Though we may decry drugs, there are not many among us that don’t harbor an occasional desire to escape from the land of normality into the realm of the stoner, at least in our cinema. Why wouldn’t we? With the trippy visuals and the suspension of logic found in stoner films, it’s only natural that we sometimes indulge in flights of fancy. Luckily, there are some great films to take a magic carpet ride on.
10). 2001: A Space Odyssey
One of the posters for 2001 declared the film “the ultimate trip.” With such sights as a bone turning into a satellite via jump cut and the famous “Star Gate” sequence, it’s no wonder this was a trip that many felt worth taking.
9). Alice in Wonderland (1951)
Lewis Caroll’s classic novel already stretches reality. When married with the vibrantly colorful animation of Disney, you have a film that absolutely shatters reality and sweeps up the shards with gleeful songs and hookah smoking caterpillars.
Walt Disney originally wanted to turn Fantasia into a yearly franchise with different segments. One was more than enough, bringing us dancing mushrooms and hippos, and the image of Satan himself.
7). The Wall
When it’s difficult to tell if the animated or live-action segments of your movie are more mind-bending, you have a certifiable druggie classic. But, if it’s the music of Pink Floyd that you’re trying to stage, is that really a surprise?
6). Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle
It’s hard to believe that President Obama saw this stoned odyssey dedicated to questions of identity, racism, and the pursuit of weed and said “Kumar needs to work in the White House.”
5). Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
A box office disappointment in its original release, this has evolved into a cult classic, which seems to be the fate of anything directed by Terry Gilliam. Driving into the heart of drug induced darkness never seemed stranger than it did here.
4). Dazed and Confused
This film takes us into a group of 1970’s high school friends on the verge of growing up and partying down with some weed. A starting point for Ben Affleck and Matthew McConaughey, the free spirits at work here make us forget that there is no Led Zeppelin title song.
3). The Big Lebowski
Jeff Bridges seems as if he was born to play a stoner and every role he’s had since is destined to remind us of Jeff Lebowski. The Coen Brothers’ foray into literal magic carpet rides and psychedelic bowling marks an unusual, but welcome, notch on their filmmaking belts.
2). Cheech and Chong’s Up in Smoke
Tommy Chong plays a character with the last name Stoner and the entire plot revolves around the search for more pot. Enough said.
1). Reefer Madness
The first film to inform us of the scourge of “marihuana,” Reefer Madness is a camp classic for its degree of over-the-top ridiculousness and the cornerstone on which all future stoner films were built. Worth checking out is the colorized version where the smoke is multi-colored.
Even if you’re not really a midnight toker, these are films that will allow you to escape reality for a bit. Hopefully they’ll be enough of a substitute that you’ll avoid prosecution as well.