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.
Expect multiplexes and arthouse theaters alike to be swathed in smoke this weekend as no less than six potential cannabis cinema classics light up big screens, including the blockbuster sequels Maleficent: Mistress of Evil and Zombieland: Double Tap, the edgy satires Greener Grass and Jojo Rabbit, the indie hair-raiser The Lighthouse, and the return of reefer movie royalty in Jay and Silent Bob Reboot.
On the streaming front, an all-new Watchmen series sets HBO ablaze, while Paul Rudd takes on Paul Rudd (sort of) in the new Netflix sci-fi comedy, Living With Yourself.
Setting our (red) eyes on upcoming Halloween entertainment treats, check out the new extras-loaded editions of the 1988 goo-gore classic The Blob and the doubly diabolical 1990 Dario Argento/George Romero collaboration, Two Evil Eyes.
Music-wise, get ready to bake and bliss-out to new drops from Gucci Mane, Foals, and Pick a Piper.
So let’s get straight — but not “straight” — to this week’s recommendations.
Greener Grass (2019)
Directors: Jocelyn DeBoer, Dawn Luebbe
Cast: Jocelyn DeBoer, Dawn Luebbe, Beck Bennett
Improv comics Jocelyn DeBoer and Dawn Luebbe, who wrote and directed Greener Grass, also star as rival soccer moms in a bizarro-world take on bucolic bedroom community competitiveness where everyone wears braces to improve their already flawless teeth, the golf cart is the primary form of transportation, and fussy kids can be turned into loyal golden retrievers just by wishing for it.
Greener Grass socks it to suburban conformity with satirical glee, stinging performances, and blissed-out hyper-real production design that very much stays in line with the drug-blitzed glory evoked by the title.
Jay and Silent Bob Reboot (2019)
Director: Kevin Smith
Cast: Kevin Smith, Jason Mewes, Harley Quinn Smith
In the annals of ’90s comedy duos beloved by burnouts — e.g., Bill and Ted, Wayne and Garth, Beavis and Butt-head — only Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Kevin Smith) openly celebrate what makes them such lovable dunderheads: weed, weed, dick jokes, and more weed.
Twenty-five years after their Clerks debut, Jay and Silent Bob Reboot plunges the middle-aged, but still endlessly puffing pair, into a new travail from New Jersey to Hollywood across Smith’s “View Askewniverse.”
Smoke hard, as Reboot is a nonstop avalanche of in-jokes and meta-moments, with Smith playing a Hollywood version of himself, and cameos by Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, and Jason Lee as their characters from previous Smith flicks that adds up to what’s essentially a joyfully cannabis-soaked class reunion.
In the meantime, check out our recent interview with Jason Mewes for MERRY JANE's "About That Time!"
Jojo Rabbit (2019)
Director: Taika Waititi
Cast: Scarlet Johansson, Roman Griffin Davis, Rebel Wilson
In our present era of safe satire and comedians under constant criticism, Jojo Rabbit gambles big by trusting the audience to understand its intentions and delivering a sweet, exquisitely crafted fantasy set at the peak of World War II in which little German kid Jojo (Roman Griffith Davis) pals around with his hilariously idiotic imaginary friend — Adolf Hitler (director Taiki Waititi).
Jojo’s world gets rocked when he discovers his mom (Scarlett Johansson) is hiding a Jewish girl (Thomasin McKenzie) in their attic. Stephen Merchant as a Gestapo Agent and Rebel Wilson as a Hitler Youth instructor are insanely funny to the point that, once you come up for another hit between crack-ups, the deeper implications of the situation’s insanity sinks in.
At once a send-up of Wes Anderson’s twee excesses and a unique demonstration how the horrors of history can seem “normal” to those perpetrating them, Jojo Rabbit is both guffaw-out-loud uproarious and profoundly thought-provoking: two qualities that pair perfectly with pot.
The Lighthouse (2019)
Director: Robert Eggers
Cast: Willem Dafoe, Robert Pattinson, Valeriia Karaman
Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson co-star in this black-and-white chiller, The Lighthouse, as lonely, crusty lighthouse keepers who have been at the job for so long that their isolation warps their perceptions of reality — or does it? The Lighthouse is a slow-burn plunge into total darkness.
In 2015, writer-director Robert Eggers created an instant horror classic with The Witch and forever gifted stoner rock fans with a timeless icon — the evil goat “Black Phillip.” Eggers returns now with The Lighthouse, and he’s mounted yet another impressively inventive fright-fest destined to heighten pot-smokers’ paranoia forever.
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019)
Director: Joachim Ronning
Cast: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Michelle Pfeiffer
When Disney goes trippy, they often get it right. Case in point: the 2014 blockbuster Maleficent, where Angelina Jolie scorched the screen as the Magic Kingdom’s ultimate wicked queen.
Now, five years later — with all the updated makeup effects, CGI technology, and increasingly potent legal marijuana in the vicinity of Hollywood that entails — Jolie roars back in Maleficent: Mistress of Evil.
Battling sweet Princess Aurora (Elle Fanning) and righteous Queen Ingris (Michelle Pfeiffer), Mistress of Evil will still have you rooting for the demonic villainess, particularly as she casts whirlwinds of spells that play especially well on-screen after you’ve adequately adjusted your consciousness.
