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.
The mad trips of Joker dominate the new movie releases, but beyond Joaquin Phoenix cracking up and killing it, the highly-awaited Dolemite Is My Name with Eddie Murphy makes its big screen debut in limited release, and Lucy in the Sky gets literally spaced out with Natalie Portman.
On the streaming front, the revolutionary Batwoman launches her reign, Nick Kroll’s hilariously awkward puberty cartoon Big Mouth returns for a third season, and Mr. Robot melts minds one last time.
Our vintage cult flick picks highlight Wes Craven’s underrated 1984 cannibal family shock sequel, The Hills Have Eyes Part 2, as well as guerilla-style ’90s riot grrl cinema with The Films of Sarah Jacobson.
New music to pair with marijuana this weekend includes the latest LPs by Angel Olsen, Blood Orange, and Danny Brown.
So let’s get straight — but not “straight” — to this week’s fresh-rolled recommendations.
Dolemite Is My Name (2019)
Director: Craig Brewer
Cast: Eddie Murphy, Craig Robinson, Wesley Snipes
In the ‘60s, fans of uproarious, foul-mouthed comedy passed reefers around to Rudy Ray Moore’s legendary party records. Then, in the ’70s, Moore lit up the big screen as Dolemite — his funktastic character that spoofed hyper-macho blaxploitation heroes — and turned grindhouse theaters into laugh-packed pot parties over the course of five cult classic flicks.
Dolemite Is My Name pays tribute to this one-of-a-kind comedy pioneer by providing the most dynamic role to date for another comedy giant, Eddie Murphy. Believe the hype about the Oscar buzz surrounding Eddie’s performance, and be sure to get plenty buzzed yourself when you catch Dolemite Is My Name in limited release this weekend. Then, do it again when the movie debuts October 25 on Netflix
Lucy in the Sky (2019)
Director: Noah Hawley
Cast: Natalie Portman, Jon Hamm, Zazie Beetz
Taking its title from the most archetypally tripped-out Beatles tune, Lucy in the Sky combines deep-space blast-offs with earthbound meltdowns to stunningly surreal effect.
Natalie Portman stars as Lucy, an astronaut who returns from a mission and commences an affair with Jon Hamm as a fellow cosmic traveler. Once he cheats on her, Lucy loses it, and the movie blends her memories of space with the madness of her mind. Get high for this Sky.
Director: Todd Phillips
Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Zazie Beetz, Robert De Niro
What more needs to be discussed in relation to Joker? Does anyone not know it’s a stark, savage immersion into lunacy regarding the origin of Batman’s killer clown arch-nemesis?
How about that Joaquin Phoenix explodes forth with the performance of his life the title role? Should we point out that Robert De Niro co-stars and Martin Scorsese executive produced?
Is there a reason to note that, by going pitch-black and relentless, director Todd Phillips elevates and intensifies the gritty comic film genre in Joker the same way he went outrageously over the top to reinvent 21st century party flicks with the Hangover trilogy?
Okay, here’s a nugget regarding Joker you’ll only get from MERRY JANE — the movie shares its name with a brand of rolling paper! Roll your pre-screening joints accordingly.
Wrinkles the Clown (2019)
Director: Michael Beach Nichols
While Joker is packing multiplexes this weekend, a smaller release about a scary clown offers an alternative for your pot-enhanced paranoia viewing pleasure.
Wrinkles the Clown is a documentary showcasing an anonymous senior citizen who, for the price of “a few hundred dollars,” will don the mask and costume of the titular circus weirdo and, he says, perform at parties and/or frighten misbehaving children.
Wrinkles himself first caught the public’s attention through a series of creeptastic late-night saunters around Florida, videos of which went viral. From there, the eerie clown became something of a local anti-hero and now, the movie claims, the guy in the suit has turned it into a very weird way to make a living. Watch it, with weed, and wonder what it all means.
Batwoman: Season One
Cast: Ruby Rose, Rachel Skarsten, Meagan Tandy
Watch It: CW
Batwoman boldly goes where no Batman — or any other live-action superhero series — has gone before by presenting its lead crusader as an out-and-proud lesbian, played dynamically here by Ruby Rose of Orange Is the New Black.
Beyond that revolutionary development, Batwoman fits tight amid CW’s other DC Universe sagas: It looks great, the backstories always intrigue, and the visuals bombard your eyeballs with such relentlessness you’ll barely have time to put down your bong between massive action blow-outs.
Big Mouth: Season 3
Voice Cast: Nick Kroll, Maya Rudolph, John Mullaney
Watch It: Netflix
Whether you’re stoned or not (and, yeah, we know, like us, you’ll be stoned), if you survived puberty, Big Mouth ranks high among the most fall-down funny and irresistibly uncomfortable animated series of all time.
Nick Kroll, Maya Rudolph, and John Mullaney give voice to the show’s three lead adolescents, whose awkwardness is both horrendous and hilarious. For season three, Ali Wong joins the cast as a new student, Thandie Newton voices a monstrous Hormone Mistress, and the Fab Five of Queer Eye try to spruce up the life-mess of the kids’ lovably hopeless gym coach.
