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.
At the movies this week, 21 Brides bangs out booming action, It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is pure emotional overwhelm, and Frozen 2 ups Disney’s antic animated ante whole new levels of eye candy. Adjust the strains you consume before each accordingly.
On the streaming side, marijuana-loving stand-up slayer Iliza Shlesinger mangles and mashes the supposed sanctity of marriage in Unveiled on Netflix, and the sci-fi series The Feed literally bends brains on Amazon Prime.
Our vintage cult flick picks are a couple of pairs: the fun ’80s hair-raisers House (1986) and House II: The Second Story (1987), along with two bake-along bloodsucker sagas, the classy Dracula (1979) and the campy Zoltan: Hound of Dracula (1977).
New tunes for tokers arrive in high style this week with fresh dispatches from Action Bronson, Animal Collective, Beck, and Lord Mantis. That’s one hell of a lit line-up!
So let’s get straight — but not “straight” — to this week’s recommendations.
21 Bridges (2019)
Director: Brian Kirk
Cast: Chadwick Boseman, Sienna Miller, JK Simmons
From Jackie Robinson in 42 (2013) to James Brown in Get On Up (2014) to the titular titan in Black Panther (2018), Chadwick Boseman never fails to blaze on the big screen. Playing an NYPD detective in 21 Bridges, Boseman investigates the murder of two cops and uncovers a police scandal. His hunt for the true killers involves shutting down all 21 bridges leading in and out of Manhattan, thereby turning the world’s mightiest metropolis into an urban enclosure pounding with paranoia. Adding your own pot, of course, makes it all the more intense.
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019)
Director: Marielle Heller
Cast: Tom Hanks, Susan Kelechi Watston, Matthew Rhys
To prepare for A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, pick a weed strain that either amplifies or eliminates your emotions. No matter what, watching Tom Hanks pull off a pitch-perfect performance as humanity-uplifting hero is going to make you weep uncontrollably, so pair your viewing with the weed hybrid that will best help you get through it.
Frozen 2 (2019)
Directors: Jennifer Lee, Chris Buck
Voice Cast: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Josh Gad
In 2013, Frozen pushed Disney CGI blockbusters to new levels of entertainment, appeal, and success. The snowflake, ice, and winter-storm visuals also proved to be the trippiest visuals in the studio’s arsenal since Fantasia (1940), making Frozen a favorite among adults who, while waiting for a joint to get passed their way, couldn’t help but belt out, “Let it go!”
Princesses Anna (Kristen Bell) and Elsa (Idina Menzel) return along with slapstick snowman Olaf (Josh Gad) to venture forth into an ancient autumnal land — those leaves look especially dope when you’re lit — and lift a curse brought on by their ancestors’ colonial conquests.
Iliza Shlesinger: Unveiled (2019)
Watch It: Netflix
Ferocious funny-woman and outspoken cannabis enthusiast Iliza Shlesinger follows up her bust-out 2018 comedy special Elder Millennial with an even more hilarious stand-up showcase, Unveiled. Recently married, Iliza aims the sharpest weapons in her comic arsenal at the absurdity of matrimony and all it stands for — while also making us understand how she finally succumbed. Watch and smoke to it with someone you love — or someone you want to scare away!
The Feed: Season One
Cast: David Thewlis, Nina Toussaint-White, Guy Burnet
Watch It: Amazon Prime
Black Mirror and Altered Carbon have established chilling, UK-rooted sci-fi as one of the most potent TV genres in the realm of 21st century entertainment. Joining them now to mess with your head — in a very real sense — is The Feed, a 10-episode adaptation of a popular skull-spinning novel by Nick Clark Windo.
Just think for a minute now about how smartphones have both enriched and made a mess of humanity. The Feed depicts a near future where the phone is unnecessary and human brains can be hooked up directly to the internet. Prepare for cannabis ready chaos.
Cult Classic Collectibles
Director: Steve Miner
Cast: William Katt, Kay Lenz, George Wendt
Get It: MVD
A horror-comedy hit in its day that sort of slipped through the cultural cracks, House arrives in a deluxe collector’s edition Blu-ray from Arrow Video to rightfully regain its place among that decade’s most entertainingly daffy and dizzingly fun-to-get-stoned-to fright-fests.
William Katt (The Greatest American Hero) stars as Roger Cobb, a divorced author who inherits his aunt’s creaky mansion and moves in to work on a book about his experiences in the Vietnam War.
After Cobb discovers a secret passageway in his aunt’s place to another plane of reality, he unleashes an array of supernatural distractions, including an undead version of his Army buddy Big Benn (Richard Moll), who is not entirely happy to see his old, still living, and financially successful pal.
