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.
As the merry (jane) month of May-rijuana blows forward, let's get lit and laugh with Melissa McCarthy as a literally-tripping, middle-aged co-ed in Life of the Party; explore the cannabis-ready ramifications of cloning with the final season of Orphan Black; guffaw at the stupor heroes of SuperMansion; and groove to a just-dropped array of sounds from the varied likes of Ski Mask the Slump God, Child Bite, and DJ Koze. So let's go straight — but not "straight" — to this week's fresh-rolled recommendations.
"Life of the Party" (2018)
Director: Ben Falcone
Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Gillian Jacobs, Maya Rudolph
We've seen Melissa McCarthy tear it up on-screen as a cop in The Heat (2013), a secret agent in Spy (2015) and now, in Life of the Party, she's a suburban mom who endlessly complicates her daughter's college experience by registering for classes at the same school.
Naturally, Melissa proves she can out-drink, out-smoke, out-trip, and all-around out-thrash even the most hardcore hedonists on campus, prompting a funny onslaught of sight gags and slapstick bashes just made to be giggled at while mixing edibles in with your popcorn at the multiplex.
"Evil Genius: The True Story of America's Most Diabolical Bank Heist" (2018)
Directors: Barbara Schroeder, Trey Bozillieri
Watch It: Netflix
The new Netflix documentary crime series Evil Genius recounts the way-fucked, fact-based saga of a Pennsylvania pizza delivery driver who robbed a bank with a bomb locked around his neck, blew up, and, in death, exposed a bizarre web of Midwestern weirdoes committing sick, sadistic crimes while messing with the FBI. It's acid trip into an outlaw underworld beyond rationality that requires copious reefer to even attempt to comprehend!
"Here to Be Heard: The Story of the Slits" (2017)
Director: William E. Badgley
Cast: Ari Up, Viv Albertine, Tessa Pollitt
Watch It: Hulu
Here to Be Heard delivers an in-depth exploration of The Slits, one of the most daring and diverse squadrons of '70s London punk — a boundless cabal that broke innovative musical and aesthetic grounds of such monumental magnitude.
In addition to tossing out all the old rules of rock, The Slits also profoundly absorbed and transformed Jamaican rhythms and sensibilities into their sound, mixing pogo-dancing with pot to create a hard-edged bliss that still remains unsurpassed.
"Orphan Black: The Final Trip" (2018)
Creators: Graeme Manson, John Fawcett
Cast: Tatiana Maslany, Dylan Bruce, Jordan Gavaris
Watch It: Amazon Prime
The sense-warping Canadian sci-fi clone series returns to the U.S. for one last run through the infinite possibilities — good, bad, and cosmically-unhinged — of what it means to be (and not be) human. Pair Orphan Black with your most thought-provoking weed strain and then let the saga lift you from there into the realm of big questions.
"SuperMansion" Season 3 (2018)
Creators: Matthew Seinreich, Zeb Wells
Cast: Bryan Cranson, Heidi Garner, Keegan-Michael Key
Watch It: Crackle
A-list all-stars voice SuperMansion, a baked-brain, over-the-top stop-motion animated series about the most ludicrous array of superheroes forced to combat crime while simultaneously occupying the dwelling of the title. It's a nonstop deluge of all the thoughts you've ever had while tripping and wondering what might happen if your old action figures came to life and proved to be severely — and hilariously — fucked-up.
"The 'It's Alive' Trilogy" (1974, 1978, 1987)
Director: Larry Cohen
Get It: Shout Factory
Mutant infants run amuck in B-movie visionary Larry Cohen's campy grindhouse horror triad. If you've got no kids, these flicks are perfect for guffawing over while giddy on the ganj. And if you are a parent or expecting to be one, puff away and enjoy some hysterically-heightened paranoia.
The original It's Alive landed with a shock in 1974, with moviegoers questioning if A) there was really a horror movie about a killer baby out there; B) if they would show the actual killer baby; and C) whether the actual flick could measure up to the instantly freak-out-inducing TV ads that declared: "There's only one thing wrong with the Davis baby… IT'S ALIVE!" The answer to all three was (and remains), "Hell, yes!"
It Lives Again (1978) triples the on-screen post-pregnancy anarchy with three adorable terror tykes, while Island of the Alive (1987) quarantines the murderous monstrosities to a tropical getaway where they cannibalize outsiders.
"Two Thousand Maniacs!" (1964)
Director: Herschell Gordon Lewis
Cast: William Kerwin, Connie Mason, Jeffrey Allen
Get It: MVD
Two Thousand Maniacs! gushes oozes as arguably the "best" movie made by gross-out schlock-flick pioneer Herschell Gordon Lewis aka "The Wizard of Gore." As a result, not only does the bright red slop gush by the bucket, but there's actually a bit of brain-prodding above and beyond HGL's other splatter specialties such as Blood Feast (1963), Color Me Blood Red (1965), and The Gore-Gore Girls (1972) — all of which are also highly recommended to watch while wasted.
The Maniacs of the title are members of a mystical Deep South town that materializes once a decade to exact savage revenge on Northern tourists for the Civil War. In between sanguine sick-joke murders (such as rolling a howling Yankee down a lush Dixie hill inside a spiked barrel), Lewis manages some real atmosphere that forecasts rural fright fare to come, such as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974). On top that, the lightning-speed bluegrass banjo picking on the soundtrack is a hoot to hear when you're zooted!
"Get Baked: Space Cakes, Pot Brownies, and Other Tasty Cannabis Creations"
By Dane Noon and Lex Lucid
Publisher: Spruce Books
Get It: Quimby's Bookstore
Sure, it's yet another weed cookbook, but authors Dane Noon and Lex Lucid prove especially engaging in their presentations. The recipes contained herein are simple, straightforward, and munchtastically delicious — which makes them perfect to follow, execute, and enjoy during all stages of getting stoned!
"Beware the Book of Eli"
By Ski Mask the Slump God
Get It: iTunes
At just 21, Florida rap maven Ski Mask the Slump God has packed this much anticipated mixtape to the max with enough pot-ready rhymes, beats, off-the-wall ideas, and sonic innovations to make this one of the year's most smoking releases (in every sense) to date.
Guest authors within the Book of Eli include Rich the Kid, Lil Yachty, Offset, Ronny J, and Ski's idol, Busta Rhymes. So do Beware — this record is a stoner's paradise!
By Child Bite
Get It: Housecore Records
Burnt Offerings rounds up and sets loose two discs worth of art-bent gore-grime punk-metal rarities, live tracks, and other tripped-out treasures from Detroit noise brutalists Child Bite. It even comes with a freak-show of a free poster to stare at while imbibing and allowing this music to mess with you all over, mind-first.
By DJ Koze
Get It: Pampa Records
German mix-meister DJ Koze whips up an especially exotic and intoxicating strain of sonic delights on Knock Knock, his first long-player in five long years. Commingling '70s smoothness and ethereal Euro-techno with boom-bap beats, windswept hallucinatory expeditions, and lingering scents of his brazen old-school Fischmob bravura, Koze rewrites his own entire Table of Contents here, puffing all the way.
Upping the album's illuminating impact are guest vocals from the likes of Roísín Murphy, Sophia Kennedy, Jose Gonzaelez, Lambchop frontman Kurt Wagner and — here's a dip way deep into everyone's collective memory stash — Speech from '90s MTV hip-hop fixtures Arrested Development!
Follow Mike McPadden on Twitter