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Heady Entertainment: Victorian-Era Batman, Cartoon Trump, and the Epic "Black Panther" Soundtrack

Our weekly round-up of dank pop culture recommendations that will light up your weekend.

by Mike McPadden

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.

No big-screen movies seem weed-worthy this week (even Hollywood's got to occasionally sift through its seeds and stems), though we're stoked for Black Panther, which isn't out for another week. Nonetheless, we've got some dank-ass pop culture recommendations that will light up your weekend.

Our latest lit litany includes Batman-gone-steampunk, a cartoonish Trump (literally, for once), wigged-out splatter horror, and the most epic soundtrack for the aforementioned comic book blockbuster. Each pick is worthy of busting out your finest strain for, so let's go straight — but not "straight" — to this week's fresh-rolled recommendations.

STREAMING

"Batman: Gotham by Gaslight" (2017)
Director: Sam Liu
Cast: Bruce Greenwood, Jennifer Carpenter, Chris Cox
Watch It: Amazon, iTunes, On Demand

Adapted from the bestselling graphic novel, the animated epic Batman: Gotham by Gaslight casts the Caped Crusader in a "What If?" scenario set in the late 19th century.

The intoxicatingly-detailed artwork and free-flowing animation delivers steampunk glory. Plus, there's the added bonus of a Victorian-era Catwoman, who prowls about in the age of opium dens, absinthe, and Jack the Ripper.

"Good Time" (2017)
Directors: Ben Safdie, Josh Safdie
Cast: Robert Pattinson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Ben Safdie
Watch It: Amazon Prime

With Good Time, Robert Pattinson forever kicks Twilight to the curb by playing a two-bit Queens hustler on a frantic post-bank-heist run to get his brother sprung from jail. A bottle of liquid LSD figures big into the wild (mis)adventures that erupt from there, include a "trip" in every sense to Long Island's Adventureland amusement park. Just add pot to turn Good Time into a great time (actually, that works for pretty much everything!).

"Fate/Apocraphya" — Season 2 (2018)
Cast: Natsuki Hanae, Maaya Sakamoto, Kouki Uchiyama
Watch It: Netflix

The color-saturated action-fantasy anime Fate/Apocrypha returns for another season on Netflix. That means more shape-shifting heroes, vicious villains, and wicked warriors who embody both extremes — all battling it out across trippy sci-fi landscapes to possess the powers of the Holy Grail. Plan on blasting off into "Fate/Apocraphya" with your skull full of smoke and your eyes full of wonder.

"Suburbicon" (2017)
Director: George Clooney
Cast: Matt Damon, Julian Moore, Noah Jupe
Watch It: Amazon, iTunes, On Demand

Co-written by the Coen Brothers and directed in high style by George Clooney, the pitch-black satire Suburbicon tackles old-fashioned American racism with their signature perverse wit.

The film is set in 1959, so when an African-American family moves into the idyllic hamlet of the title, all manner of white panic bursts out, leading to no less than Twilight Zone dynamics and cold-blooded murder.

Matt Damon amuses big-time as a solid square who squirms (and worse) as the supposed "good life" only proves to get darker and uglier. Smoke, laugh, and think.

TV

"Our Cartoon President" (2018)
Creators: Stephen Colbert, Christ Licht, Matt Lapin, Tim Luecke, R.J. Fried
Cast: Jeff Bergman, Cody Lindquist, William Sadler
Watch It: Showtime

Even though the title may sound like an actual straightforward documentary of contemporary political bombast and idiocy, Our Cartoon President is actually an animated comedy by way of Stephen Colbert — and it's very much not for kids! Gutsy and gut-busting at the same time, plus loaded with laughs that, again just like the real deal, only get more delirious each time you take a puff at home.

CULT CLASSIC REISSUES

"The Gruesome Twosome" (1967)
Direcotr: Herschell Gordon Lewis
Cast: Elizabeth Davis, Chris Martell, Gretchen Wells
Get It: MVD

Perpetrated on the public by Herschell Gordon Lewis, the "Godfather of Gore" who invented splatter horror, The Gruesome Twosome is one of the mad moviemaker's most insanely drug-friendly efforts — which is saying something.

Elderly Mrs. Pringle (Elizabeth Davis) and her demented hulk son Rodney (Chris Martell) run a wig shop that they stock by scalping the unfortunate college students who rent rooms in their apartment building. If that sounds like a standard fright flick plot, consider this: the action is narrated by a pair of mannequin heads who talk to each other in the wig shop window!

BOOKS

"Where There's Smoke: The Environmental Science, Public Policy, and Politics of Marijuana"
Edited by Char Miller
Get It: Amazon

"Heady" is indeed the proper term to describe Where There's Smoke. Still, this serious, consciousness-expanding compendium of expert analyses and authoritative essays on the costs of marijuana prohibition — financial, environmental, human, and otherwise — is a must-read for any smoker aiming for even more elevated enlightenment.

MUSIC

"Cloud 909"
By Audio Push
Get it: iTunes

California hip-hop duo Audio Push issue their third official studio LP. Bank a bevy of blunts to puff along to this 18-track "double album" that's awash in glorious green haze (not for nothing do the title and multiple lyrics cascade with the imagery of clouds). Also listen for drop-ins by Eric Bellinger, Nahom, Turtle No Joke, and Jesse Boykins the III.

"Black Panther: The Album"
Various Artists
Get It: iTunes

A soundtrack befitting the upcoming blockbuster, Black Panther: The Album is the brainchild of no less a sonic super-being than Kendrick Lamar. Although Kendrick may famously not indulge in herb himself, anyone with ears and lungs that work can attest the potency his music brings to every marijuana experience — and vice versa.

Beyond Kendrick himself, this instant classic compilation features a dream team of hip-hop titans, including Future, SZA, The Weeknd, Schoolboy Q, 2 Chainz, Travis Scott, Saudi, Bames Wodumo, Read, Jorja Smith, Vince Staples, Yurgen Blackrok, Swae Lee, SOB X RBE, and more.

Ever the innovator, Kendrick and others team up with four breakout South African artists poised to light the universe (and listeners' stashes) on fire: Saudi, Sjava, Babes Wuomo, and Yugen Blackrock.

"Cool Blue Jewels"
By DJ Afterthought
Get It: iTunes

Pittsburgh mix-master DJ Afterthought rolls hot with Cool Blue Jewels, expanding his signature grooves into even more ecstatic territories. Showcasing frequent collaborator (and marijuana madman) Riff Raff, the album gets further bolstered by a star-studded guest roster that includes vocals by Wiz Khalifa, Chevy Woods, Blackbear, Jimmy Wopo, and Young Buck, along with surprise guitar-god thunder and lightning from Austin axeman supreme Gary Clark, Jr. Each note hits like a fresh toke.

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Mike McPadden

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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