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 theaters, zombies feast in the horror comedy The Dead Don’t Die; Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson defend against space invaders in Men in Black: International; and three generations of badass converge in a reefer-ready revamp of Shaft.
HBO is this week’s heavy hitter streaming-wise, with the debut of two dope-on-arrival new series, Los Espookys and Euphoria. On Amazon, indie flick outlaw Nicolas Winding Refn busts out Too Old to Die Young, while Adam Sandler brings another round of bong-brained guffaws to Netflix with Murder Mystery.
Our vintage cult flick picks feature the all-time drug cinema classic 24 Hour Party People and the gonzo ghost favorite, The Entity.
In music, Baroness drops another ton of stoner rock gold, Lil Keed lights up anew, and Mattiel knocks out a genre-hopping gem.
So let’s get straight — but not “straight” — to this week’s fresh-rolled recommendations.
The Dead Don’t Die (2019)
Director: Jim Jarmusch
Cast: Adam Driver, Chloe Sevigny, Bill Murray
New York indie film icon Jim Jarmusch is famous for imbuing different movie genres with his deadpan cool, ranging from Westerns (Dead Man with Johnny Depp) to urban action (Ghost Dog with Forrest Whittaker) to rom-coms (Broken Flowers with Bill Murray).
Now, with The Dead Don’t Die, the Double J is taking aim at one of the highest forms of stoner cinema: the horror comedy; specifically, the same sub-category that also generated Shaun of the Dead (2004) and Zombieland (2009).
Murray, along with other previous Jarmusch collaborators on the order of Adam Driver, Tilda Swinton, Chloe Sevigny, Steve Buscemi, Tom Waits, and Iggy Pop assemble to contend with a zombie apocalypse in a sharply witty, thoroughly wigged-out manner just made to be enjoyed with whaky-tobaccy.
Men in Black: International (2019)
Director: F. Gary Gray
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Liam Neeson
When it comes to weed-worthy IMAX 3D blockbusters, Men In Black: International intoxicatingly honors the franchise’s lit legacy. It bombards us with new creatures, new sci-fi action, new eyeball-bombing visual effects, and an ace new team of alien fighters in the form of Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson.
With OG Friday and Set It Off director F. Gary Gray at the helm, International is also the fastest and funniest MIB epic to date, so dose up and blast into the overwhelm.
Director: Tim Story
Cast: Jessie Usher, Samuel L. Jackson, Richard Roundtree
Forty-eight years after Richard Roundtree electrified audiences as John Shaft Sr. in the original Shaft (1971), and nearly two decades after Samuel Jackson starred in the update Shaft (2000), they both return to mentor Jessie Usher as John “JJ” Shaft in a slick, kickass new go-round called, Shaft.
John Shaft Sr. is John Shaft II’s uncle. JJ is John Shaft II’s son. Together, they make cleaning up atrocities committed against the people by the Harlem underworld into their very personal, very action-packed, very enjoyable to get high to family business.
Cast: Zendaya, Maude Apatow, Angus Cloud
Watch It: HBO
Produced by Drake, the sex-drugs-and-coming-of-age series Euphoria is HBO’s first crack at getting Gen Z hooked on the network’s prestige productions. It’s a blunt (pun intended), no-apologies depiction of modern adolescence with all the drama, trauma, social media disasters, and joys of discovering recreational weed-use that comes along with it. Ex-Disney kid and current Spider-Man movie co-star Zendaya leads a diverse cast that includes Hunter Schafer, Jacob Elordi, Algee Smith, Maude Apatow, and Sydney Sweeney.
Los Espookys: Season One
Cast: Fred Armisen, Ana Fabrega, Julio Torres
Watch It: HBO
Fred Armisen’s TV work continues to amaze and invite bong-passing viewing parties. Los Espookys is the Portlandia/Forever/Documentary Now master funnyman’s mostly Spanish-language collaboration with Julio Torres and Ana Fabrega about horror geeks who turn scaring people into their profession.
Set in an unnamed Latin American nation where it seems that anything surreally satisfying is possible, Los Espookys is monster fun to watch in the company of la marijuana.
Murder Mystery (2019)
Director: Anne Fletcher
Cast: Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, Luke Evans
Watch It: Netflix
Even though he never seems to smoke weed on screen, Adam Sandler is a stoner comedy icon and, as usual, he brings that slapstick energy to Murder Mystery, his latest Neflix endeavor.
