10 cannabis-filled films to watch amid legalization


TORONTO — Mary Jane and the movies have been a long-time pairing, from 1936’s propaganda film “Reefer Madness” to contemporary onscreen stoners like Vancouver’s Seth Rogen.

With Canada legalizing recreational cannabis use on Wednesday, here are 10 toke-filled titles to spark the mood, man:

“Reefer Madness”: Worth watching just to see how far viewpoints on cannabis have changed since the ’30s. Louis J. Gasnier’s black-and-white fictional film became unintentional satire over the years with its melodramatic look at “the new drug menace” that is “destroying the youth of America.” (Available to stream on Amazon Prime, and for rent/purchase on multiple platforms.)

“Up in Smoke”: Lou Adler’s 1978 cannabis classic helped establish the stoner genre, with its depiction of Edmonton-born star Tommy Chong and American actor Cheech Marin as two pothead pals constantly baked. Hijinks — and highs — ensue when they unwittingly smuggle a van constructed out of marijuana out of Mexico. (Available for rent/purchase on multiple platforms.)

“Dazed and Confused”: The haze of weed also hovers over Richard Linklater’s 1993 coming-of-age comedy about Texas teens and their giant field party on the last day of school in 1976. Matthew McConaughey, Ben Affleck, Joey Lauren Adams, and Jason London are among the stars in the story of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. (Available to stream on Amazon Prime and TMN Go, and for rent/purchase on multiple platforms.)

“Friday”: Ice Cube co-wrote and co-stars in this 1995 comedy, alongside Chris Tucker as his stoner buddy who convinces him to “puff, puff, give” on the front porch to ease his unemployment woes. The simple setting, directed by F. Gary Gray, allows the hilarious script to shine as a motley mix of other comical characters enter the picture. (Available for rent/purchase on multiple platforms.)

“Half Baked”: Now here’s a cannabis combo for the ages — Snoop Dogg and Willie Nelson. The two recording artists, widely known for their love of pot, join Dave Chappelle and others in this 1998 comedy about a group of stoner friends who build a bud business to make bail money for their friend. (Available for rent and purchase on multiple platforms.)

“The Big Lebowski”: Jeff Bridges’ hippie slacker, known as the Dude, is widely regarded as one of the coolest onscreen stoners. This Coen brothers’ 1998 cult hit follows the Dude as he becomes entangled in the life of a man who has the same name. (Available for rent and purchase on multiple platforms.)

“Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back”: Kevin Smith’s 2001 comedy oozes cannabis culture, as he and Jason Mewes star as pot-selling burnouts who try to ruin a big-screen adaptation of a comic that’s based on their lives. Ben Affleck plays one of the creators of the comic. (Available to stream on Netflix and Hollywood Suite GO, and for rent/purchase on multiple platforms.)

“Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle”: Getting “blitzed out” and buying burgers are the goals for the characters of John Cho and Kal Penn in this Danny Leiner-directed 2004 comedy. Neil Patrick Harris plays an alternate version of himself, causing trouble for the two as they desperately try to satisfy their munchies. (Available to stream on Netflix, and for rent/purchase on multiple platforms.)

“Pineapple Express”: Rogen takes his onscreen stoner persona from “Knocked Up” to new heights in this David Gordon Green-directed 2008 comedy. He plays a pot-loving process server who becomes entangled in a crime after trying the “dopest dope” at the apartment of his dealer, played by James Franco. (Available to stream on Amazon Prime, Netflix Canada, TMN Go, and for rent/purchase on multiple platforms.)

“This is the End”: Rogen hits the herb once again in this 2013 apocalyptic comedy, which he wrote, co-produced and directed with Evan Goldberg. Rogen and an ensemble cast play fictionalized versions of themselves. (Available to stream on Netflix, and for rent/purchase on multiple platforms.)

Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press