Heady Entertainment: Get Baked to War Epics, Drag Queens, and Japanese Gangsters

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Welcome back to Heady Entertainment, MERRY JANE’s weekly guide to just-released movies, books, and music — all fresh, dank, and THC-friendly. In specific, we choose our picks based on how they can enhance your combined consumption of cannabis and entertainment.

Lighting up big screens this week, the World War I adventure 1917 bombards the senses, Like a Boss goes hard for Tiffany-Haddish-sized laughs, and Underwater submerges Kristen Stewart in oceanic shocks.

Streaming highlights to get high to include RuPaul ruling in AJ and The Queen, the Yakuza crime slammer Giri/Haji, and the new Stephen King mini-series The Outsider.

Among our bodaciously bud-worthy bounty of vintage cult flicks are the mega-buzzing The Fly Collection, the Richard Pryor/Harvey Keitel stunner Blue Collar, the gothic chiller Flowers in the Attic, and the most delirious kiddie movie ever made, The Peanut Butter Solution.

Marijuna-ready music-wise, check out new releases from the Adobe Collective, Ether Coven, and Uncle Murda.

So, let’s get straight — but not “straight” — to this week’s recommendations.

Movies

1917 (2020)
Director: Sam Mendes
Cast: George MacKay, Dean-Charles Chapman, Colin Firth

As an act of bravura filmmaking, director Sam Mendes blows away almost all previous combat epics with 1917 by filming a literally explosive World War I mission behind enemy lines in one seemingly continuous, unbroken shot. Machine gun battalions blast at our two heroes, planes dive, bombs burst, victims explode, and mud, blood, guts, and muck splatter the screen end to end. All that overwhelm also makes 1917 a breathtaking, sanity-stretching milestone of stoner cinema. Toke up, hang tight to those armrests, and take cover!

Like a Boss (2020)
Director: Miguel Artera
Cast: Tiffany Haddish, Rose Byrne, Salma Hayek

As indie make-up expert Mel, Tiffany Haddish hilariously takes on Claire Luna, a cosmetics queenpin played by Salma Hayek, in the big business farce Like a Boss. Caught somewhere in the middle — at least in terms of uproariously over-the-top comedic impact — is Rose Byrne as Mia, Mel’s work partner who joins her in fighting not to get ripped off by a major corporation. Amid all the broad slapstick and spiffy spliff jokes, Like a Boss also manages to make some salient points about the carnivorous nature of capitalism. So, you can work your brain a bit between passing the pipe and busting your gut. 

Underwater (2020)
Director: William Eubank
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Jennica Henwick, TJ Miller

Underwater takes place exactly where the title implies: Seven miles beneath the surface of the ocean, where a scientific team discovers that something even scarier than mean fish and discarded plastic straws pose an immediate threat to their existence. Kristen Stewart stars as the lead researcher and has to make like Ripley in the Alien movies, battling mutant baddies all those fathoms beneath civilization. Underwater is a solid deep-dive into pot-ready paranoia, so pick your strain accordingly.

Streaming

Medical Police: Season One
Cast: Erinn Hayes, Rob Huebel, Malin Akerman
Watch It: Netflix

The mad, obviously marijuana-infused minds behind Adult Swim’s cannabis comedy classics Children’s Hospital and NTSF:SD:SUV have moved their act over to Netflix without losing a scintilla of their sublime silliness and way wicked wit.

Medical Police is actually a sequel to Children’s Hospital, unleashing a deadly epidemic on the title locale and the lunatics contained therein. All the usual suspects return, including Rob Corddry, Erinn Hayes, Rob Huebel, Malin Akerman, Lake Bell, and Ken Marino. Lit cameos come by way of Joel McHale, Randall Park, Craig Robinson, Fred Melamed, Jason Schwartzman, and Lilly Singh.

