Club Dread and Beerfest) have yet to approach the, uh, quality of their first movie.
2. Ralph -- Tell Your Children (aka Reefer Madness) (1936)
I realize Ralph's totally accurate portrayal of pot smokers as deranged tweakers was intended to somehow keep people mired in the Great Depression from seeking much needed cannabis-induced relief, but the filmmakers made one glaring error: Dave O'Brien is just too handsome a man. If I thought "toking a reefer" would give me such manly features and virile hair, I'd have dug up "Ghidorah," the three-headed bong from my college days, long ago.
1. Jeff Spicoli - Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)
(See also Slater, Gutter, Jay and Silent Bob, Smokey, etc.) Any actor who can go from "Hey bud, let's party!" to Harvey Milk and Jimmy Markum deserves his Oscars. You could make the same argument about Tom Hanks except, well, Tom Hanks sucks.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Houston Press' biggest stories.