Heady Entertainment: "High Maintenance" Returns, Turkish Stoner Films, and a History of Curse Words

Heady Entertainment: "High Maintenance" Returns, Turkish Stoner Films, and a History of Curse Words

Welcome back to MERRY JANE's weekly guide to just-released movies, books, and music — all fresh, dank, and THC-friendly.

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.

While no new theatrical movies seem worth your weed this week, other highlights include another delivery of High Maintenance on HBO, Blade Runner 2049 beaming in on streaming, a vintage trash-flick mashup of Conan and Dolemite, and The F***ing History of Swearing. So let's go straight — but not "straight" — to this week's fresh-rolled recommendations.

STREAMING

"Blade Runner 2049" (2017)
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Ana de Armas, Harrison Ford
Watch It: Amazon, iTunes, On Demand

Just like the original Blade Runner (1982), Denis Villeneuve's massively ambitious follow-up flopped in U.S. theaters (that said, it did just fine internationally) and now gets its second chance to engage, beguile, and blow minds of newcomers at home.

Ryan Gosling stars as K, a humanoid robot and member of the human-serving slave class known as "replicants." As was the job of Harrison Ford as OG Blade Runner Rick Deckard (who returns here in post-apocalypse Las Vegas), K's mission is to hunt down rogue replicants — a task that becomes infinitely more twisted once the machines start reproducing themselves.

As much as popcorn-spiked-with-edibles might have inflamed the Blade Runner 2049 experience on movie screens, the flick's arrival on streaming now enables sci-fi psychonauts to smoke up at home and fully absorb its simultaneously inspiring and terrifying dreamscape with repeated viewings.

"Drug Lords" (2018)
Watch It: Netflix

From Colombian cartel kingpin Pablo Escobar to Harlem heroin honcho Frank Lucas, new Netflix docu-series "Drug Lords" delves into the outlaws who built obscene fortunes and took countless lives — and had a massively dope time doing it — by cashing in on the insanity of America's ongoing prohibition and general War on Drugs.

Each of the eight one-hour episodes in the show's first season focuses on a separate case, and they all showcase interviews with both the narcs and narcos alike — at least the ones who lived to tell their tales.

"A Ghost Story" (2017)
Director: David Lowery
Cast: Casey Affleck, Rooney Mara, Will Oldham
Watch It: Amazon Prime

Amidst the onslaught of last year's wildly weed-friendly horror hits (Get Out; It; Happy Death Day), the sad, low-key darkly funny supernatural spooker A Ghost Story garnered a quiet cult following.

After a Texas husband known simply as The Man (Casey Affleck) dies in a car crash, he wakes up on a morgue slab, underneath a plain white sheet. He tears eyeholes in the cover, and then walks around in the most simple of traditional spirit garb.

The very fact the title character of A Ghost Story actually being a guy in a white sheet is worth the first bong-load; the slow-burn story that ensues as Affleck navigates his old lie as a spirit only we can see more than earns multiple passes of the pipe.

"Katt Williams: Great America" (2018)
Watch It: Netflix

"King of Underground Comedy" Katt Williams is as unpredictable and uproarious as Great America, his first-ever Netlix special, but he also speaks from the heart more than usual this time, even while splitting your sides with laughter.

Addressing the sold-out crowd from a smoke-engulfed Oval Office stage set, Williams lays into the orange elephant in the room by noting: "This new election changed everything. We learned white people know how to keep a secret."

Moments like that — along with a brutal gut-buster about how Williams is buying a self-driving car so he sit in the backseat to lower his chance of getting shot by police — make Great America this weekend's must-watch when you're ready to toke, think, and crack up all at once.

TV

"High Maintenance" — Season 2
Creators: Katja Blichfeld and Ben Sinclair
Cast: Ben Sinclar, Amy Ryan, Chris Roberti
Watch It: Amazon; HBO

HBO's adaptation of the web sitcom that lit up Vimeo (in every sense) returns to spark up your late Friday nights.

Ben Sinclair returns as The Guy, a bike-riding weed delivery dude who pedals around New York City, supplying his dank goods while momentarily dropping into the hugely diverse lives of his customers.

The Guy's rounds this season include a drag queen, a Hasidic Jewish man, and a radical feminist meeting that heats up and grows hostile before mellowing out with the miracle of marijuana.

CULT CLASSIC REISSUES

"The Sword and the Claw" (1975)
Director: Natuk Bayan
Cast: Yildirim Gencer, Nazan Adali, Reha Yurdakul
Buy It: MVD

In the 1970s and '80s, the Turkish B-movie industry produced amazingly insane, no-budget rip-offs of Hollywood blockbusters that have ruled as underground stoner classics since the bootleg VHS days (and they go by fantastically simple names: "Turkish Star Wars;" "Turkish E.T.," etc).

With The Sword and the Claw, Turkey actually beat Hollywood to Conan the Barbarian by seven years while simultaneously trying to make bank on Dolemite. It's an over-the-top sword-and-sorcery adventure mixed with the funky beats and flashy fashions of the Blaxploitation era — what could go wrong?

Also known as Lionman internationally, The Sword and the Claw boasts all the horrendous special effects, berserk violence, and bong-bustingly hilarious ineptitude fans of Turkish cinema have to come to know, love, and get blazed beyond belief to — and it delivers the goods in its own deliriously dank style.

BOOKS

"The F***ing History of Swearing" (2018)
By Anna Maria Kiosse
Publisher: Bis Publishers
Buy It: Amazon

From her HQ in the Weed Capital of Europe — Amsterdam — internationally renowned writer and artist Anna Marie Kiosse recounts this history of profane and obscene language in eye-popping high style.

In The F***ing History of Swearing, graphic words meet graphic design in a lush compendium best enjoyed with your best f***ing bowl of kush.

MUSIC

"Blisstonia" by Weird Bloom

Rome, Italy's sonic sky pilots Weird Bloom combine psychedelic extremes with experimental pop, and on the just-dropped Blisstonia they blast off into their most blatantly surreal set yet. Open your skull wide for the Bloom's most intoxicating dose-drop to date — filled with toe-tapping tunes and acid-blasted euphoria.

"Paranoia 2" by Dave East

Harlem-based, heavy-smoking rapper Dave East follows up his dynamic September 2017 Def Jam debut Paranoia: A True Story with the bluntly-titled mixtape, Paranoia 2.

Over the course of 15 furious tracks, East rhymes like a man on fire about the inners lives that line Harlem's byways. He's joined on the mic by a hip-hop murderer's row that includes Tory Lanez, T.I., Lloyd Banks, Bino Rideaux, Marsha Ambrosius, and Matt Patterson. Catch Dave on tour over the next couple of months — and start by committing this new knockout to memory.

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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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