Mr. Robot: Final Season
Cast: Rami Malek, Carly Chaikin, Christian Slater
Watch It: USA
Just 13 episodes remain in the mysterious, mind-bending, marijuana-inviting mega-verse of Mr. Robot.
The show’s final season takes place during the 2015 Christmas season, with haunted hacker hero Eliot Alderson (Rami Malek), his revolutionary sister Darlene (Carly Chaikin), and his cyberpunk alter ego Mr. Robot (Christian Slater) blowing circuits and crossing wires for the ultimate, apocalyptic showdown with both the Evil Corporation and international crime kingpin Whiterose (BD Wong).
As always, Mr. Robot’s sci-fi social commentary hits hard, while the frantic visuals and breakneck pacing add bang to each pull off your bong.
Raising Dion: Season One
Cast: Alisha Wainwright, Ja’Siah Young, Michael B. Jordan
Watch It: Netflix
Raising Dion is a superhero series unlike any other, focusing not on the mighty adventures of a musclebound crime-fighter, but on how a single mom copes with an eight-year-old who starts displaying powers and abilities beyond those of mortal third-graders. Alisha Wainright stars as the mom, and Ja’Siah Young plays Dion the super-kid. Dope, provocative, and ready to watch with a full pipe, Raising Dion is one highly intriguing trip.
The Films of Sarah Jacobson (1997)
Director: Sarah Jacobson
Cast: Lisa Gerstein, Greg Cruikshank; Beth Allen
Get It: AGFA
The Films of Sarah Jacobson showcases a pair of mini-masterworks by the iconoclastic alt-’90s movie maker who Roger Ebert deemed “The Queen of Underground Cinema” before her untimely death at age 32.
Arising from the punk milieu that produced Xeroxed zines, indie tape trading, and the riot grrl rebellion, Sarah Jacobson’s movies are guerilla productions that provoke, inspire, and enlighten while also being massively entertaining, particularly when viewed with fellow dissidents and plenty of dope for the passing.
I Was a Teenage Serial Killer (1993) is the feminist vigilante short that put Jacobson on the cultural map. Mary Jane’s Not a Virgin Anymore is her feature-length triumph, a coming-of-age story from an underrepresented point of view that helped ignite the indie cinema revolution worldwide. Kudos to the American Genre Film Society (AGFA) for creating this Blu-ray collection to ensure that Sarah’s message will positively scorch all comers forever.
The Hills Have Eyes Part 2 (1985)
Director: Wes Craven
Cast: Michael Berryman, Tamara Stafford, Kevin Spirtas
Get It: MVD
Wes Craven’s 1977 shocker The Hills Have Eyes, about a wholesome family trapped in the desert by a clan of mutant cannibals, is an all-time stoner horror favorite. Craven’s little-known 1984 sequel, The Hills Have Eyes Part 2, never really found a wide audience, but thanks to Arrow Films’ new mega-packed collectible Blu-ray, your chance to properly puff away to it has arrived at last!
Most importantly, Michael Berryman returns as Hills’ head flesh-eating cave dweller Pluto. This time, though, Pluto and his rag-tag bunch of inbred fiends menace a motorbike racing team whose bus breaks down near their literal hole-in-the-ground headquarters.
While not as skillfully suspenseful as the original classic, Hills Part II is way nuttier, featuring primitive ghouls battling sports bikers in hyper-’80s style, and a dog who has flashbacks to the first movie that we all get to experience!
By Angel Olsen
Buy It: Angel Olsen Official Website
Indie rock enchantress Angel Olsen goes big on All Mirrors — like booming, sweeping orchestral big — and the result is an intoxicating sugar-soul goth opera of the highest order that’s best experienced, naturally, after getting your own high in order.
Veering from sensuous string section cascades to beep-and-click bouts of electronica, All Mirrors incorporates ’50s torch song dynamics, ’70s glam rock swagger, and Angel’s own inimitable soul baring and song styling to make it her most dizzyingly doob-worthy effort to date.
By Blood Orange
Get It: Blood Orange Official Website
Under the moniker Blood Orange, UK singer, songwriter, producer, and all-around dank music maven Dev Hynes never fails to blaze and amaze. Angel’s Pulse, his latest mixtape, is a series of short, sharp jolts to the imagination shot through with synth haze, mechanistic drum beats, deep ’90s invocations, with guest shots by Project Pat, Gangsta Boo, and Toro Y Moi.
U Know What I’m Sayin?
By Danny Brown
Get It: Apple Music
Hot off his Vice talk show, Danny’s House, Detroit hip-hop visionary Danny Brown ignites the world’s ears again with U Know What I’m Sayin?, his fifth full-length album. Executive produced by Q-Tip, the LP’s 11 tracks also feature studio magic from an all-star roster that includes JPEGMAFIA, Flying Lotus, Thundercat, Playa Haze, and Standing on the Corner. We all know what you should be smoking when you press play on U Know What I’m Sayin’?
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