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.
In movie theaters this week, the gangland thriller The Kitchen takes us to New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen in 1978, when weed was cheap and life was even cheaper; while Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark proves to be a scary movie to get stoned to and see in the dark.
New streaming premieres include the dope documentary Free Meek, funnyman Julio Torres hitting HBO with My Favorite Shapes, and the martial arts mayhem of Wu Assassins.
Two all-time cult classics are just out in collector’s editions: Al Pacino’s amyl-nitrate-enflamed S&M murder mystery Cruising (1980), and “Rowdy” Roddy Piper’s uber-creepy cheesefest Hell Comes to Frogtown (1988).
Music-wise, after a long, slow burn, Ugly God busts out Bumps and Bruises, Why? bends brains like hybrid strains with AOKOHIO, and the single-character title of Trippie Redd’s latest says it all: !
So, let’s get straight — but not “straight” — to this week’s fresh-rolled recommendations.
The Kitchen (2019)
Director: Andrea Berloff
Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish, Elisabeth Moss
Few film settings blend as naturally with marijuana as scary, scummy New York City in the late ‘70s, so pack a big apple-bong with your most nostalgic dirt weed and go smoke up at The Kitchen.
Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish, and Elisabeth Moss co-star as housewives married to gangsters who ruthlessly run the drug-flooded, professional-sex-strewn Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood — until the dudes all get busted and end up in prison.
With their hoodlum hubbies out of commission, these three lethal ladies take on their families’ businesses and take out the competition in gloriously seedy, sleazy, and entertaining fashion.
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019)
Director: André Øvredal
Cast: Zoe Margaret Colletti, Michael Garza, Gabriel Rush
Adapted from a classic series of spooky kids’ books, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark updates the vintage bone-chilling tales with twenty-first century terror and cutting-edge visual effects best experienced (like all things, really) while inebriated.
Set in the small town of Mill Valley during the drug-bombed days of 1968, Scary Stories focuses on the wicked secrets of the Bellows family and all the literal nightmares they bring to life, including Harold the Scarecrow Mark Steger), The Jangly Man (Troy James, and, most hair-raising of all, The Toe Monster (Javier Botet)
Free Meek: Season One
Watch It: Amazon Prime
After a highly questionable bust in 2008 (that was later overturned), the suffering inflicted on rapper Meek Mill by the so-called justice system is outrageous and infuriating. On the flip side, Meek’s commitment to truth, struggle for freedom, and ongoing activism for prison reform are elevating and inspiring.
Free Meek, a new documentary series produced by Jay-Z, details this wronged man’s hard path to righteousness by exposing the rigged power structure and allowing Meek himself to tell his story, his way, in hope of creating possibilities for all of us, moving forward.
Julio Torres: My Favorite Shapes (2019)
Watch It: HBO
Surrealist comedian Julio Torres refers to himself as “Space Prince,” and he’s launched some of the most uproarious stoner comedy moments of recent years on Saturday Night Live and Los Espookys.
On his debut HBO standup special, My Favorite Shapes, Torres busts guts and brainpans alike with tributes to the title subjects. Among them are an oval that wishes he were a circle, a self-conscious cactus, and a fancy Ferrero Rocher chocolate. Light up and laugh hard.
Wu Assassins: Season One
Cast: Iko Uwais, Katheryn Winnick, Byron Mann
Watch It: Netflix
Erupting forth from Indonesia and Malaysia, the down-and-dirty fighting style known as silat knocked the world on its ass through the international cult movie series The Raid — a mind-frying franchise that’s particularly beloved by stoners.
Now, the new series Wu Assassins is bringing silat fighting to Netflix with even more ferocity and fury worth firing up multiple joints to watch. Iko Uwais stars as Kai Jin, an apprentice chef in San Francisco who suddenly discovers he’s a Wu Assassin with powers he never imagined he had, with the fate of humanity hanging on the impact of every kick.
Cult-Classic Collector’s Editions
Director: William Friedkin
Cast: Al Pacino, Karen Allen, Paul Sorvino
Get It: MVD
Cruising is part giallo-style horror, part narc paranoia screed, part travelogue of New York City’s pre-AIDS sexual underworld, and all perfect to get blown away by while hopped up on poppers and other intoxicants reminiscent of the time and place at hand (among other body parts).
Al Pacino stars as Steve Burns, a deep cover NYPD detective dispatched to track a serial killer who’s slaughtering leather daddies in the city’s wildest gay bars, peep shows, and sex clubs. The further he immerses himself in the all-out, drug-pumped orgasmic abandon, though, the more Burns comes to question his own identity, orientation, and even sanity.
Numerous gay groups protested Cruising at the time of its release, claiming the movie portrayed the community as psychotic and sadistic. Since then, though, audiences and critics have reevaluated Cruising as a powerful work by director William Friedkin (The Exorcist, The French Connection) that introduced the mainstream to many new notions of fluid sexuality, even as it unflinchingly showcases some shockingly extreme carnal interactions.
Hell Comes to Frogtown (1988)
Directors: Donald G. Jackson, R.J. Kizer
Cast: Roddy Piper, Sandahl Bergman, William Smith
Get It: Vinegar Syndrome
A genuine “only-in-the-’80s” concoction, Hell Comes to Frogtown is a motion picture experience that must be experienced under the influence of marijuana — and it may actually only ever been watched that way.
Pro wrestling legend “Rowdy” Roddy Piper stars as Sam Hell, a post-nuke apocalypse survivor roaming what’s left of Earth, and, since he’s the last fertile man alive, he goes about repopulating the planet in willy-nilly fashion.
Once the government discovers that a race of frog-headed mutants is holding human virgins captive in their territory — Frogtown, naturally — Sam is captured and ordered to rescue the maidens so that he can knock them up in a manner that most pleases the powers that be.
The whole thing is even more nuts than it comes off here, and after years of Hell Comes to Frogtown ruling as a bong-passing VHS party favorite, Vinegar Syndrome has properly restored this funny, weird, occasionally scary cult favorite with a proper collector’s edition Blu-ray. Match this upgrade with a far better strain of weed than what this movie’s original fans were smoking as they croaked along with the onscreen amphibians.
By Trippie Redd
Get It: Apple Music
On !, Trippie Redd’s pointedly titled new LP, the Atlanta-based rapper, singer, and songwriter channels dives deeper, darker, and danker than he has to date. That’s no small feat for this exploding phenom, and it all adds up to a multitude of reasons to get high AF in preparation for this latest arrival. Among the mighty players dropping in with Trippie are Playboi, Lil Baby, Lil Duke, Coi Leray, and legendary OG The Game. Also, brace yourself properly with bud for a heavy-duty with Trippie’s alter-ego TR666.
Get It: Why? Official Site
Yoni Wolf, the mind behind the genre-hopping sonic sorcerers known as Why?, returns to his real-life roots on the new multimedia project AOKOHIO. After debuting the “visual album” in June, the “musical album” has arrived, and it’s a bong blast of big ideas in brilliantly broken bites swirled out across 19 tracks in six “movements.” Push play, inhale deep, and go where it takes you.
Bumps and Bruises
By Ugly God
Get It: Ugly God Official Site
Bumps and Bruises, the first official album release from Ugly God took three years to perfect, but as you puff along with each of the 12 tracks, you’ll appreciate how much the wait was worth it. Guests include Splash Dexter, Takeoff, and Wintertime. Pack a bowl, then bump along until you get bruises.
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