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5 Films: The Stoner Edition

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No doubt, those who imbibe in the herb—or, if you prefer, weed, pot, skunk, dope, smoke, ganja, or the chronic—have enjoyed the recent pronouncement from infamous televangelist and notorious finger-of-blame pointer, Reverend Pat Robertson. Ol’ Pat has chimed in on the question of whether cannabis should be legalized.

“I really believe we should treat marijuana the way we treat beverage alcohol,” Rev. Robertson told the New York Times in a March 2012 story. “If people can go into a liquor store and buy a bottle of alcohol and drink it at home legally, then why do we say that the use of this other substance is somehow criminal?”

This recent about-face makes us believe even more fervently that Rev. Pat himself might be a partaker of the puff. After all, his statements proclaiming that Disney World’s endorsement of Gay Days brings hurricanes blowing into Florida, to Haiti’s earthquake being the result of a 19th century pact with the devil indicate that the man’s been smoking something.

If that’s true, we encourage him to check out the following films, all of which have received the highest accolades from…well, from people who know about being high.

The challenge of choosing the flicks that compiled this particular edition of 5 Films was to rise above Reefer Madness or the Harold and Kumar series. Here, the Best Bud movies aren’t focused on the bud itself as the main thrust of the film. It’s simply present—a condiment, if you will, that acts as an enhancement to the main dish.

Take the day off on 4/20, rev up that DVD player, and enjoy!

 

Woodstock

We can still see the Purple Haze floating over Max Yasgur’s goat farm in upper New York State like a fragrant, dream-inducing character in its own rite. What better way to lure muddy festival-goers, even if only for one magical weekend, from the threat of the draft, just one of many issues in the 1960s that divided America even more than today. It wasn’t until Monday morning at 9 a.m. when Jimi Hendrix’s seminal interpretation of “The Star Spangled Banner” put the final cap on one of the most eruptive decades in American history. By that time, most of the 500,000 attendees had wandered back into the real world, but those lucky wake-n-bakers who stayed were treated to the most dramatically patriotic performances of all time, delivered by a veteran of the very war many in the crowd were evading, no less. 1970. Michael Wadleigh directs.

Gayest moment: The producers’ belief that turning the festival into a free weekend of peace, love, and music would have a trickle-down effect to sooth and heal an ailing nation. Turns out, they were right, but not until decades later, as evidenced by this two-plus hour doc culled from 120 hours of live footage.

 

I’m Not There

That succinct statement concisely describes Dylan’s Woodstock experience. He wasn’t there, supposedly, because his daughter was sick, even though he lived within mere miles of festival grounds. Or, as the lore goes, maybe he declined because the forecast of five inches of rain made him nervous. No matter. This film is a fine one for this category for the way it leads the viewer in and out of the bounds of reality. We watch no less than seven actors portraying Robert Zimmerman the Jew becoming Dylan the Poet/God begetting Born-Again Bob, the converted Christian. 2007. Todd Haynes directs.

Gayest moment: Is that Cate Blanchett spewing non-sequitor Dylanisms behind those red eye-obscuring Ray-Bans, or doc footage of Bob himself? And if a dyed-in-the-Labrys lesbian finds herself overwhelming attracted to Blanchett as Dylan, does that fact render that lesbian, bi? Trippy.

 

Fast Times At Ridgemont High

Predating the loopy Dazed and Confused as well as the infantile American Pie series, this definitive, sexy, coming-of-age joint is one of the few in which the women, or in the case, the girls, provide more than punch lines to their goofy, Porky’s-influenced boyfriends’ set-ups. Thank you, screenwriter Cameron Crowe. 1982. Amy Heckerling directs.

Gayest moment: Who could have predicted that when Sean Penn as ultimate stoner, Jeff Spicoli, arrives at the prom and rolls out of his van in a cloudy, zero-visibility haze, he would eventually keep that cloud going in a tender, early scene in 2008’s Milk, earning his second Oscar.

 

The Wizard of Oz

Here we have flying monkeys, horses that change color, a green witch riding a bicycle in a tornado, and an army of Munchkins. And…exhale. By now, most of us have experienced Pink Floyd‘s Dark Side of the Moon enhancing accompaniment. Cue up that classic disc (as if you really have the vinyl), whip up some amuse bouche wienies on a stick and warm crullers right out of the hot fat to satisfy the unavoidable Munchkin munchie factor, and enjoy, my pretties. 1939. Victor Fleming directs.

Gayest moment: It’s the Wizard of Oz. Judy Garland. It doesn’t get gayer than that.

 

Anything directed by Busby Berkeley

Trust me.

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