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Smoking Banana Peels: The Top 7 Movie Monkeys We’d Like to Get Lit With

Who wouldn’t want to get zooted with Zira from the OG “Planet of the Apes”? Hell, even Steve Zahn’s Bad Ape from the new reboot looks like a chill pot partner.

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Lead image by Sara Wass

Apes and monkeys? Always entertaining. And aside from maybe video games — and, of course, smoking itself — watching movies ranks way high among stoner pastimes.

When feature films showcase simian stars, then, it’s an especially ace occasion to spark up, sit back, and enjoy the hairy antics onscreen — as is the case with the new War for the Planet of the Apes, which is out in theaters today. Some primate performers shine so brightly, in fact, that it’s fun to imagine actually hanging out with them, and maybe even getting up to some marijuana-fueled monkey business together.

So for every stoner who’s ever longed for a chimp chum or a baboon bud to swing off the screen and belly up to your bong-passing circle, here are our picks for seven movie monkeys who seem like they’d be particularly fun to get high with.

Bad Ape
War for the Planet of the Apes (2017)
Breed: Chimpanzee

Steve Zahn brings heart, humor, and a rush of stoner warmth to the otherwise overwhelmingly dark and dramatic War for the Planet of the Apes. It’s the third installment of the so far all-awesome Apes series that began in 2011 with Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

Zahn plays Bad Ape, a chimp who escapes from an abusive Colorado zoo and lives as a hermit in a funky ski resort after a monkey virus wipes out most of humanity. Like Caesar (Andy Serkis), the chimp who leads the new ape society into battle against monkey-murdering humans, Caesar can speak English.

In addition, given his mellow nature, befuddlement at contending with a new world of animals like himself, and the innate hippie vibes of his Colorado upbringing and groovy mountain crash pad, Bad Ape seems like maybe he’s already discovered canna-bliss on his own. There’s only way to be sure, though…  

The Hangover Part II (2011)
Breed: Capuchin

Not only does Crystal the capuchin deal dope in Thailand to the heroes of The Hangover II, she actively puffs a cigarette on camera. Alas, that turned out to be digital trickery, as Crystal’s cig was actually ceramic and techies added the smoke in post-production.

Regardless, whether she’s gallivanting with Indica icon Zach Galifianakis or licking Ken Jeong in places she shouldn’t, Crystal comes off as a party animal supreme. In fact, Jeong highly praised his co-star by stating, “She's amazing. She's not a monkey; she's an actor. And quite possibly the best actor I've worked with!" We say that earns her at least a bowlful of the best blend!

Planet of the Apes (1968) / Escape From the Planet of the Apes (1971)
Breed: Chimpanzee

A class act all the way, Zira and her husband Cornelius (Roddy McDowall) are chimpanzee scientists who conspire to aid time-tripping human astronaut Colonel George Taylor once they discover he can speak and reason just like they do.

While Zira proves to be especially compassionate, her society’s orangutan elders and gorilla military agents flip out over the fearsome prospect of a talking man and want to dissect Taylor ASAP.

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Eventually, Zira helps Taylor escape into the Forbidden Zone (and the greatest twist ending in movie history), whereupon she and the colonel share a juicy interspecies kiss. That’s something to witness when you’re wired!

Unfortunately, humanity does not repeat the kindness to Zira and Cornelius in the series’ third entry, Escape From the Planet of the Apes. This time, the chimps time-travel back to 1971 San Francisco. At first everything’s cool and Zira even becomes a psychedelic fashion figure. The powers that be, however, are predictably uncool with the apocalyptic implications of upright, intelligent primates and tragedy strikes.

If only the humans and apes could have realized they’re all on the same Planet of the Nugs earlier, everybody could have smoked themselves to a resolution that was mutually satisfying to man and monkey alike.

Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994) / Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (1995)
Breed: Capuchin

Anybody who watches Jim Carrey run wild through Ace Ventura: Pet Detective might understandably conclude that his character is no stranger to the Green Goddess. Just consider Ace’s frenetic fashion sense, his tendency to bend over and talk out of his butt, and the fact that his closest confidants tend to sport feathers and fur. Such traits might seem off-the-wall for somebody sober, but drop some doobage into the mix and they make perfect sense.  

Then there’s Ace’s best bud, Spike, a capuchin who shares his companion’s flair for Hawaiian shirts, slapstick high jinks, and mirthful mysteries centered on exotic animals. Spike even tags along to Africa for the sequel, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls. All this indicates that if Ace is toking up, Spike is right there, too, taking the next puff.

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Every Which Way But Loose (1978) / Any Which Way You Can (1980)
Breed: Orangutan

Philoe Beddoe, Clint Eastwood’s truck-driving bare-knuckle boxer character in Every Which Way But Loose and Any Which Way You Can, travels America’s highways and comically gets into dust-ups with Clyde, his right-hand orangutan.

Clyde downs beers by the bucketful, flips the bird to multiple deserving parties, and, when prompted by the command, “Right turn, Clyde,” can knock out any would-be brawler with a sudden right hook. Philoe also breaks into a zoo at night to allow his companion to court some females of his species, and it’s clear Clyde is a world-class swinger, to boot.

Couple all that with the Which Way films being closely associated with the 1970s’ “outlaw country” musical movement — when outspoken smokers on the order of Willie Nelson and Hank Williams, Jr. ruled airwaves with reefer-fried hits — and it would hardly seem surprising to see Clyde pull a joint out of his fur, fire it up, and offer you the first hit.   

Schlock! aka Banana Monster (1973)
Breed: Gorilla

Director John Landis, who’d go on to helm Kong-sized comedy classics such as Animal House and Trading Places, makes his debut with Schlock!, a charmingly low-budget, anything-goes spoof of vintage creature features.

Landis even plays the title role, a madcap monkey-man in an early gorilla suit by Hollywood makeup master Rick Baker (Landis and Baker collaborated again with more famously spectacular results in 1981 with An American Werewolf in London). Schlock himself is a lovable troublemaker and even pops into a theater to catch some old monster movies. Such a setting would be a perfect place to share something with him a touch more potent than popcorn.

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The movie paces itself at about a joke-a-minute, with most gags being hugely goofy, such as having a blind girl befriend the rampaging ape because she thinks he’s a dog. In other words: perfect humor to guffaw over between exhales.  

From: MVP: Most Valuable Primate (2000), MVP: Most Vertical Primate (2001), MXP: Most Extreme Primate
Breed: Chimpanzee

Upping the awesomeness of the mechanical monkey who plays third base in the Matt LeBlanc baseball head-scratcher, Ed (1996), Most Valuable Primate stars Jack, a real-life, flesh-and-hair chimpanzee who can actually ice skate and really does wield a mean hockey stick. It’s a blast to watch Jack score goals, so just envision what it would be like to score some weed with him, too.

In MVP’s two sequels, Jack returns and masters a pair of the most marijuana-friendly sports known to jocks who like joints. First, Jack displays mad skateboard skills in Most Vertical Primate (2001) and then he closes out the trilogy as a champion snowboarder in MXP: Most Xtreme Primate (2003).

Follow Mike McPadden on Twitter

Visit Sara Wass' website for more of her design and art direction work

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