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.
Theaters are ablaze this week with two of the year’s most anticipated big-screen barnstormers: Martin Scorsese’s return to mob movies with The Irishman, and James Cameron’s return to the T-2000 universe with Terminator: Dark Fate. On top of those, director-star Edward Norton’s Motherless Brooklyn offers a sick twist on standard P.I. flicks.
The just-launched Apple TV service dominates streaming this week with debut episodes of two smokingly mind-bending sci-fi series, See and For All Mankind. On IFC, Baroness Von Sketch Show returns and, on Netflix, the Fab Five head east for Queer Eye: We’re in Japan!
The 40th anniversary edition of one of the Ramones’ midnight movie masterpiece Rock-‘n’-Roll High School leads a dank pack of vintage cult flicks that also includes the Euro-howler Werewolf in a Girls’ Dormitory, the psycho-sexual fright-fest Toys Are Not for Children, and the drug-fueled ’80s madness of Covergirl.
New music to get high to veers from the dope hip-hop of Rod Wave, the trip-jams of Vetiver, and a collections of duets from the one and only Jeff Goldblum —yes, that Jeff Goldblum.
So let’s get straight — but not “straight” — to this week’s recommendations.
The Irishman (2019)
Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Al Pacino
Director Martin Scorsese and stars Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci — the Mount Rushmore of Mafia Movies — get together one last time in The Irishman to curse, drink, fight, feud, steal, wring necks, bust heads, shoot mooks, and scarf down mountains of pasta and red sauce that’ll give you the munchies even if you watch the movie without getting high first (but, of course, you will get high first).
For once, you can believe the hype. The Irishman is an epic triumph, the gleaming jewel in the crown of each one of those capos, and definitely worth going to see in a theater now before it lands on Netflix in a few weeks. Sure, it’ll be easy to smoke and eat meatballs at home, but the brilliance of these bruisers burns extra bright on the big screen.
Motherless Brooklyn (2019)
Director: Edward Norton
Cast: Edward Norton, Bruce Willis, Willem Dafoe
Set in the 1950s, Motherless Brooklyn upends film noir conventions as Lionel Essrog aims to undo a deadly conspiracy while also contending with Tourette Syndrome — a condition that hardly makes it easy for him to slip around shady characters and their dark doings unnoticed.
Edward Norton both directs and stars as Essrog. He crafts a captivating mystery that’s brain-stretching enough on its own, but even more fun to get stoned and try to figure out while Essrog continually deals with his condition against a labyrinth of evil that could sink the entire city.
Terminator: Dark Fate (2019)
Director: Tim Miller
Cast: Linda Hamilton, Mackenzie Davis, Arnold Schwarzenegger
OG franchise icons James Cameron and Linda Hamilton return to blast new robot-smashing life into Terminator: Dark Fate, a continuation of the time-tripping sci-fi action saga that picks up where Terminator 2 left off back in 1991. Don’t worry, Arnold Schwarzenegger is back in full T-800 form, as well.
Dark Fate is a leap forward in action, visual effects, and breakout performances from Mackenzie Davis as a super-soldier sent back to protect her younger self, Natalia Reyes as a human recruited into the resistance, and Gabriel Luna as Rev-9, the most unstoppable killing machine to date. Of course, Terminator movies have always been essential stoner cinema and Dark Fate honors that tradition with a nonstop onslaught of overwhelming mayhem best absorbed while properly lit.
Baroness Von Sketch Show: Season 4
Cast: Aurora Browne, Meredith MacNeill, Carolyn Taylor
Watch It: IFC
Canada’s premiere all-female sketch comedy series returns to crack you up between puffs and passes with stars Carolyn Taylor, Meredith MacNeill, Aurora Browne, and Jennifer Whalen. This season’s targets for high hilarity include the addictiveness of binge-watching, the doomed fate of ’90s child stars, and the endlessly intriguing mysteries of the scrunchie.
For All Mankind: Season One
Cast: Joel Kinnaman, Michael Dorman, Sarah Jones
Watch It: Apple TV
TV sci-fi master Ronald D. Moore follows up Battlestar Galactica and Outlander with For All Mankind, a series set in an alternate-reality ‘60s Cold War where the Soviet Union beats the United States in landing men on the moon. Naturally, this sparks global upheaval that extends our planet’s dueling superpowers out to the cosmos — and beyond. Strap on your space helmet or, better yet, fire up a fatty, and blast off.
Queer Eye: We’re in Japan!
Cast: Jonathan Van Ness, Karamo Brown, Tan France
Watch It: Netflix
The Fab Five light up the Land of the Rising Sun for a four-episode mini-season set in Tokyo. Toke along, get some great fashion and lifestyle tips, and, if you’re up for it, choose an extra emotional weed strain to really enjoy the inevitable weeping. And don’t forget to say, “Arigato!”
See: Season One
Cast: Jason Momoa, Alfre Woodard
Watch It: Apple TV+
Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight goes sci-fi with See, a new series set in the far future where humans have lost the power of sight and have adapted other abilities to survive, resulting in a barbarian-run world that functions alright until twin babies are suddenly born with eyes that work.
It’s a plot description that sounds jotted down during a night of intense cannabis imbibing, and the show lives up to that promise. Better still, Jason Momoa stars as the twins’ blind warrior dad. Smoke up and see See.
