“Pineapple Express” was released in 2008 and popularized the iconic stoner duo of James Franco and Seth Rogen. Rogen plays process server Dale Denton, who befriends his marijuana dealer, Saul Silver, played by Franco. The film follows the two unlikely friends as they get caught up in the murder of Silver’s boss and are targeted by hitmen and a corrupt police officer. Despite Franco’s memorable performance, he recently revealed he “doesn’t smoke weed at all,” while Rogen’s perceived stoner reputation is more than accurate.
Up in Smoke
Cult classic “Up in Smoke,” starring Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong, was released in 1978 and has been credited with establishing the stoner comedy genre in film. They both play low-life stoners escaping the realities of adulthood and several attempted arrests along the way. In an ongoing search for marijuana, the duo successfully wins over the audience and authorities at a Battle of the Bands contest held at the iconic Roxy Theatre in Los Angeles.
Starring comedian Dave Chappelle, “Half Baked” is a 1998 film about four stoner best friends who get into deep trouble after smoking some unusual marijuana. The group finds themselves in need of $1 million to bail out their friend who was arrested for high antics in public, so they start their own marijuana company in an attempt to raise money. The drug plays a significant role throughout the film, including Chappelle’s love interest, Mary Jane.
Dazed and Confused
Released in 1993, “Dazed and Confused” is set in 1976 and documents the last day of high school for a group of teenagers in Austin, Texas. While the graduating seniors wreak havoc on the freshmen, the football players are faced with a dilemma of abstaining from weed and alcohol, due to pledges they signed for playing in the championships. Matthew McConaughey’s role was legendary for multiple reasons, one of the most significant being his famous line, “Say, man, you got a joint? It’d be a lot cooler if you did.”
“Reefer Madness” is a propaganda film from 1936 that was made to instill fear in parents concerning their children participating in the popular pastime of smoking marijuana. The cautionary tale told by a high school principal describes how a group of teenagers become addicted to “reefers” by influence of a drug supplier, causing them to stray from their families and negatively affect the traditional family dynamic. It has been referenced and parodied in several movies and songs, including Sublime’s “Smoke Two Joints” which begins with a sample of dialogue from the film.
Fast Times at Ridgemont High
“Fast Times at Ridgemont High” is a coming-of-age comedy from 1982 that follows a group of high school friends from Southern California indulging in sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. Sean Penn’s role as Jeff Spicoli, a stereotypical stoner surfer, remains one of his most notable due to his long blond hair and valley-esque accent when speaking. Despite being over 35 years old, this movie’s legacy has continued throughout generations and encapsulates the best cliches about California’s relationship with marijuana.