Welcome back to Heady Entertainment, MERRY JANE’s weekly guide to just-released movies, books, and music — all fresh, dank, and THC-friendly. In specific, we choose our picks based on how they can enhance your combined consumption of cannabis and entertainment.
Blazing into theaters, Sonic the Hedgehog is the year’s first must-smoke-to movie event, Fantasy Island brings terror to the tropics, and Downhill teams Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus in a blistering dark comedy.
Streaming-wise, Snoop Dogg lights up the scintillating sci-fi hip-hop breakthrough Utopia Falls, Zoë Kravitz spins a winner on High Fidelity, Amy Poehler gets animated on Duncanville, and season two of Narcos: Mexico lights up Netflix.
Our vintage cult flick picks to watch with pot include the Spike Lee joint Crooklyn, the holiday-themed slashterpiece My Bloody Valentine, Harry Nilsson’s cartoon trip The Point, and the ’80s spring-break gut-buster Fraternity Vacation.
Marijuana-ready music this week arrives from the towering Tame Impala, hip-hop dynamo A Boogie wit Da Hoodie, and garage-rock slayers Les Butcherettes.
So, let’s get straight — but not “straight” — to this week’s fresh-rolled recommendations.
Director: Nat Faxon
Cast: Will Ferrell, Julie Louis-Dreyfus, Zoe Chao
Imagine a blissful-looking family on a ski vacation — dad, mom, two kids, all seemingly perfect. But when an avalanche hits the lodge, rather than rushing to shield his loved ones, the dad grabs his phone and jets off. After everybody emerges physically okay, what would be the result of the patriarch’s chicken run? Now, consider that Will Ferrell plays the panicked pop, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus is the mom.
That’s the premise of Downhill, a remake of the great 2014 Swedish film Force Majeure directed by funnyman Nat Faxon. It’s dark, dank, and definitely meant to be watched while high, as cringe humor at its best so often is.
Fantasy Island (2020)
Director: Jeff Wadlow
Cast: Michael Peña, Lucy Hale, Maggie Q
Back in the ‘70s and ’80s, the TV series Fantasy Island ruled Saturday nights as guest stars landed on the titular paradise to have their dreams fulfilled — always with unexpected side effects — by Ricardo Montalban as the mysterious Mr. Roarke. For smokers of a certain age, the both suave and goofy Fantasy Island was must-weed TV.
Fantasies on the show ranged from dramatic to funny to sexy to, on occasion, scary. The new big-screen version from horror studio Blumhouse goes all-in on the last category. Here, Michael Peña dons the white suit of Mr. Roarke and veers far from Ricardo’s OG smoothness and deep into Jigsaw territory, bringing visitors’ worst impulses and deepest fears to life — and death.
Sonic the Hedgehog (2020)
Director: Jeff Fowler
Cast: Jim Carrey, James Marsden, Ben Schwartz
As a video game in and of itself, Sonic the Hedgehog is legendary. As a joint-puffing pastime of multiple generations of players, Sonic the Hedgehog is positively beloved. Now, as a silver-screen epic with thetitle’s speedy beast zooming rampant on Earth amid Jim Carrey as evil scientist Dr. Robotnik and James Marsden as kindly small-town lawman Tom Wachowski, Sonic the Hedgehog is an instant stoner cinema classic — a mad whirl through lunatic humor, outrageous adventure, and cutting-edge live-action/CGI visual effects. Bust out the chronic, and go see Sonic.
Duncanville: Season One
Voice Cast: Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones, Wiz Khalifa
Watch It: Fox
In the wake of Nick Kroll’s Netflix milestone Big Mouth, stakes are high for any painfully funny cartoon series about the hormonal tragedies and triumphs of adolescence, but if anyone can rise to the occasion, it’s the uproarious Amy Poehler. Duncanville is co-created and stars Poehler as Duncan, a hapless 15-year-old boy navigating a world populated by eccentrics voiced by Wiz Khalifa, Ty Burrell, Rashida Jones, and Rikki Lindhome. Watch and laugh and look forward to the day when Duncan finally discovers weed.
High Fidelity: Season One
Cast: Zoë Kravitz, Jake Lacy, Da’Vine Joy Randolph
Watch It: Hulu
Nick Hornby’s 1995 novel High Fidelity chronicled the romances and obsessions of Rob Fleming, a London record store clerk who revisits his exes on a quest for self-improvement. The popular 2000 movie adaptation cast John Cusack as Rob, but switched the location to Chicago. A 2006 Broadway musical version moved the story to Brooklyn. Now, the Hulu series High Fidelity remains in Brooklyn, but Rob is played by Zoë Kravitz and — considering the present-day setting —w eed figures into the mix most harmoniously.
Narcos: Mexico: Season 2
Cast: Diego Luna, Michael Peña, Scoot McNairy
Watch It: Netflix
Season two of the scorching Netflix crime series Narcos: Mexico continues the series’ potent, fact-based plunge into the country’s transformation from a loose network of independent cultivators and lone wolf dealers into the towering and terrifying Guadalajara Cartel. Diego Luna once again mesmerizes as strongman-on-the-rise Felix Gallardo, while Michael Peña gets in way deep as DEA Agent Kiki Camarena. Narcos is both a powerful history and a killer crime show to get high to.