Giri/Haji: Season One
Cast: Takehiro Hira, Kelly Macdonald, Yosuke Kubozuka
Watch It: Netflix

With one blade-wielding hand in London and the other gripping an Uzi in Tokyo, the artful crime series Giri/Haji chronicles a globe-spanning gang war between rival Yakuza factions with apocalyptic intensity. Opt to watch it with a sense-heightening strain without taking the edge off your focus because, on top of its A-plus action, Giri/Haji also offers soulful, even meditative moments on the nature of honor, duty, and how outlaw codes both uphold and violate those concepts. 

AJ and the Queen: Season One
Cast: RuPaul Charles, Izzy G., Michael-Leon Wooley
Watch It:
Netflix

RuPaul Charles, who also co-created this new Netflix sitcom, stars in AJ and the Queen as Ruby Red, a drag queen traveling cross-country in a ’90s-era RV in hope of opening a performance space and night club. Unexpectedly joining Ruby is AJ (Izzy G.), a 10-year-old stowaway orphan.

As always with RuPaul, AJ and the Queen is both side-splitting and heart-tugging, flawlessly mixing potent mirth and positive messages. Pack a bong with your most fabulously extravagant strain and ride along.    

The Outsider (2019)
Cast: Ben Mendelsohn, Cynthia Erivo, Jason Bateman
Watch It: HBO

To fright-loving stoners, all-time best-selling horror author Stephen King is, of course, supreme reefer royalty. Therefore, any King adaptation is an immediate invitation to roll a fatty in preparation of getting enjoyably freaked out. Naturally, some of King’s stories work better with weed than others, so we’re highly happy to report that The Outsider — HBO’s 10-episode take on King’s 2018 novel — is Uncle Steve at his scariest and, as such, most smokable.

Ben Mendelsohn stars as a detective looking into a child murder that got pinned on a local Little League coach who insists he’s not the monster who could have committed such a crime. Will there be other monsters? Inhale and find out.

Cult-Classic Collectibles

Blue Collar (1978)
Director: Paul Schrader
Cast: Richard Pryor, Harvey Keitel, Yaphet Kotto
Get It: Kino Lorber

Paul Schrader, who wrote Taxi Driver (1976), directs Richard Pryor, Harvey Keitel, and Yaphet Kotto in Blue Collar, an unflinching look at the death of the American Dream by way of the crumbling auto industry, mass capitalism, and mob-corrupted unions. If that premise sounds too dreary to expend fine weed on, trust us — the movie’s not (come on, Richard Pryor is the star!). Blue Collar is funny, sad, tragic, and true. The fact that the issues it addresses continue unabated more than 40 years after its debut is certainly reason enough to spark up; the masterful performances and unexpected story turns will serve in more pleasurable ways to keep you smoking throughout.

Flowers in the Attic (1987)
Director: Jeffrey Bloom
Cast: Kristy Swanson, Jeb Stuart Adams, Louise Fletcher
Get It: MVD

VC Andrews’s 1979 novel Flowers in the Attic remains a young-adult horror classic due to its gothic spell-weaving, spooky believability, and — maybe above all — the story’s taboo sexuality that has now tickled multiple generations of adolescent readers and kept them sharing passages around classrooms and internet chats into the current day.

In 1987, director Jeffrey Bloom adapted Flowers for the big screen and, even though the movie hardly made the same impact as the novel, it’s an effective chiller about a set of siblings held captive by a wicked grandmother. The film keeps enough of the novel’s kinks intact to get stoned viewers to cough out smoke if they go in unsuspecting. So, keep quiet, pass the bong, and get set to enjoy the eye-popping surprises.

The Fly Collection
Includes The Fly (1958), The Return of the Fly (1959), Curse of the Fly (1965), The Fly (1986), and The Fly II (1988)
Cast: Vincent Price, Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis
Get It: Shout Factory

It’s the ultimate cinematic bug-out, spanning a quartet of screamers over three decades and ranging from the campiness of ‘50s monster mania to the splat-tastic genius of mid-’80s David Cronenberg… and beyond!

The Fly Collection gathers all four Fly movies and packages them with excellent, in-depth bonus materials. It is an absolute must for marijuana-loving horror fans.

