4/20 Special: The Bugg's Top 10 Best Stoner Film Moments

Hey, man. It is that magical day when stoners everywhere celebrate 4/20 a.k.a Weed Day, Reeferween, National Doug Benson Day, or whatever the kids are calling it these days. Despite the fact that the whole 4-20 police code thing has pretty much been put down to being hooey, the tradition has stuck and April twenty has become something of a celebration of the herbalist way of life. The most special moment comes but twice a day, four twenty A.M. and P.M. The latter will find a few hearty souls staying up to make it to the wee small hours while many others will fall asleep, snack food at their side, bong wobbling precariously in hand. The former, which if you caught this post as it came out then you know what time it is, is when the majority of the fans of the dank are sparking up in honor of the day. As a person who appreciates the stoner way of life, I wanted to get into the spirit myself. So I broke apart a few of my favorite stoner films, picked out the kindest scenes from each one, and I rolled them all up into this list of the Top 10 Stoner Moments in Film. Enjoy, and don't Bogart this list, my friend, pass it around to all your friends.

10. James Franco and Danny McBride share herb with a perverted wizard mushroom in Your Highness

Your Highness is unfairly maligned when it comes to the humor on display in general and the stoner elements in particular. My favorite moment comes when Franco and McBride detour to see a wizard who turns out to be a mushroom shaped puppet, like the bastard child of a Dark Crystal and Labyrinth. The wizard proceeds to pass around the good bud before hitting the pair up for a hand job in return for his magical services. Hey, it's not the way that I like to interact with my dealer, but to each his own. While the example is extreme, anyone who has bought drugs has had to deal with someone who was creepy or wanted you to hang out and check out their collection of knives, feed their fish, or watch their kids for a minute when all you want to do is grab and go… and not in that way.

9. Jon Stewart likes everything better on weed in Half Baked.

Despite starring a pre-crazy Dave Chapelle, I don't appreciate the charms of Half Baked. Perhaps it has something to do with the presence of Jim Brewer, who looks high all the time, but he doesn't actually get high. For some reason it bothers me that he’s cashing in on droopy eyelids. If I looked like I was on meth, but wasn't,  I wouldn't star in a movie about crazy hijinks on meth. That would be exploiting my methiness when there are plenty of actual meth head actors who need the work. Let me get back on topic here. There’s this one continuing joke throughout the movie with  a young pre-Daily Show Jon Stewart as the “Enhancement Stoner” Everyone has met a dealer who wants to know if you've done/seen/heard/eaten "on weed". He’s probably the same guy who told you about playing Dark Side of the Moon with Wizard of Oz (which is bullshit, but, man, Genius/Gza Liquid Swords and Ninja Scroll, on weed, that’s the real stuff.) While Half Baked was indeed a half baked stoner romp, for the “Enhancement Stoner“ alone it makes for a spot on the list.

8. Fritz gets Baked with the Crows in Fritz the Cat.

Ralph Bakshi’s X rated film based off the R. Crumb comic has many outrageous moments. However, perhaps the first scene that really puts the film way out there is when Fritz, who’s been in a bag, goes down to the Crow bars looking for kicks. He gets more than he bargained for when he meets Bertha whose joints drive him into a sex frenzy before causing Fritz to inspire a riot. In the face of the drug experiences still to come in the film, it is a small moment, but a visually interesting one that sends the Cat off the deep end and into a dark, dark place. While most people don't go sex mad and cause a race riot, like many of the other moments I have picked, it is an extreme that brings up a issue of white and black separatism and the white “tourism” to black areas to get drugs/sex, etc. I don't have the space to fully explore the issue myself here, but see the flick and see what you think for yourself.

7. Ali G smokes his way past security in Ali G Indahouse

I don't like Borat. I can't stand Bruno. I didn't like Cohen in Les Mis or Hugo. However, give me an episode of the  Ali G Show, or better yet his film effort, and you can sign me up. The hip hop inspired character that has plenty of "respect" ends up getting more respect than he bargained for when he gets voted into Parliament. However when he has to break into the home of the evil Prime Minister (future Games of Thrones baddie Charles Dance) to foil an evil plot, he runs into a laser system a la Entrapment. With clever use of marijuana smoke, Ali G is popping and locking through the beams with his friends, including future Bilbo Baggins Martin Freeman, to save his hometown of Stains. Respect.

