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There are lots of ways to celebrate 4/20. If you’re not going to a festival or rally but still want to do something 420-ish today, here’s a list of widely varied marijuana movies to check out. From silly to serious, and from popular classics to indie gems, there’s a little something-something for everyone here. So snuggle up on your couch, spark one up, and enjoy – Happy 4/20.
10. DAZED AND CONFUSED
This 1993 Richard Linklater film about high school students in the ‘70s may seem silly and shallow, but Randall “Pink” Floyd makes some pretty profound statements about personal freedom and resistance against unjust laws. Do you have a joint? It’d be cooler if you did.
9. THE BIG LEBOWSKI
No, The Big Lebowski isn’t specifically about weed, but it certainly deserves a spot here as The Dude is a total stoner icon. It’s also the kind of movie that you can happily watch over and over (and over) again. And that rug totally does bring the room together, right?
8. REEFER MADNESS
This propaganda film from 1936 can be held accountable for many of the societal misconceptions about cannabis that have survived throughout the decades. If you haven’t seen it, you’re missing out on a critical part of the history of prohibition in America.
While we can’t quite get behind the message that one must quit smoking weed to find true love, the 12-step group scene with Bob Saget is possibly the funniest – and most accurate – commentary on “marijuana addiction” ever.
6. SAVING GRACE
Stoner stereotypes and munchies jokes not your speed? Saving Grace is something you can comfortably watch with your in-laws visiting for Easter: it’s about a middle-aged widow who raises funds by growing a garden. Sound like “Weeds”? Actually, this movie came first, and is quite a bit more staid…but amusing and entertaining nonetheless.
5. CODE OF THE WEST
If you’d rather watch something serious about the War on Cannabis, check out this excellent 2011 documentary about attempts to repeal Montana’s Medical Marijuana law. The story is brought to life with impressive cinematography and compelling personal accounts.
4. AMERICAN BEAUTY
Like The Big Lebowski, this isn’t a “weed movie” – but cannabis certainly plays a central role. In the words of director Sam Mendes, it’s “a rites of passage film about imprisonment and escape from imprisonment.” It’s deep and it’s dark, and as this review on the Drug War Prisoners website points out, it’s the film’s “good guys” who smoke weed and the “bad guys” who don’t.
3. WEED 2: CANNABIS MADNESS
It’s not exactly a movie, but if you haven’t seen this 43 minute long CNN documentary featuring Sanjay Gupta, it’s past time you did. While many reform advocates have complained that the piece is essentially an advertisement for GW Pharmaceuticals, it also includes a well-told account of the journey of Colorado cannabis refugees and reform heroes Meghan and Brian Wilson and their daughter Vivian.
2. 420 The Documentary
This recently released documentary is the first of its kind to feature 420 events across the country. It also gives a great overview of the history of cannabis prohibition in America. It’s a must see for anyone who wants to know more about the cannabis reform movement, and a great way to celebrate 420 gatherings vicariously in the comfort of your own living room.
1. UP IN SMOKE
This classic Cheech & Chong flick has totally and undeniably stood the test of time. It’s just as funny the second or the four-hundred-twentieth time you watch it. Even our non-toking friends admit that it’s abso-freaking-lutely highlarious.