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Heady Entertainment: Playboi Carti, "The Mushroom Fan Club," and Getting High without Drugs

The best pot-friendly pop culture of the week, also featuring the infinitely-charismatic Blocboy JB, a second superhero sesh with “Deadpool 2,” and the blazing remake of “Fahrenheit 451.”

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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.

May-rijuana keeps proving to be a heady month, indeed, so this week let's drop by the dealer en route to see Deadpool 2; blaze up and witness freedom burning in Fahrenheit 451; pick the proper weed strain to pair with the David Lynch classic Wild at Heart; and live lit to Die Lit by Playboy Carti. So let's get straight — but not "straight" to this week's fresh-rolled recommendations.

Movies

"Deadpool 2" (2018)
Director: David Leitch
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Zazie Beets, Josh Brolin

Ryan Reynolds returns in Deadpool 2 as Marvel's most obviously reefer-fueled renegade anti-hero. As a direct "fuck you" to Disney's ban on smoking in their superhero flicks, the movie's very first shot focuses on Deadpool puffing a butt right into the camera. The amped-up attitude only escalates from there.

With even more mirth, mayhem, and meta-drenched merry malevolence than the first go-round, our massacre-happy, smart-mouthed protagonist takes on the very notion of superhero movies themselves while also, gorily and gloriously, working to take down evil cybernetic mutant Cable (Josh Brolin, who yes — as Deadpool points out — is also presently at the multiplex as Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War).

Streaming

"Cargo" (2018)
Directors: Yolanda Ramke, Ben Howling
Cast: Martin Freeman, Anthony Hayes, Susie Porter
Watch It: Netflix

Hailing from Australia — a nation well-versed in pot-ready, post-apocalyptic entertainment via the Mad Max series — Cargo chronicles Martin Freeman (The Hobbit, Sherlock) as a pandemic-surviving dad who — dammit! — gets been bitten by a zombie. Amidst a world-turned-wasteland, then, Freeman has to search out and secure proper a guardian for his baby daughter (the precious "cargo" of the title), while the clock ticks down until he turns flesh-eater.

Cargo plays out as a paranoid nightmare made intoxicatingly entertaining by Freeman's frantically-sympathetic performance, as well as the feature's general atmosphere of delirious dread.

TV

"Fahrenheit 451" (2018)
Director: Ramin Bahrani
Cast: Michael B. Jordan, Michael Shannon, Sofia Boutella
Watch It: HBO

Ray Bradbury's immortal anti-censorship sci-fi novel Fahrenheit 451 gets an all-too-timely modern retelling in this scorchingly-ambitious HBO production. Michael B. Jordan stars as Guy Montag, a "Fireman" in a nightmarish near-future society where books have been outlawed. His job is to burn any printed page he comes across. The hyper-villainous Michael Shannon plays a Fireman, too, but (as you might guess) he really loves his job.

Director Ramin Bahrani (99 Homes) viscerally conjures a world gone mad in its pursuit of "protecting" individuals from exposure to ideas the powers that be deem "dangerous." Sound familiar?

In its original book form, Francois Truffaut's hyper-stylized 1966 big-screen version, and now here on HBO, Fahrenheit 451 is one of the all-time great artistic blows for freedom — be it freedom of expression, freedom of possession, or the freedom to just be left alone so you can get high and read MERRY JANE in peace!

Cult-Classic Reissues

"The Return of Swamp Thing" (1989)
Director: Jim Wynorski
Cast: Heather Locklear, Louis Jordan, Dick Durock
Get It: MVD

Back before every superhero got their own blockbuster, Wes Craven's Swamp Thing (1982) — based on one of D.C. Comics's weirdest and most weed-welcoming titles — acquired a cult-following as a unique, fairly-serious creature feature.

For The Return of Swamp Thing, B-movie director Jim Wynorski (Chopping Mall, Scream Queen Hot Tub Party) turns the sequel into a campy, madcap comedy about a romantic bog monster who falls hard for the daughter of a mad scientist. It's best enjoyed, of course, with marijuana and/or mushrooms, in honor of the overgrown natural habitat for which Swamp Thing himself is named.