In addition, Cobb gets attacked by flying garden tools, a man-hating she-monster, and a gaggle of gremlin-type troublemakers running wild. House is both eye-popping and rib-tickling, the ideal combination for bong-passing viewing parties.
House II: The Second Story (1987)
Director: Ethan Wiley
Cast: Arye Gross, Lar Park Lincoln, John Ratzenberger
Get It: MVD
Although really only connected to the first House by the title, House II: The Second Story dials down the first flick’s fear factors while pumping up the chuckles, resulting in a worthy follow-up in stupid-dope horror fun.
Arye Gross and Lar Lar Link star as Jesse and Kate, a young couple that move into a sprawling old mansion where, strangely enough, Jesse’s parents got murdered years before. While poking around in the basement, Jesse discovers a coffin and arouses the creep inside who, after an initial attempt at flesh-eating, turns out to be friendly.
The casket-dweller shows Jesse that his new home is actual a convergence of multiple dimensions and, in short order, they’re joined by Jesse’s mummified great-great-grandfather, a zombie cowboy, a baby pterodactyl, and an adorable caterpillar-puppy hybrid called, naturally, a Cater-Puppy.
House II is a hoot to see high for all the reasons listed above, and we haven’t even mentioned that cannabis activist comedian Bill Maher shows off his acting chops as Kate’s obnoxious yuppie boss. So, now you can pack that knowledge in your pipe and smoke it, too!
Director: John Badham
Cast: Frank Langella, Kate Nelligan, Laurence Olivier
Get It: Shout Factory
Langella is all sleek, chilling seductiveness as the Transylvanian title terror in director John Badham’s Dracula. Sir Laurence Olivier bombastically bashes and slashes to killer effect in the role of Dr. Van Helsing, Dracula’s relentless nemesis. Their battle plays out amidst a foggy, spooky background gothic romance, supernatural seduction and awesomely gnarly neck
While countless horror fans have lit up to Bela Lugosi as the titular terror in Dracula (1931) and Gary Oldman as the undead count in Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992), not enough of us have smoked to this eerie, elegant 1979 version. Shout Factory’s new collector’s Blu-ray is now on hand to correct that. Blaze a stake and get on it.
Zoltan: Hound of Dracula aka Dracula’s Dog (1977)
Director: Albert Band
Cast: Michael Pataki, Reggie Nadler, Jose Ferrer
Get It: Kino Lorber
Zoltan: Hound of Dracula is exactly the howler the title promises. In 1977 Romania, an army unit unearths the tomb of Count Dracula and, oh yes, his pet Doberman Pinscher, Zoltan.
Aided by Dracula’s undead human slave Veidt Smit (Reggie Nadler), Zoltan travels to America and sniffs out Michael Drake (Michael Pataki), a California family man who’s the count’s last human descendent. Soon enough, Zoltan bites an array of local pets and creates his own army of vampire dogs, leading to one uproarious fanged-pooch attack after another.
Give thanks to Kino Lorber for resurrecting this crackpot canine madness and show yourself a guffawing great time by getting zooted to Zoltan: Hound of Dracula.
By Animal Collective
Get It: Animal Collective Official
As transcendent as Animal Collective’s albums are, the reality-shattering experience of seeing these Baltimore psychonauts live while you’re high has never been entirely captured on record — until now. Ballet Slippers gathers 10 concert tracks from the band’s 2009’s Merriwether Post Pavillion Tour, spaces them out with song transitions and interludes, and, in doing so, puts you right there with the band at their most brain-blasting. Just be stoned, of course, for fully proper impact.
Get It: Beck Official
Seamlessly commingling hip-hop, psychedelic rock, and the unknowable etherealness of all things Beck, the new LP Hyperspace is airy and otherworldly, yet also inflamed every so often by a barn-burner like the lead single, “Saw Lightning.”
Following the rave-up of 2017’s Colors, Hyperspace is mostly a downshift in mood and tempo, but it may even more potently conjure a dope-smoker’s dreamscape, one mellow green groove at a time.
Lamb Over Rice
By Action Bronson
Get It: Action Bronson Official
The heaviest A-list hitter in hip-hop and bud-love alike, Action Bronson charges back into the musical bull ring with Lamb Over Rice, a seven-song EP produced by his longtime collaborator and co-smoker supreme, Alchemist. As always, Bronson delivers the dankness and, for a truly lit laugh, you can place this record over footage of our big man playing a casket salesman in Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman (2019) when it finally debuts on Netflix next week.