Cannabis and cinema
Cannabis and cinema have a long history together. The birth of modern cinema happened around the same time as the first criminalization of cannabis by the U.S. federal government. At that time, around the 1930s, as a result, cannabis-themed entertainment lay in the world of horror. If not scare stories.
From that point on, weed has continued to wind its way through cinema. It is funny to see how it was depicted in different ways. As some killer drug that might make you gay or even kill you, or as something that makes you look a whole lot cooler. It is of course also very possible to see how counter-culture impacted early acceptance of cannabis use. And how it was parodied in oh so many ways along the way. Nowadays more and more modern movies and TV shows have begun to tackle the issues involved in everything from legalization to updated stoner humour.
Dazed and Confused
Richard Linklater’s follow-up to “Slacker” is a dead-solid perfect look at what it was like to be in high school in the 1970s. From the first frames — a souped-up car rounding the corner into the school parking lot to the strains of Aerosmith’s “Sweet Emotion” — to the early-morning rides home from the beer bust, Linklater gets everything right. Matthew McConaughey gets his feature-film debut here, but truly, the entire cast is great. Oh, and the marijuana? It’s everywhere, as much a part of the forbidden fun as the freshman hazing.
Seth Rogen plays Dale who likes to smoke weed from time to time. James Franco plays Saul who is his dealer. Dale witnesses a crooked cop murdering a man and accidentally leaves behind a roach with a strain of marijuana called Pineapple Express. The two then go on the run from dangerous drug lords, and it changes their superficial relationship. Danny McBride gets in on the action playing Red and will have you cracking up with lines like, “I used to use this little gun when I was a prostitute.
Midnight Express or how greed can lead to hell. This cult film was released in 1978 and explains the journey and ordeal of William Hayes, a 23-year-old North American who is arrested in Istanbul in 1970 with 2kg of hashish, with which he expected to earn some money once returned to his country. He is firstly sentenced to 4 years in prison, and then to 30 years, where he must learn to survive in an unhealthy environment of extreme violence in an overcrowded Turkish penitentiary. He takes refuge in the hope of being released someday to avoid falling into madness. A brutal and immersing story, not advised for the most sensitive audience.
This French film was released in 2013 and is inspired in a true story of a retiree who lives in the Parisian suburbs. This woman has economic problems and can’t make ends meet with her small pension. Burdened with debts and pressured by an eviction process, and realizing that half her neighbourhood lives off hashish trafficking, Paulette decides to start an illegal trade to revive her economy and avoid ending up on the street. This is one of the last films of Bernadette Lafont, in which she performs amazingly in her role as a bitter and lonely grandmother who recovers the happiness of live thanks to her lucrative activities.
This Is the End
There is nothing like watching a bunch of funny celebrities have fun playing themselves. Everyone including Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Michael Cera and more become desperate because the world is ending. People are getting sucked up into the sky by blue lights. The people who are left behind start making alliances to survive. You will never grow tired of the endless amount of cameos and funny situations.
Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle
Harold played by John Cho leaves his office job for the weekend and hangs out with his stoner friend, Kumar played by Kal Penn. The two good friends get the munchies after smoking and only want one thing after seeing an advertisement. That is of course White Castle! They go to great lengths to get it and run into many people along the way including Neil Patrick Harris who loves women and to party. The most memorable scene has to be Kumar who has a dream about marrying a bag of weed.
This film (2001), starred Johnny Depp, tells the story of George Jung, a north american drug lord and friend of Pablo Escobar. At the end of the 60s, George and Tuna, two young and poor North Americans, lovers of cannabis, went from consuming and selling to become major marijuana dealers, which they brought from Mexico using airplanes. In 1974, George was arrested with 330 kilos of Mexican sativa and sentenced to 24 months in prison. This period in jail changed his life completely: “Danbury wasn’t a prison, it was a crime school. I went in with a bachelor in marijuana and came out with a doctorate in cocaine.”