Genre movies—film noir, historical romance, mysteries, coming-of-age—I love them all so it’s impossible for me to pick which one is my favorite. However, I can admit that my guilty pleasure genre is stoner comedies. Cheech and Chong were the pioneers of this genre, starting with Up in Smoke, in the late 70s, followed by a few sequels. Their movies involved smoking copious amounts of weed, preposterous plots and goofball hijinks. You had to admire these guys for their audacity, and applaud a big studio like Paramount for supporting counterculture subject matter at that time.
Jump ahead a few decades. Cheech and Chong beget the hilarious duo, Harold and Kumar. These stoner pals are always on a quest for something—and not just more weed. They’re on the make for food in Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle; to prove they’re not terrorists in Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay; and on the hunt for a Christmas tree in A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas. The humor is consistently unexpected, outrageous and insanely funny.
This holiday season Seth Rogen is super stoned in The Night Before. He, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Anthony Mackie play three long-time friends on a quest—notice the theme here?—for the mother of all Christmas parties. The movie, like its predecessors in the genre, is utterly ludicrous, silly and loaded with raunchy antics. While all these movies play for laughs, at their core, they’re about friendship and loyalty.
Given all the disturbing events happening in the world, it can be a challenge to find something to laugh about. But I can always count on a stoner movie for gut-busting, escapist fun. You don’t even need to be baked to enjoy them.