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.
Plus, with the holidays in the air (among other aromas), Heady Entertainment can serve as a little ganja-pumped gift guide. So let's go straight — but not "straight" — to this week's fresh-rolled recommendations. On this week's roundup, we analyze the high points (pun all the way intended) of Star Wars, take a gander at some tripped-out trolls (the animated, fun kind), listen to Jeezy under Pressure, and revel in a trippy trove of other dank delights.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)
Director: Rian Johnson
Cast: Daisy Ridley, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill
What's left to be said regarding Star Wars in general and The Last Jedi in particular? Luke Skywalker's back, the new array of heroes and villains are in place, and Episode VIII showcases prominent roles for two all-time stoner favorites: the green philosopher/warrior/mind-blower Yoda and the towering, hairy, space-Sasquatch supreme, Chewbacca.
In addition, The Last Jedi also introduces a fresh couple of instantly cannabis-compatible creations: the adorable, fur-feathered, penguin-like porgs (just imagine cuddling one while rolling on MDMA), and a crystalline, glowing eyed ice-fox known as a vulptex (not huggable-looking, but definitely '70s van art/black-light-poster awesome).
So pack your smokable lightsabers tight, spark up outside the theater, and then ease back and blast off yet again for the galaxy that's not actually ever that far, far away.
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Starring: John Boyega, Jack Reynor, Hannah Murray
Detroit is a heavy, brain-stimulating, often heartbreaking account of the 1967 riots in the Motor City that profoundly shook up politics, race relations, policing the police, and other issues that continues to define America a full 50 years later.
It's not a fun watch, but one that can lead to some serious conversations, especially if you smoke before/after. The movie's soundtrack is both as fiery and smooth as one could hope, featuring (among others) Marvin Gaye, Martha Reeves, John Coltrane, the Dramatics, and the Devotions. Sweeter still is that the official album is out on Motown.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017)
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Cast: Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, Julianne Moore
Watch It: Amazon, iTunes, On Demand
In the sequel to the 2014 blockbuster Kingsman: The Secret Service, Harry Hart (Colin Firth), Eggsy Unwin (Taron Egerton), and the single-monikered Merlin (Mark Strong) save the world again as Her Majesty's most simultaneously buttoned-up and badass super-spies this side of 007.
The Golden Circle is also, like its predecessor, hyper-stylish, hyper-violent, and hyper-fun to get high to as it ecstatically overwhelms with globe-spanning adventures, state-of-the-art visual effects, and so many all-star cameos it's easy to lose count (among them: Halle Berry, Channing Tatum, Elton John, and The Dude himself, Jeff Bridges).
Trollhunters: Part 2 (2017)
Creators: Guillermo del Toro, Marc Guggenheim
Cast: Amy Landecker, Ron Perlman, Mark Hammill
Watch It: Netflix
The second season of Trollhunters — the terrifically trippy animated Netflix series created by visionary fantasists Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water) and Marc Guggenheim (Arrow) — delves deeper and grows even more dreamlike this time around. Adjust your accompanying weed strain accordingly.
Are you over 18?
As you'd expect from the title, a ragtag cabal of adventurers (human and way, way otherwise) slip beneath the surface world of Arcadia into the Darklands to take on mythical beasts in explosively colorful throw-downs.
Do our heroes also achieve various levels of consciousness-upgrading enlightenment along the way? That's a question best pondered while watching six-eyed Blinky (Kelsey Grammar) guide sword-wielding teen Jim (the late Anton Yelchin) and bulky, belligerent beast-troll Bular (Ron Perlman) in battle against evil beings known as Gumm-Gumms.
Cult Classic Reissues
D.O.A.: A Rite of Passage (1980)
Director: Lech Kowalski
Cast: Sex Pistols, The Clash, Dead Boys
Buy It: Diabolik
D.O.A, director Lech Kowalski's definitive documentary on 1970s London punk, plunges viewers immediately and all the way into electrifying mosh-pit of high nihilism and narcotic bliss.
Frontline interviews and drug-pumped action footage comes shot through with brilliant live performances by the Clash, the Damned, the Dead Boys, X-Ray Spex, Sham 69, and Generation X, featuring pre-solo stardom Billy Idol.
Really, though, D.O.A. belongs to the Sex Pistols. Kowalski's camera captures punk's most furious quartet conquering the UK and then embarking on their doomed U.S. tour, where Johnny Rotten and the boys mostly played (amazingly) to outraged locals in the Deep South. Be careful not to choke on your smoke when Sid Vicious, who's barely able to stand erect on stage in Texas, takes a flying hamburger to the face.
Rawhead Rex (1987)
Directors: Clive Barker and George Pavlou
Cast: David Dukes, Kelly Piper, George Pavlou
Buy It: Kino Lorber
Brace your bong for Rawhead Rex, a highly '80s onslaught of utterly bugged-out splatter horror and monster-movie overkill, adapted from a story by Clive Barker (Hellraiser, Night Breed), who also co-directs.
Are you over 18?
After laying dormant for hundreds of years, the towering demon-hulk of the title erupts up from a lake in Ireland and, from there, the human-hungry beast's feast is on.
Rex himself is worth getting mega-stoned for, just to stare in weed-wacked wonder at the details of his huge, hairy, hunch-backed, fang-faced costume with its myriad moving parts, all of which serve severely gory gross-out purposes. It's a blast destined to make you laugh, shriek, and get freaked — oftentimes all at once.
"No_One Ever Really Dies" — N.E.R.D.
Buy It/Stream It: Amazon, iTunes
Seven years have passed since Pharrell Williams last released a long-player along with Shay Haley and Chad Hugo under the genre-scrambling (mostly) hip-hop guise of N.E.R.D. — and what a seven years it's been.
While the multi-mega-talented Williams ascended to global superstardom by singing "Happy," the world around him (and all of us) seemed to largely go to hell. No_One Ever Really Dies is where Pharrell and associates return fire.
The album hits hard, grooves hard, rocks hard, and leaves multiple deep impacts. It's one to smoke to as well, and, amidst the storm of sounds, think hard about everything N.E.R.D. brings up, calls out, and lays down.
"Pressure" — Jeezy
Buy It/Stream It: Amazon, iTunes
Atlanta's master trap blaster Jeezy barrels forward, smokables blazing, toward 2018 on the provocatively monikered Pressure with rhymes, beats, muscular songs, and brain-rearranging production set way past mere "stun."
Pressure's first two singles, "Bottles Up" with Puff Daddy (as he's calling himself again) and "Cold Summer" with Tee Grizzley, supply a telling taste of these 13 ferocious and fulfilling tracks. "American Dream," Jeezy's collaboration with Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole, exceeds the hype. Roll up in Pressure and let it smoke you.
Are you over 18?
Sweet Death and Ecstasy — Midnight
Buy It: Hells Headbangers
Cleveland stoner metal lords Midnight burn it down again. Sweet Death and Ecstasy, their new heap of marijuana-inflamed heavy metal (and beyond), sprays, flays, and slays with avalanche riffs, venomous intent, and glorious undercurrents of sex-among-the-flames-of-Hell before it swarms paradise on the black wings of weed demons. Get low and trip high with these mayhem-makers.
Follow Mike McPadden on Twitter