If you already know the cultural relevance of “4/20” … well, chances are you’re probably not awake yet today. But for those who are, and who wish to celebrate cinematically a day intimately connected to marijuana culture, here’s a list of film history’s great moments in herbology. ---
Reefer Madness (1936): Originally a church-sponsored “educational” film titled Tell Your Children, it has become a camp classic for its overwrought portrayal of the evils of the demon weed. I think we can all agree that the only thing a stoner is in danger of killing off is a bag of Funyuns.
Up in Smoke (1978): The comedy of Cheech and Chong made its big-screen debut in this tale of a pair of pot-heads who wind up smuggling a van made entirely of marijuana from Mexico to California. Pretty ground-breaking in its willingness to turn a pair of drug users into unapologetic comic heroes.
Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982): Not a movie focused on drugs per se, but it’s not really a 4/20 festival without Sean Penn’s Jeff Spicoli, the patron saint of the surf stoner. Say it with me now: “That was my skull! I’m so wasted!”
Half-Baked (1998) & Pineapple Express (2008): Heirs to Cheech and Chong in the category of buddy comedies about the misadventures of guys trying to score weed, or sell weed, or score/sell/smoke weed.
Dazed and Confused (1993): Richard Linklater’s nostalgic celebration of the last day of school in 1976 focuses on a football star facing a moral dilemma: Should he sign the pledge swearing to remain drug-free? The heroic stature given the decision he ultimately makes certainly makes it unique.
Saving Grace (2000): A British widow (Brenda Blethyn), facing financial troubles, tries to save home by investing in a little illegal side business. A festival like this needs to have at least one movie involving middle-aged-and-beyond people adorably involved in dope-running or dope-smoking (see also: It’s Complicated).
Super High Me (2007): Stoner comedian Doug Benson attempts a documentary experiment inspired by Super Size Me: What would happen if someone consumed massive amounts of pot for 30 consecutive days? And furthermore, without cameras there to record it, would he actually remember what happened?
Smiley Face (2007): Anna Faris turns in a hilarious performance as a slacker who spends a day dealing with the effects of eating her roommates pot cupcakes. Mmmmm … you know, some cupcakes sound absolutely amazing right about now …