Director: Jean-Claude Lorde
Cast: Jeff Conaway, Irena Ferris, Deborah Wakeham
Get It: Kino Lorber
A newly discovered cult curiosity that hilariously crystallizes the most garish aspect of the go-go/bang-bang/snort-snort ‘80s, Covergirl is a nonstop power-gush of glitzy, gaudy, trashy, tacky supermodel drama spiked with fashionista feuds, robot butlers, soap-suds catfights, owl-shaped spy-cams, and Jeff Conaway (Kenickie from Grease) sporting the most blown-out hair-style ever captured on film. If cocaine itself could be a movie, Covergirl would be it!
Toys Are Not For Children (1972)
Director: Stanley H. Brasloff
Cast: Marcia Forbes, Harlan Cary Poe, Evelyn Kinglsey
Get It: MVD
Toys Are Not for Children is a harsh trip of a psychosexual thriller that can be hilarious, harrowing, or a combination of both each time you watch it — so pair it with an appropriate intoxicant to cultivate your high as the movie takes over you.
Jamie (Marcia Forbes) suffered childhood trauma when her mom shamed her for humping a doll. Now, in her 20s, Jamie works in a toy store, fears carnal intimacy, and misses her dad who split long ago — but who somehow also still sends her toys in the mail. Looking to track down her father, Jamie meets sex worker Pearl (Evelyn Valdi) and embarks on an erotic awakening you better be stoned to witness as it only ever gets weirder and weirder.
Rock-‘n’-Roll High School: 40th Anniversary Steelbook Edition (1979)
Director: Allan Arkush
Cast: PJ Soles, Clint Howard, The Ramones
Get It: Shout Factory
The peak of punk cinema, one of the mightiest midnight movies ever made, and an absolute masterwork of ganja-fueled giddiness and goofball genius, Rock-‘n’-Roll High School turns 40 this year and Shout Factory has restored and reissued the film in a collector’s edition worthy of its wild greatness.
PJ Soles stars as Riff Randall, a student at Vince Lombardi High School who’s also the world’s number one fan of NYC punk gods, The Ramones. Trouble brews when Lombardi High’s hilariously fascist Principal Togar (Mary Woronov) sets out to stop the Ramones from playing a local gig at any cost — and it results in a full-scale teenage rebellion set to three-chords and the battle cry of “Gabba-Gabba! Hey!”
Rock-‘n’-Roll High School is a brilliant send-up of ‘50s juvenile delinquent movies filtered through the sex and drugs of the ’70s, but it never loses an inherent sweetness. Case in point: Riff Randall firing up a reefer and fantasizing about The Ramones crooning in her bedroom is at once a laugh riot and bizarrely romantic, hitting a perfect tone that makes all the rest of the madness so endlessly endearing.
Of course, the soundtrack rocks and the grand finale brings to life every teenage stoner’s ultimate fantasy as the students, united by partying, rally together and blow up their miserable institution of supposed higher learning (that’s no spoiler: it’s actually depicted on the poster).
Under any circumstances, watching Rock-‘n’-Roll High School is sheer bliss. Getting blitzed and seeing it in this extras-loaded 40th anniversary form is an experience you must have ASAP. Hey, ho! Let’s go!
Werewolf in a Girl’s Dormitory (1961)
Director: Paolo Heusch
Cast: Barbara Lass, Carl Schell, Luciano Pigozzi
Get It: Severin Films
The title promises a lot and — fret not — Werewolf in Girl’s Dormitory howlingly delivers the hairy goods. Pack a pipe tight and prepare to bay at the moon in appreciation.
On the one paw, Werewolf works as an eerie, atmospheric Euro-shocker about a lycanthrope laying waste to virginal students at an Italian boarding school. So, that’s fun to smoke to. Then, on the other paw, the international members cast reportedly spoke an array of languages with no translator on set and that inherent chaos amusingly comes across on screen. So, that’s really fun to smoke to.
As always, Severin Films has restored and reissued Werewolf with their signature care and attention to detail, plus they’ve thrown in a soundtrack CD to keep the lupine luridness going even after the movie ends.
I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This
By Jeff Goldblum and The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra
Get It: Apple Music
Jeff Goldblum. The Man. The Myth. The Fly. You grew up loving him in Jurassic Park and Independence Day and dreaming how maybe, one day, you two could share a joint.
Since then, you’ve coughed up smoke in amusement over Goldblum’s droll, hyper-smooth, self-effacing 21st century persona both online and off.
Who knows — one day you might get to pass a fatty his way but, until then, we can all spark up and kick back to I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This by Jeff Goldblum and The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra and — presto! — it’s like he’s right there in the room with you, making everything instantly more suave.
Goldblum leads the band, plays the piano, and duets on the album with, among others, Sharon Van Etten, Fiona Apple, Gregory Porter, and Miley Cyrus. You just know at least one of his singing partners there smoked up Jeff right before their session!
Revenge Is Sweet
By Krept and Konan
Get It: Krept and Konan Official
After setting off the politically charged “Ban Drill” single last June and surviving a backstage assault last month, UK hip-hop duo Krept and Konan return still more lyrical fire against anti-rap forces with Revenge Is Sweet, an entire album of dope songs, strong stands, and intoxicating innovation. Revenge’s 13 tracks include drop-ins from Headie One, K-Trap, Stormzy, Cadet, Wizkid, Tory Lanez, Spice, Mostack, D-Block Europe, and Ling Hussle.
Up on High
Get It: Vetiver Official
Psych-jam freak-folk song-spinners Vetiver took their name from a type of grass for a reason—and you can feel it as you inhale each groove. Up on High (again with the agreeably loaded nomenclature) contains 10 new tunes penned by Vetiver visionary Andy Cabic, all expertly executed by this cabal of sonic seekers in blissfully high style.
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