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Mace & Crown | June 25, 2017

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Monarch Movie Review: 4/20 Edition

Tyler Passarge | Staff Writer

‘Dazed and Confused’ (1993)

Courtesy Gramercy Pictures

Richard Linklater’s “Dazed and Confused” is a love letter to lost children who find themselves stuck between transitions in life. The film never demonizes those children for their aimlessness seeing as it is part of growing up and self-identifying. Interestingly enough though, the film never romanticizes them either. Like the characters of the film, everything is stuck within the in-between of life.

The year is 1976 and in a nameless town, many young adults are just getting out of their last day of school for the year. The film focuses on young characters within three different social groups: soon to be high school freshmen, soon to be seniors and the seniors who are about to graduate. Each of the characters face dilemmas that make them question their futures and how they can define themselves. Most of them, however, answer those questions with sex, drugs and partying.

While “Dazed and Confused” is mainly celebrated for its honest portrayal of adolescent angst, it also serves as the introduction platform for today’s biggest stars. Actors and actresses like Ben Affleck and Mila Jovovich all have found success that in some way stems for this film. The most notable actor introduction the film features is an iconic and awesome performance by Matthew McConaughey.

Since its release, “Dazed and Confused” has accomplished notoriety for its love for the aimless and the journey that is accomplished by that aimlessness. Its theme is presented in a fun and well-crafted style with a twist of nostalgia that only heightens the movie’s quality. Many potential viewers may not have been around for the ’70s, but Linklater has enough vivid memories of the period to sustain the film.

‘Reefer Madness’

 

Courtesy Motion Picture Ventures

Initially created as a piece of anti-drug propaganda in 1936, “Reefer Madness” has since become something of a cult classic to stoners. The filmmaker’s over exaggerated views on drugs are almost satirical by today’s standards in this cautionary tale of the reefer.

 

The film centers on a group of drug dealers bent on corrupting young high school students with wild parties and jazz music. Obviously, it’s “timeless” message hasn’t aged well, but it sure makes for some great unintentional comedy.

‘Pineapple Express’

Courtesy Columbia Pictures

In the modern era of film, actor/writer Seth Rogen and his crew have cemented their place as the main producer of stoner films. Films like “Sausage Party” and “Knocked Up” show Rogen’s talent in the genre, but “Pineapple Express” stands as the crown jewel to his résumé.

Two hapless stoners (Seth Rogen and James Franco) find themselves on the run when one of them inadvertently witnesses a murder committed by a big-time drug lord.

‘Inherent Vice’

Courtesy Warner Bros.

From famed director Paul Thomas Anderson comes his film based on the Thomas Pynchon novel “Inherent Vice.” The film is certainly on the oddball side of the stoner film spectrum, but it’s wacky and wonderfully dark sense of humor makes up for its arbitrariness.

The film is centered on a drug-addled private eye (Joaquin Phoenix) who finds his inhibitions and grasp on reality tested when an old flame returns. A mission to find his ex-lover’s fiancé leads the private eye on a strange and muddled path.

‘Up In Smoke’

Courtesy Paramount Pictures

Comedians Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong are truly the godfathers of their genre. In fact, the moment the stoner film genre is even mentioned, it’s hard not to think of this dynamic duo. Their comedy, centered on the hippie era and drug culture, has sparked controversy as the two sparked up themselves.

In their careers, the two have starred in a total of eight films together. However, the best of their outings, “Up in Smoke” is the key movie to seek out.