Zombieland 2: Double Tap (2019)
Director: Ruben Fleischer
Cast: Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Jesse Eisenberg
Bombastic blood, gross-out guts, witty wisecracks, and nonstop on-screen mayhem all combined to make Zombieland (2009) one of our modern era’s top go-to movies to toss one while passing a bong.
Ten years later, the entire lead cast reassembles — and, yes, that includes Bill Murray — for Zombieland: Double Tap. The sequel busts out everything that made the original so much fun, plus it adds Luke Wilson, Thomas Middleditch, Zoey Deutch, and another surprise cameo by a classic comedian.
Living With Yourself: Season One
Cast: Paul Rudd, Aisling Bea, Desmin Borges
Watch It: Netflix
Paul Rudd stars in the brain-bending sci-fi sitcom Living With Yourself as Miles, a ground-down, middle-aged husband in a rut who undergoes a cutting-edge treatment to become a better version of himself — only to have that version of himself come to life and take over every aspect of Miles’ existence.
Playing both Miles and his idealized alter-ego, Rudd is his usual charming self, but he’s also allowed to run riot, turning Living With Yourself into joint pleasure in every sense of the term.
Watchmen: Season One
Cast: Regina King, Don Johnson, Jeremy Irons
Watch It: HBO
Alan Moore’s Watchmen has been blowing stoner minds since its mid-’80s debut as a superhero comic book series that permanently subverted its own form and kicked open the door to an infinite array of ideas and expressions never previously imagined in the medium — it was like somebody introduced LSD to the Justice League.
Zac Snyder’s 2009 movie adaptation certainly has its devotees, but it’s also got quite a few (loud) detractors. HBO’s new weekly series approach to Watchmen may at last have cracked the code on how to translate this saga to the screen.
Set in an alternate version of the near-future where superheroes are outlaws, the Internet was never invented, and the Hollywood star Robert Redford has been president since 1992, Watchmen reimagines the original set-up by focusing on just a few characters from the original and unleashing them in a United States that’s even more poised to explode than our present one.
Cult Classic Collectibles
The Blob (1988)
Director: Chuck Russell
Cast: Shawnee Smith, Donovan Leitch Jr., Candy Clark
Get It: Shout Factory
The Blob makes good on what the title promises: A mass of goo from outer space crash-lands on Earth and consumes everything in its path that moves, expanding in size and menace with each man, woman, and animal it devours, ultimately threatening to blob-ify the entire planet.
The original 1958 version of The Blob is a camp classic; director Chuck Russell’s 1988 reboot uses cinematic savvy and eye-bulging practical effects to up the premises paranoia-inducing quotient, and also to have some grand, gory fun.
As a result, a slow-simmering cult has been dedicated to The Blob remake for decades and, at long lost, Shout Factory has paid proper tribute with an extras-packed special edition Blu-ray. Naturally we recommend watching The Blob with a massive sampling of THC-infused Jello treats.
Two Evil Eyes (1990)
Directors: Dario Argento, George Romero
Cast: Harvey Keitel, Adrienne Barbeau, Asia Argento
Get It: MVD
Among the pantheon of bloody genius horror filmmakers, zombie-lord George Romero and Italian giallo maestro Dario Argento reign among the highest. Two Evil Eyes pairs the diabolical directors by having each adapt a terror tale written by Edgar Allan Poe. So, that’s double the exquisite terror for every toke of your doobage. And assisting in all the on-screen mayhem, of course, is supreme makeup and gore effects master Tom Savini.
The Romero-directed “The Facts in the Case of Mr. Valdemar” stars Adrienne Barbeau (Creepshow) as an unfaithful wife who puts her husband under a spell so she can steal his fortune — only to invite vengeance from the realm of the dead.
Argento’s “The Black Cat” showcases the mighty Harvey Keitel as a crime scene photographer whose girlfriend’s pet feline seems to be driving him homicidally insane. The sick twist is a shocker that only Argento could possibly make work—and he does.
Blue Underground's three-disc collector’s edition of Two Evil Eyes is a must-have for your marijuana-driven Halloween season viewing.
Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost Part 2
Get It: Foals Official
Back in March, Foals upended the very scope and possibilities of what anyone might have expected from these UK indie-rock heroes with the mammoth, sprawling, intoxicating ambitious Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost Part 1. As promised, Part 2 just landed and it’s not just a sequel to last spring’s mind-popper, it’s at the very least an equal. Taken as one monumental epic, Foals have updated and expanded the profoundly marijuana-rooted concept of the grand, operatic double album for the 21st century.
By Pick a Piper
Get It: Bandcamp
Pick a Piper is the collaborative project of sleek aural adventurer Brad Weber. The new album, Sight, hypnotically intermingles EDM, sound collage, looping melodic interludes, and thunderous percussion into a listening experience of limitless imagination, particularly when lit.
By Gucci Mane
Get It: Gucci Mane Official
Just four months after Gucci Mane dropped Delusions of Grandeur and stormed Coachella with Lil Pump and Smokepurpp in the guise of Gucci Gang, Atlanta’s dopest triumphs again with Woptober II. It’s a sequel to 2016’s Woptober and, as usual, its grandeur is no delusion. The three singles so far — “Richer Than Errybody,” “Big Booty,” and “Tootsies” — set a tone that, track by track (and toke by toke), Woptober II surpasses as a trip unto itself.