"Wild At Heart" (1990)
Director: David Lynch
Cast: Laura Dern, Nicolas Cage, Willem Dafoe
Get It: Shout Factory

This week sees the re-release of one of visionary weirdo filmmaker David Lynch's wildest rides, Wild at Heart. The flick follows Laura Dern and Nicolas Cage as reckless lovers simultaneously plowing headfirst into the darkest heart of the American dream and humanity's nightmares.

Hugely bizarro highlights along the way include Crispin Glover as a Christmas obsessive who may be a space alien; Willem Dafoe as Bobby Peru, one of cinema's all-time most oozing sleaze-bags; Laura Dern's real-life mom Diane Ladd severely misusing lipstick; and a cameo by the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz.

Books

"The Book of Highs: 255 Ways to Alter Your Consciousness Without Drugs"
By Edward Rosenfeld
Publisher: Workman Publishing Group
Get It: Quimby's Bookstore

Make no mistake: At MERRY JANE, we're all about altering your consciousness with drugs! What The Book of Highs provides, though, is a clear, handy compendium of how-to instructions for continuing to elevate and expand your mindset at all times — before, after, and even during otherwise chemically-enhanced head adventures.

An initial version of The Book of Highs came out in 1973, in direct response to the U.S. government outlawing psychedelics. This gloriously-updated edition incorporates everything from ancient practices such as Zen meditation, self-hypnosis, and sleep deprivation to cutting-edge modern tech developments on the order of flotation tanks, brainwave machines, and virtual reality.

"The Mushroom Fan Club"
By Elise Gravel
Publisher: Enfant
Get It: Quimby's Bookstore

While not solely dedicated to psychedelic varieties of fungi, The Mushroom Fan Club — writer/cartoonist Elise Gravel's incandescently illustrated exploration of her passion for finding and feasting on fresh forest growths — is a feast for the eyes. It's also perfect for perusing after popping "magic" samplings of the titular toadstools.

Music

"Die Lit"
By Playboi Carti
Get It: iTunes

It was just a year ago that Playboi Carti ignited a global firestorm with "Magnolia," and the Atlanta rapper keeps delivering on — and surpassing — that massive early promise with more singles, mixtapes, and now Die Lit, his electrifying debut album.

Playboi bounces beats and rhymes off each other with both swaggering bravado and nervous energy. What a feat! It's a phenomenon perfectly captured and conveyed, production-wise, by a team overseen by Pi'erre Bourne. Listen lit, re-listen lit, and then, yes, you will die lit, too.

"Simi"
By Blocboy JB
Get It: iTunes

At just 21, Memphis rapper Blocboy B is capping a year of triumphs that kicked off with his smash "Shoot" by delivering Simi, a mixtape that's high energy (emphasis on the "high"), sharply smart, and frantically fun — all while being tinged with meaningful glints of sadness (the title is the name of Blocboy's friend who passed away).

If all that sounds like a lot to take in, it is — so just roll a dope fattie, fire it up, and let both Blocboy and the weed rush you through Simi's gleeful good times and richly rewarding emotions. Just peep the video for "No Chorus Part 11" and you're bound to be hooked on Blocboy's infinite charisma, serious swagger, and next-level talent for cutting shapes.

"Music Is Magic"
By Big Kizz
Get It: Tee Pee Records

Music Is Magic brims with the twisted powerpunk of Big Kizz, an amalgamated strain of some of Sweden's heaviest stoner metal hitters — Axel Sjöberg (ex-Graveyard), bassist John Hoyles (Spiders, ex-Witchcraft), and vocalist/guitarist Pontus Westman (Lady Banana).

This is righteous, retro reefer rock, spiked with power-pop, garage grunge, and Beatles-esque side-trips by the bong-load. This "Magic" record undeniably blossomed up from the poppy fields, mushroom patches, and psychedelic grow houses of these headbangers' collectively-expanded consciousness. Dive in and embrace the aural abyss!

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