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 premiere of the final season of Game of Thrones pretty much dragon-smokes all other releases this weekend. But if you’ve got the weed (which you do), we’ve got three days worth of reefer-ready recommendations.
Theater screens light up with the epic demonology of Hellboy; the body-swap high jinks of Little; and weed hero Zach Galifianakis voicing a Sasquatch in The Missing Link. Streaming options include the zombie shocker Black Summer; the documentary Charles Manson: The Funeral; and a very special sitcom indeed, Special.
Our collector’s cult flicks both have blunt titles (pun intended): Blood Lake and The Brain. We also have the latest on fresh jams beaming with psychedelic might in the form of Big Business, The Budos Band, and The Flaming Lips.
So let’s get straight — but not “straight” — to this week’s fresh-rolled recommendations.
Director: Neil Marshall
Cast: David Harbour, Milla Jovovich, Ian McShane
Guillermo del Toro’s first two big screen Hellboy epics may seem like tough demonic superhero beatdowns to follow, but this new installment from veteran Game of Thrones director Neil Marshall gets upgraded to an R-rating and features Milla Jovovich as a Nimue the Blood Queen, an interdimensional sorceress out to unleash every horror of the underworld onto humanity. It’s up to the devilish titan of the title, this time played by David Harbour (Jim Hopper on Stranger Things) to smash the queen’s plans in tripped-out IMAX 3D.
Director: Tina Gordon
Cast: Marsai Martin, Regina Hall, JD McCrady
The premise of Little is simple: It’s a gender-flipped take on the Tom Hanks classic Big (1988) crossed with a “boss from hell” story. Don’t let that breakdown dim your expectations though, as Little is huge in its hilarity and definitely weed worthy if you’re looking to get lost in laughter. After merciless tech mogul Jordan Sanders (Regina Hall) magically shapeshifts back into her 13-year-old body, she refuses to give up command of all she surveys. To everyone who sees this pint-sized tyrant, though, Jordan just looks like just bratty kid in need of what one security guard calls in as a “BMW”—which he explains is a “Black Mama Whoopin’!”
“The Missing Link” (2019)
Director: Chris Butler
Voice Cast: Zoe Saldana, Hugh Jackman, Zach Galifianakis
Anything involving Zach Galifianakis warrants at least one lit look from stoners. So does anything involving a giant Sasquatch creature from the Pacific Northwest that’s also a feature-length stop-motion animated comedy. You feel?
The Missing Link checks off all those boxes. In addition to Galifianakis as Mr. Link, the other voice actors include Hugh Jackman as a gentlemanly monster investigator and Zoe Saldana as the fearless outdoorswoman who leads the quest to befriend the furry guy in the forest.
“Black Summer:” Season One
Cast: Jaime King, Justin Chu Cary, Christine Lee
Watch It: Netflix
Zombie movies are always fun to smoke to, whether they’re as epic as the original Dawn of the Dead (1979), as hilarious as Shaun of the Dead (2004), or dopey-to-the-point-of-being-dope like Zombieland (2009). The Walking Dead, of course, also successfully proved that matching ganja with ghouls on TV would work, as did the Syfy series Z Nation.
Now comes Black Summer, a mysterious prequel to Z Nation about the very first days of the undead uprising. Load a pipe with your most paranoia-inducing strain and immerse yourself in a mind-melt show that focuses on one surviving human trying to escape a zombie. Then good luck sleeping with the lights off.
"Charles Manson: The Funeral” (2019)
Watch It: Reelz
Charles Manson and his homicidal hippie cult, the Manson Family, were the epitome of society’s bad trip in the ‘60s, forever staining the flower-power peace-and-love movement with horror, fascism, and serial murder.
Manson was also a fascinating figure who seemed like a nightmarish acid trip come to life in the form of one madly babbling, demon-eyed death guru. It was always hard to look away from Manson and the ferocious freaks he attracted—especially if you were stoned.
When Manson finally died in 2017, the aforementioned freaks really came out of the woodwork, both to pay tribute to his wickedness and to try and claim his body. Charles Manson: The Funeral is a documentary account of Jason Freeman, Manson’s grandson as he works his way through this web of weirdoes in an attempt to give his grandfather, who he acknowledges was a monster, a proper burial.
