“18 months. 660 movies. 1 definitive book.” So promise Shirley Halperin and Steve Bloom, co-authors of the new tome Reefer Movie Madness: The Ultimate Stoner Film Guide, which in addition to featuring reviews of assorted cinematic “joints” also boasts “Stony Movie Picks” from Jason Mraz, Andy Milionakis, Adrianne Curry, and Kings of Leon drummer Nathan Followill. Also included? Informative guides to “Far-Out Acid Flicks,” “Foreign Stoner Films,” “Trippy Spaceships,” “Smoking Animals,” “Smart Stoners,” “Will Ferrell Movies To Watch Stoned,” “Stoner Cops,” “Stony Dream Sequences,” “Stony Mockumentaries,” and “Ganja Girls.” Wow, I think I’ve gotten a contact high just writing that list.
But can we really trust anyone who would pen a stoner film guide to count accurately up to 660? Or 18? Or 1? Actually we can, given that Halperin is a former EW staffer. What we can’t do, on the other hand, is promote or condone the smoking of what I believe the kids like to refer to as “the Mary Jane wacky backy.” Which is why we asked Halperin to recommend her Top 5 Stoner Movies That Don’t Feature Any Actual Weed-Smoking.
You can check out her list after the jump.
1. Alice in Wonderland (1951)
Shirley Halperin: The original Disney animated classic, based on the 1865 book by Lewis Carroll, is a perennial stoner favorite going back decades. While devotees of the author reject the notion that he was on drugs when he wrote the fantastical tale, there’s no denying the insanely trippy characters brought to life in the film. Chief among them: a blue caterpillar sucking on a hookah and the manic White Rabbit who at one point chants, “We’ll smoke the monster out!” Thank Jefferson Airplane (and Messrs. L, S, and D) for popularizing the movie in the late sixties, along with Disney’s Fantasia, among the psychedelic crowd.
2. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
SH: Talk about a long, strange trip. With less than an hour’s worth of dialogue in the film’s 140 minutes, Stanley Kubrick’s embryonic journey is as heady as space travel gets. A stunning mélange of color, suspense and psychedelic imagery—and a sonic masterpiece to boot—the glacially-paced sci-fi classic pins man against machine in an engrossing zero-gravity tug of war. No wonder it’s been a stoner staple for over 40 years.
3. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)
SH: A feast for the senses, the magical land of Wonka, with its chocolate waterfall, edible flowers, psychedelic boat rides and freaky oompah loompahs, must have been imagined with the stoner—and the munchies—in mind. Like Wizard of Oz before it, watching this kid’s movie high has become a counterculture rite of passage that’s been passed down from generation to generation. Gene Wilder’s creepy candy kingpin predates Johnny Depp’s CGI-enhanced visage by 30-odd years, but it’s just as trippy.
4. Pee-wee’s Big Adventure (1985)
SH: In Pee-wee Herman’s world (as seen through the lens of Tim Burton) everything comes in supersaturated colors and hearty laughs, starting with his stoner dream house full of toys, gadgets and out-there tchotchkes. Thanks in part to Pee-wee’s pot-smoking fans, the kooky man-child’s search for his beloved bike has become a meta-tale for the ages rather than a G-rated footnote.
5. Office Space (1999)
SH: Losers come out on top in this ode to slackerdom, which despite its grim corporate setting, is astoundingly Zen. From the gangsta rap soundtrack, the perfect accompaniment while taking a baseball bat to the company’s fax machine, to a hunger for green of another sort—dollars—this box office sleeper is must-see viewing for the stoner set.
What do you think of Halperin’s choices? What are your favorite stoner movies?