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.
It’s the first weekend of December, so we all know what’s in the air. That’s right — marijuana smoke! And also, of course, the high holiday season (in every sense) is just getting lit up. In theaters, Anna and the Apocalypse follows a young heroine battling hungry zombies, in part, with songs. Among streaming options, stoner comedy looms large with Amazon’s Inside Jokes and Bumping Mics, the great Dave Attell-Jeff Ross meet-up on Netflix.
On the reissue side, we’ve got special editions of smoker-ready cult films Mausoleum, Streets of Fire, and Stephen King’s Sleepwalkers. And in music, the mighty Earl Sweatshirt returns to set off Some Rap Songs. So let’s get straight — but not “straight” — to this week’s fresh-rolled recommendations.
“Anna and the Apocalypse” (2018)
Director: John McPhail
Cast: Ella Hunt, Mark Benton, Paul Kaye
Howling out of Scotland, Anna and the Apocalypse is a holiday-themed, end-of-the-world-set, blood-and-guts-gorged zombie epic beyond anything else we’ve gotten stoned to so far. Really: it’s a musical!
Ella Hunt plays the title character, an 18-year-old ready to discover life outside of her tiny hamlet of Little Haven when, on Christmas, everything goes haywire. The dead rise to munch human flesh, Anna’s high school pals band together to ward off the threat, and, amid outlandish carnage and chaos, there’s time for extremely catchy tunes set to crazily-impressive choreography.
If you’ve never been stoned while watching teenagers uses giant candy canes to gorily battle a ghoul dressed as a snowman, Anna and the Apocalypse, at last, presents your optimal opportunity.
“Bumping Mics”: Season One
Cast: Dave Attell, Jeff Ross
Watch It: Netflix
Genius funnymen, veteran intoxication mavens, and real-life best friends Dave Attell and Jeff Ross mount affectionate, uproarious comic warfare against one another in Bumping Mics, their new joint Netflix blow-out filmed over three nights at NYC’s reining laugh castle, The Comedy Cellar.
Bumping Mics combines candid moments, celebrity encounters, and, of course, explosive on-stage mirth-making in ways that result in what may be the definitive stoner stand-up special of 2018.
“Happy as Lazarro” (2018)
Director: Alice Rohrwacher
Cast: Adriano Tardiolo, Agnese Graziani, Alba Rohrwacher
Watch It: Netflix
Netflix scooped up Happy as Lazzao after it won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Festival and sent audiences reeling off on its one-of-a-kind surrealistic sojourn into the place where high art means sweet hallucinations.
In a rural Italian village, Lazzaro (Adriano Tardiolo), a sweet-natured peasant farm worker, befriends fanciful young nobleman Tancredi (Tommaso Ragno). The latter complains of suffering oppression from local land baron Marchesa Alfonsina de Luna (Alba Rohrwacher). After Lazzaro agrees to help fake Tancredi’s kidnapping, the film spins into a fantasy realm of brain-boggling notions and images, each of which is more potent when pondered after inhaling.
“Inside Jokes”: Season One
Director: Neil Berkeley
Cast: Rosebud Baker, Alzo Slade, Daphnique Springs
Watch It: Amazon Prime
Inside Jokes is Amazon Prime’s new documentary series that tracks seven stand-up comics struggling to get a coveted spot at Montreal’s Just for Laughs festival. The series’ subjects — Rosebud Baker, Robert Dean, Kellen Erskine, Simon Gibson, MK Paulsen, Alzo Slade and Daphnique Springs — intermingle with established comedy superstars and talk with each other about how they’re each facing the challenges in their lives and careers. They’re all also hilarious, so try not to cough out your smoke from laughing too hard.
Cast: Gretchen Mol, Eoin Macken, David Ajala
Watch It: SyFy
Before fantasy author George R.R. Martin reinvented reality by concocting the Game of Thrones universe, he authored Nightflyers, a sci/fi horror novel that was made into a cheap 1987 movie that does have its admirers.
In fact, Nightflyers fandom is so intense that SyFy has remade the cult flick as a big budget, brain-banging news series that chronicles a diverse spacecraft crew that explores the outer edges of the known universe, while also navigating the deep weirdness of their own psyches.
The show’s got killer FX, cosmic waves of paranoia, and unexpected revelations — in other words, everything you want from a space show in terms of toking!