“Game of Thrones:” The Final Season
Cast: Peter Dinklage, Emilia Clarke, Kit Lively
Watch It: HBO
The most monstrous media event of the season premieres this Sunday. Be prepared for Game of Thrones to light televisions across the globe aflame. The ultimate combustion of just about every stoner fantasy trope involving swords and sorcery—from brave-hearted heroes to brutal barbarians to inferno-breathing dragons to apocalyptic undead hordes — plays out in your living room.
For seven seasons, each episode of Game of Thrones has warranted packing a bong with your most potent and mind-elevating strain to pass around while watching. With the grand finale episode just eight weeks away, it might make sense to pay proper homage to this landmark of lit entertainment by just getting high and staying that way until then.
“Special:” Season One
Cast: Ryan O’Connel, Jessica Hecht, Punam Patel
Watch It: Netflix
With his outspoken, outrageously funny, and empowering 2015 memoir I'm Special: And Other Lies We Tell Ourselves, comedy writer Ryan O’Connell caused a stir by documenting his life as a gay man with a slight case of cerebral palsy who, one day, decides to pretend he wasn’t born disabled. Instead, he plays off that he’s just a little out of step due to a car accident. Now O’Connell stars as himself in Special, an eight-episode sitcom adaptation of his book and it’s a triumph on all counts.
“Blood Lake” (1987)
Director: Tim Boggs
Cast: Doug Barry, Angela Darter, Andrea Adams
Get It: MVD
Blood Lake is the only known horror film that was officially endorsed by Andy Warhol and David Lee Roth. Get high, pop on Blood Lake, and it’ll earn your dumbstruck devotion, too. How could it not?
Shot on video camcorders by young friends on vacation in Oklahoma, Blood Lake imitates slasher movie staples of its day, such as a supernatural killer in a signature costume (in this case it’s a cowboy hat and a western shirt).
Blood Lake also intricately documents its stars and marks getting wasted, goofing around on Jet Skis, and playing what may be the longest game of Quarters ever captured on camera. The end result is amateur filmmaking at its most insane. Consult a professional for the proper chemicals and then adjust your brain situation accordingly.
“The Brain” (1988)
Director: Ed Hunt
Cast: Tom Bresnahan, Cynthia Preston, David Gale
At first glance, The Brain looks like a cheesy monster movie about a pulsating blob of gray matter out to conquer planet Earth. The Brain is exactly that, of course, and, as such, it’s a hoot to get high to.
Though, The Brain gets surprisingly inventive by depicting how the maniacal grey matter infiltrates humanity: he partners with TV talk show host Dr. Anthony Blakely (David Gale), and together, they broadcast secret, subliminal instructions out to his mass audience to commit murder and suicide.
You’ll likely be chuckling at the stupid-faced brain villain, but don’t be surprised if you come away taking some hard looks at Dr. Phil the next time you see him.
“The Beast You Are”
By Big Business
Get It: Joyful Noise
Seattle stoner metal duo supreme Big Business blazes a fresh inferno of green fury on The Beast You Are. It’s the sixth LP from these marauders and, as usual, it’s an invitation to light up, inhale, and let Big Business pummel you into blissful oblivion with their signature punk-fuzz/sludge-metal/marijuana-music abandon.
By The Flaming Lips
Get It: The Flaming Lips official site
In the realm of psych-rock royalty, few mind-bending musical motherships have ruled more regally than Oklahoma’s Flaming Lips. Piloted by way-out Wayne Coyne, the Lips tap the same hyper-hallucinogenic vein pioneered by high heroes Jimi Hendrix, Yes, Frank Zappa, and the Butthole Surfers — but filtered through their own candy-colored garden of acid tabs.
King’s Mouth, the band’s 15th album, is narrated by Mick Jones of the Clash and it drops on Record Store Day (April 13) in a special gold vinyl release limited to 4,000 copies. That special edition also includes King’s Mouth: Immerse Heap Trip Fantasy Experience, a collector’s book written and designed by Coyne. Queue up now outside your local indie music outlet, and pass the time by passing joints among fellow fans of freak-out sounds.
By The Budos Band
Get It: Budos official site
Rising up from Staten Island — the NYC borough that most famously spawned all things Wu-Tang — The Budos Band are ambitious sonic adventurers who help listeners blast off into the cosmos on billowing plumes of weed smoke. Blending funk, jazz, soul, Afrobeat rhythms, and explosively psychedelic rock, every Budos release is an epic journey. And their latest, V, launches them—and us—farther out than ever before.
Follow Mike McPadden on Twitter