Heady Entertainment: The Elevated Glory of "Black Panther" and Stoner Metal Straight from Hell!

Heady Entertainment: The Elevated Glory of "Black Panther" and Stoner Metal Straight from Hell!

Our weekly pop culture round-up is back, including the latest Marvel flick — one that raises the comic book movie to high art.

by Mike McPadden

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.

This week takes us to Black Panther's "Heart-Shaped Herb"-powered adventures, Coco's heart-warming hallucinations in The Land of the Dead, deep '90s nostalgia with the very non-sucky Everything Sucks!, and bold hip-hop highs by way of LARS and Nipsey Hussle.

So let's go straight — but not "straight" — to this week's fresh-rolled recommendations.

"Black Panther" (2018)
Director: Ryan Coogler
Cast: Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong'o, Michael B. Jordan

The superhero blockbuster of the century not only packs revolutionary vibes, it's a visual and sonic milestone just roaring to be amplified by puffing-and-passing just prior to your Black Panther viewing experience (adjust the potency to account for IMAX and/or 3D accordingly).

The premise alone seems like perfect stoner code: over the course of centuries, a succession of African heroes under the guise "Black Panther" acquire superpowers by ingesting — get this — the leafy, green, naturally growing "Heart-Shaped Herb."

Chadwick Boseman stars as King T'Challa, the contemporary Black Panther, who rules over the fictional high-tech paradise nation of Wakanda and benefits mightily from his intake of Heart-Shaped Herb. Michael B. Jordan handles villain duties as an exiled resident turned black-ops mercenary going by the loaded nickname "Killmonger." Lupita Nyong'o brings righteous fury as Nakia, the head of Wakanda's all-female special forces.

Black Panther elevates the comic book movie to high art — just score your own Heart-Shaped Herb to personally take it even higher.

Streaming

"Coco" (2017)
Directors: Lee Unkrich, Adrian Molina
Cast: Anthony Gonzalez, Benjamin Bratt, Gael Garcia Bernal

Watch It: Amazon, iTunes, On Demand

Coco, Disney-Pixar's spicily psychedelic deep dive into Mexico's Day of the Dead culture, is a sensory overload that cascades with color, music, spirituality, and explosive imagination — no cinematic simulation of an deliriously upbeat peyote trip has ever come off so joyful (and accurate!).

The plot follows Miguel Rivera (voiced by Anthony Gonzalez), an aspiring, 12-year-old singer-songwriter who visits his deceased ancestors in the Land of the Dead. He befriends Hector (Gael Garcia Bernal), a hilarious trickster skeleton, and uncovers family history while coming to understand the cosmic connections between the living and the afterlife.

It all adds up to make Coco the latest kiddie flick to become a not-so-secret stoner classic — a rich, rolling tradition that hails back to (at least) The Wizard of Oz (1939) and Fantasia (1940).

"Everything Sucks!" — Season One (2018)
Creators: Ben York Jones, Michael Mohan
Cast: Jahi Di'Allo, Peyton Kennedy, Patch Darragh
Watch It: Netflix

Millennial nostalgia hits Peak Mario Kart with Everything Sucks!, a 1996-set Netflix sitcom that takes place in a town called Boring. High school AV club geeks and drama club dorks bond over VHS rentals, alt-rock giving way to Disney pop on the radio, and the ups-and-downs of puberty during the high Nickelodeon era. Pack your bong with appropriately retro strains.

"Logan Lucky" (2017)
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Cast: Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Seth MacFarlane
Watch It: Amazon Prime

Steven Soderbergh's ambling, down-home heist comedy Logan Lucky got overshadowed last summer by the high-octane pyrotechnics of Baby Driver. Now you can catch it at home, light up, and ease back for this likable, laugh-packed spelunk alongside off-the-wall Deep South eccentrics as they attempt to rip off the Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR race in North Carolina. Smoker-friendly bonus: the screenwriter's name is Rebecca Blunt.

