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Notes from the back row

Films for potheads, and everyone else



Heavy weed smokers are usually movie people. The two activities go together like ketchup chips and cream soda. And while you don’t have to be trippin’ balls to enjoy a good ‘weed’ movie, it helps. Regardless, there are a couple good pothead flicks coming down the pipe this year, starting with Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanemo, which drops Apr. 25. The stars of the severely underrated Harold and Kumar go to White Castle smuggle a bong (and a defensive attitude) onto an airplane and end up in a world of crap. And yes, Neil Patrick Harris (Doogie Howser M.D.) is back as well. Sure, it looks stupid, but that’s what makes it good. And I realize Apr. 25 is quite a ways off, but you know how it is – some people appreciate the early heads up, it helps us remember what’s going on.

Heads up on another great flick, Pineapple Express , a weed/action/comedy starring good Canadian boy Seth Rogen as an innocent dopesmoker who accidentally witnesses a gangland style killing and gets a little, ah… paranoid. The awesome news is that it’s R-rated and written by Rogen and Evan Goldberg, the guys who wrote Superbad . The trailer is online now, check it out.

The Pineapple Express rolls into to town this summer and it looks to be worth saving that royal-roach joint for.

Be wary though, movie fans, weed movies are a gateway substance and if you get too into them the next thing you know you’ll be writing off afternoons at the Village 8, giggling your way through kids flicks and animated features.

Horton Hears a Who opens this week. An animated feature based on the 1954 Dr Seuss classic stars the voice of Jim Carey in the title role and Steve Carrell as the Mayor of Who’sville, a tiny planet no one can see. Horton and the mayor communicate and try to help each other despite being ostracized by the unbelievers, like Carol Burnett’s Sour Kangaroo.

Dr Seuss stories have a hard time translating to feature length ( Cat in the Hat) and the best adaptation is still the cartoon version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas (only half an hour long) but this attempt is superbly animated and resonates themes of accepting nature and all people, and that sort of stuff that parents go for. Horton… looks like good animated entertainment, but it was written/adapted by the same two people who wrote College Road Trip – I have a hard time hearing a ‘Who’ with all those warning bells going off.

Also opening this week is Never Back Down which a lot of critics are calling Fight Club meets Karate Kid but that’s pretty insulting to Fight Club because this is little more than a teenybopper good-guy-vs.-bad-guy tale infused with the age-old wisdom of “fight now so you don’t have to fight later.” Mixed martial arts is the forum this time, with rich Miami kids duking it out on their lawns for fun.

New kid Jake gets tricked by a girl and beaten (cue love interest sideplot). He then studies ass-kicking with Djimon Hounsou ( Blood Diamond) who’s slumming it as the Mr. Miagi-like mentor character, and it gets very mano-a-mano towards the end. It’s likely Never Back Down will spawn weekend funfights at Frat Houses across the States and if nothing else, this film should give us some interesting home beatdown videos on YouTube as impressionable youth try to convince each other they’re tough and cool. Ah, Impressionable Youth — would we rather they fight for fun, or smoke dope, eat M&M’s and laugh at the dumbest shit ever? You tell me what makes a healthier society.