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.
Let's spark up the month of May-rijuana with Cobra Kai, a gut-busting episodic update of The Karate Kid; the natural disaster horror The Rain on Netflix; the '80s splatter schlock of Blood Hook and the '70s disco delirium of Thank God It's Friday; and new mind-reeling musical releases from aural adventurers Rae Sremmurd and Black Moth Super Rainbow. So let's go straight — but not "straight" — to this week's fresh-rolled recommendations.
Director: Jason Reitman
Cast: Charlize Theron, Mackenzie Davis, Ron Livingston
Yes, Tully is a comedy about a burnt-out, middle-aged mom-of-three (Charlize Theron) and the free-spirited nanny of the title (Mackenzie Davis) who elevates her put-upon employers out of their suburban doldrums. No, that doesn't sound much like a movie to which we'd normally encourage you to expend precious marijuana.
Chill, though — the vibe is loose and Apatow-like in its approach to the humor inherent to every day disasters. Plus, Charlize recently told People magazine she's open to smoking pot again and Mackenzie co-starred in two recent schwag-tastic sci-fi classics: Blade Runner 2049 (2017) and the "San Junipero" episode of Black Mirror.
On top of that inherent tokability, Ron Livingston of the stoner cinema essential Office Space plays the dad here — and we all know it's nothing but wavvy to huff a joint to any screen his face is on.
"Cobra Kai" (2018)
Creators: Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg, Josh Heald
Cast: William Zabka, Ralph Macchio, Courtney Henggeler
Watch It: YouTube
Sadly, Mr. Miyagi was unavailable, but the new YouTube Red series Cobra Kai reunites Karate Kid stars Ralph Macchio and William Zabka in their respective roles as Daniel-san and the blonde bully Johnny — then it does a fast sweep and knocks out all expectations.
For this all-grown-up 2018 update, though, Daniel is a jerky, pompous car dealer and Johnny is a broken-down loser who never recovered from that famous crane-kick to the kisser he got in the original movie.
Cobra Kai's plot focuses on Johnny's road to redemption by training a pack of adolescent misfits in martial arts, while Daniel suspects his old rival is secretly plotting revenge. It's equal parts funny and moving, so pick an accompanying strain to smoke that really heightens your emotional responses… and physical reflexes — *throat chop!*
"The Rain" (2018)
Creators: Jannik Tai Mosholt, Esben Toft Jacobsen, Christian Potalivo
Cast: Alba August, Angela Bundalovic, Lucas Lynggaard
Watch It: Netflix
A hair-raising Danish TV hit that became a shorts-wetting international sensation, The Rain chronicles a post-apocalyptic Scandinavia where a single drop of the title element can kill you — and, for most of humanity, it already has. A terrifying atmosphere mixed with gorgeous natural scenery that's rendered potentially-fatal makes The Rain the prime pick this week to watch while puffing your favorite paranoia-inducing pot product.
"I'm Dying Up Here": Season 2 (2018)
Creator: David Flebotte
Cast: Ari Graynor, Clark Duke, Melissa Leo
Watch It: Showtime
As a weekly series about stand-up comics in 1970s Los Angeles, I'm Dying Up Here is as much about drugs as it is about comedy, sex, and show business… which is just how it should be — and, perhaps, how everything should be.
This season is poignant before it even starts, as the show is inspired by the '70s scene around The Comedy Store, with Melissa Leo reigning as star-making club owner modeled on the real-life Mitzi Shore, who just died last month. Not only was Mitzi instrumental in popularizing "head" humor to the masses by way of geniuses from Richard Pryor to Sam Kinison to Mitch Hedberg, she's also the mom of The Weasel himself, Pauly Shore.
I'm Dying Up Here properly conveys just how high everybody involved needed to be, then as in now, in order to make laughter lit.
"Blood Hook" (1987)
Director: Jim Mallon
Cast: Don Winters, Lisa Todd, Mark Jacobs
Get It: Vinegar Syndrome
A no-budget grindhouse nugget that acquired a following by way of bong-passing VHS-viewing parties, Blood Hook gets a more deluxe treatment on this new Vinegar Syndrome Blu-ray than its fans could ever imagine — no matter how wasted they got watching this saga of a slasher who slaughters beachgoers with fishing gear!
The movie actually offers a fine spine on '80s gore-flick standards, and it even packs a surprise or two. And the higher you get watching Blood Hook, the more surprised you'll be how much you actually dig it!
"Thank God It's Friday": 40th Anniversary Edition (1978)
Director: Robert Klane
Cast: Jeff Goldblum, Terri Nunn, Donna Summer
Get It: Mill Creek Entertainment
Thank God It's Friday boogies hard as a glitzy, goofy, addictively re-watchable cult-classic that chronicles a night in the life of a suburban disco at the peak of platform shoes, polyester bell-bottoms, and glitterballs galore.
Appropriately, cocaine-fueled energy rockets TGIF's multiple plotlines along, and they all lead to disco diva supreme Donna Summer belting "Last Dance" — an immortal dance-floor anthem that picked up a Best Original Song Academy Award that year (imagine the uncut Colombian at that after-party!)
"All the Colours of Sergio Martino"
By Kat Ellinger
Publisher: Arrow Books
Get It: Arrow Online
All the Colors of Sergio Martino chronicles the high life and wild work of one of the most unsung mavericks of the same psychedelic Italian cinema revolution that begat stoner filmmaking gods such as Ennio Morricone (The Good, The Bad & The Ugly), Mario Bava (Black Sabbath), and Dario Argento (Suspiria).
Author Kat Ellinger approaches Martino's career like a shaman guiding both newbies and experts alike through the director's unique but universally trippy efforts. So ride along as Martino hop genres from mythical muscleman epics (Hercules vs. Rome) to spaghetti westerns (Arizona Colt Returns) to poetic giallo horror (All the Colors of the Dark) to bawdy comedies (Sex With a Smile) to gut-bucket gross-outs (Mountain of the Cannibal God) — and beyond.
Copious posters and eye-bugging artwork throughout All the Colors of Sergio Martino up the overall potency of the journey on which Ellinger escorts us. You can also use the book as a checklist of fresh, freaked-out Euro flicks to get baked to.
By Black Moth Super Rainbow
Get It: Bandcamp
With Panic Blooms, Pittsburgh's skull-splattering experimental synth squad returns with its first full-length auditory hallucination since Cobra Juicy rewired psych-music fans' collective consciousness back in 2012. It's way scarier than previous efforts by these sonic psychonauts, with frontman Tobacco wailing in no uncertain terms about how deep his own mental abyss dives while the music alternately surrounds, pummels, elevates, and obliterates us at entirely unpredictable intervals. Smoke carefully when listening.
By Rae Sremmurd
Get It: iTunes
Wherever Rae Sremmurd goes, mushroom clouds of marijuana smoke announce the entrance of the madly-masterful Southern hip-hop duo. And, as always, hot-baked brilliance emerges in said cloud's wake. SR3MM ups the twosome's music industry takeover to dizzyingly dope new heights.
It's a triple album in the Outkast tradition, meaning we get one solo disc from Swae Lee (Swaecation), another solo disc from Slim Jxmmi (Jxmtro), and SR3MM itself. The latter, squad-effort release features the budding titans collaborating and combusting as only they can. Don't even bother trying to hang on to your mind — just let these brothers blow it.
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