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.
Nastily hilarious stoner comedy smokes up multiplex screens this weekend in the form of Arizona and The Happytime Murders. Bare-bellied stand-up comic Bert Kreischer slays on Netflix. LeBron James and Maverick Carter invite Snoop Dogg to help open The Shop on HBO. Vincent Price drops acid (for real!) in the vintage horror howler The Tingler. And there’s new musical marijuana accompaniment from Bas, Blood Orange, and Bobby Brackins. So let’s get straight — but not “straight” to this week’s fresh-rolled recommendations.
Director: Jonathan Watson
Cast: Danny McBride, Rosemarie DeWitt, Luke Wilson
Set against the post-2008 real estate bust, the sick-joke satire Arizona opens with Danny McBride blowing the brains out of Seth Rogen — so right away, the presence of those two stoner comedy icons announces it’s time to ease back, inhale deep, and crack up as antic anarchy overtakes the screen.
McBride plays Sonny, a trigger-happy hothead who loses his house and deals with it by imprisoning his real estate agent (Rosemary DeWitt) and massacring anybody who comes within splattering range of his makeshift arsenal. Arizona’s comedic points aren’t subtle, so make sure the strain you opt for matches the movie’s gags when it comes to sledgehammer impact.
“The Happytime Murders” (2018)
Director: Brian Henson
Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Elizabeth Banks, Joel McHale
The premise of puppets behaving badly — very badly — has inspired extreme marijuana comedy favorites from Peter Jackson’s Meet the Feebles (1989) to the Broadway smash Avenue Q to the marionette madness of Team America: World Police (2004).
Now comes The Happytime Murders by way of star Melissa McCarthy and writer-director Brian Henson, the actual son of Muppets creator Jim Henson, so the ante has been upped in terms of R-rated puppet possibilities.
Set in a world where humans and puppets co-exist side-by-side, somebody is knocking off felt-faced cast members of an old kiddie TV show called The Happytime Gang. McCarthy plays an LAPD detective who teams with puppet private eye Phil Phillips (voiced by Bill Barretta).
From there, the dirty-mouthed duo descends into an underground of hard drugs, kinky sex, and explosive body fluids — a plethora of puppet madness that’s perfect to enjoy with a side of pot.
Director: Aaron Guzikowski
Cast: Charlie Hunnam, Rami Malek, Eve Hewson
Papillon is the awe-inspiring true story of French safecracker Henri "Papillon" Charrière (Charlie Hunnam) who gets framed for murder and sentenced to life on the infamous penal colony Devil’s Island. Once there, he teams up with wily counterfeiter Louis Dega (Rami Malek) and becomes the only prisoner to ever escape.
Taking place in Paris and the tropics off the coast of Guyana during the 1930s, Papillon contrasts beautiful scenery with sadistic misery in a manner that gets considerably intensified by watching it on weed. The fact that the movie stars Hunnam from Sons of Anarchy and Malek from Mr. Robot — two of the most toked-to TV shows of the 21st century — only amplifies Papillon’s pot pedigree.
“Bert Kreischer: Secret Time” (2018)
Watch It: Netflix
Standup comic Bert Kreischer is a paunchy, weed-and-whisky-loving party animal who hits the stage, rips off his shirt, and erupts into routines so hilarious you might barf into your bong water (so be careful). In Secret Time, Kreischer lets us in on his attempts to balance living life like an endless orgy of indulgence with the inevitably buzz-busting realities of being a new dad. It’s a scary prospect, but Bert turns it into a laugh riot.
“The Innocents”: Season 1
Cast: Sorcha Groundsell, Percelle Ascott, Guy Pearce
Watch It: Netflix
The new Netflix series The Innocents tracks 16-year-old couple June (Sorcha Groundsell) and Harry (Percelle Ascott) as they run away from home in rural England to face life on their own terms.
That would be a daunting prospect for anybody that young, but it gets considerably more complicated once June discovers she’s a shape-shifter who can jump around into other people’s bodies.
The Innocents, then, is a cool supernatural series that supplies sci-fi thrills while never skimping on coming-of-age drama — two of the very best binge-watch tropes to indulge in while blitzed.
“The Shop”: Season 1
Cast: LeBron James, Maverick Carter
Watch It: HBO
The new HBO series The Shop brings the urban barbershop experience right into your home, as superstars from the realms of sports and entertainment take a seat, get spruced up by stylists, and sound off on any topic that comes up in the open atmosphere.
