(Photo by Barry King/WireImage)
Happy 4/20! If marijuana isn’t legal (or at least decriminalized) yet where you live, there are other ways to have a good time and mark the occasion. Grab your favorite munchies and tune in to our list of the best stoner movies and you’ll laugh (and sometimes cry!) hard enough to feel like you inhaled without having to spray air freshener when you’re done.
Best stoner movies to watch on 4/20 and beyond
1. Up In Smoke
Up in Smoke, in which Cheech and Chong (Richard “Cheech” Marin and Tommy Chong) smoked giant blunts and even inhaled a joint full of a labrador retriever’s poop, received mixed reviews at the time of its 1978 release, but quickly became a cult classic of the stoner genre. The film chronicles the doobie-fueled duo having run-ins with the law from which they always somehow emerged unscathed. Though some of the antics haven’t aged particularly well in terms of political correctness, the movies were actually, intentionally or not, a major milestone in terms of representing the diversity of Los Angeles. They’re also full of belly-laughs that still hold up now and even inspired their own Bud Farm mobile game. Chong says a lot of the team’s creativity did, in fact, come from cannabis.
“For the most part we were always high,” Chong told The Guardian of working with Marin on their movies. “We always smoked a little before we went out there. That was part of the was my job as a writer and performer to deliver the goods. So if that meant being stoned, I gladly did it. I found that the more stoned I was, the more crazy the movie was, and the more successful we were.”
However, Chong also admitted that marijuana wasn’t their only drug of choice in terms of getting inspired and in the zone to work. The formula, he explained, was “a little bit of cocaine and the acid and then the weed.”
Related: 4/20 Memes
2. Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle
A great tale of how the munchies can change your life, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle finds the titular characters (played by John Cho and Kal Penn) on a quest for burgers and bud throughout New Jersey, while making some serious self-discoveries along the way. Aside from its stoner humor and friendship arcs, the film also explicitly confronts Asian stereotypes. As a bonus? It also features Christopher Meloni, Fred Willard, Anthony Anderson, Neil Patrick Harris, Ryan Reynolds and even a cheetah.
The movie cultivated a cult following, but wasn’t initially a commercial hit. “We were hoping it would be a box-office success, and it really wasn’t,” Cho said in a 2008 interview. “So we were disappointed initially, but we hoped it would be a hit on DVD, and it was, slowly but surely. And it took a long time for it to get there, but better late than never. We always felt the movie would find its audience somehow at some point.”
It did, and it found a big enough audience to spawn two sequels: Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay and A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas.
3. How High
Method Man and Redman star as Silas and Jamal in How High, in which the pair smoke marijuana that grew from the ashes of their deceased pal Ivory (Chuck Deezy). Ivory tells the pair the answers to their THC (a play on the SAT) exam, leading Silas and Jamal to ace the test and end up in Harvard. While in the Ivy League university, however, they struggle to maintain their grades—and when their supply of Ivory’s ash-fertilized weed runs out, they get desperate and exhume President John Quincy Adams in an effort to smoke his remains and get smart again. The movie features Mike Epps, Héctor Elizondo, Tracy Morgan and Judah Friedlander, among others, and its low-brow humor makes for big laughs that you don’t have to think too hard about.
Though Method Man and Redman wanted to do a How High sequel, eventually one was made without their involvement starring Lil Yachty and DC Young Fly. “Long story short is that me and Meth [were] not aware that they were doing this transaction with the movie. I’m not mad at Yachty or DC Fly—like I said, it has nothing to do with them. And I’m not even upset because God always places things in the right position anyway; I’m just following the path,” he told The Grass Roots Podcast. “But my thing is when you have a brand, like Red and Meth, that kind of helped built and created this entity of How High and shooting a movie on How High—I mean, marijuana and being in college. Those were all our ideas. And when the new deal came about, we wasn’t involved in it.”
Published: April 20, 2021
Founder & Interim Editor of L.A. Cannabis News