Sandler teams here with Jennifer Aniston for the first time since Just Go With It (2011) as a New York City cop and his wife who travel to Europe and get mixed up with a conundrum concerning the homicide of eccentric billionaire Malcolm Quince (Terrence Stamp) and determining who-done-it. It’s so dumb, of course, that it’s dope.
Too Old to Die Young: Season One
Cast: Miles Teller, John Hawkes, Augusto Aguilera
Watch It: Amazon Prime
Renegade indie filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn ignites his first Amazon Prime series, Too Old to Die Young, with all the signature berserk energy and skull-crushing visual bravado of his cult favorites Drive (2011) and Neon Demon (2016)
Miles Tellers stars as a lawman whose partner’s murder plunges him deep into a hellscape of modern society’s most incendiary international outlaws, including Mexican cartels, the Japanese Yakuza, and the Russian mob—along with everyday professional assassins and teenage gangs who have nothing to live for and even less not to kill you for.
Too Old to Die is a gloriously rough ride. Be sure to both enhance and alleviate the intensity of the journey with varying strains throughout the journey.
Cult-Classic Collector’s Editions
24 Hour Party People (2002)
Director: Michael Winterbottom
Cast: Steve Coogan, Andy Serkis, Simon Pegg
Get It: MVD
24 Hour Party People depicts the rise of Factory Records and the Manchester music scene that blasted off in the post-punk ’70s and peaked in the rave-hyped, DJ-driven late ’80s-early ’90s before everybody crashed hard and adventured out in newly enlightened directions.
Steve Coogan is bombastically brilliant as Factory founder Tony Wilson, a one-man tsunami of inspiration and intoxication who rewrote the possibilities of drug music by unleashing likes of Joy Division, New Order, A Certain Ratio, the Durutti Column, and Happy Mondays.
As with any chemically-enhanced trip, the ecstasy and abandon of the “Madchester” era couldn’t last forever, by way of 24 Hour Party People and this stunning new collector’s edition from the MVD Marquee Collection, you can drop back in any time and experience those highs all over again.
The Entity (1982)
Director: Sidney J. Furie
Cast: Barbara Hershey, Ron Silver, Margaret Blye
Get It: Shout Factory
If you like your pot to make you paranoid, by all means, blaze up your most freak-out inducing strain and get ready to be spooked by Shout Factory’s new collector’s edition of The Entity.
Barbara Hershey stars as Carla Moran, as a single mom who starts getting physically attacked by some invisible force. Without warning, this thing assaults Carla in bed, in the bath, while driving, and pretty much anywhere at any time.
As creepy as that set-up alone might seem, expert direction by Sidney J. Furie and a riveting performance by Hershey keep the fantastic premise feeling like it’s entirely in the realm of possibility. Your skin will crawl, your mind will play tricks on you, and your dealer will probably get at least on extra call from you before The Entity is over.
Gold and Grey
Get It: Baroness Official Site
So far, stoner metal overlords Baroness have not named every one of their albums after colors. But they have packed each LP with nonstop smokeable moments, ranging from thunderous power-chord bombardments to jazz-influenced brain-blitzing improvisations to sweeping storms of innovative musical imagination.
All of the above holds true on Gold and Grey, the Savannah prog squad’s new offering unto the gods of ganja, guitars, and… more ganja. Worship appropriately.
Long Live Mexico
By Lil Keed
Get It: Apple Music
Hailing from the exact same Atlanta streets as Young Thug, mic-scorcher Lil Keed continually surprises on Long Live Mexico, starting with the fact that the album is dedicated to a dead homie of his — named Mexico.
While Keed dropping rhymes with Thug may not be new, inhale hard and open your head wide for “Proud of Me,” the pair’s latest collaboration and Long Live Mexico’s dope single. From there, the rest of the LP only further fuels Keed’s rocket ride upward into the hip-hop stratosphere. Make sure you’re high enough to join him.
Get It: Mattiel Official Site
Atlanta-based multi-talent Mattiel is a renowned illustrator and visual artist who brings similarly evocative flourish to her music. It bewitchingly incorporates vintage French pop, classic film scores, surf rock, ’60s soul, and flights of fancy of which only she seems capable of launching.
Each song on Mattiel’s latest Satis Factory is a mini-epic of emotion and movies playing behind your eyelids as you listen. At 12 tracks, that adds up to 12 trips to embark on for the enrichment of your head.
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