Steven Spielberg Says Seth Rogen's Stoner Films Give "Sound Advice" to Young People
Perhaps the definition of “stoner film” really lies in the lung capacity of the observer.
Published on February 9, 2023

Steven Spielberg weighed in on Seth Rogen’s cannabis-tinged cinematic productions at the Palm Springs International Film Festival last month, according to Benzinga, saying that their worth goes far beyond 420 filmic fodder. 

And just like that, the world finally knows how one of the world’s top blockbuster authorities feels about Superbad.

Spielberg's prestigious insight came out during the festival's red carpet event, when The Fabelmans' actor and director were intercepted by a reporter from Variety. Said reporter asked the Jurassic Park director which of Rogen's stoner films were to Spielberg’s liking.

“Well, having — having never been stoned, I don’t see them as stoner movies,” responded Spielberg. “I see them as movies about a police officer giving solid, sound advice to a young, impressionable person.”

“That’s a mitzah,” said the Variety reporter. “The interpretation of your stoner movies —that’s what we need. We need — this is what we need — we need a watch party of Mr. Spielberg watching your stoner movies and commenting.”

“One day,” said Rogen.

Rogen, as any stoner worth their salt can tell you, is one of the main brains behind weed-laden classics such as Pineapple Express and Superbad. He also plays a supporting role in Spielberg’s new semi-autobiographical, Oscar-nominated film The Fabelmans. He is also a cannabis entrepreneur, having created the hypebeast-favorite flower-and-housewares brand Houseplant.

Such is the aesthetic universe that the company has created that fans now want to exist in a Houseplant-curated domestic experience. Or at least, that’s the gist of a recent marketing gimmick that Rogen is hyping that gives fans the chance to book a Houseplant-administered mid century modern Airbnb in Los Angeles, featuring a ceramics studio and hang time with Rogen himself.

And what of the project that had this sparkling duo walking the red carpet together in the first place? The Fabelmans has been garnering early audience and critic approval for its highly personal, semi-autobiographical take on a young film savant and his family. The Guardian’s film reviewer Mark Kermode calls it, “a delightfully personal whimsy” that dovetail’s the Spielberg avatar’s “youthful man-with-a-movie-camera adventures with a coming-of-age loss of innocence.” The critic also points out that it’s not the first time the director has snuck personal memoir into his work: E.T. also hints at the repercussions of Spielberg’s dad’s defection from the familial unit when the auteur was young.

Michelle Williams stars as Mitzi, the lead character’s severely banged mother, and David Lynch also features in the two-hour-and-31 minute film. Rogen plays the Spielberg stand-in’s uncle Bennie Loewy.

It’s not a stoner film in the slightest — which is not to say that there aren’t Spielberg offerings that you can happily consume while blunted. In the past on this very site we have sung the stoned praises of the director’s 1985 weekly NBC anthology series Amazing Stories, his Jaws franchise, and even 1998’s Saving Private Ryan. Perhaps the definition of “stoner film” really is in the lung capacity of the beholder.

Follow Caitlin on Instagram, and catch her Spanish-language podcast Crónica on Spotify and Mixcloud.

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Caitlin Donohue
Caitlin Donohue is a Bay Area-raised, Mexico City-based cannabis writer and author of She Represents: 44 Women Who Are Changing Politics and the World. Her weekly show Crónica on Radio Nopal explores Mexican marijuana culture and politics in the prohibition era. Follow Caitlin on IG @byrdwatch.
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