6. Hank Azaria and Bon Jovi get high in Homegrown

Homegrown is one of the finest stoner flicks out there, but I think it gets overlooked because it’s a thriller about the business of growing the crop rather than a goofy comedy about smoking the product. That doesn't mean it doesn't provide some solid stoner moments. My favorite involves the weed growers, Billy Bob Thornton, Hank Azaria, and Ryan Phillipe, sharing a hot tub and a few joints with a potential buyer played by Jon Bon Jovi. When the "You Give Love a Bad Name" singer muses that the weed is so good he can't remember how to stand, Azaria replies flatly with precise stoner logic, "Feet." It works precisely because it is stupid and it is real. The foursome crack up and smiles are exchanged, friendships are being formed. I can remember many I have formed over a stupid comment and a few puffs, and there are quite a few I can't because, um short term, whatever- memory you know, loss and stuff.

5. Bridget Fonda and Robert De Niro do Bong Hits in Jackie Brown

Why is this moment so great? Because it's freakin' Rupert Pupkin/ Travis Bickle/ Young Vito Corleone/ hitting the bong and having to be taught where the carb is by beach bunny Bridget Fonda. It's just fun to know what Bobby D looks like hitting a water pipe, and Fonda is the type of gal that every stoner guy dreams of passing to. (On the left hand side, naturally.) I have no justification for this pick. I just love it.

4. Brad Pitt doesn't want to be patronized in True Romance

In the second straight Tarantino related entry, Brad Pitt sheds his pretty boy looks for a bit part as Floyd, the stoner roommate, in Tony Scott's True Romance. While his part is limited, it is memorable, and it launched a cottage industry for making bongs out of honey bears. When Pitt delivers the line to an empty living room moments after gunman have filed out, Floyd’s synapses can be seen firing with the stoner rage barely contained. Yeah, stoner rage. There is such a thing. It’s very low key, but it usually happens when confronted by sober people, or worse yet drunks, who treat smokers as if they are unable to think and relate to the world around them anymore. Those folks, they don't need to patronize me, man.

3. Matthew McConaughey lets us know that it would be a lot cooler if we had weed in Dazed and Confused

Richard Linklater's love letter to the 70's was near perfect, but the most perfect thing about it was the small  role filled by an actor named Matthew McConaughey. As Wooderson, Matthew oozed cool from his shag haircut to the weed pipe built into his belt buckle. Sure, he may have questionable intent with some high school girls, but he, like Jon Stewart's earlier character, knows everything is cooler with weed. The reason I love this moment is that I remember how shady and illicit the world of weed seemed to me in high school. I could put myself in the shoes of Wiley Wiggins’ high school kid, confronted by a super cool older dude, and wishing that you did have some weed because you would be a lot cooler if you did. Am I saying weed makes you cool? I won't say yay or nay, but there must be a reason that the standard broaching of the subject at parties or between acquaintances tends to go back to the query, “Are you cool?”

2. Ice Cube asks if he still looks high in Friday

People will wonder why I put this moment so high up on my list. It's for the simple fact, out of all the stoner movies I've seen, this simple concern, looking high, rarely enters the picture. I'm pretty sure the Harold and Kumar pictures would come to a screeching halt if they fretted about how bloodshot their eyes were. Despite already being a world famous rapper, Ice Cube makes his character Craig a real guy with actual concerns apart from smoking weed, but concerning yourself with how high you actually look is something that anyone who has ever put a spliff to their lips can relate to. Sure, there are plenty of ways to look less high. Go somewhere outside and wear sunglasses. (Don't be inside wearing them because then you look like a douche or like you're trying to hide a black eye.) Use some Visine. Splash some water on your face. The problem is that it doesn't matter how high you look to the outside world. It’s all about the paranoia of how high you think other people think that you are. Once you get over that, that’s when you turn from Cube’s Craig to Chris Tucker’s Smokey.

1. Cheech and Chong roll the world's biggest joint in Up in Smoke

I really could have picked almost any moment from almost any Cheech and Chong movie (that isn't The Corsican Brothers) to fill this slot. To this day, Tommy Chong and Cheech Marin still set the bar for stoner comedies, and you have to respect the work effort that these two put forward while indulging in massive amounts of ganja on a regular basis. You've heard of high functioning alcoholics? These were high functioning stoners. They're rare, but it happens. I mean how else do you think this got written? While it is expected, there’s just no one else to put at the top of a stoner movie list, and if you're a fan of the sticky icky and you haven’t daydreamed about having a joint like Cheech and Chong, well, you need to daydream more….on weed!

Well, I hope that sparks up everyone's 4/20, and until next year, remember that a friend with weed, or a list about movies about weed, is a friend indeed.  Have a great one, and light one up for the ol' Bugg today.


  1. Call me easy, but I was heartily amused by the pot-smoking Freddy Krueger caterpillar in Freddy Vs. Jason...

  2. OH! And the "we're going to town" montage in Wet Hot American Summer. It's ALWAYS great to get into town, even if it's just for an hour!


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