Cult-Classic Reissues

"The Bird With the Crystal Plumage" (1970)
Director: Dario Argento
Cast: Tony Musante, Suzy Kendall, Eva Renzi
Get It: MVD

Italian splatter maestro supreme Dario Argento (Suspiria) sparked his hard-hitting career with The Bird With the Crystal Plumage. The giallo murder mystery is awash in shock horror, bold aesthetics, and a skull-swirling score by the mighty Ennio Morricone (The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly). Plus, it's fill with, of course, Argento's delirious, intoxicating high style that reinvented both fright cinema and the concept of "the best scary movies to get high to."

"The Last Hunter" (1980)
Director: Antonio Margheriti
Cast: David Warbeck, Tisa Farrow, John Steiner
Special Features: Interviews, Trailer
Get It: Diabolik DVD

As druggy and transcendent as Francis Ford Coppolla's 1979 Vietnam epic Apocaplypse Now may be, few know that the movie started life as a screenplay titled The Psychedelic Soldier.

Leave it to Italian B-movie madman Antonio Margheriti, then, to not just run with that concept, but to actually swoop into the Philippines with an international cast and crew and shoot his own trippy 'Nam flick, The Last Hunter, on the still-standing sets from Apocalypse Now!

The result is a hybrid combat/horror blowout so hyper-violent that UK authorities banned it for "obscenity." It must be seen — while high — to be (just barely) believed.

Music

"Victory Lap" by Nipsey Hussle
Get It: iTunes

One of the most anticipated long-players of the year for hip-hop heads, Nipsey Hussle's Victory Lap boasts rhymes, beats, stories, production, and guest stars that bring smoking truth to the title — plus it drops to coincide with the NBA's All-Star Weekend.

Among the superstar collaborators are giants deemed by Nipsey as "three of the rappers I respect most" — Kendrick Lamar, Diddy, and YG — along with CeeLo Green, Swiss Beatz, Buddy, TeeFlii, Stacy Barthe, The-Dream and Marsha Ambrosius. Victory Lap also pairs perfectly, of course, with Nipsey's most recent custom weed strain, "Marathon OG."

"Last American Rock Stars" by LARS
Get It: iTunes

After what they say was 10 years of planning, Bizarre of D12 and King Gordy teamed up in 2017 under the alter egos Miles High Davis and Blaxl Rose to drop the monumental drug orgy mixtape Foul World.

Now, as LARS, they're back and more blazed than ever with a full, 14-track album, Last American Rock Stars. And if you thought they were wasted before, just spark up, open your ears, hold tight to the top of your skull for this one — better, yet, just let go!

"Split" by Windhand/Satan's Satyrs
Get It: Relapse Records

Both emerging from the Blair Witch districts of Virginia, contemporary stoner rock overlords Windhand and Satan's Satyrs each take a side for Spit, a shared EP described (with smoldering accuracy) as an "amp-worshipping, acid trip from Hell!"

Windhand supplies two epic-length doses of narcotic sludge; Satan's Satyrs punkish-ly cranks up the fuzz-metal for three rounds of skunk-scented abandon.

"Painted Doll" by Painted Doll
Get It: Tee Pee Records

Painted Doll delivers an unexpected psych-rock blast from a pair of collaborators that nobody — no matter how doped up— could see coming: Chris Reifert of deadly serious extreme metal demigods Autopsy, and guitar-shredding standup comic Dave Hill.

The pair's self-titled debut is a smokable feast of '60s space explorations, '70s power riffs, and contemporary lit virtuosity that sounds and transports like what Hill says the record is: the result of "a death metal guy and a power pop guy getting hammered together at a Goblin concert in Texas."

Follow Mike McPadden on Twitter


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Mike McPadden is the author of "Heavy Metal Movies" and the upcoming "Last American Virgins." He writes about movies, music, and crime in Chicago. Twitter @mcbeardo



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