The Fly (1958), starring Vincent Price, is cinema’s original saga of a scientist who attempts to teleport and gets his body mixed up with that of a winged insect. The climactic moment of a tiny fly-man trapped in a spider’s web shrieking, “Help me! Help meeee!” is a landmark stoner flick moment — whether you crack up laughing or howl in terror says much about you (or at least whatever drug you’re on at that moment).

Less historic but also deserving of a pot-pumped viewing party, Son of the Fly (1965) follows the original mad scientist’s offspring into a similarly sticky (and icky) predicament.

Cronenberg’s masterpiece The Fly (1986) stars Jeff Goldblum in his career-defining role as molecular expert Seth Brundle, whose botched experiment transforms him into “Brundlefly.” The phrase, “Be afraid… be very afraid” comes from this version of The Fly for all the right reasons.

The Fly II ups the grossness of the ’86 edition, with Eric Stoltz as Brundle’s son who takes up where his father left off and takes flight into his own buzzing madness.

The Peanut Butter Solution (1985)
Director: Michael Rubbo
Cast: Mathew Mackay, Michael Hogan, Siluck Saysanasy
Get It:
Severin Films

If you grew up with HBO in the ’80s and ’90s, odds are strong you came across The Peanut Butter Solution and perhaps now half-remember it as a flu nightmare or a by-product of cheap acid that somehow invaded your childhood recollections. Oh, no — The Peanut Butter Solution is all-too-real.

What follows is the actual plot of the movie. Eleven-year-old Michael (Mathew Mackay) climbs into a burned-out building and sees something so scary that his hair falls out. He’s then visited by the ghosts of homeless people who died in the blaze, and they give him a rotten-food-based formula to restore his hair — the so-called “peanut butter solution.” Michael’s lush mane grows back in uncontrollable heaps that need to be cut every few seconds. This, in turn, inspires Michael’s insane art teacher to kidnap the boy and harvest his hair to create magic paint brushes, which the teacher churns out using the labor of other local kids he’s snatched. Ultimately, Michael’s pal Conrad (Siluck Saysanasy) is able to mount a rescue mission — but only after applying the peanut butter solution to grow yards of his own pubes!

For real, this description only scratches the surface. The most trauma-inducing, engagingly deranged production ever passed off as children’s entertainment, the Canadian-made Peanut Butter Solution has become a psychotically sought-after cult item. Fortunately(?), the home video heroes at Severin Films have restored and reissued this bizarre opus as a special edition Blu-ray that no stoner cinema collection is complete without.

Music

All the Space There Is
By The Adobe Collective
Get It:
Adobe Collective Official

Blazing skyward from Joshua Tree, California, the Adobe Collective spearheads a sonic movement referred to as the “high desert sound” — emphasis on the first word in that descriptor. Combining ethereal harmonies and tight-honed musicianship with vast psychedelic exploration, All the Space There Is serves as a perfect primer regarding the Adobe Collective’s missions: to blow minds by way of smooth sailing through endless cosmos and hyper-natural intoxication. 

Don’t Come Outside, Vol. 2
By Uncle Murda
Get It: Apple Music

Brooklyn rap lord Uncle Murda pumps out another long-playing scorcher straight from the streets of East New York and into elevated ears all over the planet. Guests dropping in on the latest Murda-fest include Jadakiss, Tory Lanez, Benny the Butcher, Conway, Styles P, Derez De’Shon, Aviator Keys, Dave Easy and, on three separate tracks, Que Banz. Stay inside, smoke up, and bump Don’t Come Outside, Vol. 2.  

Everything Is Temporary Except Suffering
By Ether Coven
Get It: Ether Coven Official

As the album’s title implies, Florida metal marauders Ether Coven go darker than ever on Everything Is Temporary Except Suffering, which means they reach a pitch of black that, for listeners, is almost indescribable — or maybe even survivable — without drugs. Pair this smashingly executed exercise in doomed delirium with whatever substance takes you to your favorite nadir of bleakness and get comfortable. It’s a long, heavy way back — that is, unless you opt to just stay.

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