As you know, the world celebrated 420 yesterday. To keep the good times rolling after the joyous occasion, it’s only natural some folks will continue celebrating well into the weekend. But there’s always the chance that you overdid it and just want to simmer down from all the festivities. If you’re opting to just stay home and watch movies, then our weekly Netflix recommendations will certainly come in handy.
Although our first pick doesn’t really have anything to do with weed, Ghost Team is the right choice if your brain's still fried from partying and you’re in the mood for some light entertainment. This movie was torn apart by critics, but it’s nowhere near as bad as they made it sound.
In Blush, however, the characters do indeed smoke the good stuff. The Israeli coming-of-age tale centers on two teenage girls who fall in love, and it’s a moving story. But for those searching for something with a harder edge, the Mexican crime film Los Jefes, about a kid trying to score weed in all the wrong places, should do the trick and make you appreciate all the states legalizing marijuana here in the US. And while most movies depict dealers as the bad guys, the gripping documentary The Seven Five flips the script, telling the true story of corrupt NYPD cops who started pushing dope.
Closing things out is a film we suggest you don’t watch high, as it’ll just mess with your mind a bit too much. A Patch of Fog, which features familiar faces from Game of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire, is a twisted story about a lonely man who blackmails a stranger into becoming his friend. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Warning: May Contain Spoilers
Ghost Team (2016)
Starring: Jon Heder, David Krumholtz, Justin Long, Melonie Diaz, Amy Sedaris
Director: Oliver Irving
The less you expect a mile-a-minute, big-budget extravaganza, the more you’ll likely enjoy this low-key, light-hearted indie comedy about a goofy group of everyday folks turned amateur ghost hunters. The movie stars Jon Heder as a shy but bright guy who attempts to escape his daily rut by gathering a makeshift crew to go investigate possible paranormal activity at an old farm out in the boondocks.
Truthfully, the film’s plot never rises above an average episode of Scooby-Doo. But the film does fluidly transition between harmless fun and a spooky haunted house-style atmosphere quite well. In its own endearing way, the movie demonstrates how with a little effort we can escape the doldrums of 9-to-5 living. Ghost Team may not make you laugh till you pee your pants, but it should at least keep you pleasantly amused. Plus, props to Heder, who brings enough nuance to his role to make you temporarily forget the actor’s famous Napoleon Dynamite persona.
Starring: Sivan Noam Shimon, Hadas Jade Sakori, Dvir Benedek, Irit Pashtan
Director: Michal Vinik
Here is a simple yet effective story about two female Israeli high school students who develop a romantic relationship. Well, perhaps “simple” is not the right word, as everyone knows teenagers’ lives are jam-packed with a mess of emotions and hormones that make even the simplest things complicated.
Dana (Hadas Jade Sakori) is a rebellious newcomer who catches the eye of the restless Naaama (Sivan Noam Shimon), whose life at home has been upended by the disappearance of her older sister, causing her parents to slowly freak out. The girls quickly bond listening to indie music, smoking spliffs after school, and popping E pills at clubs. When they do finally hook up (in a scene not for prudes), it seems like the most grounded thing in either girl's life.
The fact that their relationship doesn’t ever come under intense scrutiny, save for some odd looks from fellow students, is one of the best aspects of this often understated but moving film. Naaama never declares whether she plans to exclusively date women, she just seems happy learning she’s comfortable being with both guys or girls. She also figures out that some valuable lessons can only be taught by falling in love.
Los Jefes (2015)
Starring: Fernando Sosa, Greñas, Millonario
Director: Chiva Rodriguez
Genre: Crime, Drama
If you’ve smoked long enough, you’ve probably settled into a routine where you always buy your weed from the same dealer. But we’ve all been in a situation when our regular connect can’t come through, and against our better judgment, we try to score elsewhere. This movie will make you think twice about doing that in the future.
Poncho (Fernando Sosa) is a spoiled rich kid who ventures into a dangerous Mexican hood to buy pot from hip-hop-loving cartel dudes. (The memorable main bad guy, Bomba, is played by real life rapper Millonario.) It doesn’t take long for the audience to get caught up in the anxiety Poncho feels when buying weed from a stranger. As the poor dude learns, paranoia doesn’t just come from smoking weed.
Los Jefes, which translates to "The Bosses," also details the hierarchy of illegal drug operations and how vital it is to know one’s place in the chain of command. In this business, ignorance can be deadly.
The Seven Five (2014)
Starring: Michael Dowd, Ken Eurell, Adam Diaz
Director: Tiller Russell
Genre: Crime, Documentary
The Seven Five vividly details how a crew of crooked cops from Brooklyn’s 75th Precinct were busted for hundreds of criminal acts, including theft, extortion, and drug trafficking during the crack epidemic of the mid-80s and early-90s.
The ringleader was police officer Michael Dowd, who provides a great deal of first-hand testimony in this absorbing documentary. Some of his old cohorts — both ex-cops and ex-drug dealers — are also interviewed. These guys clearly have big egos and can’t help but brag about what they did. The stories they tell (backed by actual surveillance footage, convincing reenactments, and graphic murder scene photos) sound like scenes straight out of crime movies, further proof of how much more compelling the truth is over fiction. It’s obvious the cops let greed, along with drug and alcohol abuse, get the best of them. But you can tell they were also fueled by the adrenaline rush of committing crimes.
At a time when Blue Lives Matter advocates insist that we must support police no matter what, The Seven Five reminds us cops are human and they can sometimes break the law, too — only they’re shielded by a badge and by other cops who look the other way.
A Patch of Fog (2015)
Starring: Conleth Hill, Stephen Graham
Director: Michael Lennox
Genre: Drama, Thriller
In A Patch of Fog, Stephen Graham portrays a lonely security guard who one day catches a famous author, played by Conleth Hill (Lord Varys on Game of Thrones), shoplifting at his store. But rather than turn the video evidence of the theft over to authorities, the guard uses it to blackmail the writer — not for money, but for friendship, as weird as that sounds. What follows is a sick, obsessive game that finds one man trapped in a living nightmare as his personal space is invaded by a stranger he can’t stand.
As Al Capone on Boardwalk Empire, Graham has proved he’s able to explode in anger with the best of them. For this role, he impressively switches between menacing bully and sniveling weasel. It’s never specifically stated whether the guard is gay or just desires simple human interaction of any kind. Hill, meanwhile, plays the author as an arrogant academic adept at faking nice. Yet, as the movie progresses, we see they may actually be a fitting match: The writer gets off on shoplifting items he doesn’t need because it allows him a temporary loss of control in a life full of strict rules, while the guard engages in blackmail because it lets him exert control over deep feelings he probably can’t deal with in a real genuine relationship. Not great for people still smoking the leftovers of their 420 stash, but a captivating story nonetheless.