Each episode features co-creators LeBron James and Maverick Carter. On the first installment, they’re joined in the chairs by hip-hop icon Snoop Dogg, the New York Giants’ Odell Beckham Jr., the New Orleans Saints’ Alvin Kamara, NBA star Draymond Green, WNBA MVP Candace Parker, and former Daily Show host Jon Stewart.
No subject is off-limits and no debate gets so heated that the overall good vibes turn sour. You might not get an actual haircut while watching The Shop, but nobody’s going to tell you that you can’t smoke that thing inside here, either.
Director: Terry Gilliam
Cast: Jeff Bridges, Jodelle Ferland, Jennifer Tilly
Get It: MVD
Monty Python veteran and one-of-a-kind cult director Terry Gilliam describes Tideland as “Alice in Wonderland meets Psycho through the eyes of Amélie.” Man, does he get that right!
Tideland is a hallucinogenic sojourn into the inner life of a troubled child, vividly brought into being by Gilliam’s visual brilliance. The plot centers on nine-year-old Jeliza Rose (Jodelle Ferland) who, to escape her harsh reality in rural Texas with junkie parents (Jeff Bridges and Jennifer Tilly), invents a fantasy world that grows increasingly weird — and dark.
“The Tingler” (1959)
Director: William Castle
Cast: Vincent Price, Judith Evelyn, Darryl Hickman
Get It: Shout Factory
Horror director William Castle specialized in gimmicks such as “Emergo,” wherein a skeleton on a string flew out over the audience during House on Haunted Hill (1959), and “Percepto,” his greatest achievement, which involved electrifying audience members’ seats at the climax of The Tingler.
While the gimmick became legendary, The Tingler itself is one of the most batshit berserk movies ever made, all about mad scientist Vincent Price experimenting with LSD (in the 50s!) and using the ensuing trips to track down the creature of the title — an interdimensional bug-monster that will kill you by latching onto your spine unless you scream. And, whoa, does Vincent Price ever want you to scream!
“Wonder Women” (1973)
Director: Robert Vincent O’Neill
Cast: Roberta Collins, Nancy Kwan, Sid Haig
Get It: Vinegar Syndrome
Wonder Women is an amphetamine blast of grindhouse insanity about Dr. Tsu (Nancy Kwan), a medical madwoman who conducts evil experiments on a tropical island that’s protected by her all-female army of martial arts assassins.
After the diabolical doctor kidnaps a champion athlete for his buff body parts, a heroic insurance investigator (who needs secret agents?) battles bikers and leads an invasion into Dr. Tsu’s island lair to free her captives. From there, Wonder Women really goes entertainingly off the rails. No matter what intoxicant you choose to watch this on, the end result will certainly be a trip.
Get It: iTunes
In his first release since 2016’s Too High to Riot, Bas proves he’s exactly high enough to create a dope disc of globe-spanning sounds that incorporate his Sudanese roots, his upbringing in both Paris and Queens, and the wide worlds of wonder he’s experienced along the way. Also on board for Milky Way’s reefer-fueled rocket ride are fellow travelers A$AP Ferg, J. Cole, and Ari Lennox.
By Blood Orange
Get It: iTunes
Negro Swan, the fourth album from the ebullient multi-talent also known as Devonte Hynes, is a meditation on personal suffering and interpersonal salvation. Slow-burning and soulful, Negro Swan invades your brain with ’80s-style pop, quiet-storm jazz, boisterous funk, and heartfelt lyrical authenticity. It’s perfect for both smoked-up solo contemplation and a shared experience where emotions flow like joints passed among friends.
“To Kill For”
By Bobby Brackins
Get It: iTunes
Bay Area sonic bomber Bobby Brackins follows up his 2016 LP To Live For with a fresh platter titled, naturally, To Kill For. Even as a producer-songwriter-rapper-etc. known for building huge expanses of sound, Brackins somehow expands the scope of each track here to new highs (in every sense).
All at once, Brackins’ signature synths, hi-hats, and snaps take on more deliriously vast dimensions, creating a rich, infinite canopy under which to consume cannabis. Along for the elevated inebriation are guests G-Eazy, Jeremih, Marc E. Bassy, P-Lo, Joy, Tinashe, and Olivia O’Brien.
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