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PHOTO: Grandma’s Boy, 2006, Twentieth Century Fox
I wanted to find a big list of movies where grown women smoke cannabis and aren’t depicted as blithering idiots under the influence. It was harder than I ever thought it would be. I am not talking about documentaries or anything heavy here. I am talking about light and simple entertainment – the kind of movies we watch to get away from it all for a couple of hours. I ended up relying in part on my memory, which is probably why this list is short.
While traditional stoner movies can be fun, there are two things that continue to bug me about the genre. First, they are all geared towards young men, which often means the plots are silly and the humor very broad. Secondly, if they do portray older adults, they have generally consumed cannabis unknowingly and proceed to have over-the-top experiences under the influence that I have never experienced in over forty years of cannabis consumption. They even hallucinate in some movies – come on, really?!
The first actress who came to mind was the legendary Anne Bancroft. She smokes a joint in the movie, “How to Make An
American Quilt” from 1995. It wasn’t a blockbuster, for sure, but it was a great “girl” movie. Anne Bancroft’s character, Glady Jo doesn’t get all “Reefer Madness” crazy after she smokes. She does bust out the ice cream and a spoon – perfect!
Before that, Dolly Parton, Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda imagine some crazy retaliation on their boss after sharing a joint in “9 to 5.” This movie was made during a time when the Drug War was just ramping up. These women were all very different personalities who came together under the influence. And, while that may be a stretch, it’s still true. Cannabis brings people together.
In the “First Wives’ Club,” Diane Keaton, Goldie Hawn and Bette Midler share a joint as they plot revenge against their former husbands. They go a little crazy, but it’s still believable enough. Right or wrong, they come up with an intricate scheme that is pretty dang creative. That movie came out in 1996, the same year that California passed their medical marijuana law.
“Saving Grace” with Brenda Blethyn as Grace is a more grown up stoner movie. While marijuana is one of the main characters of the movie, it is really the story of a woman who overcomes some messed up stuff in a very unique way. The tacit support from her community reminds me of our own. Everyone knew what she was up to, and they all supported her in their own ways. It’s one of my favorites.
Goldie Hawn and Susan Sarandon’s joint smoking scene in “The Banger Sisters” was a little over-the-top, but made a big change in Susan Sarandon’s character’s life afterwards. She loosened up, mellowed out and enjoyed herself more – something we all need to do! Here is a quote from Susan in support of California’s Proposition 19 found at www.marijuanamajority.com:
“I support Proposition 19 [to legalize marijuana] because it controls cannabis like alcohol, making it harder for minors to get marijuana. Proposition 19 will also allow police to focus on more violent crimes and generate billions in revenue to fund vital services in California.”
Goldie is at the opposite end of the spectrum, as documented in her autobiography, she claims she almost went insane from smoking one joint. I do know some people have panic and anxiety responses to different strains of weed. The trick when you feel that way is to eat a Snickers. It has the perfect combination of fast acting carbs and slow acting protein to bring you right back to comfortable real quick. Apparently, Goldie didn’t know. But hey, I am no doctor; maybe she really did almost go crazy. That must have been some killer weed… just sayin’.
Penelope Cruz is one of my favorite actresses, and I love the movie, “Volver.” In it, Spanish actress, Blanca Portillo plays Agustina, a cancer patient who uses cannabis to ease her symptoms. After she smokes, the only notable change is that she obviously feels better. She does offer a hit to Penelope’s character, using proper weed etiquette. Penelope refuses politely without discounting the value of cannabis as medicine. In 2006, when the movie was made, the United States had ten medical marijuana states.
That same year, Grandma’s Boy, a much more juvenile movie that cracks me up nonetheless, has Grandma and her old lady roommates, played by the very funny Doris Roberts, Shirley Knight and Shirley Jones, aka Mama Partridge from the Partridge Family, unknowingly sipping on cannabis tea; raucous hilarity ensues. This is definitely an over-the-top portrayal, but it fits with the rest of the movie, which has no basis in reality in the first place.
When I saw Meryl Streep sneaking a joint in the guest bathroom and getting caught by her son, in 2009’s “It’s Complicated,” I thought I would laugh so hard tears would roll down to my pants. She is another fave of mine, and this just made me love her even more. I love it that her character, Jane Adler, thinks of sneaking off to smoke a joint as a way to calm her nerves right when it’s all hitting the fan in the movie. And, these characters have a good time while they are high, which is what is supposed to happen.
So, that’s my list – not very long, as promised. I would love to find out about your favorite grown-up stoner movies. Drop me a note or a comment; let’s make a bigger list!