CULTURE
Was “Pineapple Express” the Last Great Stoner Movie of the Prohibition Era?
The Seth Rogen and James Franco comedy turns 10 this week, and the cannabis caper has earned its spot in cinema’s Mount Kushmore. But what will “stoner films” look like in a world with legal weed?
Published on August 10, 2018

Lead image by Mira Gonzalez

What constitutes a classic? Often, the designation befalls a film with a slight case of silver screen schizophrenia. A classic is timeless, yet also a product of its era. It embodies a sensibility or genre, yet can subvert the rules or traditions of either. It can initially be deemed divisive — before eventually becoming infallible. Classics are alters to bow before and darlings to kill. Every genre has them, and David Gordon Green’s Pineapple Express, which was released 10 years ago today, is, against all odds, one of them.

A classic of the stoner genre, Pineapple Express is in conversation with a number of movies that have come before it. But it has the unusual designation of celebrating a milestone anniversary at a cultural inflection point. By itself, the film already merits inclusion in cinema’s Mount Kushmore, embodying the best of the stoner genre and the comedic sensibility of the mid-aughts. And as cultural mores surrounding marijuana reform begin the shift from the fringe to the corporate sector, Pineapple Express has a unique designation: it may very well be the final, classic “stoner movie” of the prohibition era. 

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Rod Bastanmehr
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Rod Bastanmehr is an arts and culture writer and one-half of the GOOD FRIENDS podcast. His work has appeared in VICE, The Atlantic, Salon, Slate, and the LA Review of Books.
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