Utopia Falls: Season One
Cast: Snoop Dogg, Devyn Nekoda, Kate Drummond
Watch It: Hulu
A sci-fi/hip-hop hybrid of supremely elevated sound and vision, the Hulu series Utopia Falls takes place on post-apocalyptic Earth, where 24 teenagers from the lone human colony of New Babyl gather to do battle in an annual music throw-down known as The Exemplar. All seems standard practice until a contestant named Aliyah (Robyn Alomar) cracks into a living series of buried files called The Archive — voiced by Snoop Dogg — and discovers hip-hop. From there, liberation follows — through rapping, mixing, dancing, and beat-heavy, body-moving revolution.
Utopia Falls is the rap-fantasy production the world has ached for, done right on every lit level. In addition to Snoop, musical contributors to the series include Kendrick Lamar, The Roots, Busta Rhymes, and numerous other guests you absolutely want to fire up a bong to and discover on your own. Utopia Falls is pure fire.
Director: Spike Lee
Cast: Alfre Woodard, Delroy Lindo, Zelda Harris
Get It: Kino Lorber
After the massive-scaled masterwork of Malcolm X (1992), Spike Lee’s 1973-set Crooklyn returned the filmmaker to his outer-borough roots for an intimate, heartfelt comedy-drama focused on a loving family. Alfre Woodward and Delroy Lindo star as the parents of three bustling boys and their smart, sensitive sister, nine-year-old Troy (Zelda Harris). Crooklyn crackles with searing period flavor, a kickass vintage soundtrack, and both the joys and challenges of coming of age. One great touch to witness while lit: local glue-sniffers who scare the kids like zombies from Night of the Living Dead!
Fraternity Vacation (1985)
Director: James Frawley
Cast: Stephen Geoffreys, Britt Ekland, Tim Robbins
Get It: Kino Lorber
Unleashed at the peak of the ‘80s’ teen-raunch comedy craze, Fraternity Vacation is a nonstop bong-passing, keg-tapping, swimsuit-ditching spring-break bash that uproariously showcases Stephen Geoffries (Evil Ed from Fright Night) as Wendell Tvedt, “America’s #1 nerd,” and — believe it or not — Tim Robbins as Larry “Mother” Tucker, a sex-crazed jock on a constant prowl for the ultimate party.
The supporting cast is an A-list of B-movie cult stars running riot in the Florida sun, including John Vernon (Animal House), Barbara Crampton (Re-Animator), Britt Ekland (The Wicker Man), and Max Wright (the dad from Alf!). One of the most enjoyably berserk ’80s bacchanals, Fraternity Vacation takes full flight the moment you fire up a fatty and press play.
My Bloody Valentine (1981)
Director: George Mihalka
Cast: Paul Kelman, Lori Hallier, Neil Affleck
Get It: Shout Factory
The 1981 splatter horror classic My Bloody Valentine arrives just in time for the season in a mind-blowing, chest-bursting two-disc special edition from Shout Factory. So, cozy up with your sweetie, spark up a romantic strain, and get ready to scream full-force as the movie’s homicidal miner attacks local town folks with a pickaxe and sends victims’ hearts in fancy boxes to his next targets.
With a unique villain, glorious gross-out gore, and fun frights from beginning to end, it’s no coincidence that My Bloody Valentine inspired one of the trippiest psych bands to take on its name and split skulls accordingly.
The Point (1971)
Director: Fred Wolf
Voice Cast: Ringo Star, Mike Lookinland, Joan Gerber
Get It: MVD
The Point, a hyper-psychedelic ’70s children’s cartoon narrated by Ringo Starr with music by Harry Nilsson, initially aired as a TV special and quickly became a favorite screener among adults who naturally paired this color-drenched fable with mind-expanding chemical additives.
In The Point, everyone in the Land of the Point sports an elongated, pointed head, with the exception of a boy named Oblio who, accompanied by his dog Arrow, gets banished to the Pointless Forest. Along the way, Oblio and Arrow encounter all manner of eye-popping creatures and learn empowering lessons in order to ultimately return and educate the Point people in the ecstasy of acceptance.
The MVD Rewind edition of The Point honors this trippy kid-vid classic with a glowing restoration and an abundance of bonus features that make it all the more rewarding to watch now with reefer.
By A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie
Get It: A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie Official
Bronx bomber A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie sets off Artist 2.0 this week, a logically named, long-playing sequel to his 2014 mixtape debut, Artist. Boogie made social media noise recently by saying he’d like to sue the vast array of current rappers copping his style, and Artist 2.0 supports that case—this is what hip-hop sounds like in 2020, only better, because you’re hearing the latest iteration from one of the most lit sources. Among the guests are Young Thug, Roddy Ricch, Lil Durk, Don Q, Trap Manny, and Lil Duke.
By Les Butcherettes
Get It: Les Butcherettes Official
Mexico’s premiere garage-rock mind-benders Les Butcherettes never fail to slash, thrash, and bash with dank abandon. Now, on their new EP Don’t Bleed, Les Butcherettes turn their attack sideways, incorporating trip-hop vibes and other surprises into their signature explosive sound, igniting an acid punk milestone we all need to smoke to right now.
The Slow Rush
By Tame Impala
Get It: Tame Impala Official
As the media-anointed savior of top-tier rock, Kevin Parker of Tame Impala has shouldered the burden with banging brilliance. Swirling pop, electronica, hip-hop, and other sonic strains into Impala’s core psychedelic sweep, Parker has raised quite a bar for himself.
The dope news is that The Slow Rush, Tame Impala’s curiously delayed fourth album, soars skyward and boldly beyond our highest hopes (and, like us, they were plenty high). Twelve tracks of genre-warping greatness deliver Impala’s most definitive statement to date. Drop the hallucinogen of your choice, then drop the needle on Slow Rush and be transformed.
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