“Sleepwalkers”: Collector’s Edition (1992)
Director: Mick Garris
Cast: Mädchen Amick, Brian Krause, Alice Krige
Get It: Shout Factory
An unsung gem from the Stephen King movie universe, Sleepwalkers is finally getting the proper respect it deserves from Shout Factory, which has responded to this freaky vampire chiller’s devoted following by creating a proper collector’s edition Blu-ray. Pack your bong and discover it properly.
Sleepwalkers stars Brian Krause and Alice Krige star as shape-shifting, mother-and-son bloodsuckers who roam about small town America seducing and slaying female virgins together (yes, mom and junior share unnatural affections for one another). They’re also terrified of cats, and the feeling among felines is mutual. So if you watch Sleepwalkers with your own kitties in the room, maybe treat them to some CBD catnip first.
The incestuous ghouls’ drill-and-kill scheme goes awry when teenage target Tanya (Twin Peaks’ Mädchen Amick) catches on to their nefarious nomadic ways, thereby kicking off a bloody good tale of comeuppance.
“Streets of Fire”: 35th Anniversary Steelbook (1984)
Director: Walter Hill
Cast: Diane Lane, Michael Pare, Willem Dafoe
Get It: Shout Factory
From director Walter Hill (of The Warriors fame) comes Streets of Fire, a “rock-‘n’-fable” set in an urban cinematic landscape that looks part 1920s gangster movie, part 1950s juvenile delinquent flick, and part up-to-the-minute new-wave madness.
Drenched in heightened reality and cutting-edge style, Streets of Fire whips itself up into a one-of-a-kind cult wonder about kinky biker leader Raven Shaddock (Willem Dafoe) kidnapping rock goddess Ellen Aim (Diane Lane) before her nerdy manager Billy Fish (Rick Moranis) races to get her back by hiring an otherworldly mercenary Tom Cody (Michael Paré) and his sidekick McCoy (Amy Madigan).
The visuals alone are a smoker’s paradise, and the music functions as an operatic trip back through time and forward into Streets of Fire’s incendiary imagination.
“Now That I Am Gone: A Memoir Beyond Recall”
by Allan MacDonell
Get It: Rare Bird Books
Previous autobiographical mind-blowers by Allan MacDonell covered his time in the trenches of Larry Flynt’s porn empire (Prisoner of X: Twenty Years in the Hole at Hustler Magazine) and the late-1970s Los Angeles rock revolution (Punk Elegies: True Tales of Death Trip Kids, Wrongful Sex, and Trial by Angel Dust) with acerbic wit and unflinching revelations of the author’s own sexual and narcotic excesses.
Since then, MacDonell has gone on to manage a cannabis culture website (Kindland), but at the beginning of his latest book, Now That I Am Gone: A Memoir Beyond Recall, he dies. Yes, that’s the actual premise: Allan MacDonell departs this mortal coil on page one and, from there, trips through time and space to recall various shocking, moving, hilarious, and harrowing experiences during his time among us and to impart what wicked wisdom he gleaned along the way.
As a result, Now That I Am Gone is an autobiography like no other, and one best read while properly lit to ponder the mysteries and observations that MacDonell dispatches from the outer reaches of the great beyond.
By Sarah Longfield
Get It: Season of Mist
In the past few years, wizard-fingered guitar wonder Sarah Longfield launched from YouTube to cult stardom to Disparity, her debut long-player from metal label Season of Mist. Blazing her way across six, eight, and 12-string configurations, Longfield veers from atmospheric looming and lush invocations to mind-melting overwhelm and soaring blasts-off into the acid-tinged unknown.
“Some Rap Songs”
By Earl Sweatshirt
Get It: Earl Sweatshirt Official Site
Fifteen fresh tracks from the mad genius of Earl Sweatshirt means it’s time to celebrate. So if you’re reading this, that means it’s time to bust out your trippiest weed strain and fire up as you push play.
Some Rap Songs boasts collaborations with Navy Blue, Standing on the Corner, The Alchemist, and even the rapper’s own parents. Prepare for this record to make your hoodie stand up on end!
By Old Man Lizard
Get It: Bandcamp
True Misery is the album. Old Man Lizard is the band. The psych-doom music therein sounds exactly like what both those names suggest. It’s low, slow, rumbling, charging, roaring, and burbling like lit lava in a way that overtakes the listener’s consciousness. It works. Add your own marijuana to the mix and drift off into ecstatic surrender.
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